What Do You Need To Take On Your Self Drive Vacation?

We’ve built a list of what to bring, what we have and what to leave behind for your vacation to South Africa. 

You’ve made the big decision – South Africa is going to be your next big adventure. Perhaps you’ve already set your dates, booked your flight, and have started mapping up your self-drive itinerary. Now the fun starts – it is time to start planning the finer details of your trip.

You know how it is before any trip, you have no idea what to pack. And we are not talking socks and undies or your swimsuit, but the more out of the ordinary things that’ll make your life easier – aka essential gear for your 4×4 self-drive safari. When you’re planning on driving yourself through the bush, the desert or to wherever as long as it’s away from civilisation there are a few things you won’t want to miss in your suitcase!

When preparing for your Southern African vacation there are a few important things to consider and bring along to make your time on the road that much more comfortable. To help you out, we’ve put together a top 10 list of things to bring and remember for your planning.

Departing Cape Town for the West Coast

What To Bring With You

  •  Load up your playlist

There is nothing like blasting out your favourite tracks and sing-alongs as you take in the open spaces of the countryside. Our vehicles are equipped with a WiFi router so feel free to stream as you go but you may want to have your playlist saved on your phone for those ‘no signal’ moments.

  • Bring a book or audiobook

We are firm believers in lite weight, minimalistic travel bringing only the essentials but your favourite book is certainly essential. If you do a lot of reading, we recommend you go for the ebook option to save on space – remember our Suzuki Jimny’s are compact 4×4 rentals. Another great option is to add some audiobooks to your playlist so both of you can indulge. 

  • Good Quality Sunglasses, Sunscreen and Hat

We cannot highlight the importance of a good pair of sunglasses enough. The glare on the open road – especially in the dry, karoo areas of the country can become unbearable. Bringing along a good pair of polarized sunglasses will make all the difference.

  • Your favourite travel guide

Guide books! What’s any trip without a good guide book really? They will be your everything and go to tool on a day to day basis. Are those lion or leopard droppings? Is that an Impala or Kudu? How old are the rock formations on the right and where is the next campsite?

Sure you can find just about anything online these days and most of your research will most likely be done on the data waves but there is something nostalgic about paging through a local guide book, reading out fun facts or picking local restaurants as you go. We keep a copy of the Coast to Coast backpackers guide in the glovebox for your convenience but we also recommend the Rough Guide which is available worldwide.

  • A comfortable daypack, sunscreen & a hat

When you out on the open road, you never know when the impulse to stop and explore will strike. We recommend you bring a comfortable day pack to pack those essentials for your stops along the way. A 28 litre pack will do the job. If you not up for purchasing one at home and travelling with it you can pick one up in South Africa through one of the many outdoor stores – have a look at this one from Cape Union Mart.  You never know when you may need to pack the towels and costumes for a walk to the beach or your camera, binoculars and bird book for a short bushwalk.

Essential items to go into that daypack include sunscreen, a hat and drinking water. Remember the heat in Africa can be extreme. You need to stay hydrated when out exploring and make sure you are protected from the sun. On a hot summers day, if you are not protected you can get caught out with a bad case on sunstroke which is bound to ruin your trip.

Things We Already Have In Our 4×4 Rentals For You

  • Onboard WiFi

We mentioned this already but we are saying it again. Our vehicles are equipped with onboard WiFi which you can use for travel directions, searching for those unique hidden gems, and streaming your favourite tracks. Your rental includes 3GB of mobile data but if you run out we will gladly top you up.

  • Camping Fridge

Whether you are renting an equipped or unequipped vehicle, we will keep the fridge in the vehicle for you. We use the Dometic CF50 which has a capacity of around 47 litres and plenty of room for all the essentials. These are extremely useful when on the road. You can pack it with drinks and cold snacks for those much-needed road snacks. When exploring areas like the Kruger National Park you can pack your breakfast or lunch and enjoy a picnic wherever you want – no need to rely on busy restaurants if you prefer the more remote options.

  • Pillows

Every passenger wants to take a nap at some stage on the journey. The pillows included in your rental are stored in the roof net inside the vehicle and easy to access for a quick nap.

  • Road Map

Google maps will no doubt be your best friend when navigating the roads of South Africa. For those out of signal moments, we have included a basic South Africa road map in the vehicle for you. If you don’t use it for directions, the least you can do is open it on the hood of the vehicle for a classic Instagram post.

  • Medical Box

Importantly, our vehicles have a basic first aid box behind the driver’s seat. The medical kits are supplied by our local pharmacy and equipped with the essentials for the open road. Inside you will find bandages, plasters, paracetamol, gloves, alcohol swamps and just about everything you need.

What You Don’t Need

  • The Kitchen Sink

As a final note, we would like to encourage you to take a serious look at the number of items you are packing into your luggage and cut out the stuff you don’t need. We are all about minimalistic travel and less is more. Unless you planning to completely disconnect from the world for the duration of your trip, most essentials are easy to find in South Africa. Pack fewer clothes and wash as you go, only bring essential medicines, leave your fluffy toys behind – unless it is a travel mascot, in which case bring that along too.

Climbing Sani Pass in KwaZulu-Natal

We hope the above list helps you with your planning as you pack your bags for the road ahead.

If you are still considering your options for a vehicle rental, please take a look at our vehicles page to get a better understanding of our minimalistic Jimny rental options. We are positive you will find them perfectly suited to the adventure you have in mind.

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