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Luggage and other quetions for upcoming southern Africa trip

Luggage and other quetions for upcoming southern Africa trip

Aug 16th, 2007, 09:58 AM
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Luggage and other quetions for upcoming southern Africa trip

In about 5 weeks (third week in September) I will be off, with two friends, on a three-week trip to Cape Town, the Winelands, Blue Train, Ten Bompas (overnight) Lion Sands, Islands of Siankaba, Stanley's Camp and King's Pool. The trip was planned for us by an agency in Capetown who was recommended by a friend who had used their services last year.

I am just beginning to think about packing and assorted last-minute details, and will post my questions here. The first question concerns luggage:

1. How safe is the luggage storage at JBG airport? Is there an option to shrink-wrap left luggage? What other preparations can I take to ensure that my luggage is safe while I am off on "safari?" (An alternative might be to leave the bag at Ten Bompas, but this wouold mean returning to collect it before out flight home and I understand the hotel is not close to the airport; I have heard of luggage turning up missing from hotel storage so am a bit nervous about securing my things)

2. I am thinking about buying a large duffel and so far, have looked at LL Bean Adventure duffel and REI "beast"..both in the 30" size. Any comments on the pros and cons of both of these and on other bags to consider? Anything I should look for in a travel duffel? I would take the duffel, along with a wheeled bag for "city" clothes and purchases in SA. I am hoping to check the wheeled bag in a storage facility before leaving for Lion Sands and onward.

Anything else I should be working on five weeks before departure. (I will get the Malarone script and have the innoculations under control)

I have received much good advice here and I am hoping that the seasoned Africa travelers will help me with these and other last-minute queries. Many thanks.

ekscrunchy is offline  
Aug 16th, 2007, 10:14 AM
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All this time I thought I had an L.L. Bean, but I went to look in my closet to see how big my duffels are and there printed on both of them: Eddie Bauer.

In any case, they have served me quite well on 2 two safaris. They are BIG, maybe over 30"? I always have room to cram salad tongs, statuettes, etc., in them at the end of the trip. Oh, I have two, but only take one and a carry-on. I'm not certain how or why I acquired two.

If you didn't for your prior safari(?), I recommend doing the whole clothes-packed-in-ziploc routine. While it sounds as if you're set for in-town luggage, I really appreciated having my slightly nicer and much less dusty clothes available for me to change into for dinner at camp each night. You know, the Gap tunic I wouldn't for the life of me wear other than on safari.

I respectfully defer to southern Africa packing experts for further advice.

Sounds like a wonderful trip. Please do a report and photos if you have the time.
Leely is offline  
Aug 16th, 2007, 10:38 AM
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I have the 30 inch LL Bean duffle and I like it a lot. No special features, just a basic duffle, but it is strong, light, and you can secure it easily with the double zippers.

Are you by any chance flying to the safari camps from JNB on Federal Air? You can leave luggage at the Federal Air terminal (about 10 minutes from the main airport) and pick it up on return.

I did see the luggage storage at JNB and it looks secure. There were many people there leaving bags. I don't know about shrink-wrapping. I think others here on the board can advise you first-hand on the storage.

Sounds like a great trip!


cw is offline  
Aug 16th, 2007, 10:55 AM
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Thanks so much to both of you for the quick response. I made an error in my original post. We will fly to Lion Sands BEFORE our overnight in JBG. The itinerary reads:

Day 11..Transfer from Blue Train Pretoria to Wonderboom Airport for charter flight to Lion Sands

Then, on Day 14, we fly from Lion Sands to Kruger Park airport and then on to JBG for overnight...then,

From JBG to Livingstone Airport...on CE 202..any chance this is Federal Air?

Many, many thanks!

(I have done the "safari thing in East Africa but this will be my first time in southern Africa, to answer your ?, Leely)

..and yet another thanks!

ekscrunchy is offline  
Aug 16th, 2007, 12:03 PM
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I don't think CE is Federal Air, unfortunately.

I'm sure the luggage will be fine in the JNB airport storage.

