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Major League Baseball manages full season without a gay slur on the field

Major League Baseball manages full season without a gay slur

The New York Yankees high-five each other after winning 6-3 against the Philadelphia Phillies on August 3, 2020 (Sarah Stier/Getty)

For the first time in four years, a season of Major League Baseball has passed without a single homophobic slur being uttered on the field.

The 2020 season ended on Sunday after coronavirus shortened it to 60 games, and all players managed to make it through without any recorded, on-field anti-gay controversies.

However, although it ended on a high note, the season wasn’t totally devoid of anti-gay sentiment.

Unfortunately the Cincinnati Reds’ game against the Kansas City Royals was marred by Fox Sports announcer Thom Brennaman using a homophobic slur live on air while he thought his mic was turned off.

Viewers were horrified to hear the veteran commentator referring to Kansas City as “one of the fag capitals of the world”. His on-air plea for forgiveness fell short of the mark as he broke off midway to comment on the baseball game in front of him.

Brennaman later issued a second apology, claiming he was unaware of the history of “hate and prejudice” the slur is rooted in, but Fox moved to suspend him after 30 years of commentating.

Sadly it was far from the first time the word was heard on the pitch.

The long history of homophobia in Major League Baseball is often blamed for the fact that only two players have ever come out as LGBT+, with no current players identifying as queer.

According to Ginny Searle of Baseball Prospectus, anti-gay slurs are “something of an annual occurrence” in Major League Baseball.

She told NPR’s Leila Fadel that although many teams engage in LGBT+ campaigns like Pride nights, in reality they don’t go far enough.

“I don’t know that you would qualify them as substantial enough to be a complete affirmation of the LGBT+ community,” she said.

“[It doesn’t] give certainties that on every instance – not just the broadcast booth, in the stands, the locker rooms, everywhere – the LGBT+ community is respected and not simply allowed, but welcomed as a substantial part of the community.”

But for Sean Doolittle, a Washington Nationals player and long LGBT+ ally, there is hope. He told Outsports that the fierce reactions to Brennaman’s slur indicated a fundamental shift in attitudes.

“My experience as a player, I really think is changing,” he said. “The outrage response is evidence it is changing.”

He recalled an incident at a game last year when a fan repeatedly called him a “fag” as he was warming up in the bullpen. The homophobe was immediately confronted by Dolittle’s teammates, who called security and had him ejected from the stadium.

“They knew, even as far as a fan heckling, there is no room for that in our game at the ballpark,” Doolittle said. “I thought that was awesome.”

“Legends of Tomorrow” Episode 515 Recap: Full Circle

“Legends of Tomorrow” Episode 515 Recap: Full Circle

Previously on Legends of Tomorrow, a bunch of villains from throughout history were released from hell and the Legends had to travel through space and time to kill these Encores with hell weapons, they learned their buddy Charlie was actually Clotho the fate and she got tricked by her sisters to rejoin their ranks and they rewrote the fate of the world, but the Legends rebelled from their TV universe, much to Charlie’s dismay.

As she heads back to her sisters, Charlie is realizing that the Legends have started the rumblings of a rebellion, and she is so stressed about it.

Charlie is distraught

Her desperate little, “Even I like the blue mush!” was so cute.

She tries to play it cool when she gets to the Temple of the Loom and sits next to her fellow fates in the throne room, where they will start seeing their people’s requests, trying to pretend like everything is fine.

Meanwhile, the Legends, fresh out of their TV boxes, are trying to find the Loom. And also thus begins a series of hilarious moments where Zari 2 and Original Zari joke about their continued mutual existence, like how Zari 2 thinks Original Zari’s voice is weird.

They run into Gary and Mona, who tell them that if the Waverider is anywhere, it’s likely at the Forbidden Dump, where all the fun things go to die.

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So while Ava leads half the team there, Sara and Constatine go to the Hall of Fates. They use Sara’s blindness to their advantage and Sara easily takes down some guards, and they lead the rest of the team in to find the Loom.

sara in sunnies

Good ol’ Sara “roll with the punches” Lance.

In the throne room, one worshipper asks for more blue mush, and Lachesis grants it nobly. The next asks for her favorite TV shows to come back from hiatus, which is a mood, and when Charlie says the actors needed a break, she asks if they were tired from the crossover. Which is already hilarious, since often CW actors do indeed need a hiatus from the crossover, but just to add a little extra Legends jab at it, Atropos asks with disdain in her voice, “What is a crossover?”

