“When Africa gets into your blood, you’ll forever after be African.”
South Africa is truly blessed with some of the most spectacular scenery on the planet, and the friendliest people too, but this comes at a price. Like anywhere in the world, you need to take precautions, and if you do this, then you can be assured of a wonderful visit to the Rainbow Nation. Above all else, pack light for your adventure.
Here are some essentials that you should not leave home without.
South Africa is not for boring people. Quite simply, you will be going on a holiday of a lifetime, so go with this mind-set!
Investing in a good quality, compact camera to collect those memories means you will have something to capture the color of a Durban Rickshaw, the pulsing streets of Soweto, the wild flowers of Namaqualand, or the primal wonder of Kruger Park. Sometimes the memory needs a reminder of what it has experienced.
Those long lazy afternoons in the savanna are perfect for catching up with a favorite author, or you can choose one of the books written by African authors at the WorldReader website.
Give a copy of your African itinerary to a family member back home so someone knows where you are, and how to contact you. Make sure you are prepared for theft, and leave valuables at home unless they are essential.
It’s a good idea to bring two wallets or purses, one for day- to- day expenses, and the other for your cards and larger amounts of cash. Remember that phones, cameras, computers, and cash are easily stolen, so always purchase travel insurance prior to flying.
Check out safety stories and reviews from other travelers, and take advice from their experiences, using the latest travel mobile apps for your smartphone or tablet. When hiring a car, make sure that it is supplied with a GPS navigator, or get one before arrival.
Health whilst in South Africa
South Africa does have a good medical system, but it is not free for tourists. A good insurance policy will secure your trip, but some do not cover the most popular activities in South Africa, such as horse riding, scuba diving, mountaineering, game hunting, bungee jumping, windsurfing, hang gliding, etc.
Get vaccinations for the most common ailments before you go. These include shots for hepatitis A and B, Typhoid, Malaria, Rabies, Tuberculosis (for children) and the most essential, Yellow Fever. If you are arriving from a country with risk of transmission (even in airport transits) of Yellow Fever, you are required to bring a certificate of vaccination with you.
Comfort in the sun
When you visit South Africa, remember that the weather is Mediterranean or tropical. For nine months of the year, light clothing is recommended. To pack light, bring quick- drying clothes that can be reused for functions. Avoid the grungy look to be accepted in most hotels, restaurants and clubs.
On top of this, a good pair of walking boots for daytime activities and a pair of lighter shoes for evening wear will see you well- prepared.
Sunny days in South Africa have high burn times, so sunscreen should be included in your backpack. Mosquitoes are a constant problem in Africa as well, so repellent formulas will be needed every day.
In South Africa, preparation goes a long way.
Photo credit – Diriye Amey on Flickr