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How to Pack for a Trip to Africa!
1. Know which documents to take. At a minimum, you should have the following:
- Visas - ask your passport office what visas are required for the relevant African countries for someone of your citizenship. Do this well in advance (in case you need to wait for visas).
- Travel insurance
- Cash - do not rely on being able to use automatic teller machines when traveling. Some places may not have them and others may not be functioning. Always have a second source of money. It also helps to have small US notes to give to people as tips, thank yous and to buy small articles.
1. Choose appropriate clothing. For most African countries, lightweight clothing that can handle humidity and heat are suitable. But don't forget the right gear for colder climate times too, such as winter in Morocco or climbing into mountain regions.
2. Pack. The following list is a helpful indicator to guide your packing:
- 1 long sleeved shirt
- 2 light long trousers
- 2 skirts/dresses
- 3 T-Shirts
- 2 shorts
- 1 swimsuit
- 1 small towel (get the type that is really small and expands with water, or choose camping/bike towels which are small but efficient; great for removing sweat)
- 1 hat
- 3 pairs of socks
- Cotton underwear and socks
- 1 pair of walking boots
- 1 pair of sandals or flippers
3. Consider seriously the lightweight long trousers, as men in many African countries do not wear shorts. Long trousers also offer good protection against cuts/scratches in the bush and against mosquitoes in the evening.
4. Consider also the colour of your chosen clothes, some colours get dirty very quickly. Try colours that match the dark earths in many parts of Africa. Brown and Grey are particularly adept at looking cleaner for longer.
5. Many Africans pride themselves on keeping clean and tidy, even if their clothes are well worn. Brilliant white shirts, perfectly ironed are surprisingly common for men.
1. Consider the activities that you will be undertaking in Africa and pack accordingly. Some ideas include:
- pocket knife
- small sewing kit
- twisted elasticated clothesline
- electrical adapter
- camera, film, and extra batteries
- small battery operated alarm clock
- day pack
- Ziplock plastic bags - these are handy for lots of things, including keeping some soap with you at all times
- small torch
- water bottle
First Aid and Toiletries:
1. Find out what medical concerns might arise when traveling in Africa. Malaria, dengue fever, and a host of other diseases are of concern. Be sure to know the proper precautions and to take the right medication, including adequate amounts of medication that you take regularly. Also take scripts with you in case you are questioned for holding medication.
2. Pack some First Aid and toiletry supplies. Some suggestions include:
- baby wipes
- anti-malaria tablets
- antihistamine cream
- sun lotion
- Iodine tablets
3. Consider cleaning your teeth in pure alcohol or Coke if you cannot be sure that water is clean.
1. Find out what shots you'll need.
- Malaria Prophylaxis Pills
- Tetanus shots
- Yellow fever shots