South Africa What to Pack
Storm brewing over Melville Koppies
Storm brewing over Melville Koppies
South African spring sunrise
Reviews from VirtualTourist Members
Packing For Your Trip
I traveled to South Africa alone therefore tried to keep my luggage to a minimum. However, I took too much!! Leave some room for all of the souvenirs and various other trophies you will want to bring back.
Good walking shoes are a must. One pair of decent sandals for "dressing up" and a light jacket are important.Bring something warm as it gets cold at night.Much can be bought in SA at a reasonable price. I mostly wore light pants and tee shirts.
I took my own toiletries plus prescription medicines and aspirin. Remember North Americans, your hair dryer won't work there without an adapter. Do not bring your curling iron. I foolishly did and singed the front of my hair.
I think a digital camera is a must. A video camera would have been a welcome bonus..
I went in May/June so no real beach wear was necessary. However the weather was around 20C but the South Africans considered it almost...
Be sure to bring your cell/mobile phone!
South Africa has very few public telephones (and even fewer in working order) so be sure to bring your mobile phone (called a cell phone here) - this also helps you avoid extortionate rates charged by hotels for using phones in the rooms. In view of the security concerns, it is also always wise to be able to raise the alarm/call for help/ask for directions should you need it.The local convention is to include an item in your telephone directory labelled ICE (which stands for 'in case of emergency'). Then if, God forbid, you are involved in an accident, the paramedic/police will at least know who to contact (provided that they don't steal the phone -sadly this does happen). If you are an overseas tourist, make sure that this number includes the international dialling code (eg. +44 for the UK, +61 for Australia and so on).If you are going to be here for some time, investigate the...
Bring empty bags/cases - our shopping is great!
Shopping for most South Africans is a religious observance, and the opportunities for retail therapy are almost endless! Just because this is a developing country doesn't mean that the shops are third world: complexes such as the Sandton City, Eastgate and Rosebank Malls in Johannesburg are palatial and the range of shops is mindblowing. One other outstanding - and maybe unexpected - feature is the quality of the shopfitting and displays: compared to Australia and New Zealand in particular, the stores look much more appealing, providing you with the excuse that the merchandise was so beautifully displayed that it just jumped out from the displays into your arms! Major international brands are represented, and local stores offer great variety and value for money. Opening hours are also liberal - most malls in the cities are now open seven days a week (usually 09:00 - 17:00 or later on...
What to wear in South Africa
You can wear light weight clothing during the summer (November - February). In winter a jumper or jacket may be needed, especially in the mornings and evenings. If you visit a game reserves try to wear neutral colors like brown, beige or khaki that help to blend in with the background. And don't forget your long-sleeved shirts and trousers for the evenings to reduce the chances of mosquito bites.
Everything you need is available in the shops in South Africa. Make sure before you visit a place, if you need to take Malaria tablettes. Some of the tablettes must be taken 3 days or a week before you vistit the Malaria area.
VISA - Full EU Passporst did not require visas for a holiday visit but it is better to check with your travel organiser or the SA High Embassy before departure. Passports must be valid for six months.
South African spring: What to bring
For a 4 day stay (not counting the total time to get there which was a day), I packed a huge suitcase with about 3 pairs of jeans, a jacket, hoodie and t-shirts. Don't expect tropical climate because the nights can get a little fresh. It's also considered rainy season around this time. I didn't run into any torrential downpours, maybe a light drizzle.
Hoodies are definitely recommended because the weather can be cloudy and moist in springtime. I didn't need to use the heavier jacket I had brought, but it wouldn't hurt to take it as a precaution. I survived well wearing the normal T-shirt,jeans and sneakers. If you plan on doing excursions or safaris, I'd recommend packing some good walking shoes or boots. I wore sneakers at Pilanesburg since the majority of my time was spent inside a vehicle. Bring a wide-brimmed hat to protect you from sun exposure when you're out on reserves.
Malaria tablets or not
It will be a lot of confusing if you need malaria tablets or not.The experts in your country will not be sure either. The health companies who produce the tablets will tell you that the risk is high and the locals will tell you that they never need or use any because they cannot take the tablets anyway as you can only take malaria tablets for a limited time. The choice is yours, depends a lot on the season and the exact locations you are going to visit, in general the risk in not very high, however, taking Malarone tablets for couple of weeks would not kill you but malaria can.
What to pack
Backpack is more comfortable maybe then a suitcase, but you will not carry your stuff much anyway, in some places, others will do it for ya.
Good walking shoes especially if you plan to do some hiking and walking safari. Light colours safari cloths recommended for the comfortability as well as better camouflage.Warm cloths for the nights, especially if visit during the South African winter which is June to August.
Mosquito Repellent can be helpful, depends on the season you visit, we in the winter didn’t need it at all.
I think this is very clear and no need to mention, you go all the way here to see the animals, have the best what you can get, a good zoom is a must for good catch of animals shots.
Warm sleeping bags in the winter as it will be cold at night.
South Africa has a varied climate depending on where you are at. It's hot and dry in the Northeast by Kruger NP but can be cold and wet in the Capetown area. You will need to make sure that you account for this. Particulary if you visit Capetown be prepared for numerous changes in weather while you visit.
What to bring with?
Luggage with wheels is always a good idea, wherever you are travelling. If you are doing a night hike, bring a backpack and a water bottle.
Some ideas: Light coloured clothing that doesnt absorb the sun as much as dark clothing. If you're going on safari, pack comfortable walking shoes and khaki, brown or beige casual clothes. Long-sleeved shirts and trousers will help protect you against the sun and insect bites. Take a warm jacket for game drives; and, if you're going in summer, make sure it's water-proof. A cap/hat that covers your head and neck.Long socks if you are going hiking (extra protection against snakes if you come across one).Sunglasses.Comfortable sandals and tackies/trainers/sneakers.
Take your recommended Malaria tablets if in a malaria zone, sun screen (at LEAST Factor 35 I would say), headache tablets (from being in the car during the sun all day, may bring on a...
Knowledge and suncream
Lots of suncream - the ozone layer is thin
Take throwaway cameras - that way if they get stolen you only lose some pictures not a valuable camera.
Read up loads before you come to South Africa - read all about the social and politcial history, even if these are not your favourite subjects of study. You need to have some idea of where the country has been and where it is going to make any sense of what you see when you get there. There is a good chance it will also alert you to the fascinating and life-affirming things you can see and do there as well, like taking a township tour. It's also important to be aware of where to go and where to avoid when it comes to crime. Make sure the info you get is up-to-date.
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