Packing and Other Guidance
We will be splitting time between "the Bush" and the modern environs of a cosmopolitan city, which always raises the question, "What should I wear?" With that in mind, here is some guidance and a suggested packing list.
1: Leave expensive jewelry at home. It can make you a target of thieves as we walk through city streets and markets. A money belt and secure place on your person to store passports and credit cards is a good idea. Most South Africans are honest, but the disparity in wealth between tourists and locals justifies thievery to some.
2: Be prepared for cool mornings. Early morning game drives in an open Land Cruiser might be chilly. We usually wear long trousers and long sleeve shirts and add fleecies or jackets or sweaters that can be taken off as the days warm.
3. All clothes can be casual. Diners in even the most upscale restaurants in Cape Town and the wine country dress casually. When we go to the bush your clothes will become covered in dust and pollen. Muted greens, tans and browns rather than bright colors (that attract attention from the game) are recommended for game drives. Bring things you won't worry about getting dirty. For the bush some prior safari trekkers have chosen to buy "safari clothes" that are waterproof, breath, adaptable to both hot and cold, repel insects, and dry quickly when rinsed out. This is a great option but certainly not necessary. We never have.
Laundry service will be available at each locale.
4. Really comfortable walking shoes/sneakers are a good idea. We will not be walking for miles and miles, but we will walk up to the lookout point at the Cape of Good Hope, walk around the rocky summit of Table Mountain and walk around Cape Town for a few hours. All these call for shoes with good traction and comfort.
- Passports - Must have 2 blank pages and expire more than 6 months after your arrival in SA
- Tuck away just a little US cash for emergencies - Use the ubiquitous local Bank or airport ATMs to get SA Rand for the bulk of your cash needs.
- Credit Cards - VISA works best, Mastercard next. Many places do not take AMEX.
- Cell Phones - Bring smart phones with an international calling plan for email, text and voice communication with the US. Alternately, buying or renting an inexpensive SA cell phone when you arrive can be cheaper if your voice plan does not already include international calling and you need to make lengthy calls.
- A Day Pack - You don't really need a day pack, but a single place to carry binoculars, cameras, water bottles etc. on game drives is a good idea.
- Binoculars - It is not overkill to bring a pair for each of you... They don't need to be powerful. We recommend the inexpensive perma-focused ones. Focusing when a potentially fleeting sighting of a leopard occurs is a pain.
- Camera - Your smart phone cameras will be good enough for many pics, but we still recommend you bring a good digital camera with good optical zoom capability. The opportunities for animal pics in Kruger and on game drives will be amazing.
- Small Flashlight/ Batteries
- Personal Toiletries/ Medications - Asprin is a good idea for the long airplane ride
- Insect Repellent - Insects are usually an issue only during the November - March rainy season and one of the reasons we usually do not schedule safaris in those months, but its always better to be safe than sorry....
- Personal entertainment and reading matter for flights (Kindle/Books etc)
- Personal neck pillows for flights - It is a long way and not everyone will enjoy watch 5-6 movies back-to-back as Pete does.
- Portable Battery/Recharger - A way to recharge your phone, camera and/or Kindle from a portable battery while in flight and/or on the road is a good idea
- Walking Shoes/Sandals (sandals for lounging by the pools in our camps)
- Sunglasses/ Sun Hat/Baseball Cap- Make sure you have a hat that will stay on your head as the vehicle moves or the wind blows.
- Clothes - Warmer clothes for mornings in Cape Town and morning game drives - a Fleecy, Rain Jacket, Long Pants, Long sleeve Shirts, Gloves, Scarf, Ski Hat
- Clothes - Light clothes for afternoon game drives - T-shirts, Shorts.
- Bathing suits - Afternoon heat could make a dip inviting.
- Underwear, Socks - Compression socks are a good idea for the long airplane ride.
- 110v to 220v adapters - South African power is 220v. Be sure to check the power requirements of items you want to bring. Many can run on 220v power (a laptop for example). If you want to run any that can only take 110v, be sure you get the somewhat more expensive adapters that also "convert" 220v to 110v power - and does more than simply adapt US plugs to foreign plugs. All of our locales have good electricity and internet when power is up - which it is most of the time.
- Please try to limit your luggage to one 44 lb item and 1 carry on each. This might seem a daunting task, but remember that there will be laundry service at each camp. Reasons for this guidance include: 1) More can cost extra on the small planes used to go to Kruger; 2) The vans we will use around Cape Town and for transport between our bush venues can quickly become stuffed with luggage; 3) There are two flights of stairs in the villa and there will not be porter service there.