Alternately, you could ask your TA for a recommendation of where you should leave the luggage.


cw is offline  
Aug 16th, 2007, 01:25 PM
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I'm sure if you overnight at the Sun at the aiport you can leave your luggage there.
Using left luggage, I would want really secure luggage, we had some small items stolen when we left it there for an afternoon, so be careful.
napamatt is offline  
Aug 16th, 2007, 01:48 PM
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..but, Matt, I am not overnighting at the Sun, or at any airport hotel!! How far is Ten Bompas from the airport?
ekscrunchy is offline  
Aug 16th, 2007, 02:53 PM
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CE appears to be Nationwide Air out of Zimbabwe! Should I be worried about this for any reason?
ekscrunchy is offline  
Aug 16th, 2007, 04:37 PM
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ooops. I just learned that Nationwide is a South African airline, not a Zimbabwean carrier..
ekscrunchy is offline  
Aug 17th, 2007, 03:30 AM
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Hi I have a lot of tips about luggage and packing from my trip to Botswana in June, please go to http://wilddogsandenglishmen.wordpress.com/ and the full account / info is downloadable as a PDF. Hopefully there's a lot there of interest and will help.
WildDogs is offline  
Aug 17th, 2007, 04:11 AM
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Hi ekscrunchy

I would shrink-wrap your left luggage, if possible. I do this from home before I get to Africa and on the way home I do it again, just as an added protection. Not exactly sure how you would do it on arrival in Johannesburg unless you can do it at the storage area, which is highly possible!

Kind regards

KayeN is offline  
Aug 17th, 2007, 04:19 AM
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Wild Dogs, thanks, I will take a look.

Kaye, I don't think we have shrink wrap machines here at JFK. But in any case, I cannot wrap it before I leave because I will have to take things out of it! Maybe I am not using the correct term: in Buenos Aires and at other airports I saw machines that emit a sheet of clear plastic wrap that totally covers your luggage to protect during a flight.
ekscrunchy is offline  
Aug 17th, 2007, 04:44 AM
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They do have shrink wrap facilities at JFK. It's different at each terminal... but this service is available.

But, as you say, if you have to get to stuff before storing the bags at JNB, you will have to open the plastic.
sandi is offline  
Aug 17th, 2007, 07:16 AM
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Here's a link to the JNB airport website where they tell you the location of the bag-wrapping service and also that of the luggage storage.


cw is offline  
Aug 17th, 2007, 07:24 AM
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Thanks to both of you! Sandi..I have NEVER seen those shrink-wrap machines at JFK! Just goes to show..you think you knnow a place (it is my home airport) and then...surprise! Can you remember what terminal you saw them in..just for the future?
ekscrunchy is offline  
Aug 17th, 2007, 11:26 AM
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The shrink wrap machines are in the international terminal. I remember seeing one right by the Egypt air ticket counter.
zimdonna is offline  
Aug 18th, 2007, 09:51 PM
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We had a fellow shrink wrap our 30" REI duffle bags before we left JNB as advised by friends living in Jo'burg. It's fascinating to watch. It was near where you'd enter for arrivals before the ticket counter area of SAA.

It may be possible to use the Intercontinental Sun's luggage storage facility even if you are not staying there - you can ask maybe via their website. We have left bags there many times with no trouble at all. It sounds like a great trip.
Clematis1 is offline  
Aug 22nd, 2007, 06:26 AM
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Good news..thanks! I will be back with more questions soon.
ekscrunchy is offline  
Aug 23rd, 2007, 02:03 PM
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all of the following could fall under the relavance of "Luggage Packing" and I guess there won't be any more responses to this forum beyond luggage packing. However, listen closely.

If you are doing fly-in trips on the little Sesna planes from lodge to lodge the expectation is that the lodges provide you with everything you need from toiletries to doing your laundry, so you really don’t need to take much – and you can’t because your luggage limit is restricted to something the size of a knat’s hanky anyway. Even if you are allowed to take more, follow the principal that less is definitely more, because everything you take has to go in the back of that Landrover, and adds to the general chaos that can ensue once everything has had a good bounce over the roads and has been tossed around the cab like a mixed salad. This is where lots of little bags come in very handy indeed.

Having clothes packed into smaller soft bags (so all socks and pants together in one, T-shirts in another, etc) helps to reduce the rummage-factor amongst two weeks of supplies and equipment which are all in the back of the Landrover. Every day you need to set up camp or pack camp away, so struggling to find an elusive clean pair of pants is a battle you don’t need. Having lots of smaller bags is brilliant, so you can take your camera, torches, loo roll and night stuff into your tent and not get stuck without them and so you can organise your stuff in the vehicle. Another great tip is to put your full itinerary with addresses in an open pocket in your luggage, so if it has gone missing, people know where to send it on to. We used Bonnie’s details in Maun on our luggage labels flying through Jo’Burg in South Africa.

