Monday, May 10, 2010

South Africa: What to pack

South Africa is noted for its warm year-round climate. Summer brings inland temperatures that can shoot well over 110 degrees F, while winter temperatures are cool seaside and dip near freezing in some inland and mountainous regions.

  • Check the calendar. South African summers begin in November, with the peak months in December and January. Winter starts in May.
  • Pack lightweight summer clothes when visiting during the hotter months. Take an assortment of shorts, T-shirts, skirts and sundresses. It's wise to have a sweater or long-sleeved button-down shirt for layering, should the evenings get cool, and to keep your skin protected from the sun and insect bites.
  • Stash a swimsuit, sunscreen, sunglasses and a hat if you plan to hit any of South Africa renowned beaches. Sunblock and a wider-brimmed hat are advised when spending time on the plains.
  • Bring long-sleeved shirts, long pants and a heavy windbreaker if you plan to visit any wild game reserves. Leave the bright colors at home; neutral tones make you less conspicuous to those you'll be observing.
  • Pack a coat, sweaters and heavier socks when spending time inland during winter.
  • Take sandals if you plan to visit the bigger cities or the beach towns. Comfortable walking shoes or athletic shoes will keep your feet happy while visiting the reserves or doing a light hike in the mountainous areas.
  • Take an umbrella for protection from the afternoon summer showers.
  • Check with your travel clinic about anti-malarial pills if you'll be in the northern inland areas.
  • Bring an electrical converter and adapter.

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