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Sharon de Bruyn

Flying Out to Zimbabwe tonight!

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The day has come and I am feeling so very EXCITED!!!

I am packed and the house is organised.  I am just doing a quick blog post to say our journey is about to begin.

Africa, wow, I never thought I would be going there and yet here I am on my way there shortly.

I will try where I can to post pics and videos of our experiences.  I am not taking a computer so will probably keep in touch via Facebook and place updates there.  If I can do blog posts, I will otherwise I will put my experiences on blog posts when we return.

Take good care 🙂

Sharon

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Security, Health, Safety and Contingencies

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Hi Fellow Adventurers!This is an very important email, as you can tell by the subject line.As you know, Africa, especially South Africa, has a very high crime rate.  It is important to be aware of your surrounds all the time and to make sure you take care of your personal belongings.  Common sense should always prevail.

Please don’t take anything of high value, and it would be a good idea to cover yourself with good travel insurance in the event of a theft, loss, damage or medical emergency.  There are risks in travelling in Africa and you need to make yourself aware of them.

Please also remember that all wildlife is unpredictable and can be dangerous.  Always take care around wild animals, and listen to the guidance and advice of any game guide that you are under the care of.

In Namibia the water is not safe to drink.  (Believe me!)  Don’t even brush your teeth with the tap water.  Only use bottled water.  Bottled water is safe and readily available.

Now for some contingency plans.  Highly unlikely to be needed, but important to put a plan in place in the event that it is needed.

Flights can be delayed or cancelled, and the area that you would be most vulnerable.

If you are travelling with others and someone misses a flight or a connection, and you cannot make the rendezvous as planned nor make communication, then you need to have a planned course of action worked out before you leave the country.  The plan we have in place today as we fly out today is as follow:  If someone misses their flight or connection.  Travel onto the country/airport as planned.  I suggest those who can make the connection, does so, and continues with the planned itinerary regardless – heading to the next HOTEL in the itinerary.  In this regard it will involve arriving in Walvis Bay, collecting the hire car, driving to Swakopmund and checking into the Protea Ndonga Hotel.  That will give us a central point to try and locate the missing member/s, and also gives the missing member/s a point with which to aim for.  Communication is essential, and as we all have iPhones, all we need is wi-fi access and then text messages/FaceTime/Whatsapp will be free iPhone to iPhone.  Hotels will have wi-fi access.Make sure everyone travelling has a detailed itinerary with all contact and reference numbers.  In this attachment includ all documentation necessary for your trip. It would be a good idea to print a copy out and keep it on you.  Also I recommend that you upload the details onto the “Kayak” App and share the entry with with your fellow travellers and then you will have all the details on your phone.Electricity and wifi is often unreliable in Africa.  Hopefully your hotels will provide it and you will be able to find wifi cafes along the way.  Africa is a very interesting place.

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Let the adventure begin!
Take good care,
Sharon

 

What Luggage To Take To Africa

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Dear Fellow Adventurers,

A brief note on luggage requirements.

We all appreciate that ladies luggage requirements are very different to those of men, and everyone has different personal needs.  What you decide to pack in your luggage is very personal and therefore it is hard for me to advise what you should take or what is not necessary to take.

So I leave it entirely up to you, and give only the briefest suggestions here.

1)  If possible, try and use a mid size suitcase.  At times, the room available will not only depend on your luggage, but other’s luggage also.
2)  Travel as light as possible to allow some room to bring back souvenirs and gifts etc. Review your luggage weight and size restrictions from your airline carriers.
3)  The weather at this time of the year from Namibia to Cape Town will range from warm to chilly.  Nights will be quite chilly wherever we go, and days should start cool and warm up nicely.  Some days might be a little hot.  Cape Town could experience the biggest range of weather in one day – similar to Melbourne – there could be rainy days.
4)  Dress codes:  Unless you require formal wear, the restaurants generally expect a smart casual dress code.  Jeans are acceptable almost everywhere.  I guess it would be fair to say that if you dress according to a casual evening out in Brisbane, you won’t go wrong.  It is very relaxed.  A good pair of walking shoes that can double up as casual footwear would be handy, and perhaps some thongs/slip slops(?) for desert or beach walks.
5)  Generally hotels supply hairdryers.
6)  Remember to take a hat and sunscreen – the usual sensible stuff.
7)  Crime is pretty bad everywhere in Africa, so perhaps try not to take personal valuables that may be at risk, such as expensive jewellery and lots of cash.  I’ll will a separate blog post on security.
8)  Don’t forget to take any meds you think you might need.  Chemists in Africa are pretty well stocked with most meds, health and hygiene stuff, so don’t worry too much about this. But do take meds you rely on, such as antihistamines, pain killers, asthma pumps, disinfectants etc.  Prepare for a possibility of upset stomachs/food poisoning, so perhaps pack some Imodium or equivalent.
9) A good idea is to take a small can of mosquito spray – they can be very pesky at night.  Although we will not be going into malarial areas, Rhino River Safari Camp “could” harbour some malarial mosquitoes.  However, saying that, September is a low threat season for Malaria.  Regardless, I would be inclined to suggest you bring Aeroguard and wear long sleeve/long trousers in open areas at night.

