14 December 2010 by Julienne du Toit

6 Essentials for Travelling Light

Homestay visits or camping will probably be the most rewarding, memorable and insightful parts of your trip around South Africa.

Just remember - you’re not staying at a fancy hotel. There won’t always be wi-fi connections. So take these simple objects travelling with you:

1.  Kikoi. I’ve used these useful lengths of cotton as skirts, dresses, turbans, towels, shawls, sheets, beach wind-breakers, camera protectors and table cloths. I even once used a kikoi as a curtain. Pack or buy a kikoi before you pack anything else.

2.  A notebook and lots of pens. Write your impressions down. Travel is such an intense experience that by tomorrow you’ll have forgotten half of it. Pens need back-ups - one will always let you down. Plus, they make good gifts to kids in poor areas.

3.  Torch, preferably wind-up or shake-up so you don’t need batteries. You may find yourself in a place without electricity after dark. You’ll appreciate having a torch along.

4.  Matches. Maybe you’re camping and need to light a campfire. Or you need to light a candle for a romantic evening.

5.  Croc shoes. I usually just buy the fake ones. They’re great for middle of the night excursions. As long as it’s not into thorn country.

6.  A knife. I’m not talking about a Crocodile Dundee kind of knife. Just one with a corkscrew and a bottle opener and a blade for peeling an apple.

Too many of us think we can just get by on room service and a Blackberry. That may be so in downtown Las Vegas, but here in Africa it’s wise to carry a little bag of lo-tech essentials. Along with the Blackberry, of course…

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