When Lachesis realizes what Clotho did, she is furious, but Clotho tries to defend her old crew. She points to how they were cleaning up the Encore mess and it wasn’t even their fault, and Lachesis (whose fault it actually was) gaslights Charlie into thinking the Encores were HER fault, because Clotho broke the Loom in the first place, creating chaos and therefore creating villains. Lachesis asks her sister what she thinks the people would prefer, more choices, or everlasting peace. Charlie looks out over these helpless mortals, thinks of all the friends she’s lost or almost lost, thinks of all the pain and suffering she thinks she caused, and sits down, giving in. She says they would want peace.

charlie looks sad and resigned

You can’t be so afraid of pain that you keep yourself from feeling anything at all, bb.

Sara, Astra and Constantine continue their quest for the Loom, and once they find it, they set out to destroy it. Astra doesn’t think she has enough power to do it, but Constantine knows she has her mother’s magic blood in her and encourages her to channel it.

At the Dump, Ava, Zari, Nate and Mick all find the Waverider, so Mick heads off to find Lita before they go. They realize Gideon is broken, and that they need a superconductor to get the ship back up and running again, so Zari uses Steely Nate so Ava can get them off the ground.

When Zari 2 and Behrad go undercover in the throne room, they realize they only see two of the Fates…but that’s because Atropos found Sara first.

atropos holds sara at knifepoint

“Ava? Is that you? Save that for tonight, babe.”

Atropos is amused that Sara “bears the scars” of their last encounter, but Sara says her scars make her stronger before using her new Fate-given powers to defeat her at her own game.

Astra starts to realize that she replaced some of her memories with Lachesis, causing her powers to falter, but as Atropos is telling Sara that these powers come from her, Sara insists that her real power comes from her team. To prove her point, the Team Totem swoops in and blasts Atropos away from Sara. Sara realizes that if she has some Fate power in her, she can use it to her advantage, and snipps Atropos’ thread. Defeated at her own game.

The Legends all rush back to the Waverider and quickly jump out of that time period to avoid Lachesis’s wrath, and when they land, they’re still in the Forbidden Dump. But suddenly, Sara can see. They realize her powers must have been linked to Atropos and with her gone, she’s back to our regular old Paragon assassin. And it feels appropriate that the first thing she sees is trash.

But the second thing she sees is her beautiful girlfriend, and she’s thrilled about it.

sara is happy to see ava

I’d miss that face, too.

When they head outside to see when they are and what has changed, they learn that they’re only a few months into the future. Things seem normal at first glance, until they realize that everyone is relying on their smartwatches to make every decision for them. And instead of Siri or a Google Assistant, they’re asking Fate. The Legends see the billboards all around them and know that Lachesis might not have the loom, but she’s still controlling everyone’s fate.

The Legends head to where the temple used to be but now it’s a history museum documenting the atrocities of free will to help scare people into trusting the Fate technology. The Legends head into the Hall of Bad Ideas, which features arguably great ideas like glitter and spring shoes, along with unequivocally bad ideas like the Shake Weight and The Thong Song. Ava goes over to this Sisqo exhibit and is reading the lyrics aloud, confused as to how this was such a smash hit in the early aughts, to which I have no good answer for her. The song slaps but the lyrics to leave something to be desired.

Nate really wants to play the song but Sara stops her and leads her team to the Hall of Villains. The Encores they’ve spent the season fighting (plus more of history’s big bads) are all displayed and ranked here, including the lovely Marie Antoinette.

Behrad and Original Zari are still trying to fix the Waverider, and I’m just so glad we got a little more time with our flannel-clad tech genius.

zari focuses in flannel

Who will take up the plaid representation when she’s gone?

But something isn’t quite right, because Behrad has a flash of a memory of dying in her timeline.

As the team goes through the Hall of Villains, they realize that they’re cataloged here too, labeled Godkillers. I feel like we’re tiptoeing on infringing the Worldkillers here, but Lachesis wouldn’t care too much about that now would she. Also, Ava is a little hurt that they’re only number two on the list.

ava looks offended

If you’re gonna be the worst, you might as well be the best at it.

They go to see who the #1 worst villain in history is, and are surprised to find Charlie there, trapped only by the will of her Fatewatch who tells her to stay. She’s so scared that they’re there, so scared she’ll hurt someone again. So they feel they have no choice but to knock her out and take her back to the ship.