Snow & Rock are a great source to help stock up for your expedition. Craghopper trousers are enormously useful with all their pockets. A good web site for stuff is http://www.safariquip.co.uk/ and a list of useful stuff includes:

• Blankets – to cover bear legs on early morning chilly game drives
• A fleece – you will need layers to strip off/ add on
• Woolly hat, gloves
• Earplugs – lots of them so you’re not scrabbling around trying to find strays
• Spare charged camera batteries
• Sunblock and Lipblock
• Leatherman tool
• Small pocket torch
• Long life candles
• Hat
• Sunglasses
• Binoculars
• Veronica Roodt Maps
• Star maps
• Plastic wallets for maps
• Tin opener
• funnel for water – so you can get water out of larger containers without waste,
• Bottle opener
• Corkscrew
• Knife/ scissors
• Head-torches
• A LOT of batteries for: torches, lamp headsets, cameras, GPS (we went through 4 sets for this alone), video camera, etc.
• Car cigarette-lighter charger
• Plastic ‘baggies’ for putting food into
• Plastic bags for putting clothes into
• Plastic bags to seal things up in from animals and dust and sand
• Plastic bags to put medicines into so you wouldn’t have bulky bottles
• Plastic bags to put coffee powder, sugar etc into, so you wouldn’t have bulky packaging
• Did I mention plastic bags
• Antiseptic wet wipes – these were incredibly useful to try and keep the bush at bay
• Mozzie repellant
• First aid kit esp plasters and bandages and headache tablets
• small plastic water drinking bottles
Money matters

The currency in Botswana is Pula. People from various sources had talked about cash in Botswana as a problem. A lot of places apparently don’t take credit cards or other currency, and there are only ATMs in Maun and Kasane, and the National Parks won’t let you in without you paying your fees fully for the duration on entrance, and they only accept Pula cash. This means 240 Pula per day for a couple and, 50 Pula per day for the vehicle (or 10 if it is Botswana registered). The National Park fees are only payable on the gates and are not pre-payable. You can pre-order Pula cash in the UK before departure through Lloyds TSB travel service which is delivered within a few working days to the local TSB branch of your choice to pick up. This is an excellent service, saves you money as it is 0% commission/ fees. Otherwise on arrival in Maun or in Kasane you can get cash out of ATMS and banks, but expect to have to pay fees.

Mozzies and Malaria

This is down to your own personal preferences and choices, but we went to our local doctor who recommended we take Malarone to prevent Malaria as it has fewer side-effects compared to other drugs. It cost us a small fortune but it meant we were not going to get Malaria, which by all accounts I believe to be a rough business. On top of the drugs some useful anti-mozzie things include: mozzie repellant coils; sprays that were so high in DEET (the stuff that does the job in the repellant) it melts the bottle label and everything it comes into contact with; a mosquito net; face wipes; and plug-ins for lodges. However, it is so VERY cold in Botswana in June that mozzies had no hope of surviving so we didn’t encounter a single one on our trip. And I developed a nasty all-over body rash allergic reaction to the Malarone, so had to stop taking it anyway. So all-in-all a spectacular waste, but I’d rather be safe than sorry.


Africa: hot, sunny and dry? NO. In June it is dry and sunny during the daytime but is absolutely freezing at night. It was minus 9 in Johannesburg and the airport was closed by snow when we were there. On our last night we wore everything we had plus the blankets from the lodge so we could sit outside and enjoy a final cigar, and we were still frozen. We’re sturdy Northern stock who are used to the cold. I had packed thermals, ski hats and gloves, as I’d been prepared for it being a bit nippy, but even then we barely had enough to keep us warm; for the unprepared this could have been really problematic. The locals were all wearing woolly hats and winter coats at this time of year.

I hope you listened closely enough. Scroll-down is the equivalent of ear-plugs.
WildDogs is offline  
Sep 6th, 2007, 07:32 PM
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Thanks to all who responded so far. Here is my latest query:

I have been thinking all along that there is a 30" limit on the length of the duffel bags allowed on the small planes to the camps. I am not sure now where I got this information, or this idea... In the info I received that the only restriction appears to be a weight limit of 20 kgs per passenger (in Botswana). Is there a limit as to the size of the soft-sided bag for small plane flights within SA and Botswana?

ekscrunchy is offline  

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