17 Feb AND WHAT SHOULD I bRING?
Deciding when to come to South Africa and what to bring with you are the most frequent questions I hear when someone it´s planning to come. Don’t panic, it’s totally normal. That’s why I’m going to advise you with couple of tips, that I’m sure you’ll appreciate when it comes to organising your trip.
In my opinion, there is not a better or a worse time to come, but it does depends a little what you want to do or visit, with whom and how you travel. Keep in mind that December and January is summer vacation time here, for the locals, and prices for accommodation, activities etc can vary upwards. Also there is much more car movement on the roads.
The first thing to keep in mind is that if you come from the northern hemisphere the seasons work opposite from the southern hemisphere. That is, if you plan to come during the European summer, it will be winter here. It seems obvious, but some of us expect to swim in the beaches of Cape Town, and I’m telling you now, don’t count on it if you come in August. South African summer goes from December to March, And winter goes from June to September.
Even following this indication, both, in winter and in summer the temperatures vary quite a bit depending on where in the country you are. It´s not the same the winter in the north that in the south. Note that you can find up to 7 different types of climate in South Africa, yes, you read right, up to 7 different types of climate and as different as, subtropical, arid, continental, dry etc. I know what you are thinking, the suitcase full of “just in case” can work well here. My advice is to bring a little bit of everything. More winter clothing if you come this time of the year and more summer clothing if you come from September to March, don´t forget your swimsuit/bikini, you will appreciate having a bath and relaxing by the pool on some occasion.
If you are going on a safari, to wear comfortable, breathable and colour-neutral clothing is recommended. It is not necessary to dress like Indiana Jones style but we recommend khaki, brown and beige colours..
A comfortable closed shoe and a comfortable open shoe should be enough, but again, it depends on the type of trip you want to make. Include shower shoes if you plan to camp.
Another factor that can help you decide when to do your trip is the mosquitos season. Think that there are areas that are free-risk of Malaria even if you go in summer (high mosquito season). But other affected areas, is recommended to take precautions even if you are traveling during the low mosquito season (winter). If you are travelling with children, and want to go on safari, it will help you to know that there are some nature reserves in the country, not close to Kruger (high risk area), which are considered to be out of risk. but if you plan to visit Kruger national Park, you can read the post reason #2 to travel to South Africa: Kruger and Greater Kruger
You can bring mosquito/ bugs repellent and/or other general medicines, But know that you can also buy them here.
Sun protection is a good idea even in winter if you plan do safaris or hikes.
Sunglasses and hat or other head protection.
Included in the suitcase a raincoat. They are small and can save you in some situations.
In all accommodations there should be plugs adapters for charging mobile phones, camera batteries etc, otherwise you should be able to find them in supermarkets for less than €1/1$.
In almost all establishments in South Africa you can pay by card without any problem, but not in some street markets or souvenirs. Therefore, I recommend you to bring some cash especially for the first few days. The official currency is the Rand and some banks, airports change currency. Once here you’ll find exchange offices also in airports, big cities and most touristic places if you need to change more. Some establishments and souvenir stands accept euros and dollars, also.
At Caleidoscopio, we assist you and help you with all these doubts and we advise you taking into account these and other issues such as whether you are travelling alone or with your family and which activities might be more suitable for you.
That said, I hope these suggestions help you and we look forward to seeing you here soon. A greeting from South Africa, on a warm December day.
A greeting from the savannah,