Africa-packing

How to pack for your upcoming Africa Trip
Suggested Packing List along with some tips
This list is provided as a guideline only. Every traveler must decide for his or her self what they will carry along with them.

 1. 30” roller bag. The standard size manufactured is 30” long and then either 14” or 16” wide and either 14” or 16” long. The combination of width and height add up to 30”. This meets some of the newer airline bag requirements for bags with a total length, width and height that adds up to 60”.
For our many non USA guests the digital conversion is
14” = 35.6 CM, 16” = 40.6 CM and 30” = 76.2 CM

30 inch roller bag
30 inch roller bag end view
My bag when fully packed weighs about 32 pounds or roughly 15 kilos.
15 kilos is the standard weight many airlines use as their "normal" weight limit. Of course nowadays almolst every airline has highly restrictive baggage limits.
We ask you to use ONLY a 30" standard roller duffel bag for your packing on our Africa trip. Or something similar.  Near the bottom of this page I have listed several styles and brands that meet our criteria.
The 30" X 14" X 16" roller duffel meets the new airline size limit for a standard checked bag. We ask that you limit the weight to 20 kilos or roughly 44 pounds OR LESS.
The more traditional style of suitcase is more difficult to store in or on top of the vans.


Here’s a packing suggestion list based upon my own packing list.   Please do your own planning, but use this if it helps.

My personal toiletry bag contains:

1 zipper baggie with - Folding knife (fruit peeling etc.), small scissors, nail clippers, tweezers, nail file, small digital thermometer, dental floss, hotel type sewing kit with needle and thread, spare shoe laces, spare eye glass string, spare pair of reading glasses.

1 zipper bag with cimetidine (stomach acid), tums, aspirin, Ibuprofen, benadryl tablets, benadryl cream, tinactin anti-fungal cream, neosporin 3 in 1 antibiotic cut salve, small bottle visine eye wash, anti-itch cream like for insect bites.

1 zipper bag with two or three antibiotics enough of each for a complete 10 day course.  I usually carry amoxycillin, doxycycline and possibly azithromycin.  This bag contains imodium AD also.  It will also carry whatever my malaria prophylaxis tablets are.  Usually this bag also contains some small amount of cold medicine.

1 zipper bag with razor, shampoo, small bar soap, toothpaste, toothbrush, comb, insect repellent in small tubular spray bottles and sunscreen. Sometimes I carrry a small bottle of lens cleaner in this bag or some individually wrapped len cloths.

1 zipper bag with misc first aid stuff - first aid gauze, some clotting chemical, first aid tape, needle and thread to sew wound, bandaids in several sizes, cut cleaning wipes individually wrapped and latex gloves.
 
Clothing I plan to bring

I am leaning toward bringing my hiking boots along for the gorilla trek. But they are so big and bulky I haven’t decided for certain.  Amir, our guide says we should have them for the trek.

Daily I’ll be wearing a pair of Columbia trail shoes, not high tops, but normal low style.  I like thick socks even in hot weather because it helps reduce the chance of blisters with a softer thicker sock.

I imagine most of the time I’ll be wearing either cargo pocket shorts or long pants. At dusk and after for sure long pants.  I’ll pack a pair of quick drying safari style pants and long sleeve shirt.  On the plane I’ll wear more comfortable cotton pants and shirt.

For a short trip like this I like to pack light so those two pair of pants and one pair of shorts will be all I carry for pants.

I plan on bringing several quick dry fabric T and polo shirts.  One long sleeve shirt for bug protection.  Because of going into the mountains for our trek I’m bringing a waterproof jacket along. 

I will also pack or wear a broad brimmed shade hat and sun glasses. For the gorilla trek I’m bringing a cheap pair of work gloves to give some protection from thorns and stinging nettles if we have to go off trail. 

Other assorted things to not forget:
Notebook and pens/pencils, your camera gear, battery chargers, binoculars, AND a nalgene water bottle.  For the gorilla trek especially you may or may not want to bring along one or two walking sticks.  These can be especially helpful when hiking downhill.

Begin in the top left corner of the photo and working clockwise this is what I normally carry on the plane on my overseas flights
A lightweight sport windbreaker that rolls into a small roll to easily slide into the bottom of the backpack that I use as my carry on bag.

Small tube of roll on waterproof sunscreen spf 50 (sometimes this is confiscated by security)
Tic Tac breath mints
Cell phone
Headlamp
Small Ziploc baggie with toilet paper and napkins folded in it. An empty Ziploc is also folded inside this storage baggie to hold my dirty socks if I change socks on the plane. Also inside the T.P. baggie are a few IBprofen, a couple Imodium AD and a couple tagament, a couple small disposable toothbrushes that you buy pre-loaded with toothpaste. 

One extra pair of warm clean dry socks

A Can of Pringles or nuts or pretzels. I prefer choosing my snacks and carrying them on.

Crushable foldable hat. Sunglasses inside a hard shell carry case. When traveling from Asia to USA or back I customarily put the hat and sunglasses in my checked bag.

My laptop is inside a cushioned case that slides into a cushioned pocket in the backpack. Thus providing two layers of padding for my precious laptop. I usually carry the laptop charger and cord in the carry on not in checked luggage.

A fabric money bag that can hang from my neck by a cord, but normally just lays in the bottom of the backpack. Inside this bag I carry small sums of money from the countries I’m traveling through, a few extra passport size photos for visas, my frequent flier cards, and my California drivers license. My passport when traveling is in a special easy to access pocket inside the backpack or in my shirt pocket.

Sometimes I carry maps in my carry on bag if I’m going somewhere new and I want to make notes while I’m on the flight.

I almost never carry liquids in my carry on bag. If traveling to an area with mosquitoes I will place a small spray tube of DEET repellent in my bag so I can dose up before leaving the plane. I might carry roll on style sunscreen in tube if I will be going directly into hot bright sunlight when I land. Otherwise I don’t carry sunscreen onto the plane.

I brush my teeth either using the miniature tubes of toothpaste provided by the airline or I brush with a disposable toothbrush.

In addition to this day pack as my carry on bag I normally also carry my Nikon SLR camera with the zoom lens mounted onto the camera body in a smallish camera bag that becomes my “personal” item as customarily allowed.

This carry on back pack pictured below was purchased at Costco. I looked for months all over the world for a quality bag that had a cushioned laptop pocket, a separate large pouch or pocket and some small pouches and pockets to tuck away various items. This bag is now 3 years old and appears almost new. I carry it every day as I walk so I’m quite pleased with the bag.

I hope this helps you when planning your next adventure.

A small but really terrific Kodak video camera that is waterproof to 15 feet.

The small digital camera I used to take the photos for this article, which is a Canon Power shot A3100.

A thermal drink cup with lid ($1.00 at 7-11 or Starbuck’s)

Inside the cup I carry a Ziploc baggie filled with sweetener and tea bags. You can usually get hot water for free on the plane simply by walking to the galley and asking. Easier and faster than waiting for the food service. With this large cup you can actually drink some tea, not just have a sip or two like you get with those tiny plastic airline cups that they only fill halfway. Sometimes I add a couple Snickers bars to this tea service bag.

A notebook and several pens in different colors with waterproof gel ink so the ink doesn’t run if my notebook gets wet.

My Kindle Ebook reader. I still use the cheap and simple black and white model because I only use this for reading books. This and my laptop are two of the most important items I carry.

A backpackers headlamp for reading. Frequently the lighting on airplanes is misdirected or cannot be adjusted so as to shine where I want the light.

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