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SillySophieGirl Jul 22nd, 2010 06:40 AM

Electricity Usage
I will be travelling to South Africa from the U.S and am confused about what exactly I need for plugs and what will work/not work. Can anyone help me out? I know I need an adapter, my research shows a "M" kind? What about using any "appliances?" Do I also need a converter? I know SA uses 220V and that will fry things and I don't want that! My needs are to charge a camera battery, an MP3 player and possibly use a blow dryer and/or curling iron (btw, none of these have "grounded" plugs, only 2 prong). I'm not sure whether or not these are dual voltage because they are about 3-5 years old and I can't remember! Would I be better off buying a blower dryer there? (the hotel does not have one) Any suggestions of WHAT exactly I will need would be greatly appreciated!

sandi Jul 22nd, 2010 08:12 AM

Most electrical devices are now dual voltage, 110/220, and this should be marked on the device. Some have a dial on them that has to be switched to 220 before using.

If not, then you will need a converter. And, of course, the adapter/plug to insert into the wall.

If your hairblower isn't dual, easy enough to find a small travel one (maybe $15), that is and then you only need the adapter/plug.

Same for the curling iron, buy a dual or use current device with converter and adapter/plug.

Battery chargers likewise are inexpensive, so get a new one that is dual. Believe the MP3 is dual.

Unless you travel lots and would need a 220V hairblower in other countries, I wouldn't buy one in SA.

I used all my current devices when in SA, whether 110V or dual and just added the converter and adapters, as needed.

In cities, i.e., Capetown, Durban, Johannesburg, etc. you shouldn't have problem having sufficient electricity, but if on safari, not all camps have sufficient power for all electrical devices, i.e., hairblowers. Be aware and always ask before plugging in anything or they'll fry and you may blow an entire camp.

Good luck!

SillySophieGirl Jul 22nd, 2010 09:21 AM

Sandi thanks for your reply! Will only be staying in Johannesburg so all camps will be safe. If I understand, here's the overview?

A) If Dual Voltage, then plug appliance into adapter into wall.

B) If NOT dual voltage, then plug appliance into converter into adapter into wall.

I've already found out my Nikon battery charger IS NOT dual voltage, so I will follow scenario "B".

Is there any danger if I'm not sure it's dual voltage to just always follow scenario "B"? Just don't want to melt things!

I'll probably look for a travel blow dryer and skip the curling iron....normally wouldn't matter, but meeting with gov't officials, so feel I should spruce up a bit!

sandi Jul 22nd, 2010 01:11 PM

Sorry, have no idea. And not sure if there would be a problem if device is dual, what impact the converter will have.

I always know beforehand, as this is marked on the device.

I fried two devices over these many years... 1) a battery charger as I didn't check beforehand, and 2) a curling iron that melted away in front of my eyes :) I wasn't a happy camper in either situation.

Leslie_S Jul 23rd, 2010 06:06 AM

Magellans catalog site has some good electrical info - here's one tip they give - don't know if it applies to curling irons or just flat irons:

"Thinking about getting a voltage converter so you can use your non-dual-voltage flat iron on your next overseas trip? Be advised that many flat irons will not work correctly with voltage converters, and can in some cases be damaged. A better solution is to invest in a dual voltage flat iron. These can be used anywhere with the right adaptor plugs and allow you to save weight and space in your luggage."

If you do buy a converter note that there are different ones for heating vs. non-heating appliances. They're a little bit pricey - might be cheaper just to buy the dual-voltage chargers or appliances.

Here's a link to the magellan info:

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