Charlie wakes up on the ship

“I had the strangest dream…and you were there, and you.”

Charlie is nearly frantic because she’s not where the Fatewatch told her she should be. She tells her captains that she regrets being the Loom Breaker, Creator of Chaos. It’s so sad and scary to see wild and free Charlie having been scared and manipulated to the point of being this scared and obedient Clotho. Sara and Ava blame themselves, for leaving Charlie behind and letting Lachesis get into her head.

avalance sad

Even the best captains make mistakes sometimes.

Charlie insists that Lachesis only did what was best for her, because they’re family, but Sara says that THEY’RE her family, not Lachesis. That overpowering and controlling someone isn’t loving them. That deciding what’s best for you instead of helping you decide for yourself isn’t taking care of them.

And Astra is learning the same lesson at the same time. All these years she thought Lachesis was loving her, raising her, but she was really training her, making her forget her own mother. But that’s not reality, and it’s not what Astra wants.

The Legends get together to try to sell Charlie on the concept of free will, but everything they offer her she has an answer for. The Beatles were great, sure, but they also inspired Charles Manson. Mona tries to use Mamma Mia 2: Here We Go Again (a nice little nod to Original Zari’s loop episode), but Charlie reminds them that Napoleon once almost killed them because of Abba. Ava and Sara try a different route, and try to point out that their entire relationship wouldn’t exist without chaos.

avalance is proof

“I mean look at us! We’re disaster queers! Even if our paths had crossed we wouldn’t have ended up together without the gentle nudging of these other fools!”

Random twists of fate brought them together, an assassin and a clone, a vigilante time traveler and the lead of the agency built to thwart them. Sure there have been mistakes along the way, but sometimes mistakes just help guide us toward our destiny. But Charlie remains unconvinced.

charlie is unconvinced

“Love is a lie.”

After giving up trying to sell free will to Charlie, the Zaris work together to try to find the Loom of Fate that surely must still exist if all these people are zombies, all while Behrad tries to hide the fact that a bullet wound is slowly forming in his chest. With Original Zari’s guidance, Zari 2 finds the source of the Fatewatch, but it’s not the Loom at all. They really did destroy that. Instead, the people are being controlled by Lachesis and Gideon.

What to Wear on Safari: a full packing guide – DOPES ON THE ROAD

What to Wear on Safari: a full packing guide -

Figuring out what to take on a safari is flat out intimidating! There are undoubtedly more “rules” for what to wear on safari than almost any other trip I’ve taken. Going on an East African safari has been a dream for years. I wanted to follow every suggestion out there that would lead me to see the most animals possible. But let’s face it, I also wanted to feel good about what I was wearing since these are photos I’ll treasure for a lifetime. 

From the Maasai Mara in Kenya, Ngorongoro Crater in Tanzania and hundreds of bumpy dusty roads in between. I needed things to be practical, comfortable and stylish in that order. This safari packing guide includes the main things you’ll need. I’m going to assume you already know things like a toothbrush need to be packed. 

Where and when are you going

Africa is a continent ya’ll and a big one at that. When you’re packing you’ve got to look at the weather in the place you’ll actually be going. Sounds simple but the often overlooked idea that, yes, it gets cold in Africa can sneak up on you. Game drives consistently start as the sun creeps above the horizon, meaning you’ll be eating breakfast in the cool brisk morning air. 

Keep in mind there are pros and cons to all off-season travel.

Kenya

Best Time To Visit: Mid August – late October to see the Great Migration of wildebeest in the Masai Mara. Kenya is close to the equator, therefore, it does not experience a real summer or winter. 

Dry Season: June to October temperatures 75-50°F

Wet Season: March to May temperatures 83-60°F 

Uganda

Best Time To Visit: Since you’ll likely be there for the incredible gorilla trekking, visiting during the dry season is pivotal. The temperature in this tropical climate remains virtually the same 81-60°F year-round. 

Dry Season: June-August and December-January 

Wet Season: March-May and September- November 

Rwanda

Best Time To Visit: October to January are ideal times for the chimpanzee tracking. The temperatures stay in the 70-50°F year-round. 

Dry: June-September 

Wet: October-May

South Africa

Best Time To Visit: May to September, there is a long dry season here and the animals tend to stay close to larger watering holes. 

Summer: October- April temperatures ranging from 45-77°F

Winter: May-September 60-84°F

Tanzania

Best Time To Visit: June-October, although the most popular “northern circuit” is spectacular year-round. Wildebeest calves are however born in January.

