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.
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.
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.