Packing Tips for Botswana, South Africa, & Zambia

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  • edited October 2017
    Ah, you will have to buy some clothes, but don't go crazy. Long pants, light weight, khaki, beige, light brown, dark green. You can get these at EMS, Columbia, REI etc etc you could probably even get something at Walmart. I stress they do not have to be specific. to be proper Safari clothes, as long as they are earth colors, lightweight and easy to launder and dry. I even found some at Costco this year, cheap as chips and perfect. I personally don't think zip off pants are worth it since you want to be covered up for sun and insect protection and it reduces the need for the toxic Deet spray you have to put on. Long sleeve t shirts.--- I wear mainly chicos brand or Uniqlo, the latter very reasonable price and lightweight. You could go for a much darker colored shoe, they will get filthy, so if you want to keep them afterwards, they should be washable. There are a few walks on this tour and on sandy parhways and on the crusty sirface of the Kalahari desert, but you must wear enclosed shoes for sure. I wear Merrill, Lands End, LL bean type suede and waterproof shoes, I have several pairs and have worn them for many Tauck adventure type tours. I even have a Clarks pair, you can get all these at various price points especially if you will not want to wear them again, I even shovel Snow in old ones, they have a good grip. We find packable lightweight down jackets perfect for layers and they take up no room or weight. Again, many price points. My latest Safari hat was from Costco, should have a chin strap so it does not fly off. Oh, buffs for your neck, useful for cushioning your camera and binoculars on your neck, and keeping dust out of your nose and mouth and keeping you warm and protecting you from any insects. You can look at the link to the Tauck partner Necessary Gear, to give you ideas, but there really is no need to pay those prices. Some people travel with just a change of three outfits. I am not that brave.
  • British...thanks...that helps tremendously. I have been looking on amazon and have purchased my husband a couple of shirts...one light blue and light weight and one taupe but a bit heavier. I was thinking about the convertible pants...and you make a very good point...we probably will not zip them off so why pay extra for that. I was wondering about dark shoes...that taupe might show less dirt...am i way off here? I can always use a new dirty pair of barn shoes...lol shoveling dung or shoveling snow...good grip is always good.

    We both a have a black light weight down jacket from north face we bought for Alaska...i was concerned about the black...will that be an issue? I keep reading dark attracts those peskie flies...and i imagine their bite is about like a horsefly bites around here...hurts like heck. I was also looking at vests...i see a lot of folks wearing those in photos.

    I have looked at the Tauck partner link everyday for the past two weeks and while it gives me ideas...nothing spoke to me and said BUY ME yet.

    I am an over packer...and i HATE wearing clothes two days in a row...so this could be a challenge for me.

  • edited October 2017
    Oh dear, if you want to really experience this trip to it's fullest, you not only may wear clothes twice in a row but have to sleep in them all night but I am saying no more or I may spoil a Tauck surprise! Yes, down vests are also useful , we take both long sleeve and vest down coats. A black down jacket will probably be fine, I take a much cheaper type and keep it just for my travels. The tsetse flies do hurt like horse flies but even they will have trouble reaching through an outer down jacker and sometimes you can be lucky and be on a trip where you see none. Out of four tours we have only had testse flies bother us during two of them. As far as overpacking, the Tauck duffel bags hold a huge amount of clothing. I never take a bag any larger or heavier than Tauck allows, but that does not mean I don't take a lot of stuff.
    I believe you are going in a September, don't forget when you get to CapeTown it can be cool and wet.
    Just to save me posting any more about Yellow fever on your other question, you are 62 and have a lot more potential Travel years ahead of you if you have the health and money, you are just two years younger than me and I have been to quite a few exotic places I thought I would never ever go to. I still think it is worth having a Yellow fever vaccine, I have said in prior posts that for someone with a good general health background the research shows that adverse affects of the Yellow fever vaccine have been greatly exaggerated. Other vaccines like Hep B, Hep A, shingles, tdap boosters and so forth, all Americans should have them, you never know who you may be bumping into in your own country and with the low uptake on vaccinations the 'Herd Affect' is not working properly any more and we are all at risk. Don't be afraid of going to Africa, it is no longer the Dark continent. You are going to have the trip of a lifetime. I am about to go back to Africa and I can't wait!
  • British....Maybe i will go ahead and get a couple of vests as well...at least one for steve in case the jacket is too hot. I will plan for cool and damp in cape town...it sounds like leggings and tunics will be fine..my normal attire.