Dry Season: June-October temperatures 65-86°F

Wet Season: November-May temperatures 73-85°F

What type of African safari vacation are you taking

Just as diverse as the destination you’ll take them in safari vacations come in all shapes and sizes. If you are looking for full luxury, budget, family-friendly, private or group there’s a safari that is right for you. 

The accommodations will vary based on price point. Typically there are two main sleeping options the tent camps which are, as you’d expect canvas tents. The other being safari lodges, typically more of resort vibe. Here is an example of each that we stayed in during our 13 Day East African Safari with Contiki. 

Thorn Tree Camp

Safari Lodge

Sentrim Elementaita Lodge

One of the key differences to look at when it comes to packing is with the luggage allowance. With a luxury safari, you are likely to be taking small bush planes from one destination to the next, the strict weight allowances on these flights are usually non-negotiable.

On a group safari, there is obviously a limited about of space in the back of the jeep. For our trip, we were limited to 33 pounds of the total weight in a soft-sided bag. 

If a walking safari or trekking is on your itinerary. You will have to take greater consideration with footwear, including hiking boot. 

When and where we Traveled

Our trip was a total of 29 days. We spent 13 of those as part of the Contiki East African Safari through Kenya and Tanzania. Check out our review of the trip here! Followed by a week-long private safari with family and friends and lastly a week at the beach in Zanzibar. 

Our trip started mid-July and ended in Mid August

Safari Luggage

The 33lb weight requirement seems to be the standard. This is the weight for everything, carry on included. It is important to have something that is soft-sided aka squishable as well as durable. These bags will be loaded and unloaded from your safari jeep multiple times almost always in dirty or dusty places. Leave the full size hard-sided checked bag at home, it’s more hassle than it is worth. 

Safari Backpacks

Meg bought the REI Ruckpack 65 Travel Pack right before we left. She’s about 5’3” so finding a full size pack that fits her well took some time and persistence. The REI pack is built specifically for women (or people) with shorter torsos. 

It is a two-part pack system that includes a day pack big enough for her laptop and essential. Overall She was really happy with the performance and comfort of the new backpack and i think it will be joining us on my more trips. 

I carried my go to Tortuga Pack. This bag has been by my side for nearly two years now and I’m consistently impressed with its versatility. If I’m being honest I was looking for reasons to upgrade my pack for the trip. Mostly for aesthetic reasons but couldn’t bring myself to spend the money with the Tortuga Pack does the job for nearly every situation. I did find a  similar bag at a significantly lower price point here

I love the interior pockets for keeping my clothes separate and the thick padded back sleeve to protect my laptop.

Tanzania

If you don’t love backpacks bringing a duffle if perfectly doable for this style trip. One of the guys I traveled with did all 13 days in a simple Hershel duffle. While it was a bit small for me it was a great way for him to only bring the essentials. 

A duffle that I have had my eye on for a while is the North Face Base Camp Duffel

Worth noting when buying bags specifically from travel- bright colors are always easier to locate. Whether you’re looking in the offloaded safari luggage pile or the airport baggage carousel, black bags are hardest to locate. 

 Daypacks

Meg carried the daypack portion of her REI bag. She lover every part of having it. It was the perfect size to fit what she needed but small enough to keep her from overpacking. 

Since most of your day is spent in the car you have a couple daypack option in my opinion. 

The safari outfit stylish or simple practicality. My all-time favorite daypacks are these two from Herschel Supply Co and Jansport . They hold up great with heavy use and when they’re filthy just toss them in the washer. 

Honestly, on most days the only thing our daypacks needed to carry was camera gear and bug spray. 

Contiki had sent the whole group a simple canvas backpack like this one and many members of the trip were super happy with how convenient it was. 

Camera Bags for safari

I carried the Manfrotto Medium Camera bag for this trip. It fit two SLR bodies, three lenses and various small accessories in the side pockets. The top was big enough for me to bring an extra battery pack, hat, and any snacks I felt necessary aka Haribo gummy bears and Stoney Tangawizi, the incredible local ginger beer. 

Depending on how much gear you have something a bit smaller like this over the shoulder bag would work. 

For the safari, I found having a camera bag to be more important than on a lot of other trips for two main reasons. First, the amount of dust and dirt. Having a clean place to store my camera was so important. Second, the roads are bumpy and our bags bounded right along with us, the padding in the bag was used hard. Lastly, having a waterproof bag will eliminate any stress if a storm rolls in. 

