We’ve compiled a hands-on list of South Africa- specific things you shouldn’t forget to include when you travel. Also, we’ve helped you remember to leave behind certain things that could get you in trouble at the airport.
Get out your checklist! Oh… you haven’t made one yet? Just as well – because we are here to make sure you create all the most important boxes to tick. Dont forget this at home.
We are sure that most of you have had to pack your suitcase for a trip before – perhaps for a weekend of camping, a holiday, a hiking trip, etc. But the way you pack differs when you leave home for an extended amount of time, like for a gap year or studies abroad – and it differs depending on your destination.
We’ve compiled a hands-on list of things you shouldn’t forget to include when you travel to SA, as well as things you should not bring (most of them are relatively obvious).
Alrighty! Get out your pen and paper and start scribbling.
Make sure you pack this
- passport and visa
- flight details
- university acceptance letter
- confirmation of medical aid (try to bring a copy of your vaccination history)
- some cash in the local currency – Rand (more than R 25 000 in cash needs to be declared at customs)
- an international driver’s license (in case you want to rent/drive a car or scooter)
- travel insurance documents
Tip: Make two copies of all your documents. Stash one in your suitcase and the other in your hand luggage. Remember to save important contact details in your phone or address book. And keep the luggage tag where you can easily find it – you don’t want to be left clueless if your bag gets stolen or lost.
Toiletries & Health
- mosquito repellent
- any medication you personally require
- contact lenses, contact solution and glasses
- an international/travel adapter. The South African electricity supply is 220/230 volts AC 50 HZ, so be sure that that is compatible with any appliances you are bringing, or else buy a converter/ transformer
- a small torch (in case there is a power cut – we have frequent scheduled power outages
- camera and charger (capture those memories)
Don’t bring this along
What you do in your free time back home is not our concern, but we don’t want to end up watching you being denied access into South Africa, or getting deported for illegal importations…
In addition to the listed items below, be sure you remind yourself of the hand-luggage regulations! For example, don’t pack more than 100ml units of liquid into your hand luggage, or dangerous things like pocket knives and pepper spray. It will be confiscated. Check the details on your flight ticket/with your airline for the exact regulations.
Strictly Prohibited Stuff (don’t bring this under any circumstances)
- habit-forming drugs & narcotics (that includes Bob Marley’s favourite herb…)
- any poisonous or toxic substances
- explosive substances (including fireworks)
- cigarettes that exceed a mass of 2kg per 1000
- fully automatic, military, or unnumbered weapons
- counterfeit goods (faked brands)
- any form of plagiarised work
Restricted Stuff (you can bring it, if you have proof of authorisation or a permit)
- up to 2L of wine/ 1L of spirits (you need to be over 18)
- firearm/weapon (you need a permit)
- gold coins and unprocessed minerals
- plants, animals, and animal products (no yogurt, no honey, no exotic butterflies – you get it)
- medicine (You can bring medicine for personal use, but if it’s for more than 3 months, you need a prescription or official letter from a physician)
- herbal products (you need a Department of Health permit)
Stuff you can bring from duty free (per person)
- up to 200 cigarettes and 20 cigars (you must be 18 or older)
- up to 250g of cig/pipe tobacco (you must be 18 or older)
- up to 50ml perfume or 250ml eau de toilette
- up to 2L of wine or 1L of spirits and other alcohol
- a safari kit – you don’t have to look like a game ranger when you come here
- Self-tan – believe us when we say you won’t need it
- Friends – you’ll make plenty of those while you’re here
- pop-tarts and your favourite snacks – you can leave them at home, we’ve got tasty stuff too
- Aspirin – believe it or not, we’ve got pharmacies
- an American football – We play Rugby, the ball’s bigger and so are the men (eish!)
Don’t worry about this stuff
- special dietary food items – we have it all here, from gluten, sugar, and lactose-free products, to superfoods, supplements, vegan and organic brands
- dictionaries – we have 11 languages (officially), you’re bound to understand one of them
- Ebola – wasn’t us
- lions – they don’t roam the streets at night
Whatever you do – don’t stress. If you have forgotten something, it’s really not the end of the world. You will probably end up packing more than you need, and you’ll want to leave some space for treasure to take home.
Once you’ve thought through and ticked off all of your check boxes, then you’re bound to be prepared to jet-set into the land of South African adventures. We wish you the best of luck! If you have any questions for us, please don’t hesitate to ask us here.