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My best and worst items I packed for Capetown and Safari

phila
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My best and worst items I packed for Capetown and Safari

Hopefully this will help some travelers, and I hope others supplement this. Here are the dumbest and best things I packed for South Africa (2 days Capetown, 7 days safari in private game lodges). Note: this was a winter stay - summer would be different.

Dumbest:

1. Earplugs. Somebody told me that the penguins at Boulders Bay were painfully loud. My family laughed at me when the penguins meekly walked right next to us, braying only occasionally.

2. Lightweight safari hat - a wool winter hat would have been more useful. My hat just blew off me whenever the vehicle started, and the hat offered no protection against the cool winter evenings.

3. Numerous little 3 ounce bottles of pepto bismol. When they break open, they stain everything. And we never needed them.

4. Too many clothes. I say this despite the fact that people congratulated us on fitting all we needed into medium size duffle bags of 22-25 pounds each. Trouble was, had they been smaller and lighter, we could have flown with just carry ons. Utilizing the laundry services at the game reserves could have saved us space, time and weight.

5. Walky talkies. 4 of us were split into 2 tents, and we thought it would be helpful to communicate. The plan backfired when someone left one of the units on and the charge ran out. Yes, we'd neglected to bring the charger. And by the way, we were always within shouting distance.

Best

1. Binoculars. Although the game drives get you close, they can't always go everywhere and there were times when even the rangers wanted to borrow my scopes.

2. Hooded sweatshirt. Wore it every game drive. over a t-shirt and under a jacket.

3. Duffle bags in lieu of suitcases. They were so ugly, no one rifled through them even though we had no locks and no wrapping.

4. Tissues. My son with allergies went through a mess of them on the plane.

5. Malaria medicine (melarone). Although the mosquitos were few and far between, two of us were bitten at least once, and it was nice to have the peace of mind that we were protected. No one experienced any side effects whatsoever from medicine.

6. Mid-weight waterproof jacket. Great for those rainy days in Capetown and the cool nights on safari.

What I wished I'd taken and didn't:

Other than a wooly hat, which I could have bought there if I really wanted it badly enough, NOTHING! There wasn't anything that we truly needed that we couldn't get there. That included an electrical adapter which each lodge was pleased to lend us (or already had in the room) after we lost ours.

So the bottom line is: take less, not more and really enjoy yourself.

Gold Coast...
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for Kruger National Park
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1. Re: My best and worst items I packed for Capetown and Safari

Schmave

Love the bit about earplugs for the penguins, you have given us such a great laugh, although the walkie talkies are nearly as good !!

Agree always too many clothes, took jumpers for the evenings last time [March}, never needed more than a tank top late into the night.,.and 4 pair of heavy shoes then wore one pair day in day out.

Another good thing but a bit expensive .. Two cameras. apart from a back up if anything goes wrong, you do not have to change lenses out on a dusty track. Plus between two of us taking pictures we always got good shots. Better to spend the money on that than all those slashless 'security' bags we took. Lol

BTW what is pepto bismol ?

Silver Spring...
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2. Re: My best and worst items I packed for Capetown and Safari

Pepto Bismal = upset stomach medicine.

Edited: 06 September 2011, 15:54
phila
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3. Re: My best and worst items I packed for Capetown and Safari

Thesandmans - Great point about the multiple cameras if you can afford it and can juggle them. With all the dust, the idea of changing lenses on a modern SLR or other digital camera is a really a bad one. According to one professional photographer I know, changing lenses ought to be done only under extremely contolled conditions as the risk of damaging the electronics is quite high.

Also about the shoes. Maybe OK to have one extra in case the primary gets wet, but if you have one comfortable pair (my favorite is from Clarks), there is no need for more.

Personally, as my friends and family know, I don't actually use a camera, relying on DW and kids, who actually end up with brilliant shots. That didn't stop me from stealing their pics when I got home and posting them on facebook.

bristol
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4. Re: My best and worst items I packed for Capetown and Safari

This is such a good post!

I found the best thing I took with me, (other than my mothers super super camera), was a long pashmina type thing. It was great for so many purposes! I used it to tie my hair when it was really windy, to cover my shoulders when it was really hot, and as a scarf when it was really cold! (And also as a pillow on the transfer from Johannesburg!)

Something I wish I had taken more of - T Shirts that covered my shoulders! On the hot days, I would have really burned my poor pale white skin if not for that pashmina!

Worst thing I packed - Make up! No point! Never used it! (Such a girly answer!)

Washington DC...
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5. Re: My best and worst items I packed for Capetown and Safari

schmave, great post! I like your division into Dumbest and Best. I'd agree earplugs for penguins would have raised my eyebrows, but they're not bad to have with you, especially given the negligible weight. On one safari my tent was next to the bar. There was a large group traveling together who stayed up until about 1 am or later every night and made a racket. It was the one time I needed to use earplugs in the bush, but I was sooo happy to have had them.

phila
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6. Re: My best and worst items I packed for Capetown and Safari

Thanks, SteveB, you've now placed me squarely in the "sane" zone despite my own doubts. Now that you mention it, the earplugs would have come in handy on the flight home if the crying infant hadn't disembarked in Dakar about 10 minutes after she started crying.

So maybe I can move that item from "dumbest" to a "better safe than sorry" category.

Washington DC...
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7. Re: My best and worst items I packed for Capetown and Safari

"Better safe than sorry" is another great category. And babies on planes, yes, another reason for having those plugs!!

Bucharest, Romania
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8. Re: My best and worst items I packed for Capetown and Safari

LOL earplugs! I am American but moved to Cape Town 2 years ago. My American friend is coming to visit in October and I might just have to play that joke on her to get a good laugh. ;)

Johannesburg, South...
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9. Re: My best and worst items I packed for Capetown and Safari

Those penguins are also venomous and they can read your mind, beware! ;)

10. Re: My best and worst items I packed for Capetown and Safari

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