Safari Clothes

First and foremost you do not have to rush out and buy an entire wardrobe based on various shades of khaki. Earth tones are recommended but not required at any point on my 3-week safari. Our Kenyan guide often sported a red t-shirt and many other drivers were dressed in the traditionally bright Masai clothing. **read about our visit to the Masai Village**

Massai People

Laundry was an offered service at every place we stayed. So no matter if your trip is 4 or 14 days your packing list will look similar. 

Planning to bring items that are easily layered is important because the weather changes drastically throughout the day. Being able to add or subtract on the fly is crucial. 

The most important fact when it comes to color is the tsetse fly is attracted to blue and black. You will even see what looks like a small blue and black flags hung in some bushes, it turns out they are tsetse fly traps. The flies can bite through your clothing and are linked to sleeping sickness.

Safari shirt

Five or six t-shirts, in my opinion, is the right number. After hours of a game drive, you are covered in a pretty decent level of dirt so rewarding might not always be an option. We both went with simple cotton t-shirts. No fancy fabrics, just things already found in our closets

I did pick up a Columbia Sportswear Shirt that felt like peak safari shirt. It has a bunch of pockets, SPF built in and was ideal for tossing on in the early mornings. The sleeves are designed to roll up but I usually just tossed in on over a tee and took it off when I got warm. The one thing I really appreciated about this shirt over the other long sleeve tee tucked in my bag was how easily the dirt brushed off. 

A hooded sweatshirt for the early mornings was nice. There were a few mornings that seemed extra cold plus when the top opens up having a hood to block the wind is nice. I’m sort of obsessed with this colorblock one Meg pickup for my birthday. 

Pack a rain jacket! Who knows if you’ll use it but if you need it there is really no substitute. Meg and I each have this one from North Face. It takes up almost zero space and has saved us on a bunch of different occasions. 

Safari pants

A last-minute decision had me headed to REI the night before the trip to get some safari pants. I flipped back and forth between wanting to wear stuff I already had and wanting something specific for this trip. I ultimately decided to pick up some pants because I was worried if I wore jeans the midday temperatures would have me uncomfortably hot. I tried on a whole bunch of pants and ended up with the Prana Essex Pants. They ended up being PERFECT! The dust and dirt brushed right off them plus they were warm enough for the morning and light enough for the middle of the day heat. They also don’t wrinkle, no matter how twisted in a ball I packed them they came out of the bad ready to wear.  I did size up a bit to give them a slightly more androgynous vibe that I prefer with my clothing. 

Lesbian-couple-tanzania-posing-with-safari-vehicle

The two pairs of jeans I pack could have easily been left behind. They’re hot and frankly not that comfortable for long hours sitting in the car. 

I’ll list some of the other pants I tried on and like here. The Prana pants were the winners based more on fit than anything else.

Columbia Trail Convertible Pant : zip off into shorts 

Columbia Silver Ridge Pull on Pant : more of a jogger style

We also both took some Adidas sweat pants and leggings for hanging around the camps in the evening. There was no need to get dressed up for dinners at any of the places we stayed in. So most nights we tossed on something cozy. 

Dresses

Meg prefers dresses over pants in all situations. She knew that short dresses would be tough with getting in and out of the jeep a bunch of times every day. So she opted for longer earth-toned dresses and jumpsuits. All of her outfits we one piece so in the morning she didn’t have a ton of options to choose from.

Giraffe-Center-Kenya

She had lavender and a yellow jumpsuit that were PERFECT! As well as rust and an olive dress that buttoned up. With the dresses, she put a t-shirt under them so they remained more modest.

 

Safari Hats

Go big or go home! Seriously, if you want that big safari hat of your dreams go for it. You’ll see plenty of other people wearing them and they make for great photo props. Pro tip: make sure it had a drawstring to keep it from blowing off when the jeep is in motion. 

A regular baseball cap works just as well. Really its whatever keeps the sun off your face and covers off the crazy wind blow hair look. I took a simple this simple khaki Adidas Strapback Cap

Shoes for Safari

Shoe selection is WAY more important if you are doing a walking safari or a gorilla trek. Both of those experiences require much more specific footwear. Since I haven’t had that experience I linked to a great packing guide specifically for a gorilla trek. 

