Elegant Adventure in July-August - a few questions

We are approaching the 2 month count-down for our long-awaited adventure (July 31). Having read all the topics on this forum, and researched weather, health requirements, cultural mores, etc. I am beginning to feel somewhat prepared for our journey and becoming very excited, but I have a few questions of experienced people who have taken this trip, especially those who done it in August.
Regarding appropriate dress for the weather, I am assuming that we will want to wear long pants, long sleeved shirts and closed shoes rather than sandals while in Cape Town and Johannesburg unless it becomes unseasonably warm. However, I am less confident about comfortable clothing in Kruger and Victoria Falls. Will we want capris or shorts, short sleeved shirts and sandals for the warm daytime temperatures, or do we need to stay covered up due to bugs and the sun's rays at this time of year? Are we likely to want bathing suits? Since we need to pack "light", I know I can't pack for every possibility and am trying to be quite disciplined about what I bring.
My other question is about electrical adaptors needed at our hotels. It seems that South Africa currently generally uses a type M plug (3 large round pins), which I have not seen in local stores. Is this what our hotels are using? And what about the Victoria Falls hotel? It appears that Zimbabwe may use a couple different plugs.
I appreciate any wisdom people would like to share. This will be a very special trip for us, and I am loving the planning.


  • Hi connmom, clothing, actually the clothing is quite opposite to what you say. You can get away with capris and short sleeve T-shirts in Cape Town and Joburg, but don't forget the sunscreen . Whereas, in Kruger it can be extremely cold indeed early morning, I am sure you have read my posts and others about this. You get up and leave for the safari drives almost pre dawn and I'm normally hot stuff but I had gloves and coat and hat and snuggled under the blankets that the safari vehicles had on them to keep warm. Once the sun comes up it does get warmer, but not that quickly, the game drives are designed to go out when the predators may be finishing up on their night hunting, especially if they have not made a kill earlier in the night, then as it gets warmer they relax and are harder to spot and only mad dogs and Englishmen stay out in the midday sun as they say! So my suggestions would be to wear your long leg pants and tShirts for the safaris because with that one base layer you can reduce the sunscreen and bug repellant and add a vest and jacket on top that you can peel off if it gets warm. For the late afternoon game drives, start with pants and t and take coat with you to add as it cools down, you do end up coming back in the dark, that's when you might encounter the cheetahs right by the side of your safari vehicle like we did, so near you feel tempted to reach out and pet them, but don't!
    Victoria Falls is warmer and more humid and you do walk up to the Falls and you might get damp from the spray, so bare that in mind too!
    Swim suit, never leave home without one! There's ample room to take tons of clothing in the suitcase allowance and when you need your duffel alone, tons. I amass as many lightweight clothing pieces as I can and always take them on vacation with me. I worry so much about losing my suitcases because it would take forever to get all those old faithfuls again. I only have a couple of pairs of real safari pants, the rest look a little like them but are just regular everyday lightweight pants that happen to be khaki, brown, green, beige and I wear them throughout the year when weather allows. Same with the long sleeve tShirts, spruce them up with scarves and jewelry when I need to and treat them in the laundry like they are designer duds so they will last forever. I always feel I look pretty decent dressed like this and certainly on the Kruger part of the tour it's fine to eat dinner in these. The Cape Grace is the nicest of the hotels you will be staying at, so save your very best outfit for there. Any of the other places I would say if you run out of decent clothing you will be fine. The service at the Cape Grace is one of my favorite experiences.
    Three pin round adapters--- if you can't find them in the stores, you will on-line. We've only recently upgraded to Amazon prime because we are finding we are starting to buy more and more things on line so it's becoming worth it for the free shipping for something like an adapter plug. Look back in the forum for a photo of a Monster' multi extension plug that we got after seeing it here, it can plug in three of your electrics in it and then plug it into the wall with only one of the round pin adapters.
    Have a great time !
  • Thank you, British, for such a thoughtful and quick response. I was surprised by your experience in the cities because with average highs in the low 60's in Johannesburg and Cape Town, I fully planned to wear my "longs" throughout the day; now I will be sure to pack my sandals and perhaps take more warm weather daytime clothes!!! I think I have prepared pretty well for the game drives, as I hate to be cold and am very conscientious about sun protection, but it is good to know that we will want to stay in the same pants and sun protective shirts in between the drives. Now if I can keep the shoes down to a reasonable number, I hopefully can also stuff my fleece jacket, a sweater or 2, some smart casual wear for evening, binoculars, and preventive meds, etc. into my suitcase!
    I will look for the monster plug you mention, as we always take several electronics and are challenged by sharing a single outlet. Also, from what I have read about the Cape Grace, I think we will love it, along with the rest of what seems to be a great itinerary. The reading I've been doing has made me so excited.

  • I'm also on the July 28 trip so I have started looking at the 10 day forecasts for Cape Town, Johannesburg and Skukuza (in Kruger Park) on weather.com. For the next 10 days the lows are typically in the 40s to mid 50s and highs can be anywhere from mid 50s to 80s. I plan to check again before packing to see what conditions I need to be prepared for.

