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Packing for your Victoria Falls (Africa) Adventure

Packing for your trip to Victoria Falls (Africa) or any safari trip can be difficult especially if it's your first time and you are not sure what to expect.

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

  1. Weight and balance calculations need to be done ahead of time. Therefore, the weights of all guests are required prior to travel, although additional weight allowance for the aircraft does not need to be purchased for passengers weighing more than 100kg (220lb).
  2. Luggage including both check-in and carry-on (handbag, backpack, camera equipment, sleep apnoea machine etc) is restricted to 20kg per person travelling on seat rates.
  3. Only soft bags are allowed – no frames or rigid structures can be transported as they physically cannot fit into the aircraft. Wheels on a bag are only permissible if they are not part of a solid frame or rigid structure. A collapsible wheeled luggage frame/trolley ( separate to the bag) is allowed along as the basic dimensions are similar to that of the bag.
  4. The maximum dimensions of the soft bags which can be accommodated are as follows ; 25cm wide x 30cm high and 62cm long. Please note that the baggage compartments on light aircraft are only 25cm high so pilots must be able to manipulate the bag into the compartment.
  5. The number of bags per person are not limited as long as they conform to the dimensions and types of bag as listed above, and together, do not exceed the total permissible weight of 20kg per person.

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

Clothing
• Comfortable sneakers/sandals/walking shoes for walking the Victoria Falls rainforest, game activities etc.
• Flip-flops or similar for around the pool/hotel and even on some activities.
• Good wide-brimmed hat and/or cap.
• Shorts/cut-offs for daytime wear.
• Sleeveless cotton shirts/ T-shirts for daytime wear. Easily breathable fabrics are more comfortable in a hot climate.
• Earth-toned clothing, if you are going on safari.
• Jeans, pants or trousers and cotton long sleeve shirts for evenings, as this is good prevention against mosquitoes.
• Loose-fitting, harem like pants for comfort around your hotel.
• Sarong
• Bandana or Buff
• Bathing Suit
• Underwear
• Socks, essential to keep the mosquitoes at bay
• Winter months can get cold especially on safari so a good fleece/jacket, gloves, scarf and woollen hat.
• Summer months – light windproof jacket and jersey

Additionals
• Toiletries
• Sunscreen
• Insect Repellent
• All Medication *Malaria Prophylactics
• Plug Adapter - although a lot of places now have universal power sockets
• Powerpack to top up your electronics
• Small Torch to get around at night
• Sunglasses to protect your eyes from the African sun.
• Water Bottle, so that where possible, you don't have to buy plastic bottled water and you can refill your bottle from the water stations.
• Rehydrates – During the hot months you will sweat a lot and topping up vital salts and minerals is essential to keep your energy levels up.

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.

Passport and visas
Travel insurance
Credit cards and cash
Yellow Fever certificates
Covid-19 Regulations

You might also find our page on 7 things you absolutely must know before visiting Victoria Falls useful reading.

Things Not To Pack

High heels
Skirts
Camouflage clothing, as this is prohibited in Zimbabwe
Drones as they are illegal in Zimbabwe
Valuable and sentimental jewellery, it is best left safely at home

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.

 

If you are thinking about an African safari please contact us to help your plan your perfect holiday. With our intimate local knowledge we can ensure that you get exactly what you are looking for.
 





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