Packing Help!

Sep 27th, 2006, 09:41 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 67
Packing Help!

We are going to South Africa and Namibia for 3 weeks for our honeymoon in early November. We're flying into Joburg, then transferring to Windhoek and the Skeleton Coast, and then Sossusvlei. We then fly to Cape Town, where we're staying for 4 nights, then on to the wine region and the Garden Route. We then fly from George to Joburg, where we connect to the Madikwe airstrip for our 4 night stay at Mateya Lodge. We're very excited!

My question is this: how on earth do I pack for this trip? I understand that the weight limit is 40 lbs per person for the puddle jumpers we'll be taking. Should I plan on packing no more than 40 lbs for the whole 3 weeks? (this, I must confess, seems like a pretty daunting task). Are there options to store luggage at Joburg and/or Windhoek airports? Any guidance would be greatly appreciated! Thanks.

nicsoff is offline  
Sep 27th, 2006, 09:47 AM
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40 lbs is a lot! Are you sure you're allowed that much?
Patty is offline  
Sep 27th, 2006, 09:51 AM
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Yes -- this is according to our travel agent (an Africa travel specialist).
nicsoff is offline  
Sep 27th, 2006, 10:09 AM
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I'm sure you could get laundry done at several of those places, so you likely won't need 40 pounds of clothing -- your operator should be able to tell you those lodges that will do free laundry.
thit_cho is offline  
Sep 27th, 2006, 01:30 PM
Join Date: Jan 2004
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congratulations on your wedding!

what you should do is have a "capetown" bag and a "safari" bag.

make sure at least one bag is soft sided, dufeel style, if not both.

if you are flying to madikwe, you can leave a bag at fed air for free and collect it when you return.

if you want something more formal, there is a left luggage that is VERY EASY (thank you fodorites) to find in the basement at jnb. it is inexpensive and secure and open 24/7 for you to recollect your stuff.

i also agree that 40 lbs is a lot. are you certain your stuff is that heavy?

you will have to double up outfits, but as everyone says, there is laundry at camps. i don;t see a problem. you won;t need fancy clothes for any of the trip, so in terms of volume of outfits, it shoud be pretty low.

good luck!

kerikeri is offline  
Sep 27th, 2006, 01:32 PM
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when i say dufeel, i mean 'duffel.'

kerikeri is offline  
Sep 27th, 2006, 01:59 PM
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An African specialist advised that 40/lbs was okay on those flying segments? Though not as limited weight as flying around the Delta, you may find all your stuff doesn't get on the same plane with you.

As so many of us can attest, we've all managed with 15Kb (33/lbs) or less for those short-haul, light aircraft in Africa.

While JNB is a good place to store items, with your itinerary, you'd only need (be able to get to) what you stored the last 4/days.

From me and Patty and a few others who are known to be somewhat fru-fru... if we can do it, anyone can! Right girls! I'm still so proud that I managed 25/lbs this past trip and still came home with a few items never worn. Whoopie!

No need to be a fashion plate off the pages of Vogue or Harper's latest safari issue. Those folks who do, actually look a bit out of place on safari. Comfortable and interchangeable is what you need. A few pair of khakis, t-shirts, shorts (it can be warm during daytime in early Nov) an jacket/sweater/all-weather for mornings and nights. There are lots of threads on this board as to what people pack that should help you. Do a search.

And with laundry being available (and probably included in your rate) otherwise inexpensive, is the way to go. Though women's "wears" (smalls) aren't laundered, so bring enough or rinse out at night.

Keep to safari colors, with a few nicer items for evenings (black/dark slacks with nice top or costume jewelry or shawl), somthing such as relaxed nice casual. You don't need more than enough clothing for where you will be the longest, as it's unlikely you'll see the same people anywhere. And, if you do... they're in the same situation. Africa is very informal when it comes to attire.
Sep 27th, 2006, 02:10 PM
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 108
40 lbs is more than you want to take We took less than 33 lbs and had more than we needed. We each carried one duffel bag, a back pack and a purse. We wore tennis shoes we could leave behind, t-shirts and underwear we could leave behind. We also left immodium and pepto-bismo behind. Our trip was driving until the last day when we took the small plane from the Masai Mara back to Nairobi. Because we each only had a small duffel bag they let us take a little more but the plane was full. We rinsed our safari clothes out on a daily basis. A different shirt at night than what we wore during our drives was a hit. There are good lists suggesting clothes to take. Do consider, though, taking clothes you can leave behind. Betty
betharwein is offline  
Sep 27th, 2006, 02:31 PM
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Thanks for the input, everyone. Yes, I have confirmed with our travel agent (twice now) that it is 40 pounds per person. I am definitely going into the packing with the intent of paring down and making it light (especially for the safari portions), but we also will be in Cape Town, wine region and Garden Route, and as this is our honeymoon, we are splurging and staying in some 5-star Relais & Chateaux properties in those areas, which makes me think that we'll need a few nicer outfits. Also, if 40 pounds includes carry-ons such as purse and camera bag (for a digital SLR with additional lens), it seems even more unlikely that I could pack for our 3 week vacation within those parameters.

