Packing for A Month in Africa

OAT’s (Overseas Adventure Travel’s) wonderfully helpful website is loaded with lots of hints from those that have gone before.  Thanks to them, I have a good idea of what to pack, and equally important, what NOT to pack.

I need to be prepared for cold mornings and evenings, high mid-day temperatures,  and a school visit.  Then after the tour ends, Mike and I are on our own in Cape Town for several days.

Suggestions for what to bring for the school visit included uninflated soccer balls and flip-flops plus the usual books, crayons, paper, pens and pencils.  I also like to bring along a few frivolous things, like small stuffed animals.


The camps do our laundry every night, so 3 changes of clothes will do the trick, but I also needed a warm jacket, a hat, gloves, plus shorts and tee shirts and a bathing suit.  Dressing in layers is key.  I also need to plan for our time in Cape Town when we will be without daily laundry service.


I found jumbo zip lock bags at the supermarket and am using them to organize my wardrobe.  But will all this, plus toiletries, fit into the duffel bag?

Fortunately, it doesn’t have to.  One traveler suggested putting the duffel inside a much bigger bag, then packing everything into that one large suitcase.  I tried that, but I easily exceeded the 50 pound weight limit.  THEN I decided to check out South African Air’s luggage rules and was very excited to learn that in addition to my carry on, I can have TWO checked bags!!!  I’m so used to the United Airlines restrictions, it didn’t occur to me that another airline’s checked baggage policy could be more liberal.

Being able to bring that second bag meant another trip to the Dollar Store for toothbrushes, combs and LOTS more school supplies, plus any odds and ends that I thought might be useful.  I packed it all in an old suitcase that I plan to leave in Africa.


So, now my duffel will only contain MY stuff–plus another small duffel that I will use to bring back any purchases I make–good news for sisters, hermana preferida, cousins and other loved ones!

Published by


I am intensely curious, with a spirit of adventure that is tempered by my very strong aversion to anything with potential to cause pain. I love travel, photography, reading, gardening, yoga, music and propelling myself through space (biking, dancing, walking, dancing while walking). I've never considered a lack of proficiency in any of the previous activities to be a hindrance, counting on abundant enthusiasm to make up for my shortcomings.

12 thoughts on “Packing for A Month in Africa”

  1. Would it be possible to buy all the gift items locally, in South Africa? Seems to make more sense to me. I do I misunderstand what you are doing?


  2. Hi Semper,
    Thanks for stopping by and for the suggestion.

    It is a little complicated. The school we will be visiting is in Zimbabwe, at the end of our trip. We fly between Victoria Falls and Johannesburg in big planes, but for the safari part we are in small planes, and can only use the duffel. We can leave things at an office in VF which I intend to do, but I needed something to PUT all the stuff in (that’s where the suitcase comes in).
    I won’t have time to shop in South Africa, so figured this was the easiest solution. Plus I got a lot of stuff at great prices at 5 Below and the Dollar Store, and didn’t need to think about changing currency or bringing additional cash along for those purchases.


  3. Hi – just stumbling around the blog world, staying up way too late as usual, discovering interesting posts. My Hub and I have taken several fantastic European trips with OAT and VBT. I am positive Africa isn’t on our wish list, so I plan to stick around and see what you see 🙂 I hope every day is a new adventure for you.


      1. That sounds like a good one. I’d like to do one in Eastern Europe and also Amsterdam. VBT does such a terrific job and we’ve had such fun.


I'd love to hear YOUR thoughts! Please share them!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.