    I just found out that tauck sends the duffel bags ahead of time...so that should help me. Did I misunderstand that we are allowed suitcases but only the duffel bags go on safari and the suitcases meet up with us in Cape town?

    We will have to get several inoculations...Steve has had more than i have...so he is ahead of the game.

    Just an aside...we are going to Colombia, panama, Honduras, Belize and costa rica next year and will need some of the shots for those places as well. I don't want to get off subject too much since i am pretty new here.
  • edited October 2017
    I just found out that tauck sends the duffel bags ahead of time...so that should help me. Did I misunderstand that we are allowed suitcases but only the duffel bags go on safari and the suitcases meet up with us in Cape town?

    Yes, that is correct. Unless you don't live in the US then you receive it when you arrive at the start location.

    FYI, you might want to take a look at the B,SA,Z forum archives- there might be some questions and answers that you haven't though of yet. Also, give the archive search function a try. I usually read all the archived posts for a particular trip well before we travel, and sometimes even before we book a trip. For some tours I copy significant (to us) posts and paste them into a word document for my wife.
  • British....Maybe i will go ahead and get a couple of vests as well...at least one for steve in case the jacket is too hot. I will plan for cool and damp in cape town...it sounds like leggings and tunics will be fine..my normal attire.

    I just found out that tauck sends the duffel bags ahead of time...so that should help me. Did I misunderstand that we are allowed suitcases but only the duffel bags go on safari and the suitcases meet up with us in Cape town?

    We will have to get several inoculations...Steve has had more than i have...so he is ahead of the game.

    Just an aside...we are going to Colombia, panama, Honduras, Belize and costa rica next year and will need some of the shots for those places as well. I don't want to get off subject too much since i am pretty new here.

    Hi again, if you are going to the countries you mention next year, you will definitely need to get ahead and get your Hep B and A and tdap, shingles, annual flu shot under your belt before you go there. If you are going with Tauck to Costa Rica, I did post a factual review of the Pura Vida tour in the general section of the forum around the middle of January this year, there was no sub forum for it. I have taken three different Tauck tours to Costa Rica, some no longer offered. We love it there and it is a nice nearby winter destination which is so 'exotic'.
    Yes, you use regular suitcases for the tour and pack tour duffel bags for the Safari parts. You will love Cape Town, a modern city in th tourist area and outside of the city, some of the most luxurious homes you could see anywhere on the planet as well of course as the other end of the spectrum. I could easily settle and live in Cape Town but it's a long way back to visit the grandkids.
  • British...I am not a shopper...but i do want to get a few things for my babies...(i have 5 of those grandchildren you refer to) is Cape town the place to count on to do this?

    Unfortunately I know we have plenty of shots to get...did I mention how BADLY i HATE shots!!!! ughhh
  • edited October 2017
    Shots are not that bad these days, just breath out as they plunge that needle in, it beats giving birth!
    About your other question, no don't ask me what I wear to sleep, you might blush!
    CapeTown is a good place for gifts. There is now a large shed like building very near the One and Only hotel that has some quality crafts. Unusual things are ostrich egg jewelry, ostrich eggs which I like, may buy another if I can find one in Namiba, they vary in quality but I got a lovely one last year in the the Craft hall in Cape Town which was painted with meerkats which was appropriate since we had the meerkat experience. You can buy plain, carved out or painted ostrich eggs and if you don't want to buy a display stand you can put them on top of round bracelets at home. Watch those grandkids though, we had a grandchild go into the room with the couple of eggs and he picked one up and I had to distract him with something else to save it. There are batik fabric painted scenes, oh all manner of things your kids will curse you about when you leave them a house full of traveling souvenirs when you pop your clogs. U will find some things for your grandchildren too.
  • British...I don't think it is the stick as much as it is the side effects afterwards...but i will wear my big girl panties and take it like a woman...and hold the vision of the trip in my mind while doing so!

    We sleep sans clothing as well ...but i was planning on bringing a gown just in case i need to escape from my tent ...lol

    I am glad to hear there is some shopping at cape town....

    Can I ask...is there one certain thing that you think of when you think of Africa that you have purchased...besides the ostrich eggs? Like...we just did the River cruise...and i knew going in that i NEEDED a cuckoo clock from Germany.