    According to the Sabi Sabi Lodge website, in August, the morning safari is from 6:30 - 9:00 (earlier in other months) and the afternoon safari is from 3:30 - 6:45 (later in other months). I assume Tauck follows a similar schedule. Current forecast shows the early morning temperatures in Skukuza in the high 40s to low 50s. Afternoon temperatures are high 70s to high 80s.

    Looks like we need to be ready for lots of variability.
  • To British: Why would we pack a swimsuit when it is winter? I was told by Tauck that the lodge pools are not heated.
  • I beg to differ, I just looked at all the hotel descriptions on the tour to refresh my memory and they all have heated pools. If this is incorrect then Tauck should correct the information they provide on their website for you to read. At the second Sabi Lodge you even get your own private plunge pool which we certainly used. If you are comfortable bathing au naturel there then I think you would be Ok but we wore our swimsuits. We often swim in unheated pools anyway as it happens. A swimsuit is such a light and small item to pack, it is always safer to take one than not. We were on the tour in August, in the day, it's warm , but cold at night, it's a desert climate. We will be taking the Zamvia, Botswana SA tour next August.
  • Hi supersecdd,

    I do believe all the properties on your South African journey do have heated pools. I will double check with the Tour Manager to confirm.

  • I am purchasing an adapter plug for S. Africa, Type M, with 3 round prongs. I was wondering if it is the same one as needed for Zimbabwe. Online it looks the same but I can't tell if one is thinner than the other. When I called Tauck I was told to bring 2 and 3 prong plugs, which makes things even more confusing!
  • I did this trip two years ago. The adapter plug for South Africa does not work for Zimbabwe. I had trouble finding the Zimbabwe adapter in the US and if I remember right you spend only two days there at the end of the trip. I just made sure that everything was fully charged when I left South Africa (I had several camera batteries) and that was sufficient to get me through the trip.
  • "Heated" is a relative term! All the pools on our recent K&T safari were supposed to be heated. Now, I don't know if they meant "truly heated" or just "heated by the sun" but I work out in a heated indoor pool six mornings a week and the "heated" pools on K&T were no where near the temperature I find comfortable. I got in the water but the temps were VERY BRISK!
  • edited July 2015
    supersecdd wrote:
    I am purchasing an adapter plug for S. Africa, Type M, with 3 round prongs. I was wondering if it is the same one as needed for Zimbabwe. Online it looks the same but I can't tell if one is thinner than the other. When I called Tauck I was told to bring 2 and 3 prong plugs, which makes things even more confusing!

    You need the BS 546 style of plug which also works in India apparently. we have so many adapters but I am not sure where all are, I just looked at some and can find one that can take the small type 3 pin round Or an American one and the part that plugs in to the wall is the larger 3 pin round. We must have found one because we have been to both countries. sometimes you have to plug several different country adapters into each other to get the configuration correct but this is one of the things I let my husband worry about. You can find the BS 546 on Amazon for a very reasonable price.
  • When I looked back at the original post about swimming pools I realized that Supers was talking about the lodges and not the hotels. The hotels do have heated pools, the second lodge definitely has the plunge pool, as Alan says, heated is relative. I swim outside from May to October in a swim spa that is heated to 84 degrees F, when the air temp is cool it feels really warm, when it is hot it feels cold, but I adjust. Take a swimsuit, then decide, if you don't you won't be able to decide, unless like us you went to Ten Thousand Waves Resort in Sante Fe where there was a nude area and swim option, but they recently changed the mixed bathing area to always wear lower half swimwear, which is probably a good thing. You might find you want to take a nap in the off time rather than swim anyway after such early morning calls.
  • We are looking at taking this trip next August 2016. Is anyone willing to share the age of the travelers for this trip? We are age 50 and are concerned the trip may not be active enough for us.
  • edited July 2015
    None of the Africa trips are particularly active, this one is part culture, part safari. So it is probably the one that you should choose over the other three. The main reason that these tours are not what one would describe as active is that you are going to Africa and it is not safe to be walking around on your own or you might get eaten. The tented camps don't have things like gyms. You basically rise early every day, get in a safari vehicle and look at animals. There is a break, where you could swim in the pool, I do this some days but other people here say the pools are chilly, which they can be! The camps are small,so you won't get a decent walk in and whatever you do, don't think you can go for a run in Africa because if you do, something will chase you, and run faster, and eat you! Then in the mid to late afternoon you go on another safari. Most people go to bed early because we rise so early. You can't go for a walk after dark without an armed escort as animals can roam the lodges that could eat or charge at you, think buffalo in this case, or maybe elephant. When you are in Cape Town or Johannesburg, there is more opportunity for exercise, walking, gym, swim, that is why I suggest this is the best of the tours for you to do. I am not sure whether you have taken any Tauck tours before, but generally there are not too many blocks of free time to do 'active' things, if there was more free time then you could not call these vacations 'Escorted tours'which is what they are.
    Ages, the three Africa tours I have been on all varied very much in age groups, you can never tell, even if you call Tauck to ask about the age breakdown of a particular tour, it could change because people cancel all the time, especially if there is some kind of thing like a terrorist attack or Ebola outbreak, it scares people. Dare I suggest that you seek out one of the safari companies that does more walking safaris if that is indeed what you seem as active. Hope this helps
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