8 Must-Have Items to Pack for Your Trip to Southern Africa

Are you planning a trip to Southern Africa soon? Are you wondering what to pack for your adventure? There are many adventure travel destinations in Southern Africa, from the Kalahari Desert to the lush gardens of South Africa. Getting your packing list right is crucial for making the best of your trip. Depending on the country you are visiting, the weather, and the activities you have planned, your packing list can vary a lot. But there are a few essential items that you cannot go without.

Sun Protection

Africa is famous for its year-round sunshine. However, this means it is crucial to pack sun protection items such as sunscreen, a hat, sunglasses, and light-colored clothing. Temperatures can soar up to 35 degrees Celsius, so it is essential to protect yourself from the scorching sun.

It’s advisable to opt for a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher to shield your skin from harmful UVA and UVB rays. Also, don’t forget to reapply sunscreen every 2 hours, in case you are planning to spend some time outdoors.

Insect Repellent

In Southern Africa, mosquitoes and other insects are a common issue. To make sure you do not catch any diseases, it is essential to pack a strong and effective insect repellent. Some travelers also recommend packing mosquito nets to be extra cautious while sleeping.

Insect repellents come in various forms including sprays, lotions, and even wristbands, so select a type that suits your needs and comfort. It’s also worth considering options with DEET, as it’s recognized as one of the most effective insect-repelling ingredients, particularly against malaria-carrying mosquitoes prevalent in some parts of Southern Africa.

Comfortable Shoes

Exploring Southern Africa means you will spend a lot of time on your feet. From hiking to sightseeing, you want to ensure you have comfortable shoes that you can wear for an extended period without any blisters. Sneakers or hiking boots are good options to consider.

When selecting shoes, consider a pair that is durable and can easily withstand rough terrain. Remember, investing in good quality footwear not only ensures comfort but also protects you from potential foot injuries during your adventures.


Southern Africa is home to some of the most breathtaking sceneries and wildlife. You do not want to miss capturing these moments. Therefore, packing a camera with extra batteries and SD cards will guarantee you don’t miss out on capturing all of your incredible experiences.

Ensure your camera is equipped with a high-quality lens that can capture the true essence of your surroundings. Also, a camera with good low-light capabilities will be beneficial for evening safari drives or capturing the vibrant African sunsets.

Power Adapters

The power outlets in Southern Africa are different from those in most countries, and you are more likely to blow your plugs if you do not have a power adapter. You can buy adapters at the airport, but to ensure that you have one, it’s best to buy in advance.

Power adapters are essential for charging your devices such as phones, cameras, and laptops. Ensure that the adapter you choose is compatible with the voltage rating in Southern Africa to avoid damaging your devices.

Light Jacket

Even though temperatures are mostly high in Southern Africa, it can get chilly in the evenings, especially during the winter months. I would recommend packing a light jacket that you can throw on when the temperatures drop in the evening.

A light jacket is not only useful for warmth, but it can also serve as a barrier against biting insects which are prevalent in some parts of Southern Africa. Additionally, opt for a jacket with plenty of pockets, which can provide convenient storage for small items like your camera lens cap, spare batteries, or travel documents.

Travel Documents

It’s essential to keep all your travel documents in one place. This ensures you do not misplace them when you need them the most. Pack your passport, visa, boarding pass, and any other documents that you might need in a travel document holder.

Ensure that your travel documents are always accessible, yet secure. Digital backups of these documents can also be immensely helpful in case of loss or damage to the physical copies.

First Aid Kit

Accidents can happen, and this is why it is essential to carry a first aid kit. It doesn’t have to be elaborate, just the basics like painkillers, antiseptic creams, and bandages can be lifesaving, especially in areas where medical help is scarce.

Your first aid kit should also include any personal medication you require, as well as items for preventing and treating common travel-related diseases, such as diarrhea and malaria. Furthermore, remember to pack a pair of tweezers for tick removal, as ticks can be common in certain parts of Southern Africa. 


Packing for your trip to Southern Africa can seem overwhelming, but with the right items, you can have a great trip. The eight must-have items that we’ve listed will not only make your trip enjoyable but also stress-free. Remember to pack appropriately, have fun, and make beautiful memories of Southern Africa.


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