I hope the above is of some help.  Travelling is an adventure.

Take good care while abroad.

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Best wishes,

Sharon 🙂

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Electricity, Plugs and Adaptors for Travel in Africa

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Greetings Fellow Travellers.

So you are travelling to Africa.  Below you will find some useful information with regard to organising your appliances while you travel.

We are leaving for Africa today and some of our family are joining us along the way.  So I thought I would share with you some of the information we have shared amongst ourselves as we prepared for our trip.

The good news is that both South Africa and Namibia use 220v, which means it is compatible with all Australian electrical gear.  The problem is that their plug points and sockets have 3 rounded pins, so they are not compatible with Australian equipment unless you have an adaptor.  There is a photo below to give you an idea of what it looks like.

You can buy an array of adaptors at luggage shops or at the airport on departure.  However, the most versatile adaptor I have come accross is the “Skross” adaptor which can be bought from the Qantas Inflight store in flight or online.  This is very useful if you intend to travel a lot as it covers almost all countries in the world and even has a USB charger for iPhones, iPads and other 5v devices.  The problem is, now having had a look at mine, I can’t see a South African adaptor on it!  Nevertheless, if you are interested, you can purchase it through Qantas for AU$30 in flight or online at:

http://www.inskyshopping.com/product/skross-world-travel-adapter-classic-with-usb-charger/


A cheaper standard SA adaptor from a kiosk at an Australian airport will be just fine, however.  One good piece of advice I can give is that it may do you well to buy a standard Australian double adaptor from Bunnings. (Preferably the type that has bevelled ends – I’ll include it in the photo because I’m not too sure how to describe it accurately. The bevelled ends actually allow 2 plugs to fit in it – you’d be surprised how many double adaptors they sell that only allows one plug to fit although it can accommodate two!)  You can plug it into your SA adaptor, and you get 2 sockets for one, which will allow you to charge your phone and and camera at the same time, or you could use your hairdryer whilst charging your phone.  Very useful.

The photo attached shows three adaptors, bottom left shows the South African plugs, bottom right shows the reverse of that plug and how it adapts the usual Australian plug, and the top middle is the double adaptor from Bunnings.  Remember, the Bunnings one must be the standard Australian plug – as it fits into your adaptor.

Back to electronics – If your iPhone/iPad drains very quickly and you want to use your device listening to music on long haul flights or journeys, or you are going to a country where electrical supply is unreliable, you could purchase a digital charger, which is a device that stores power that you can use to top up your device.  They are a bit pricey, but you can get them at most electronic shops.  My suggestion is that if you do buy one for Africa, look at getting one that uses AA batteries which you can replace at will, and not one that needs a USB port, or a charger and electrical outlet – because again, you are dependent on a reliable supply of electricity.    I hasten to add that you should not need this in South Africa.  Zimbabwe, perhaps, but not South Africa, so really this is not a necessary purchase.  I just mention it if you feel you may need the extra power.

Zip-Lock bags – a GREAT invention.  You can get these by the hundred at the local Coles or Woolworths stores.  They are see-through, and this is important because you can see what’s in them without opening them – VERY handy, they are watertight, great for putting your phone or Passport in if it starts to rain, (or you are on a dubious boat or canoe) and also they are airtight, which can allow for a protective air bubble if you have something slightly fragile in your luggage.  (Or if you want your Passport to float – heaven forbid!)  And above all, great to store those pesky little earphones in so that the cables don’t tangle up with every other recharger, USB cable, power pack or piece of jewellery you may want to take with you. Just pop your earphones in the Zip-Lock, chuck them in your bag somewhere, and when you pull them out, they are just how you left them.  Perfect!  (By the way, the iPhone touch screen and microphones work well inside the plastic bag.)

I try to take 2 sizes of Zip-Lock bags with me, small and medium.  I use small to put earphones, cables, and loose change from countries I have just visited, which I won’t need again, so that I don’t confuse the coins with the new currency.  (It’s a real pain if you need glasses to read what is embossed on the coins, as I have now discovered to my dismay.)  I also place spare AA and AAA batteries in a Zip-Lock bag.  It keeps them together so you don’t have to go digging for a spare battery amongst your sox and undies.  In medium size bags I put rechargers, adaptors and other small but chunky items I would need to use almost on a daily basis.  At each new destination all I need to do is pull out 2 or 3 Zip-Lock bags on my bedside table and I am set.  All up I normally find I only need 3 small bags and 3 medium bags.  I would suggest that you pack 3 or 4 of each size into a side pocket somewhere as spares, should one fail, or if you find other good uses for them along the way.

That’s all for now on the handy hints.

Next blog post will be on luggage – what size bag to use, and what to pack.

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We have a big trip organised for Africa.  Today we fly out and as soon as I can, I will try to upload pics and videos of what we are experiencing over there.  I can’t tell you how excited I am feeling!!

Take good care and best wishes,

Sharon 🙂