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Packing for Tanz. - what in the day pack, no laundry, etc.

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Sep 13th, 2004, 09:21 AM
  #1
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Packing for Tanz. - what in the day pack, no laundry, etc.

Hi all,

My husband and I are now at the stage where we've booked our plane tickets and itinerary (very exciting!) and we're now going to turn our thoughts to the packing process... We're wondering: we've booked pretty much our whole trip with the East African Safari and Touring company, basically doing an 8-day safari (camping and semi-permanent camps), 4 days trekking in the Crater Highlands and near Lake Natron (camping), 4 days climbing Mt Meru (camping with huts), and then 5 days in Zanzibar (hotel, resorts) I was wondering whether there are any good tips/hints/suggestions for what to bring, and especially what to put in our big backpacks as opposed to our day-packs (I guess our big packs will be primarily in the vehicle, or carried by porters for a lot of it...) So, generally my questions for you guys are (keeping in mind that we'll be travelling in Dec/Jan.):

1) How big a pack would one bring for a trip like this? Normally, when we've gone other places, we've been able to do laundry on almost a nightly basis (i.e. hand-washing our stuff in the sink in the guesthouse and then hanging to dry for the night...), but here, we're primarily going to be camping, with just a few nights in a hotel in Arusha... Is there any way to wash/clean one's stuff? Obviously, bringing enough clothing to be warm, dry and semi-"clean" for two weeks is impossible - any suggestions? We're going to be travelling (excluding Zanzibar) for 17 days... how much should we bring?

2) How big a day-pack is recommended? What stuff should go in there as opposed to our big packs? Oh, and do people normally prefer to use bottled water, or the water-bags that have a hose coming out of the pack... (this seems like it would be great for Meru, but not sure whether it would be appropriate for the rest of the trip...)

3) Should we be buying some technical gear for the Meru hike and other treks, or should we just wear comfy cotton stuff (we've bought tons of technical gear (i.e. quick-drying, Coolmax, etc.) in the past but it's awful looking, expensive, and unlike others, my stuff has never seemed to hold up that well...)

4) How cool does it get at night in the various parks (Serengeti, Tarangire, Ngorongoro, Lake Natron area) in Dec/Jan.? How about Meru (I know it will be cold at the summit, but how quickly does it get cold on the way up?) Any recommendations for what should be worn in the daytime vs. evening vs. overnight in camp would be great!

Thanks guys, for any advice you might have!
alwaysafrica is offline  
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Sep 13th, 2004, 10:24 AM
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Your tour operator - East African Safari and Touring - should be providing answers to most of the questions you are asking. They should be sending you information via snail mail or email about where you can have laundry done, attire, etc.
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Sep 13th, 2004, 11:37 AM
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I followed most of the packing advice on this board, in my guidebook and from my travel agent. Only thing I wished I'd brought more of was T-shirts. I wanted to change them more often than I wanted to have them washed (and certainly more often than I wanted to wash them!).

By the way, I camped (not that it was particularly challenging camping) and wore earrings, a necklace and rings the whole time, if that gives you a better idea of where I'm coming from.

Have a wonderful time. I loved Tanzania and you will too!
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Sep 14th, 2004, 01:28 AM
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My daughter just returned from Tanz. and Kilimanjaro. She took several cotton T-shirts that she was ready to let go of and gave them away. They weren't all ragged, just old, and with school, & other logos that she was not wanting to wear anymore. Same with underwear and socks. Freed room for souvenirs too.
She did take advantage of hotel laundry on second last day before flying out of Nairobi. She didn't want to carry dirty clothes back. Apparently, the big problem was dust! Red dust. Very hard to get rid of. She said the cost was negligible and very satisfactory.
Don't know how high you are climbing, but do get true reports on temperatures. 2 fellows in her party brought sleeping bags rated for $ degrees Celsius, (basically summer weight) and were dangerously cold. Others had to augment with their liners etc. My daughter's feet were frost bitten because she didn't check the wool content. Not enough.
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Sep 14th, 2004, 06:39 AM
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Can't help with the real high altitude stuff but can say that once the sun goes down on that plateau that is east africe away from the coast it gets colder than u might expect. It's a shock in the winter - in December a medium weight fleece would be fine and closed in shoes.

Re day pack - water of course (one of those alu e
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Sep 14th, 2004, 06:52 AM
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Can't help with the real high altitude stuff but can say that once the sun goes down on that plateau that is east africa away from the coast it gets colder than u might expect. It's a shock in the winter - in December a medium weight fleece would be fine and closed in shoes.

Re day pack - water of course. I think I would invest in one of those light weight aluminium bottles rather than a sack with a spout - more flexible and more cleanable. And apart from that - sunnies, sunscreen, swiss army knife, loo paper (but bury it well if u have to use it!!) and a beanie (woolly hat). Oh, and a tiny kit comprising headache pills, imodium and maybe a tube of lanolin in case your hands get cracked. If you are young this will not be a problem.
Re big pack - I admire folk who can travel across climate zones with less than a 65 litre one.

Have an amazing time - and always remember that carrying too much stuff is a bad idea. Hard to let go of it, so you lug it around and pay more attention to it than it deserves. It's amazing how little you really need.
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Sep 14th, 2004, 11:18 PM
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Hi
I have climbed Kili twice. Once in January and once last month. So I can speak about the climb portion of your question.

It is COLD. I am usually cold even in Arusha because of the altitude, and because it is often quite cloudy.

Also, remember that if the sun is out, it will go down about 6 pm. Then it gets really chilly.

Mt Meru is well over 4000 meters, not that much lower than Kili. Take warm thermal layers and fleece. I took a down parka and wore it nightly the entire trip.

I bring technical gear such as polypro tops. They are lightweight and pack down to nothing. Or if you want to take cotton, I would plan to just leave the shirts there after the climb.

Just expect to be dusty all the time. You will wear the same clothes for the entire climb. Precious water is used for drinking, not laundry. Maybe you will be able to wash your face, but I suggest wipes for that.

I know the crater is also at a high altitude, therefore cold.

But plan on being hot in Dar and Zanzibar.

Your trip sounds amazing. Especially the Crater Highlands trek. Would love to read a trip report upon your return!
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Sep 15th, 2004, 07:30 AM
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Thanks everyone for all of the tips! It's funny how there are so many little things that one can't learn from a guidebook (e.g. when the sun goes down!)... We've heard back from our tour operator that there will be water available to do our own hand-washing on most evenings that we're camping (excluding Meru and the Highlands trek, of course) and so that makes me feel better about how much we'll need to bring (although with all the mention of this red dust, I'm fearing that by the Zanzibar portion of the trip, we're going to be entirely red 8-) ) I'm sure I'll be writing again along the way, as we really get into packing, and I will definitely post a trip report upon our return!!

Thanks again (and of course, any other advice is always welcome...)!
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Sep 17th, 2004, 01:42 PM
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my friend and i are on our way to climb kilimanjaro next year. has anyone worn eye contacts during the hike? is it recommend?
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