Plug Adaptors

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Apr 21st, 2005, 04:56 AM
  #1
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Plug Adaptors

We are heading to South Africa, Zimbabwe, and Botswana in 9 weeks and I need to make sure I have what I need for plugging in camera battery chargers. The chargers I have are good for 120-240 volts so I shouldn't need a converter. But I was checking out adaptors and there are two mentioned on magellans.com - one is a Type D grounded and the other is a Type H grounded. They look very similar, but there are subtle differences. Any idea what I will need for Cape Town, Sabi Sands (Elephant Plains Camp), Voctoria Falls, and the Okavanga Delta (Nxabega Okavanga Camp)? Thanks. Any other suggestions? I have 3 sets of batteries for each camera so I will be able to always have one in the camera, one on stand-by, and one being charged.
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Apr 21st, 2005, 11:15 PM
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I'd never visited the Magellans site before, so I had a quick look. Perhaps too quick, because under S.A. as a destination there are Plug C and Plug H, but I can't see D.

But anyway, that site's information is WRONG! The "Plug C" that is shown for S.A. is the 3-pin UK plug, with rectangular pins. The S.A. plug is almost unique, it is the VERY old UK plug, the same size but with round pins. The picture shown on the Magellan site is probably correct, although it looks a little strange to me.

You can also look at http://kropla.com/electric2.htm. Although what it shows as "Type M" for S.A. is much "clunkier" than the modern plugs that follow the lines of the pin triangle closely. But it shows the pins correctly.

Adaptors for S.A. plugs are fairly widely available in S.A., certainly in travel shops and camping supply stores. But even more common (and also cheaper) are the plugs themselves, they're in any large supermarket. So a suggestion is to bring an extension that will accommodate all of your chargers. Then simply buy a plug when in S.A. (or wherever) and change it on the extension.
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Apr 22nd, 2005, 12:05 AM
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An addendum. After my post above I selected the Plug C option on the Magellan's site and it says "Generally found in Great Britain and in her present and former colonies."

Well, we're a former British colony (almost a hundred years ago!), but apart from a brief attempt (as I vaguely remember) to introduce the rectangular-pin plug in some new buildings round about the 60's or early 70's, it never became a standard.
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Apr 22nd, 2005, 06:06 AM
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Thanks for the info about getting adaptors there. I actually put in one of the wrong plugs in my message. The one I meant was Type F and it looks very similar to the one on the website you sent (thanks for that - it was helpful). Of course it also looks like Zimbabwe may be totally different from the other two countries (which seem to use the same one you mentioned with the round plugs). Oh well, I'll bring what I have and then seek out a store if what I have doesn't work. The idea of bringing an extension cord is one I wouldn't have thought of, but it makes sense. I have two cameras and will need to be charging two sets of batteries, so having an extension cord could be invaluable. And probably won't take up too much of my weight restriction.
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Apr 22nd, 2005, 02:08 PM
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I'm not that clear about what I will need to bring to recharge my camera battery. It is a Canon CG-580. Will the camps (CCAfrica camps in South Africa and Wilderness in Botswana) have adapters and convertors or will I need to bring my own?
Thanks for your help.
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Apr 22nd, 2005, 05:40 PM
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http://www.powerstarinc.com/worldelectric.pdf
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Apr 22nd, 2005, 07:14 PM
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Thanks for the additional website. Even though the name seems to be different, it still looks the same as the ones I got. As to your question, Brandywine, I assume I need to bring my own.
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Apr 22nd, 2005, 09:21 PM
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jcasale,

In an attempt to clear up all the confusion of plugs, converters and adaptors in South Africa I have written the below webpage:

www.ilovecapetown.co/saplugs/plugs.htm

Hope this helps.

Very proudly part of the wonderful nation of South Africa
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Apr 23rd, 2005, 04:00 AM
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Selwyn, my browser won't bring up the website you mentioned - it says not found. Could you repost? Thanks!
Karen
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Apr 23rd, 2005, 05:05 AM
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Selwyn accidentally left an m out -- it should be www.ilovecapetown.com/saplugs/plugs.htm
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Apr 23rd, 2005, 08:01 AM
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That worked! Thanks!
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Apr 23rd, 2005, 08:06 AM
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Selwyn (or others),
Do you happen to know if that adaptor works in Botswana also?
thanks,
Karen
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Apr 23rd, 2005, 12:36 PM
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Thanks for that great link Selwyn. I have the same question about Botswana, if anyon eknows. And would also be interested in whether these will work in Zimbabwe.
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Apr 23rd, 2005, 02:20 PM
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I am unsure about what Botswana uses however if you go to http://kropla.com/electric2.htm it claims that the SA plug, as per the link that I have created, will work in Botswana.

