After spending a wonderful 6 weeks in rural South Africa and a further 4 weeks in Tanzania, I have compiled a list of essentials to pack on a rural trip! Be sure to check out my post on my time in South Africa.
The lists below are predominantly for African countries, but it’s worth checking out regardless of where you’re heading. If you haven’t decided where to go next, then get some pointers here!
What to pack on a rural trip’s main pack…
- Sleeping bag! – Even if you’re staying in a hotel, I recommend bringing one as places aren’t always the most sanitary.
- Mozzy net – you don’t want to get bitten by those pesky things.
- Sewing kit – sounds a little random but can be useful when your last pair of clean trousers are torn at the crotch!
- Wash leaves – unfortunately there’s no washing machines! If you’re staying for a week then wash leaves aren’t necessary but if longer then that, I highly recommend. You definitely want clean clothes.
- Tablets – I particularly get travel sick when I’m on a coach so I have bring travel sickness tablets. I also have diarrhoea tablets as the change in diet is likely to mess with your system, as will the water. You should also bring vitamins to help maintain a balanced diet, and painkillers.
- Shampoo bars – the company Lush, have made shampoo bars that can last up to 40 washes! They’re small and come in a little tin so they’re a lot better then a bottle.
- Soap bars – this is the same as the shampoo bars, this is just for your body instead.
- Bite soother – this is a great soother for those itchy mosquito bites.
- After sun – save your skin from drying out by bringing a bottle of after sun, or trying to find some while you’re out there. Plain old moisturiser works too.
- Swimming costume – no matter where you are going, there can always be a chance of swimming! Trust me, I went swimming in a disgustingly green pond while in Spain that isn’t meant to be used as a pool.
- Towel – depending on what type of trip you are going on, you can get a microfibre towel which is great for hiking trips when you cannot leave your main pack behind.
What to pack in a day pack…
- Water bottle – get one with a covered cap as this stops you from drinking dust.
- Insect Repellent – make sure you bring enough! And don’t forget to cover your feet and ankles.
- First Aid Kit – you can get travel ones from Amazon which I highly recommend.
- Suncream – Ultrasun is the best brand you can get as you only need to apply it once a day and provides ultimate protection. Pack spares in your main pack too!
- Sun balm – for your lips! Vaseline is useful for dry lips so bring some of that too but you don’t want sun burn!
- Whistle – sounds a little ridiculous but this is a good safety procedure. Have a whistle attached to your bag so if anyone attempt to mug or hurt you then you can scare them away.
- Torch – these can also be good for SOS signals should the situation arise. When wondering the campsite during the dark, you don’t want to step on a snake either!
- Playing cards – for when the sun is high and you’re chilling in the shade, this is a great way of passing time and having fun.
- Binoculars – even if you aren’t in South Africa, the rural parts of any country have plenty of wildlife in so you want to be able to see them
- Camera – I have a Canon EOS 6D which is absolutely incredible, with a lens that’s 70-200mm.