The principles of traveling around the world are almost the same. Same goes with packing for a trip. However, the way to go about it depends on your destination. It doesn’t matter the length of the trip – be it a short weekend visit to a friend in Kenya, or a three week vacation in a beach resort in Lagos – you’ll need to pack a bag, and when it comes to traveling to and within African countries, the packing requires a little bit of attention.
In this article, we’ll be showing you what to pack for your next trip and how to pack it so you can travel right and light.
So first, things to consider:
- The weather of the country you’re visiting: The world erroneously think of Africa as a single country rather than a continent made up of countries and regions and diverse cultures. Because of this generalization, tourists visiting Africa often tend to ask what the weather in Africa is, but it’s impossible to deduce the climate of an entire continent into one weather condition. If you time your visit wrongly, you could be met with very unfavorable weather conditions, so it’s important to get this right before starting on your trip. Also, if you’re already living in Africa, don’t assume the climate of your country is the same as the one in another region. Make your research before leaving. However, the weather in Africa is relatively accurate across regions.
- In North Africa, especially Morocco which is located in the Northern Hemisphere, its weather conditions are similar to those of other countries in the Northern Hemisphere. Winter starts November and lasts till January and it gets pretty cold. Summer isn’t also very conducive as well as the temperature can get up to 40 degrees Celsius. The best time to travel is usually around fall.
- In West Africa, the weather is mostly classified into the dry season and the rainy season. Dry season begins around November and lasts till early February. It’s more advisable to travel during the dry season.
- South Africa has a very diverse climate which makes it difficult to classify. It experiences four seasons unlike other African equatorial countries. However, the timing of its summer, winter, spring and fall doesn’t follow that of Western countries. There’s also lots of rain during the summer.
- The culture and religion of the place you’re visiting: You have to ask questions like, how do they dress? Are they strict with their dressing? Believe me, this should greatly determine what kind of clothing you pack into your bag. You don’t want to be the only one walking the streets with a short while everyone else is wearing a caftan despite the hot weather.
- Security and Health: Check in with your doctor. Get vaccinated if need be before embarking on your trip. Also find out about the health policies of the country you’re visiting. Security is also very important. Find out the location of your country’s embassy and register with them. If there’s a problem in the country, it will make it really easy for your government to get in touch with you. This also means you should bring copies of your passport. If your passport gets stolen, you should at least be able to get back to your own country. Also make an electronic copy you can save in your email as backup.
- Money: What currency does the country use? Also find out the conversation rate from your currency to theirs. It’s important to inform your bank before leaving just so you don’t get stranded. Ensure that your ATM card will work in the country you’re visiting. Usually, if you inform your bank before traveling, they’ll help you sort that out.
WHAT TO PACK:
- Clothes: Don’t pack a lot. More often than not, you end up not wearing 70% of the clothes you fill your bag with. Three changes of clothes, underwears, a sleeping wear, and a sweater/hoodie (if you’re unsure of the weather) usually is enough. If you’re wondering the kind of clothes to pack in, consider a pair of jeans (for casual), two shirts, a dress, a flowing skirt (for when you’re feeling like it), a tailored skirt (for those ‘put-together’ days) and shorts (for hot days). Lighter weight clothing is always better.
- Accessories and Footwear: Belt, a hat, sunglasses. For shoes, flats are great in case you’re beginning to feel uncomfortable, a hiking boot (if you’re into that) and sneakers (sneakers are always a good idea).
- Toiletries: Don’t forget your toothbrush, toothpaste, dental floss, soap, deodorants, brush/comb, shaving supplies, makeup, cream, etc. I mean you don’t need to pack every single thing in your dresser. Just go with the most important ones.
- Electronics: You need a cellphone, don’t you? Your laptop as well especially if you work on the go. A camera, memory card, electronics chargers and a voltage adapter.
- Miscellaneous items: Torch light, pepper spray, books (e-books will save you space and reduce the weight of your luggage), earplugs/eye mask, earbuds/headphones, water bottle, passport/visa/ID, credit/ATM cards, cash, medications.
- It’s better to roll your clothes than to fold them. This will provide you with more space in your luggage.
- Make use of packing cubes, accessories bag, laundry bag, toiletries bag and makeup bag. Packing cubes make your life so much easier. Once you start using them, you’ll never want to travel without them again.
- Buy a lightweight luggage. Backpacks are always a great idea. If you prefer trolley luggage bags, ensure they are very light.
- Wear the heavier clothing while setting out on your trip. This will make your bag even lighter.
So that’s it. Traveling across Africa offers some of the best travel experiences. From the Safari in East and Southern Africa, to the island of Madagascar filled with lemurs and rare animals. From the clear beaches of West Africa to the beautiful music of North Africa. The food, laughter, music, people and heart of Africans will always make traveling to and within Africa an experience of a lifetime. If you enjoyed this, you’ll also like How To Travel The World For Almost Free.