We were in our safari vehicle most of the time so the shoes for our safari were way less specific. For your primary footwear having something that is comfortable, easy to wear when climbing in and out of the car and easily cleaned is important. You will also find yourself taking your shoes on and off a bunch of times. Reason for that, climbing up on the jeep seats to take pictures. They let us climb all over the car but asked that our shoes were off to do so. Super reasonable in my opinion. 

My three recommendations are below. 

Palladium Pampa High Originals 

I love the look of these canvas boots plus they are all day comfortable. If you decide to go with boots for any reason definitely check these out. I wore them on our trip to Peru and got tons of compliments on the look plus the performance was awesome. 

Adidas Nite Jogger

Really any solid running shoe will work here. Something with good tread is important because everything is unpaved. I’m obsessed with how comfortable the Nite Joggers are. 

Contiki Safari

Slides

Every big trip I seem to obsess over one item I “have to have” and then make Meg buy it too. For this trip it was the slides. I wasn’t sure about the shower situation (they were remarkably clean) and to wear around camp. Meg and I both wore them a bunch to dinner, the pool and even a few times on long car rides. They’re easy, comfortable and versatile. 

Best Camera for Safari

This list could be an entire blog post in itself. If you are a professional photographer you probably already know what you need. So for the rest of us, here are a few guidelines I felt were helpful when making sure you have the right camera for safari. 

Yes, you can take photos on your phone. Yes, the animals will walk close enough on occasion to get some good ones on your phone. However, there are a ton of situations that you’ll wish your camera had a bit more zoom. 

Meg traveled with a Sony A7iii with a 28-70mm kit lens. This is a powerhouse of a camera and it is amazing what we do as travel bloggers. Its mirrorless shoots incredibly high-quality video and is overall our go-to camera. That being said we both wish we would have bought or borrowed a more powerful lens. 

I traveled with our Nikon D3400, the first DSLR camera we ever bought. Until we bought the Sony this the camera we used for everything. I think its the perfect beginner DSLR Unfortunately when we were shooting these awesome shots in Oxnard, California we smashed our trusty 18-55mm lens. So for this trip, we packed a 35mm f/1.8 prime lens that I am hooked on. It was amazing for all the shots in markets and around the camps. The other lens I took was a 70-300 f/4 that I kept on the camera a majority of the time. 

You the DSLR is not the right fit for you there are some great point and shoot cameras like the Canon Powershot G9 that will be much better than your phone. 

Some additional accessories for the camera

Memory Cards: You’re going to go through way more than you think because you’ll be shooting in bursts as the animals are near you. 

Extra Battery Sony and Nikon : We did stay at one camp that did not have outlets in the tents. So for that day having the extra battery was crucial. 

Camera Cleaning Kit: Again, so so much dust. 

Hard Drive: Having a way to back up your photos is important. It doesn’t matter if you’re traveling for work like us or on a vacation. Most new cameras now have wifi so you can send the photos directly to your phone. This one from LaCie is specifically designed for travel. 

Tripod: It’s great to have a tripod if you’re shooting anything like a sunset that requires a longer exposure. It’s also the ideal way to get photos with your travel companions. Asking some to take a picture is fine but be prepared to see heads or feet cut off. If you want particular shots its best to set them up for yourself. Important to note, when walking away from your camera be sure to keep an eye on your surroundings. 

Miscellaneous Safari Gear

Technology

Power Strip: Tons of places only have one outlet, this way you don’t have to set an alarm to 

switch devices. This was our first trip with one and we’ll never travel without one again. 

Binoculars: Yes you’ll want them, no they don’t have to be crazy expensive ones. 

Universal Adapter: Ya know to charge EVERYTHING. 

Books: Download books, music or games to your phone. There are a ton of long car rides involved in a bunch of safaris. When you’re going from one park to the next you’ll just be hanging out. No matter how much you love your travel companions a little something to entertain yourself will be nice. Plus, most of the accommodations only have wifi in the dining area. So a book is nice for that downtime as well.  

Toiletries 

Bug Spray: Get one with a high percentage of deet. The wipes are a good option so you’re not getting in the mouth and eyes of everyone in the car with you when you reapply. 

Chapstick: My lips were dry to the point they were painful most of the trip. I absolutely swear by this Aquafina lip balm. 

Eyedrops: The dust does not mix well with your eyes. I tried to wear contacts one day but they felt terrible. Even while wearing glasses I found myself using the drops each day.