When you're volunteering in South Africa
It's a difficult one - you don't want to pack too much and carry the kitchen sink around in your rucksack, but you also want to make sure you have everything you need in a new climate, a new place that you've never been to before and doing a job that you might never have had experience in! We know it can be difficult so we thought we'd give you a hand with a VERY practical packing list. Here's our list of the top 10 essentials which should feature on your packing list for a volunteer trip to Africa.
Top 10 Essentials for your Volunteer & Travel Packing List
1. Clothing that is easy to wash and dry and doesn't need ironing. Consider materials which are comfortable against your skin in hot weather.
2. Basic, inexpensive clothing that can you don't mind getting covered in mud, paint, dirty fingerprints, sweat or anything else that may ruin it! A basic clothing list includes:
- 2-3 pairs of shorts
- 3-4 t-shirts
- 2-3 long sleeve shirts/ t-shirts
- 2 pairs long trousers/pants
- 1 jacket / waterproof
- a sweater/ pullover
- 2 pairs of walking boots/ trainers (functional shoes that can be worn for working, walking etc.)
- 1 pair sandals/ flip-flops
3. A smart change of clothes (for evenings out, dinner in a restaurant or other likely occasions).
4. A towel and face cloth.
5. Swimwear and a sarong.
6. Sun protection including sunglasses, sun screen and sunhat.
7. Your own personal toiletries (including a spare pair of glasses or contacts if you wear them).
8. A camera (with memory card and charger!) to record your time away, the people you meet and the places you volunteer.
9. A journal / diary/ scrap book if you like to write things down, keep physical memories like ticket stubs, sweet packets and leaflets to remind you of where you've been.
10. A torch (EXTREMELY useful for moving around dorms and shared rooms without disturbing fellow volunteers as well as for destinations with unreliable electricity - I find a head torch works best!).
If you can fit them in your pack it is also consider asking if your chosen volunteer project has a wish list. Small things like boxes of pens and pencils, packs of paper, maths sets, calculators, childrens' school shirts and under-wear, books and art supplies etc. can easily fit into small pockets and spaces in a rucksack or suitcase, and are all gratefully received by the projects that you join.
Do you have an essential item on your packing list that we've forgotten? Comment below and let our readers know what else they need or email it to firstname.lastname@example.org!