A LOT of questions have been coming in regard to the inaugural Zimbabwe International Carnival which runs from May 21 to 26 in Harare.
Report Melissa Mpofu
Most questions have been “What to wear?” “What to pack?”
But before trying to pack for the carnival, one needs to know what a Carnival is.
A Carnival typically involves a public celebration or parade combining some elements of a circus, mask and public street party.
People often dress up or masquerade during the celebrations, which mark an overturning of daily life.
Carnival time is the only period when one can walk out of their home looking weird dressed up in colourful colours like a clown.
Here are some different ways in which you can dress to attend the carnival:
The whole idea behind going to a carnival is to have fun and forget about the stresses of everyday life. When you choose a shirt to wear it should be a fun shirt that you really enjoy wearing.
Of course if the weather is warm then you will want to go with a nice T-shirt and if the weather is cold then a long sleeved T-shirt will do just fine. Since carnivals are primarily outdoors it is a good idea to wear shirts that are made of a breathable fabric such as cotton.
Again, anything goes and you have to have fun with it. If it is cool out and you feel like wearing jeans then by all means do so.
Cargo pants are also a great option as the extra pockets can come in handy for holding your wallet or other personal effects and can also hold any tickets that you may get.
If it is too hot for pants then a nice pair of cargo short for the guys will do the trick and the girls can wear a nice pair of capri pants.
Hats are a must to wear in Zimbabwe because of the hot weather conditions.
This is probably the most important piece of apparel that you will wear. A carnival requires you to walk around all over the place and knowing that you should be sure that you are wearing the most comfortable shoes you own.
A good pair of lace up sneakers usually does nicely and you should avoid wearing slip on shoes or flip-flops as they will not only be uncomfortable but they can also get lost easily on the faster ride.
This is often overlooked, but if the carnival is a daytime one then you will be squinting all day long if you do not have a good pair of sunglasses with proper UV protection.
Bringing a purse to a carnival is just asking for trouble. Instead go with a fanny pack. Yes they may look a bit goofy, but they are a great alternative to lugging around a purse and will still allow you to ride on all of the rides without having to worry about losing all of your personal effects.
Now all you need to do is walk around and enjoy the show by taking in some attritions, rides, and good old fashioned family fun.
What to pack for the Carnival
Not packing the appropriate gear and amenities for the carnival will leave you miserable and inconvenienced. The first thing to do is get a satchel.
Make sure it is in good condition and comfy enough to carry on your back. For the most memorable carnival experience, make sure you put the following into your satchel:
Sunscreen (One with high SPF, a spray-on version would be preferable)
Sunscreen is the single most importation preparation for Carnival days, especially for fairer skinned people who aren’t accustomed to spending long periods in the sun.
The sun can beat down on your skin and leave it seriously damaged. Make sure that your sun screen is tearless . . . nothing is worse than a burning sensation in your eyes from too much sunscreen.
One bottle of your very best cologne
Nobody likes a smelly person so after freshening up you may want to wear some great cologne. What type of cologne to wear is totally up to you.
You are likely to come across stalls with public telephones however to avoid the long queues, unbearable connection problems and high rates you are encouraged to carry your own mobile phone.
Be safe; do not go back home with any souvenirs from the carnival unless if it is a key ring or a mask. If you are not going to behave, then remember to be protected.
Most of the larger bands have First Aid personnel traveling with the band. They are equipped to handle minor injuries that arise on the road during Carnival, however, if the problem is more serious, these Medics will know the quickest way to contact ambulance or police services.
There will also be First-Aid Centers, which provide free services at the carnival competition judging points. Regardless you are encouraged to bring your medical aid card in case you may need to be assisted from an established hospital.
Unfortunately access to ATMs may prove to be a challenge so you are encouraged to bring a small amount of cash. You might want to purchase souvenirs, refreshments and even food during the carnival.
Stay hydrated and powered up
You will be partying in the sun for a little over six hours. Stay hydrated.
Drink lots of cold fluids.
Whether you consume alcohol or not, your body is going to be crying out for water so make sure you pack some water remember to include sodas and energy drinks.
Gadgets and Communication
Camera – Disposable/ waterproof
Solar chargers and/or batteries for all your electronics
A small telephone book with a copy of all the numbers from your cellphone