Packing for Madagascar and Botswana

Old Feb 25th, 2008, 10:20 AM
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Packing for Madagascar and Botswana

We have an up coming trip April-May to Madagascar and then Botswana. The Botswana portion is at 3 Wilderness Camps safari for 3 days a piece. We will be both staying with friends and on the road exploring in Madagascar. Since the weather maybe dramatically different in the two locations our plan is to bring two bags and check one with Madagascar clothes at left luggage in JNB while we travel in Botswana. We will be in Madagascar for 20 days. Our plans include a little of everything including possibly one of the resorts on the Coast (like Nosy Be?) So we have to have something for everything from a visit to the meet the ambassador to crawling through the jungle to find the lemurs. Yikes. Good news is we are flying Air France Business Class Award tickets for all legs except between TNR and JNB.

The three camps in Botswana we will be visiting are Sauvti, Little Vumbura and Chitabe Trails. We have 3 days at each.

So I need help with a packing list for both a very hot place and then Botswana in the beginning of May. How bad are the mosquitos and flies in Botswana in May?

My question for both men and women is do you change clothes for dinner after safari drives? Anyone with any idea how to dress for Antananarivo, Madagascar?

I promise a nice trip report when we return. Any ideas for a nice thank you gift for our American friends in Botswana. Thanks to you too.
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Old Feb 25th, 2008, 11:59 AM
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I am interested in this post as we are in a similar position. I am especially interested in the leaving luggage with clothes at JNB. We will travelling to SA in September with time spent at Phinda and Mala Mala and beach location in Mozambique. Then on our way home we are going to spend 4 nights in London doing city activities such as theater and fine dining. We do not want to lug our city clothes all over Africa especially with the small plane restrictions. Also is leaving a bag at Heathrow possible? Could one ship a bag from airport to London Hotel know things have changed at Heathrow due to security rules. Thanks for any help.
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Old Feb 25th, 2008, 12:30 PM
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If you are scheduled to fly on Federal Air for your Phinda and Mala Mala days, you can leave your luggage with them at their terminal in JNB. Others here on the board have left luggage at the airport facility, and have had it shrink-wrapped before checking it in.

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Old Feb 25th, 2008, 12:58 PM
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We are flying Federal to Phinda and Mala but the last leg of trip is on some Mozambique airline from Vianculos to JNB . Is Federal a long ways from JNB main terminal? Can one walk over to Federal pick up bag then walk back to Main terminal to check in for return flight on Virgin to London?
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Old Feb 25th, 2008, 01:26 PM
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If you do a search here you will turn up some recent discussing about the JNB airport luggage storage. Several people here, including myself, have left luggage with no problem in the basement storage area. I had mine shrink-wrapped first. But there was one report about theft...

About the clothing: I can only tell you that I brought changes of clothes for dinner at 2 Botswana camps last fall and never used them. Most people wore the same clothes they had worn during the day. But there were exceptions. No one got dolled up in any way.
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Old Feb 25th, 2008, 02:02 PM
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Federal Air is about a 10 minute drive from the main airport. I thought you might be returning to JNB before going to Mozambique. That way you could have stored your luggage at Federal Air for, at least, that segment of your trip.


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Old Feb 25th, 2008, 08:00 PM
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Bump for:
How bad are the mosquitos and flies in Botswana in May?


My question for both men and women is do you change clothes for dinner after safari drives?

Anyone with any idea how to dress for Antananarivo, Madagascar?
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Old Feb 26th, 2008, 05:03 AM
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I was in Tana last July but due to some travel snafu's, mine was very much a cameo appearance! I was in a very nice hotel (the Palissandre) on the upper levels of town and due to the late hour, I didn't even venture out. But I felt very comfortable in the dining room with my light weight slacks, big Hermes-type scarf and decent jewelry. It was winter then, so chilly in the evenings; based on the altitude of Tana I think it's cooler there all year round. I had a light weight cardigan as well. My sense is that something along these lines will be fine (or over the top) almost everywhere in Madagascar except the resorts (Nosy Be, etc.) where I imagine people (women) wear a lost less and what they do wear is doubtless a lot more colorful than my basic black. You will want to step it up a notch if your meeting with the ambassador, if it happens, is a formal event and there I can't help you -- there was nothing like that on my itinerary!

The rest of the time in Madagascar was more informal. I visited nature reserves/wildlife parks where all I did was add a layer for warmth. There was one -- Vakona Lodge -- that was a bit dressier. There people did change for dinner, me included, but frankly it was more a matter of being clean than dressed up. I wasn't paying all that much attention, but as I think back, I seem to recall a fairly wide range of attire. Men just wore shirts or shirts and sweaters with khakis.

As for safari's on the mainland, I've never stayed anywhere where people "dressed" for dinner -- and I hope I never do!!! In my (limited) experience, people dress according to the weather and when you get back to camp after the evening/night game drive, there's time to freshen up (15 minutes? Sometimes a bit more) and people do just that. Maybe grab an extra sweater, if necessary, and that's it. I've never stayed in a "lodge," preferring tented camps and that's where you'll likely be if you are with Wilderness in Bots. They are incredibly nice, but still not dressy.
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