The following packing list for a South African safari (in winter) was submitted by Kourtni Dale Noll. See all packing list posts here.
South Africa is such a wonderful place to experience! From its multitude of cultures to its vast wildlife, every adventurer will find something here to pique their interest.
When my Dad asked me if I wanted to tag along on a South African Safari, I jumped at the chance! Having just come from an Art Song program in England, I met my Dad at Heathrow and we flew down to Johannesburg to start our 12-day adventure. I’ll be honest, out of my carry-on suitcase and backpack, I maybe used less than half of what I packed. That’s because most of my clothes were for my England trip. My Dad was kind enough to bring some extra “safari wear” for me, and the camps we stayed at did laundry for us daily.
Here’s the list of what I used on my South African safari adventure:
The idea here was to layer everything because HELLO WINTER! Getting up one morning it was 23°F, then it warmed up once the sun was up, and then temps fell again at night. The difference in seasons between the Northern and Southern Hemisphere – that’s one thing to remember whenever you’re traveling across the equator!
Yoga Leggings (worn under pants everyday)
2 safari green pants (one to wear while the other gets cleaned)
2 safari green button down shirts (short sleeved, w/ the same alternating idea as the pants)
1 safari green fleece (that would fit under button down shirts)
2 tank tops (used as undershirts in case I needed to remove the fleece from underneath my button downs)
1 infinity scarf (used as scarf & head wrap)
1 pair of gloves
1 set of military/hiking boots
1 pair of flip-flops (bathroom treks/shower shoes)
4 pairs of socks (2 thin and 2 thicker; I layered 1 thin w/ 1 thick)
1 set of pjs
Diva Cup (life saver on all trips!)
Toothbrush & toothpaste
BB cream (for SPF and light/medium coverage)
Hair care products (I have a pixie cut, so I usually don’t worry about brushes, etc.)
Don’t forget any prescriptions or OTC medicine you might need!
South African adapter
Camera/[smart] phone/iPod WITH chargers and ear buds
Good book (I brought one along for the looong truck rides, but was so taken with SA’s landscape, I never read it)
Mophie (For the long car rides when you need to recharge something OR for a camp that has no electricity)
Appropriate currency/credit card
If you’re like me: your travel journal & pen!
We lucked out with the camps we were at; all of them had running water and electricity! It was very nice to come back from a long day to a tent that had a full bathroom (i.e.: toilets, showers, sinks) in the middle of South Africa’s bush lands. The typical safari schedule we worked with went like this: wake up at 5am, breakfast at 6:30am, safari time until lunch (which was usually around noon), then at around 2pm we would go back out for more safari time until about 6pm, then dinner was usually scheduled for 7pm.
The camps’ owners and their staff provided all of our meals for us, and they were more than willing to accommodate for special diets (I’m a vegetarian). For the days that we were on the road, between the camps outside of Kimberley and in the Kalahari, there were plenty of bathroom/rest stops taken and everywhere we stopped at had fun vegetarian options (like fresh salads and yummy veggie burgers).
Believe it or not, we did not have any “bug problems” to worry about. It was simply too cold for them! I mean, yes, we did have the occasional fly, but nothing else. No bug spray was needed. And as for sun protection, I relied only on the BB Cream I brought with me. My limbs & body was covered the entire time (to shield from the cold), except for my face, which always had BB Cream, sunglasses and sometimes a scarf on it. There was no need for extra sunscreen.
The most incredible part of the trip is the scenery and the wildlife, of course. It’s amazing to see these animals living and thriving in their natural habitats. Seeing a giant herd of zebra, bushbuck and wildebeest running through the open plains took my breath away. A trip like this will most certainly ruin zoos for you. But I do recommend it for anyone who is looking for adventure, because one will most certainly find it in South Africa!
About the Author: Kourtni Dale Noll is a Texas native, but currently resides in California. She has had the travel-bug her whole life and now that she is done with school she can indulge! She is a nerdy opera singer turned nerdy stage manager and she also helps plan/work/run The Cornish-American Song Institute. Always up for any kind of an adventure, follow her on twitter: @KidKourt13. “Not all those who wander are lost…”
* All photos except for cover photo provided by Kourtni Dale Noll.