The plains of Kruger National Park, wildlife roaming about, Table Mountain, and beach villas await. There's so much to be excited about for this honeymoon trip to South Africa and Seychelles. It's a trip that was planned to be diverse and dynamic. On the adventure end of things we have the safari, hiking Table Mountain and Signal Hill, cage diving with sharks, diving in the Indian Ocean, surfing in Muizenburg, and exploring Istanbul. On the relaxing side, we'll have finest wines and dines in Cape Town, beaching villa side in Seychelles, and relaxing in our honeymoon suite at Elephant Plains.
This is a trip that crosses many types of activities but also different climates so we had our work cut out for us when packing away our life for 28 days on the road. As with a number of my other guides including the one I put together for Ethiopia, I wanted to give you an inside look into everything that I packed for the trip and fit between my 30L Peak Design Everyday Backpack and Heys large hard-shell suitcase. Read this packing guide to find you need to pack for a trip to South Africa and Seychelles.
- Complete safari itinerary in South Africa
- 1 week itinerary in Cape Town
- The ultimate guide to Kruger National Park
- Yes we went shark cage diving in South Africa
Where did we stay in South Africa?
Packing Guide for South Africa and Seychelles
The following is a packing list for our trip to South Africa and Seychelles prior to heading out which gives you a complete picture of literally everything that be packed. It's based on the type of traveller that I am as a guy and by no means is this meant to be a definitive way of packing but hopefully it'll help you as you plan your very own trip.
Here's what we're covering:
Since our trip spans extreme hot dry climates at Kruger, tropical island heat in Seychelles, to moderate Spring-like temperatures in both Cape Town and fall weather in Istanbul, we kind of needed to pack quite the array of versatile clothing. We needed clothing that could be used in a number of different scenarios without overpacking.
Another unique thing to think about was the safari itself which called for special clothing. While I really didn't want to stand out like a sore thumb “tourist” in South Africa, I still wanted to have some of those neutral coloured shirts that could be converted to long sleeves for protection, could stay cool, and also not be distracting for animals. Columbia and Mountain Hardwear were my sportswear company of choice.
With this packing list guide for South Africa and Seychelles, let's start off with the tops.
From left to right
- SCOTTeVEST travel jacket
- Eagle Creek Pack-it Specter – 6 t-shirts and 2 tanks including the Pistol Lake Performance Henley
- Short sleeve beach shirts x2
- Columbia Pilsner Peak II Long Sleeve Shirt – Uses their 50 SPF Omni-Shade material while also helping to stay dry with Omni-Wick. This is super light and comfy – perfect for a safari
- Mountain Hardwear Air Tech Short Sleeve Shirt
- Columbia Men's Plus Tamiami II Long Sleeve Shirt – Another awesome shirt for the safari
- Patagonia Torrentshell Rain Jacket – Lightweight and packable in case it ever does rain
- Kathmandu Zip-up Fleece – Bought this in New Zealand 7 years ago and still going strong!
- Men's Trail Flash Half Zip Shirt – A tech layer that I use as a base layer in combination with the fleece in case it gets cold
Next up we have the pants. These always take up a lot of room so you have to be smart about what to bring. For the most part, my choices were around good long safari-suitable pants combined with comfy shorts with some being of the amphibious sort.
From top to bottom
- Level Six amphibious shorts – Debating whether I still bring this but this has always been versatile for me on trips
- Mountain Warehouse Trek Pants – Khaki pants with side zippered pockets which will come in handy
- Pilsner Peak Pant – This one is lighter on the pockets but is incredibly thin, breathable, and light
- Pistol Lake terry shorts – Watch the review!
- Uniqlo capri pants – You know…for when you want something in between
- Quiksilver swim trunks x 2 – Now can't be wearing the same swim trunks every day on the beach right?
Here are what can be found in my undergarments mesh sack.
From left to right
- ExOfficio Give-N-Go Boxer Briefs x 5 – I've reviewed these to death and still my go-to pair of underwear
- SCOTTeVEST Travel Boxers – These are comparable to the ExOfficio's and would easily recommend these as well
- Hiking socks x 4
- Low-cut socks x 3
- PJs – Easy to forget so good that these made it in
Shoes are all important but they take up a lot of space so you have to make sure they count. Having done Ethiopia, Peru, and Iceland which were very physically demanding, I put this set through the test and they've done well so why break up a good thing!
From left to right
- Rainbow sandals – I've reviewed these and I still say these are the best flip flops. They'll be perfect for the beach but they'll also act as slippers everywhere else or for walking too if it gets hot.
- Columbia Conspiracy Razor OutDry – These are awesome waterproof hiking shoes. Figured I don't need high ankle hiking shoes for this one. They did admirably in Ethiopia so why not in South Africa.