    By the way...thanks for your patience...you have been great for letting me pick your brain.
  • edited October 2017
    Golly, you are going to have more posts than me soon, but it's fun. You are probably going to reach Exploder status. Actually our favorite things from Africa are probably the 'Talking Sticks' and large Collar necklaces we got at the Maasai villages but that is a Kenya and Tanzania thing---- then after that any type of Maasai painting, that's why I keep saying to get that Yellow fever shot because this will not be your only trip to Africa, all parts are different and different souvenirs. Oh and I have a jar of talking sticks in reach of my grandson, have to be careful since they look like beaded caveman clubs
    .
  • Thank you...that's most helpful. By the way..I emailed the Livingstone hotel today asking for assistance from the concierge. We will see if I get a reply.


    Like I said before...I joined this forum quite sometime ago...made a couple of posts...but it was very slow moving. This forum zips right along...which does make it quite fun.

    I am not sure we will return to Africa...I do know the next big trip planned after Africa will be Australia and New zealand. checking off that bucket list ....
  • We arrived two days early to the Livingstone hotel, chilled out, had wonderfull massages, walked to the Falls, which of course are very low at that time of year, same time as you are going, and took a helicopter ride over the falls and further afield. The grounds have zebra and giraffe, monkeys, various antelopes and hippos on the river. We swam in the pool and enjoyed a couple of evening dinners in the restaurant. The hotel had a lot of Brits plus other internationals, dress in the evenings ranged from Safari to smart casual. Lots of Mosquitoes around even in our room.
  • edited October 2017
    yay!!! I am an explorer!!!

    Alan has been very informative about things offered that we can do those first couple of days. I really want to just walk into Zimbabwe...not do anything ...just step into the country...and the elephant safari looks like such fun!...as does the cheetah encounter. But truth be told....we may be so tired all we do is rest.

    British...I write a detailed trip report of every trip we take...so I have it documented...otherwise years later i forget what we did or where we ate...etc. and Steve takes tons of pictures. I sure hope Alan starts that thread giving us all a tutorial on how to post pictures. I would love to see yours!

    Question...when you say the falls are low...does that mean they are not flowing?

    Another question...are there locks on the doors of the tents in the camps? I feel like it might be a dumb question but i was reading your response about computers on the other forum.
  • I do documentation for all our trips and photos of course and photo books/combined diary from Shutterfly or Costco, not so often for European tours though., being born in England most places there are not exotic enough.
    There are no locks on the tent doors, especially on this tour the camps are miles away from anywhere and remember you should have very few valuables with you. Our next tour we are not even going to wear wedding rings, not even our costume jewelry ones and just basic watches. People do wear their Rolexes and diamonds by the dozen, but we think that is frankly just stupid once you get in the cities. Our phones will be in the tents, not lying around but in unlocked duffels, Same with money and passports. We each carry a mini ipad. Mostly when we are out of our tent our cameras and binoculars are with us. What you have to remember about Africa, especially at the camps is that working in a camp whatever the job, is prestigious to have and you don't want to risk losing it for petty theft. I feel you are much more likely to get things stolen in a US hotel. However, always shut your tent entrance in case of monkey theft. Best to have no food in your tent so it does not attract wildlife either.
    We got to interact with a cheetah in South Africa and we are not too bothered about riding elephants and again have fed and stroked their trunks and so on. I rode an elephant's head about age two at the zoo, I don't remember of course but have seen a picture.
  • I am a scrapbooker so i have tons of books.

    Your explanation of the tents is very helpful. I was planning on leaving jewelry at home. But i will be sure we close the tent entrance because i would hate to get a cute little monkey in trouble for tempting him to steal! lol and we will be sure to keep no food inside.

    one more question that i have not seen ANYTHING about...SNAKES. Have you seen them or been near them in all of your trips?
  • Hi Cathyandsteveg,
    Just to let you know, there were safes in all rooms on this tour, even Kalahari. I did not bring my wedding ring and only took some inexpensive earrings and necklaces.
    You do need to lock your tents but I don't think having food would be a problem. They actually put apples in your tent in the Kalahari.
    Africa has snakes and the guides talked about them on ocassion, but we did not see any on our tour.
    Debi

  • We haven't been to Botswana and didn't see any snakes on K&T.

    But a quick check of Google yielded this:

    "Botswana's dry lands are home to over 150 species of reptiles. These include 72 species of snakes, such as the poisonous Mozambique spitting cobra, Egyptian cobra and black mamba. Although about 80% of snakes in Botswana are not venomous, watch out for the common and deadly puff adder."
  • alan...oh yeah...one of the first things i googled...lol so I was aware of the possibilities...but had not seen anyone speak about it.

