Travel Checklist for the South Africa Traveller
We suggest you also view our Travel information for South Africa page.
Travel documents and papers to bring:
- A valid passport, be sure to check the expiry date, it should be valid for at least six months from the date of entry, and have a minimum of four blank pages as required by South African law.
- It is also a good idea to carry a photocopy of the photo page and the entry stamp page of your passport as well as an additional piece of identification if possible such as one other picture ID (e.g. driver’s licence).
- Visas if necessary, double check if you need before you leave, currently they are not required for Botswana, Namibia, South Africa, Uganda or Zimbabwe.
- A print out of your itinerary, with the contact details of the places you will be staying at and the companies whose services you will be using.
- Any medical documentation you may need such as doctors prescriptions, allergy information or chronic medication information.
- Map and road map of the areas you will be going to, as well as any guides or guide books (hire a GPS from us)
- Air tickets, please make sure your air tickets are valid and all in order.
- Travel insurance documents, information and contact numbers
- Drivers licence in English, with a photocopy just to be sure. International drivers licence is not required for South Africa, or by CABS.
- Your daily budget and spending money, travellers cheques and credit cards
(NB: Please check the expiry dates of your credit cards, and inform your bank of the countries you will be using your cards in!)
- Your present list, it is a good idea to bring a list of names so that you can remember all the people who you would like to buy local gifts for.
Suggested list of Clothing you should pack:
As no formal clothes are needed throughout most of Southern Africa, we recommend that you limit your luggage to the basics, remember that there may be weight restrictions on luggage amounts for internal / domestic flights. (NB: see SAA baggage information below)
Generally, casual comfortable clothing is suitable throughout the year but you may want to include items listed below:
- A wide brimmed hat preferable to a peak cap in order to protect the sensitive neck area prone to sunburn
- Comfortable shorts / skirts as well as pants such as long trousers, golf-shirts, t-shirts and long-sleeved cotton shirts for daily wear. If out on safari, bright colours and white are NOT advised, neutral colours are best.
- Semi formal attire will be needed for city restaurants, and you might also need formal attire if you are staying at a prestigious hotel.
- A warm winter jersey, anorak or Parka is recommended for early morning or evening activities, depending on the time of year.
- Underwear (sports bra recommended on game drives as the roads can be bumpy and uneven) and socks, as well as a bathing costume.
- Good walking shoes such as tennis or running shoes that are comfortable and sturdy. If you will be doing lots of mountain walking, you should consider bringing hiking boots. Some sandals or open shoes to relax in when not exploring is also a good idea.
Other items to bring:
- Basic medical kit (containing chronic medication, allergy medication, aspirins, plasters, Imodium, antiseptic cream, anti-histamine cream etc)
- Personal toiletries – including cosmetics, lip balm, moisture cream, and sun protection cream
- If you wear contact lenses, we recommend a pair of back-up glasses or a spare set of lenses.
- Sunglasses, are a necessity for the strong sunlight and related glare common in South Africa
- Binoculars, video and camera equipment, with extra film or memory storage cards
- Torch with spare batteries
- Insect repellant – Note that local brands such as ‘Peaceful Sleep’ and ‘Tabard’ (DEET), as well as herbal citronella-based repellants are inexpensive and readily available at most convenience stores.
- Chargers and any adapters you may need for mobile phones, digital cameras and other portable electronic devices.
- Field guides, maps and other documentation for the areas you will be visiting, as well as game and bird guides
- A journal and pen to write about your daily adventures
- An interesting novel to relax with on long journeys
South African Airlines Baggage information:
Free Checked Baggage Allowance on SAA flights, First Class tickets – 40kg, Business Class tickets – 30kg and Economy class tickets – 20kg.please note that SAA charges ZAR30.00 / KG excess baggage charge.
South African Airways will accept only one piece of cabin baggage for economy class and two pieces for business class passengers. The maximum dimensions should not exceed: Length: 115cm (Length + Height + Width) and not weighing more than 8 Kg. Cabin baggage may be removed from the cabin due to space constraints.
SAA will no longer accept any single item of hold baggage exceeding 32kg (70lbs) which has not been approved for carriage by South African Airways at least 24 hours prior to travel. You will be asked to reduce the weight and size of the item by re-packing. If you cannot comply with this, the item will be refused carriage and you will be required to make alternative arrangements.
Travel Checklist: Download
|Done?||Planning the Trip||Notes|
|Enrol in frequent flyer mileage program|
|Request in-flight meals for special dietary needs|
|Check auto insurance policy to ensure coverage on rental car|
|Check accommodation for special dietary requirements (halaal, kosher, vegan etc)|
|Check medical insurance policy for coverage of out-of-town needs|
|Decide whether to purchase travel insurance|
|Request smoking/non-smoking accommodations|
|Purchase or arrange to borrow guidebooks and phrase books for destination|
|Ensure passport or visa is current|
|Arrange for pet sitter|
|Arrange for houseplant and lawn care|
|Arrange for pickup of packages and solicitations left at door|
|Leave emergency contact info and itinerary with relative or friend|
|Get appropriate inoculations for destination|
|Verify available spending limits on credit cards|
|Purchase local currency|
|Purchase traveller’s checks|
|Put hold on newspapers|
|Put hold on mail|
|Arrange transportation to and from airport|
|Done?||Have you packed properly?||Notes|
|In checked luggage:|
|In carry-on luggage:|
|Vitamins and over-the-counter medications (travel sickness, headache, indigestion, diarrhoea)|
|Extra pairs of sunglasses, prescription glasses, contact lenses|
|Address book/PDA and PDA charger|
|Cell phone and charger|
|Camera, video camera, film, batteries, binoculars|
|Power adapters and plug adapters|
|Magazines, books, portable music or DVD player, playing cards|
|Travel maps, guidebook, phrase book|
|Travel neck pillow|
|Snacks and bottled water|
|Credit cards and expiry dates|
|Health insurance card|
|Long distance phone card|
|Auto insurance policy number and agent telephone number|
|Recent photos of all travel companions|
|Confirmation numbers for hotel, rental car, and other reservations|
|Done?||Day Prior to Departure Notes||Notes|
|Set timers for lights in house|
|Update voice mail and e-mail auto-reply message|
|Update Web sites that you manage|
|Give or throw away perishables from refrigerator|
|Get seat assignments for flights|