Not the most glamorous of things to pack but definitely the essentials. Over the years I've honed in on what exactly I need. What I've learned is that emergency medicine is always good to have especially when you're in a foreign place because what you know to be “Tylenol” may be called something completely different elsewhere. If there are language barriers, that's a whole other story too. The other thing to keep in mind is that if you're staying at hotels, you'll always have a supply of lotion, body wash, shampoo, and conditioner.
Everyone's going to be a bit different here based on needs but here's a minimalists approach to toiletries.
From top to bottom
- Sea to Summit Travelling Light Hanging Toiletry Bag – This one's super lightweight and compact to carry everything except the shaver
- Braun shaver
- Hair gel in a Muji reusable squeeze bottle
- Body wash
- Body lotion
- Wet naps
- Nyquil (daytime and nighttime)
- Gravol non-drowsy
- Multi-vitamins – Good way to be proactive to make sure you're in tip top shape
- Cetaphil face wash
- Alcohol wipes
- Tylenol Cold & Sinus (daytime and nighttime)
- Reactine antihistamine
- After Bite
- Emergen-C – Another good way to boost your immune system if you need it
Make sure to check in with your doctor to see what prescription medication you need for your trip. As I've done trips to Ethiopia and the Amazon in the past 3 years, I've had a number of vaccinations so I'm covered for a number of things including Hep B, Meningitis, Typhoid, and Yellow Fever so I was good there but the nature of this trip required a few more things.
From left to right
- Malaria pills – Kruger National Park is a malaria risk zone so we had to make sure we were protected for that part of the trip
- Cipro – Antibiotics that are good for diarrhea, bronchitis and urinary tract infection
- Dukoral – Protection against e-coli cholera (my review of Duukoral)
Where packing light completely failed was in this department. As much as I wanted to cut down on gear, things kept piling up especially with the introduction of doing more video so here goes all the very heavy gear I'll be lugging around.
From left to right
- Sirui T-024X carbon fiber tripod – My go-to tripod that's super compact and lightweight
- Joby GorillaPod Hybrid – What vlogger doesn't have one of these!
- GoPro Hero5 on XShot Pro Pole – I honestly don't expect to use this too much since I have the Osmo but I'll need it for diving.
- GoPro batteries – Collection of legit and Wasabi batteries
- DJI Osmo+ with ND16 filter – Latest gear to the collection. Honestly I'm not sure if I'm going to be keeping it but this trip will be the true test of whether it's going to be useful.
- Osmo Extension Stick and Osmo Tripod – If we ever need the Osmo fixed on the ground or more for selfie purposes, this will be handy.
- DJI Mavic Pro with new low-noise propellers (drone, controller, and 2 extra batteries) – Love this drone. While we won't be able to use this for the safari component of the trip, hoping we can sneak this in Cape Town discreetly and definitely in Seychelles.
- Mavic Pro ND filters – Need to slow down that shutter speed for those cinematic shots. For those bright sunny days, my ND32 is pretty much always on the Mavic. The rule of thumb is that for 30fps you would want your filter to produce around 1/60 sec (2x the FPS)
- GoPro Jaws: Flex Clamp – I have a feeling we'll need either this or the other clamps for the jeep safaris or self-drive through Kruger.
- Olympus M.ZUIKO 40-50mm f2.8 PRO – This in combination with the extender will be the most used lens during the safari
- Olympus M.ZUIKO 7-14mm f2.8 PRO – Wide angle lens
- Olympus OM-D EM-1 Mark 2 camera body with 12-40mm f2.8 PRO – Best travel camera I've used especially now that it's got incredible video and in-body stabilization, I don't even need a gimbal with it
- Olympus BLH-1 Batteries
- Olympus MC-14 1.4x Teleconverter – This essentially gives a 1.4x magnification on top of the 40-150mm lens for extra reach if I need it
- B+W Circular Polarizer
- Think Tank Photo SD Pixel Pocket Rocket
- Rode Videomicro Compact On-Camera Microphone – Great all around mic for vlogging.
- Rode smartLav+ – Lavs are still the best way to get clean audio so I figure if I do interviews, this will be good.
- Peak Design The Field Pouch – Quick access pouch for things like batteries and various clips/mounts
- Formatt Hitech 100mm Filter Holder – I have a bit of a complicated set up here but essentially on top of the holder I have a special adapter for the 7-14mm lens and an assortment of filters including the ND1024 (ND3.0)
- GoPro clamp and car mount
- Random bag of chargers and cables in Eagle Creek organizer
- Powerbank (not depicted) – This will come in handy for the road when we want to charge things in the fly
The computer gear I'll be bringing as well. This time I elected to bring the MacBook Pro as I have a feeling I'll be doing some video editing on the plane.
From left to right
- LaCie 4TB USB-C Rugged Drive – Just picked this up since I needed a high capacity hard drive for all the video I was going to be taking and could withstand the bumps and bruises of travel.