    Alan...do you know of a way to access profiles here? you seem to be our resident "geek"...and i mean that in a most loving way...lol I figure if anyone knows how it will be you.

    You know i got my newest TAUCK exotics catalogue in the mail yesterday...and this trip is NOT in it. Wierd...
  • Don't worry. It is so popular that it does not need to be. We realized a long time ago that the catalogues do not feature every tour, neither do they feature every date the tour goes. On our most recent tour, the tour director specifically was telling us that if you see a tour you like, always call to see if they have additional dates available not published, which is what we found with Tauck years ago.
    Profiles, In the Ask and Share old Tauck forum you could click on a person and read every post they had ever made which gave you a good flavor of the person, so for instance, when Alan or I have made annoying comments you can see that we or maybe I do not do it that often. And Alan, thanks for posting how to post a photo again, I think I have to give it a miss, shame because I have some great Botswana ones.
  • I wish i could connect with you but i don't know how and i don't want to post my e mail although i might before this is over....

    I have been following you and alan...not stalking but noticing your posts...and they have been most helpful to me.

    I thank you both for posting....
  • edited October 2017
    I wish i could connect with you but i don't know how and i don't want to post my e mail although i might before this is over....

    I have been following you and alan...not stalking but noticing your posts...and they have been most helpful to me.

    I thank you both for posting....

    Again, unlike better bulletin boards/forums, unfortunately the Tauck forum:

    1. Doesn't have viewable profiles
    2. You can't search on a user name
    3. You don't receive a notification when there is a new post to a thread you are following
    4. You can't send a PM (private message) which avoids the issue with email addresses.
    5. Does not allow you to store or attach photos
    6. Does not automatically resize photos

    On the other hand, not being able to contact a user offline, forces everyone to discuss what might be information useful to others, on the forum instead of privately! As I said in an earlier post, Tauck IT assures me a major effort is ongoing to rework of the entire website- no completion date provided. I and others have offered to add our two cents worth, but, as far as I know, no one has been contacted.
  • Thanks Alan...I figured as much
  • I still feel that the numbers who know or use this forum are so small relative to the number of Tauck customers that it is not worth the money it costs to improve it. Even though it does not look good for the company. I think the money would be better spent on improving the information about each imdisvidual tour on the website rather than the very generic and inaccurate packing lists and related things that are published for the tours. The partnering with New Headings for travel clothing that is certainly not relavamt for most of the tours is also not good. And when a special Holiday event in Paris mentioned shorts on the packing list, laughable! I am seeing much better information like this on the rival company I am about to travel with. Although they have mistakenly started publishing the complete email address for anyone who makes a post, unbelievable! So no one is perfect.
    Maybe there is a way of forum users or be able to contact Tauck to ask that they allow Tauck to give another's email by mutual request.
  • I wish we could contact each other yes...and I don't think it would take much money if any. When we got home from our river cruise...we were sent an e mail list of the passengers that wanted to be on the list. Which is great...but it would have been so nice to have that information ahead of time.

    Partnering with New Headings could be profitable for Tauck...New headings maybe paying for the advertisement????

    Anyway....Maybe I will take your advice British and contact Tauck.

    I do know that tauck has a page you can "like" on facebook and i have done so...but it is pretty quiet.

  • On many Tauck tours you are given the email list before you leave the tour. At one time, an email list was a no no, the company policy has changed several times over. This year we got the 'story' Apparently there was a 'couple' on a tour who were very popular, the group decided to have an email list. A few weeks later the 'husband' received an email from someone from the tour who said something like, it was so lovely meeting you and your wife on the such and such tour. Trouble was, it was not his wife! The real wife read the email. Tauck was sued for privacy rights or something like that! Awesome right! Great story! But in all seriousness, I would not be happy if my email was given out before the tour without my permission, I want to chose who has my email. And anyway there are often cancellations and people do not make the tour even very last minute more often than you would realize.
  • oh my...not a good situation at all!!! but if they ask if you want to be included and you agree...then there should be no issue.

    There has to be a way to do this keeping safety and privacy in m mind

    anyway...my e mail is [email protected] anyone wants to contact me feel free....i got no secrets....and i am all about travel. Let's talk and share!!!
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