Clothing and Baggage for Safaris
Weight limits apply on domestic African flights of 44lbs. If you are traveling on a flight into a game park your luggage could be restricted to either 33lbs or even 26lbs.
This can be a very difficult matter to address. It is important that you plan carefully to avoid extra charges and/or disappointment. Most USA originating International flights permit 2 pieces of baggage weighing up to 70 lbs. to be checked.
However, domestic flights within South Africa permit you to check only one bag weighing up to 44 pounds. Air Link flights restrict passengers to one bag weighing 33 pounds. Air Link is the carrier that serves the Kruger National Park area airports from Johannesburg. This would be the weight limit on a charter flight from Johannesburg to South African Game parks. Federal Air allows 44lbs. However, some smaller planes restrict the weight to 26lbs so it will depend on your itinerary. The flights to the game parks ask for "soft sided" luggage this means duffle bags. One will be provided for you when you receive your tickets and information.
Excess baggage may result in additional charges, if it can be carried at all. Plan on leaving large suitcases at hotels to which you are returning or at the airport. The Intercontinental in Johannesburg will store our luggage for a fee that is arranged when you leave the luggage.
DO the following:
- Pack light, most of the safari properties that Ker & Downey utilize provides daily laundry service.
- Pack shoes that are light. Most safari’s include light activities.
- Put small items, socks, underwear, and belts inside shoes to maximize space. If your shoes are dirty, cover them in plastic bags to keep the rest of your items from getting soiled.
- Take smaller bottles of after-shave, shampoo, toothpaste, pills, and lotions.
- Double pack toiletries in leak-proof plastic bags.
- Take a carry-on (a back pack is preferred) and include such items as medications, reading glasses, books, a sweater.
- Be sure your name is included on each checked bag.
- Take a supply of plastic “locks”. See “Information from the TSA” below.
DO NOT do the following:
- Do not take expensive jewelry.
- Do not over pack. Light aircraft have limited space with relatively small openings for bag storage.
- Do not pack undeveloped film in your checked bags. TSA screening equipment may damage the film. Take all film out of canisters and put into clear plastic bags. High-speed film (800 ASA and up) should be hand checked and not allowed to go through the carry-on screening equipment.
If you check your bag:
- Write your name, destination and home address inside the bag.
- Remove straps and hooks from bags to prevent them from getting caught in the baggage system.
- If you want to complain about baggage, an airline, service or refunds, write: Aviation Consumer Protection Division, US Dept of Transportation, 400 7th St SW, Room 4107, Washington DC 20590.
Southern Africa's climate is varied both geographically and by season. You must plan accordingly. Also, certain elements of your tour might require a specific type of clothing, or dictate a dress code. We recommend packing lighter weight clothing that can be worn in layers. Do not overpack. Laundry is done daily while you are in game lodges and almost all hotels have a laundry service available.
Mostly, you will want lightweight clothes. Cotton and cotton/synthetic mixtures are most comfortable. Dress mainly for outdoor comfort. A cotton bush jacket or golf jacket with pockets is a good idea. You might want to take two sets of lightweight outer clothing for travel and game viewing, so that you can wear one while the other is being laundered.
In the summer months, lightweight clothing made of natural fabrics is recommended with one warm sweater or jacket for cooler evening temperatures. In winter, warmer clothing is suggested, especially for evenings. During the months of June, July, and August, gloves, a scarf, and a hooded warm-up jacket may be necessary at higher elevations.
In major South African cities, hotels and restaurants require "smart casual" dress. This is generally defined as jacket and tie for men and better (though not formal) dress for ladies. (NOTE: Those traveling on Rovos Rail and the Blue Train need to observe this code.) Denim is not acceptable in better establishments in the evening.
Safari can be dusty, and while game viewing, tan, khaki and other neutral colors are most practical. You will want an informal change of clothes for dinner at the end of the day. In the austral winter you will need a wool sweater or jacket when game viewing in the early morning hours and when out of doors in the evening. This is a must. Bring a hat for sun protection, especially to wear in the vehicles while driving in the parks, as the tops are left open for game viewing and photography. Generally, you will not need heavy footwear unless you plan to do much walking. A pair of comfortable walking shoes, tennis shoes or desert boots will do. A change of shoes at the end of the day is pleasant; therefore, an extra pair of lightweight shoes (low-heeled for ladies) is recommended for evenings at the lodges. In the evening, the dress is very relaxed. A pair of slacks for the men and an open necked shirt and slacks and blouse for the ladies works well. Carry lightweight sleepwear, as blankets are readily available.
- 3 pairs of lightweight jeans or slacks
- 1 pair of walking shoes, tennis shoes, lightweight hiking boots
- 1 sweater for evenings and early mornings
- 1 wind-breaker or bush jacket
- 6 shirts; 3 short sleeve and 3 long sleeve
- pajamas or sweat suit
- 5 pair socks including 2 pair of knee length cotton socks or stockings
- 1 swimsuit
- 1 cotton hat
- 1 lightweight bathrobe
- 1 pair slippers
- 1 lightweight rain jacket
- 1 warm jacket
- 1 pair of light shoes for evenings
- 3 pairs of shorts
Aspirin, Antiseptic cream, Chapstick or lip balm, Sunscreen, Band Aids, Extra pair of prescription glasses or contact lenses, Anti-diarrhea medicine, Skin moisturizer, Eye and nose drops/moisturizer, Shaving kit, Toothbrush and toothpaste, Hair brush, Deodorant, Nail clippers, Personal toiletries, Insect repellent (containing DEET) I have found the towelettes with the insect repellant work well, Sunglasses, and Moist towelettes.
Good binoculars, Flashlight (provided in Singita), Reading materials, Pen and paper, or writing journal/diary.