Question not answered by me with any authority.

Very proudly part of the wonderful nation of South Africa
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Apr 23rd, 2005, 10:10 PM
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There are compact worlwide adapter kits available in airports and travel shops, I think that carrying one of those plus a short (cheap!)US extension cord is the way to go for travel anywhere. The extension cord comes in handy when you are trying to plug in one of those transformer/plug combinations, and you can always cut off the plug if you run into an outlet that won't fit anything you have (it's scary, but you see people sticking the two bare wire ends into all kinds of outlets )
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May 4th, 2005, 02:46 PM
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I'm sorry to be obtuse, but I don't understand the part about the extension cord. Why couldn't I just plug my curling iron directly into the adapter plug? Why would I have to first plug it into an extension cord and then into the plug?
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May 4th, 2005, 11:33 PM
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There are two possible advantages to having a short extension compared with a multi-plug adaptor, if by extension one means (as I did) one that is multi-plug. I.e. that has multiple sockets.

First, you can obviously charge more than one thing at a time. And second, you can change the plug at the end to one of the generally widely-available (and inexpensive) local plugs.

BTW, after my posts above I contacted Magellans to tell them that I had never seen the rectangular 3-pin sockets in S.A,. for decades. (I vaguely recall a possible attempt way back in the early 70's in some new buildings to change to the newer UK standard, but it never took off.) They replied saying "the 'C' pattern can be found in some areas". I responded telling them as nicely as I could (but I admit fairly firmly!) that they were talking nonsense. And that I'd be aggrieved if as a tourist I purchased a square-pin adaptor from them and then found only round-pin sockets in S.A. (Excepting occasional European 2-pin or multi-plug sockets in some places including hotel bathrooms.) I also tried to differentiate between South and Southern Africa (which includes Botswana and Zimbabwe), although their (purchasing) "advice" was specific to S.A. No further reply! So I guess they are the experts, albeit from afar!

I thought I had travelled reasonably widely in S.A. and I've never ever seen a UK square-pin socket in recent years. And the plugs are not sold where one can find the "S.A." three-pin plugs. Am I missing sonething?
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May 5th, 2005, 05:57 AM
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I don't know why people insist they know things when they don't, but Magellan's is (as Arthur says) wrong about South African plugs, as is most every other provider of travelers adaptors that I've seen. I think probably they get their information from each other, and someone made the error long ago, and it keeps getting replicated like bad DNA.
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May 5th, 2005, 06:52 AM
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That's a great analogy Celia! It reminds me (I had earlier decided it wasn't worth mentioning) that I alsoo noticed Magellan's regurgitating the CDC advice about only drinking bottled or boiled water and not using ice, etc., etc.

I've not checked, but I think the CDC site lumped all of the Southern Africa countries together, so perhaps a case could be made for them erring on the side of caution. (Although I don't agree, they should be more specific!) But Magellan's re-printed "advice" is country-specific and then "blanket" for the whole country. They're not alone though. I have previously found at least one other "authoritative" U.S.-based travel site that has re-printed the CDC info.

Whereas the truth is that in South Africa (certainly in the urban areas) water can be drunk directly from the tap (faucet). As I've previously said in this forum, S.A. tap water was once rated by the WHO as the 3rd best quality in the World and one of only 12 countries where it is safe to drink tap water. (I've been unable to trace those stats right back to source, but the latter was confirmed by the Rand Water Board, which said that it was "published a few years ago".) And every so often when a newspaper is looking for a feature, they arrange a blind tasting of tap and bottled waters and guess what?

And now we're way off topic! I'll climb down from the soapbox.
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May 5th, 2005, 07:17 AM
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I have purchased two different "South Africa" plugs from on-line stores and neither one fit. You can be pretty stuck without one. At one camp I borrowed a plug from another guest at their convenience and at MalaMala they had US plugs in the room. I still don't have an SA plug.
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