Packing for your Victoria Falls (Africa) Adventure
From our experience, we have found that Victoria Falls is normally part of a longer trip to Africa and this, of course, will need to be taken into consideration when packing, and you might need a separate list for each segment of your trip. Packing cubes can be very useful for this purpose.
If you are backpacking around Africa this will also dramatically affect the amount of luggage you can take and is not really in the scope of this article.
Victoria Falls (Zimbabwe) is a very small tourist-based town – you will not find big malls, just small shopping centres, so the first advice would be to ensure that you have everything that you may need before arriving.
Please don't leave any shopping for essentials for when you get here, as it is more than likely that you will not be able to get them - especially any specific medication that you may need.
What Luggage to Choose
If you are staying in one of the town hotels, then the suitcase you choose doesn't really matter and is more dependent on the wardrobe you like to carry around. I would still recommend travelling as light as possible, just for ease of getting in and out transfer buses, taxis etc.
However, if part of your itinerary includes light aircraft transfers into a safari camp/lodge, big hard-cased suitcases are a definite no-no as they won't fit into the aircraft's small luggage compartments (see Weight Allowance on Light Aircraft below).
A daypack is also an essential item of luggage, to carry around the daily bits and pieces you need.
A money belt is pretty much an essential item for travel these days, keeps cash and credit cards safe and out of temptations way. Do not carry large sums of cash around with you, please refer to our Zimbabwe money page.
Make sure that all luggage is lockable for when it's transiting through the major airports, theft is an issue. Johannesburg, Cape Town and Victoria Falls airports have baggage-wrap stations for extra security and to protect your luggage. What we have found though are these suitcase covers below, which are excellent and do the same job, but it's a once-off purchase, make your suitcase recognisable on the carousel, are more eco-friendly and also avoid you having to waste time at the airport.
Weight Allowance on Light Aircraft
What Clothes to Bring
It is very important to know the weather at the time of the year that you will be travelling. Please see our Victoria Falls weather page for more details on expected temperatures and rainfall throughout the year.
One of the big mistakes is thinking that Africa is always hot. It can and does also get very cold in winter (June and July) especially on early morning game drives and activities, when a good jacket, scarf, gloves and a woollen hat are essential. However, it does warm up quite quickly so layers are the best advice, peel off the jackets and jerseys.
Outside of the very short winter, days are hot to very hot but nights can still get cool and a windbreaker/ waterproof jacket is still a good idea. For the very hot days, a little secret is to bring a bandana or buff, which can be dipped in water and is very refreshing and cooling around your neck.
Victoria Falls is a pretty casual destination and there are no specific restrictions on what you can and cannot wear, except for camouflage, which is prohibited. During the day shorts and t-shirts are very much the order of the day. During the evening the top-end hotels have a smart-casual dress code and most other places are very casual, even shorts will suffice.
Zimbabwe is a colourful nation so although neutral coloured clothing is the norm for when you are actually on safari when in town feel free to be as brightly coloured as you desire.
All hotels and lodges will provide a laundry service so think three to four outfits.
Suggested Packing List
Cameras and Binoculars
Cameras – these days modern cell phones take brilliant photographs in high resolution, that can capture your holiday perfectly. But for someone wanting a bit more functionality than happy snaps, I would recommend a bridge camera. They are now so advanced and compact but give you the same shooting power and versatility of professional-looking camera bodies and huge lenses that one used to have to lug around. Don't forget to bring extra batteries, memory cards and your chargers.
My favourite bridge camera is the Sony RX10 MkIV but there are other options as well below.
Binoculars – Nikon Monarch HD 10 x 40's are the top of the range Nikons and are my personal favourites, which I use. They are excellent all-round binoculars with incredible clarity but without the hefty price tag of Swarovski's or Leica's.
Documents to Pack
These are pretty obvious to most international travellers but serve here as reminders and also links through to other pages on our website which have more details on the topic.
Zimbabwe has some unique circumstances and it is essential to know the facts, please click on the links below.
You might also find our page on 7 things you absolutely must know before visiting Victoria Falls useful reading.
Things Not To Pack
If you would like to include some of the local community needs in your packing, Pack for a Purpose is a charitable organization that encourages travellers to devote five pounds worth of their luggage weight allowance to school supplies, medical equipment and other necessities that can be donated to locals in need. Please have a look at their website where you will find further details.