Home | Africa Initiative | Contacts

What Should I Pack When Traveling To Africa

Millions of visitors flock to Africa, whether to get soaked in the mist of Victoria Falls or to experience the taste of Cape Town's world class cuisine and wine. Africa is a continent of contrasts, from its dramatic mountain peaks to its white beaches and heartbreakingly blue water. Travelers must be daring, adventurous, and have an expectation of meeting the unexpected У but when it comes to packing, they need to be methodical, organized, and practical. What can you really not afford to leave home without?

Beyond a passport and necessary travel documents, by far the most recommended item for any journey to the continent is sun protection. The sun can be relentless, and without protection, you will not get far on your search for the Big Five or strolling through intriguing souks. Bring sunglasses, a hat, sunscreen, light colored, loose fitting, long-sleeved pants and shirts. Dehydration is a risk as well, so bring a reusable water bottle, water purification tablets or compact filters, and stock up on bottled water at all of your stops.

Even if you do not visit a malarial country, you will still want bug and insect repellent. There are few things more irritating than having to swat flies while you're seeing a lion roaming in the wild for the first time. A heavy-duty, DEET-based repellent is best. Other items to load into your toiletry bag include: pain reliever, antiseptic cream or ointment, anti-diarrheal medication, bandages, and enough prescription medicine to last throughout your trip. You can buy basic toiletries like toothpaste and shampoo while in Africa if you want to conserve space in your suitcase.

Clothing is difficult; we don't want to under-pack so we end up over-packing, or vice versa. In general, it is better to travel light. The specific pieces that you choose will depend on where you are traveling and during which months. Cotton socks and underwear and comfortable walking boots are essentials.

Choose a few pairs of long, lightweight pants and shirts, a few t-shirts, a pair or two of shorts, a bathing suit, a sarong (which can be used as a towel or a skirt or a cover-up), and one dressy outfit if your vacation will encompass a more formal occasion. Pack lighter and wash your clothing when you have the opportunity. It's an African adventure У no one will care if you wear the same shorts a few times.

Another must: a camera. You will see some of the most gorgeous scenery and spectacular sites of your life. Capturing them will help you relive the excitement time and time again.

By: Enid Glasgow