As for storing luggage at Joburg airport, thank you for the tip. Problem is, we also would need to store in Windhoek (if we go the storage route instead of packing for the whole trip in a 40 pound bag). Though we arrive in Joburg, we leave the very next day for Namibia and then do not return to Joburg until the very end of our trip (right before Mateya). So, we would need to store in Windhoek before our connection to the Skeleton Coast. Apparently, our hotel can store for a modest fee, but then I'm not sure how we would retrieve the luggage from the Windhoek airport as we connect to our flight to Cape Town.

Sorry if this sounds incredibly confusing. My fiance and I are just trying to figure out how to do this in the way that makes the most sense. Thanks to everyone for their input and advice to these newbies, and for the words of congratulations!
nicsoff is offline  
Sep 27th, 2006, 02:56 PM
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If it's really important to you to have extra clothes or a few nice outfits while in Cape Town area, maybe you ship a suitcase by UPS to your hotel in Cape Town (assuming you're probably staying at a nice hotel there) and advise the hotel ahead of time, and ask them to store it for you until you arrive. Then you will have this bag in Cape Town, and could either ship it back to the U.S. or fly with it back to JNB and leave it at the Fed Air terminal (which is a different terminal than JNB) while at Madikwe. Just a thought.
brandywine is offline  
Sep 27th, 2006, 09:20 PM
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On a side note, anyone at the lounge of the Fed Air terminal ought to check out the wildlife videos ususally being screened. Most of them are filmed in Londolozi, i think.....

Sep 27th, 2006, 10:23 PM
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Hi -- congrats on your wedding and you will have a trip of a lifetime. Our family, including myself, husband, and 2 small kids did two weeks in South Africa last December. The trip included Joburg, Capetown, and safari in the Sabi Sand and Madikwe. I could not imagine how I would pack for all of us using the safari restrictions when we were also having such a full vacation in the major cities. So I did what a previous entry said -- I packed separate bags for each. The bags for Joburg and Capetown were traditional suitcases which we stored with the last hotel before the safari trip. Our safari needs were packed in duffel bags as needed. Once back, we arranged for the hotel to drop the bags off to us at the airport. It was very easy and made things much better for me. One tip is to lock your luggage if you are storing it. Buy the TSA combo locks from any luggage store. These are great because the TSA can unlock them if needed without breaking the lock. And when you leave them at the hotel, you can feel secure. Good luck!
Lolazahra is offline  
Oct 3rd, 2006, 04:28 PM
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In Kenya we stayed in pretty nice lodging. Most everyone dressed casual as they were on safari. Now and then someone would come in dressed lovely and I must tell you, those times, I wish I had just one pretty, comfortable dress. It's fun to dress up and on a honeymoon!! Go for it. Betty
betharwein is offline  
Oct 3rd, 2006, 06:43 PM
Join Date: Jun 2006
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Sounds like a fabulous trip Nic! We've been to Africa many times...and...knock on wood....they have NEVER weighed anything...thankfully, not me either! In November, you won't need any heavy clothes at all and most all places do a beautiful job with laundry...with same day service...and my "women's personals" have always been laundered as well.

We were told 40lbs for our flights in the Okavango. However, I must admit I was a little worried when I saw our tiny, tiny 6 seater (including the pilot) with all seats taken....but no, they just crammed the bags inside and somehow our little single engine made it without a wimper! Whew.

Your Fed Air flight to Mateya is usually a larger airplane, several times we've had a 42 seater.... so there shouldn't be a problem there.

BTW, you're going to love Mateya! Would love a trip report on your return.
gogo13 is offline  
Oct 4th, 2006, 11:12 AM
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Mateya has complimentary laundry service so you can pack accordingly. Please report back after your trip as we will be staying in Mateya in early February. I did a lot of research looking for a luxury camp with excellent animal viewing. After reading various reports and magazine articles, Mateya won out. Happy packing and Happy Honeymooning! I'll be anxious to hear all about your trip.
petlover is offline  
Oct 5th, 2006, 12:27 PM
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Thanks for the kind thoughts and helpful advice, everyone! I appreciate it and will be sure to report back on Mateya when we return!

nicsoff is offline  

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