South African Safari packing and questions

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Apr 12th, 2013, 05:31 AM
  #1
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South African Safari packing and questions

Hello,

I'm going on a 7 day camping Safari in South African and Swaziland. We start in Johannesburg, go through Kruger Park and Swaziland and end in Durban. I've read that jeans are not the best for safaris and I want to be comfortable while sitting on the truck for the long drives. My question, are yoga pants acceptable? I don't want to be "that American girl" who dresses inappropriately. From my understanding, many days will be sitting on the truck with only a few walks.

Also, what do I do if I have to go to the bathroom? I imagine we can always use the side of the road, but do you recommend packing wipes or toilet paper? Any other packing recs is greatly appreciated!
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Apr 12th, 2013, 05:53 AM
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I would consider the temperature when you'll be there, and whether you'd be comfortable in yoga pants. In Tanzania, it was quite warm while we were there, and I was more comfortable in light-weight moisture wicking clothing. I would have boiled in yoga pants. Most trip research would suggest lighter colors (we were dirty/dusty/sweaty a lot, and lighter helped mask that) that would reflect sun and not attract animals like brighter or dark colors would. Jeans would not even be a consideration for me, I would have died of heat prostration. That said, I think it'd be hard to stand out entirely, I saw everything from strapless tube top full length dresses to halter tops and skinny shorts on women out there. I guess whatever floats your boat...

I brought two packs of baby wipes and was glad I had them to clean up a bit during the day, as well as antibacterial wipes and gels and travel rolls of toilet paper. Even the actual toilets you find out on a ride might not be adequately stocked. A headlamp for when you're rummaging through your duffle bag before bed when there's no light in the tent, a flashlight to walk to/from tent and dinner. There are lots of discussions about packing on here, this just skims the surface.
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Apr 12th, 2013, 10:31 AM
  #3
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Thank you! I will look up the other discussion threads about what to pack as well. I'm going on the safari in June, and I've heard it is quite cool, so I didn't consider temperature.
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Apr 12th, 2013, 04:49 PM
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Everything above is correct but the best item I brought were two sports bras. Just imagine the discomfort from bouncing in the jeeps
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Apr 12th, 2013, 05:42 PM
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Look up Very Comprehensive Packing List by LyndaS on this forum. Lots of good info. In June it will be very cold morning and evening. Look up my trip report for more details. I know you'll have a great time.
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Apr 12th, 2013, 07:34 PM
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* Sports bra for sure no matter your size.
* Plenty of hand sanitizer in bottles rather than wipes so there's nothing to leave behind.
* When your home toilet paper roll has about a third or a quarter left pop out the cardboard centre, flatten the roll, place in a small ziploc and voila travel/bush tp! Never leave home without it.
* Keep in mind all places will do laundry, leave it in the morning and it'll be folded on your bed when you return from your afternoon game drive.
* If your game drive vehicles are open on all sides the am & pm drives will be cold. Dress in layers. I'll be in SA in June & will be taking a polar fleece jacket to wear under my lined rain jacket and polar fleece (I love the stuff!) hat, gloves & scarf. Polar fleece is light & warm.
*Cotton scarf for later in the day.
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Apr 13th, 2013, 02:37 PM
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Thank you all for all your help. I think I'm going to bring 3 pairs of pants: 1 yoga-esque (similar fabric, but nicer) for dinner/evenings, 1 pair gray hiking pants and 1 pair blue pants that can convert to capris.

For shirts I'm thinking 3 tanks, 4 tshirts, 1 long sleeve shirt, 1 button up, a light khaki jacket, a tracksuit type of jacket (with fleece), and a rain jacket.

Then I was thinking, tennis shoes, toms/moccasins and flip flops for shoes.

It seems like a lot of shirts, but I'm also going to be in Johannesburg, Durban and Maputo for a few days before and after the safari. And thanks for the sports bra tip, I'd already considered them, since I don't want to ruin my good bras, but good to know I was thinking on the right track!
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Apr 14th, 2013, 05:05 AM
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Hi Elizabeth

If you are going in their winter, jeans are perfectly acceptable, it really is whatever you are comfortable and warm in. Someone mentioned June which is their winter and in an open vehicle, it can be freezing in the early morning and late afternoons/evenings. Need lots of layers! Even in January, their summer I have been cold some days. If you are going in winter, you will need much warmer clothing.
For bathroom breaks, I have always just used tissues and bacterial wipes, and both are bagged after use and taken back to the rubbish at the lodge.
If you are going in winter, a beanie and scarf and gloves are a necessity.

Kind regards

Kaye
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Apr 14th, 2013, 12:08 PM
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I believe jeans are discouraged for 2 reasons:

1.) It's a colour tzetze flies are attracted to.

2.) A lot of camps dry laundry in the sun because they don't have a clothes dryer. You're likely to get a very damp pair of jeans back at the end of the day, especially in the cooler months.
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Apr 14th, 2013, 01:49 PM
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"a beanie and scarf and gloves are a necessity."

Second this very heartily.
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Apr 15th, 2013, 04:03 AM
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Hi KathBC,

tsetse flies are not really an issue in South Africa and I have never had jeans returned to me from the laundry that were even faintly damp, let alone very damp.

