As human beings, when we travel, we tend to overpack for every eventuality. This tendency results in heavy suitcases full of things we drag with us and most often don’t use. Save your back! Most South African cities have decent shopping malls where you could find forgotten items or those you decided to leave behind.
We have put together a list of “must-haves” when visiting Southern Africa. We will split them into two different categories: carry-on bag and suitcase.
- Ensure that you have your chronic meds and the doctor’s certificate confirming your need for them.
- Take enough medication for the travel period and add more to cover five additional days. Why is it important? If delays occur or your luggage doesn’t arrive on the same flight, you have enough medication until you can arrange more if needed.
- Pack a day’s clothing including underwear and basic toiletries.
- Take all your electronic devices, (mobile phones, tablets, laptops) and don’t forget the chargers. These could take up a lot of room in the bag (7kg is generally the allowance for this bag), so make sure that you need these items.
- If at all possible, leave expensive jewellery and other prized valuables at home.
Make sure that you have consulted the Weather section and pack appropriately.
- Ensure that you have been taking your malaria medication for the amount of the time prescribed, and help yourself further by placing Mosquito repellent in your bag. REMEMBER! Malaria is prevalent in some parts of the country.
- Antihistamine medications/creams for insect and spider bites.
- Sunscreen (50 SPF+). This item is generally available at the malls. The African sun is harsh, and this is a must.
- Large rubber bands for around the bottom of trousers while walking in the bush, this is a practised precaution against tick fever.
- Long pants and long sleeved shirts (cotton in Summer) for bush safaris. Choose colours that will blend well into the background – like khaki green or sandy brown.
- Pack in a good pair of walking shoes with built-in ankle support. In fact, it is probably the only shoes you will need, break them in before your trip.
- Finally, a good, easy to carry/roll-up raincoat. Thunderstorms often come unannounced and will wet you to the bone.