Investing time in a photography course can be a useful exercise before the safari to aid in the taking of the amazing wildlife shots you would like to come back with.
There is no real endurance required for wildlife safaris however a level of fitness is definitely recommended to help pass the long hours in bumping trucks, canoes and planes. It will also allow for additional agility in getting in and out of kayaks, sleds, zodiacs and any other form of transport that might be used during your journey.
Your ability to identify birds and other animals is a useful skill for a safari, particularly if you’re planning a do-it-yourself type. The differences between a whale, seal and dolphin are pretty obvious but what about minke whales, orcas and killer whales? Bird and wildlife books can get you off to a good start before you leave for the safari.
There is no need to pull out the khaki for the modern safari, however neutral colors are best. If you’re doing a safari in Africa or in the Australian outback, loose, naturally breathable clothing like cotton is best. If you’re in polar regions you will need to layer up for the cold. Although a light jacket is good for evening wear even in tropical regions. Always take a hat, UV protection sunglasses, sun block, mosquito repellent and bottled water or a filter. Good walking shoes and socks are essential, rain jackets, a torch (flashlight) and one item of formal clothes. Whatever you do pack light, space is usually limited.
If you are dependent on any medication bring a supply and a spare prescription. If you’re in a malaria area wear long sleeved shirts and pants particularly in the evenings.
You will definitely want to save your wonderful memories of the world’s amazing animals. Pack a camera and take spare batteries. Film can be purchased everywhere but stocks are often small, expensive and only of the common sizes and brands. If you plan to shoot wildlife you will need a telephoto lens, preferably one that does not require a tripod and has a lens hood, ultra violet filter and dust proof cover. In some countries be aware that you are not allowed to photography military installations, uniformed guards etc and you should always ask permission before photographing people.