Kind regards

Kaye
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Apr 15th, 2013, 06:32 AM
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I have gloves, a hat and a scarf on my list too, and I have a warmer layer added too. All the clothes I'm packing are light but easily layered, so I'm hoping that will keep me warm for the most part.

I'm getting really excited! Thanks everybody for all your help! I find the hardest part so far is figuring out what exactly to pack, since there are so many different types of safaris and so many countries, each of which have their own unique issues (tsetse flies, for example). I'm visiting my friend who lives in Africa, and her mom visited and went on a safari, but her safari was much more luxurious than mine will be. So I realized I had to take her packing and safari tips with a grain of salt.
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Apr 16th, 2013, 03:31 AM
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Hi Elizabeth22

When are you going?

Kind regards

Kaye
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Apr 16th, 2013, 08:43 AM
  #14
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June 14-July 1.
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Apr 16th, 2013, 09:08 AM
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It's cold in the mornings and the vehicles are open. Bring your jeans if that's what you like. I wore them on all morning game drives last September (Sabi Sands). I got them laundered, no problem, but choose warmer days to be sure they dry. I think the tse tse fly is an East African problem only (didn't wear jeans there for that reason, as well as it being warmer).
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Apr 16th, 2013, 02:39 PM
  #16
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Elizabeth, This is my packing list/tips from our trip to Southern Tanzania. It was a comfortable amount and I felt I had everything I needed. We spent about 3 weeks in bush camps -- not cities, so this may be too much for your needs. Maybe it will give you some ideas, though. I agree that your yoga pants would be ideale. I am planning to take mine to Botswana this year. I have several pair of simple black, capri length yoga pants from Lands End. They are the most comfortable pants I have every worn. I live in them when I'm on planes. Mine have pockets and really look no different than any other pair of simple pants......but oh my, they are comfortable.

Southern Tanzania (very warm weather) packing?
We packed in the large size LL Bean duffel bags. They are cheap, well made, can be monogrammed with your name for ID and weigh practically nothing. Laundry was done for free in every camp. I packed enough clothes for four+ days and had laundry done along the way. Here’s what I took (ladies).
· long sleeve safari/camp style shirts (great for sun protection and wind in the open vehicles)
· zip leg safari style pants. (They wash and dry like a dream – mine came from Lands End)
· very lightweight linen long pants for dressier dinners
· cotton Capri length pants
· skort from Lands End in the same material as the zip leg pants. (I don’t do shorts)
· very loose sleeveless tops - I think I had 4
· long sleeve very lightweight tee shirts –for mosi protection.
· 1 lightweight fleece (Lands End)
· A lightweight rain parka
· 1 pair of pajamas
· My Chacos-Zongs and my Keen-Newport H2 shoes + one pair of cheap “blingy” flip flops for dressing up.
· A big, wide brimmed hat.
· A swimsuit
· 3 bras
· 4 undies
· 2 pair of socks
· A couple of bandanas

· You will want some really, really good binoculars – one set for each traveler.
· 30 to 60 SPF sunscreen – one big bottle.
· A very good mosi guard. Lots of discussion on this board about which is best.
· Some really good wind protection for your face. The air from driving in open vehicles can do more damage than the sun. I used a 45-sunscreen stick that felt like Vaseline on my face, but did the trick. At times I tied the bandana around my face.
· Very good lip protection.
· I took 3 each of the hotel sized shampoo and conditioners and tossed them along the way. The camps do provide shampoo, soaps, and detergent for washing delicates.
· You cannot use hair appliances most places. Get a haircut that requires no maintenance.
· You don’t need much make-up. It’s either too hot or too dark (dinners by candles or lantern) for anyone to care.
· There are no wash cloths in any of the baths.
· All the paths are sand or rocks – take appropriate shoes. Some times there is ellie poo on the path at night. Watch your step.
· Azithromiacin is a miracle cure for traveler’s revenge – which most everyone will get a mild case of about 10 days into the trip. Ask your doctor for some to take along. One pill was all it took to save a day.
· You must have a journal. There are just too many wonderful moments to remember.
· Drink, drink, drink.....water is your friend.

Enjoy!
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Apr 17th, 2013, 04:47 AM
  #17
 
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Hi Elizabeth22

That is the middle of their and my winter for that matter, and it will be freezing in an open game vehicle during the early morning and again after around 4pm when the sun starts to go down and lose its warmth. Definitely layers for warmth at those times and light pants will not cut it unless you have heaps of blankets over your legs.

Out of the vehicle it is a different story, but be prepared for in the vehicle as nothing is worse than being freezing during a gamedrive!

kind regards

Kaye
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Apr 17th, 2013, 12:28 PM
  #18
 
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I wore cords, long johns, AND jeep blankets mornings in land rover in September in South Africa - and was very happy I did. P.M. drive not so cold, but still pretty chilly when the sun went down.
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Apr 17th, 2013, 01:10 PM
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I'll be there this June...if it's so cold how do the heavier pants dry when laundered??
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Apr 17th, 2013, 01:24 PM
  #20
 
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It is hot for most of the day. You need light pants when you return from morning drive. Never had a problem with damp clothes. Also, they ironed the cottons. Seemed to know to leave the man made fabrics alone.
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