- Lexar SD card reader
- 13″ MacBook Pro
- Apple Power block
- Apple USB/AV Dongle
- Victorinox Travel Organizer – This carries all of my loyalty cards, printed documents, passport, cash, and small things like SIM card removers.
Miscellaneous things I packed
And well here's everything else that I either forgot about or didn't know how to categorize.
From left to right
- Adventure Medical Kit
- MSR Travel Towel
- ScubaPro mask
- Divers Log
- Magnetic car mount – Good for all road trips
- Assorted plug adapters (Euro, UK, South African) – Take special note of the South African one which is the one on the top right with 3 circular plugs. I've been told that most places will have the UK/Euro plugs so you should be okay without them but borrowed this one in case
- USB car adapter – Having done a few roadtrips now, this has become one of those essential things to pack
- Burt's Bees Chapstick
- Hydroflask Water Bottle – Usually I don't bring these but hoping it'll come in handy for the safari if we want to make our own coffee in Kruger or to keep drinks cold
- Light My Fire Titanium Spork – One thing we learned from our Iceland trip was that it was hard to find utensils for to-go food we bought at grocery stores and if we did find them, it was always kind difficult to wash the plastic disposable ones. Since we'll be spending a few days in the Kruger camps, this was recommended to us.
- Buff – I've sung their praises for awhile now. A must-have for any trip
- Mammut Headlamp – Headlamps are a way better idea than a flashlight because it frees up your hands
- Maui Jim Mixed Plate polarized sunglasses – They weren't kidding about the optical clarity on these. Best sunglasses I've ever owned.
- Logitech UE900 Headphones – Good for the plane and laptop
- Joto Universal Waterproof Case – Good for the casual snorkel especially in Seychelles
- Croakies Sunglass Retainer – If you're looking for that Dad look, this is it. Actually, I picked this up in Hawaii and it's been a godsend because I'm always holding onto way too much gear. Sunglasses clipped to my shirt or on my head always fall off and when I use my camera, I don't like wearing my sunglasses, so I just pop these off my head and let them dangle.
- Sea To Summit Mosquito Head Net with Insect Shield – I really hope we won't need these but like in Peru you never know
- Sunscreen – Minimum 60SPF
- Bug repellent – It's hard to tell how bad it'll be but we have an assortment of deet and natural mosquito/bug repellent. If anything we'll be able to pick them up there. We've brought Natrapel, Deep Woods Off, and Great Outdoors Watkins.
Hats and things! Still debating hard about whether we'll need the broad-brimmed hat for the safari but hoping to wear my fun beach hat and my foldable
Left to right
- Beach hat – Bought this in Maui a few trips ago and it's one of my favs!
- Bushnell Falcon Binoculars – I'll be using my zoom lens to see the animals in the wild but my wife will be using these
- AmazonBasics Ultralight Packable Day Pack – Another one of those that I'm not sure if we'll use a lot but could be good to have a smaller backpack for day trips instead of always carrying my large 30L
- Outdoor Research Radar Pocket Hat – Love this little hat because it's foldable and can be easily put in your pocket if you need to
- Columbia Bora Bora Sun Hat – Still feel a little ridiculous with this hat but they do recommend a broad-rimmed hat because there's no sun cover out there so going to bring it!
- OCS Oceanic Dive Computer Watch – I mainly use it as a regular watch but it'll come in handy for the diving in Seychelles as well
- Travel wallet (not depicted) – I've been using a Sea to Summit wallet for awhile and it's good because it's zippered and has a compartment for coins
Other exclusive prep for the trip
- Get travel insurance! I used Kanetix and in a matter of minutes, called to get multi-trip insurance for a full year and it cost less than $100. SWEET! Print out/bring your insurance card as well.
- Bring snacks. Especially for the self-drive part of Kruger National Park or just any part of the trip you get hungry, it's always good to have a goodie bag of snacks you can grab. Saves money too!
- Exchange some cash beforehand. We prepared EUR, USD, ZAR, and TRY for our trip in advance. We know we'll need to withdraw more when we land but this gets us started in case anything happens or we don't have time.
- With our 48 hours in Istanbul, we realized we needed an e-Visa. While we could've gotten it after landing, everywhere I read recommended we do it online so head to the official Turkish site (which looks sketch).
- It's always a good idea to use Google Map's offline feature (OK Maps!) and star all the main destinations you'll be going to in case data fails or you don't end up getting wifi when you need it.
- Charge all your batteries beforehand.
- Set reminders to change the time on your cameras.
- Copies of passport, credit cards, and identification stashed in all my different bags.
- Make sure you bring any other documentation that you might need. For instance, I always make sure I travel with my Yellow Fever card.
- Print your reservations especially the ones for Kruger National Park since you can't be sure they'll take something through your phone.
So that's everything that I packed! I know, quite a lot of stuff. Hopefully this gives you a good idea of what you want to think about for your trip to either South Africa, Seychelles, or both! Hit me up in the comments below if you have any questions. I'd be glad to answer :)