Packing Lists

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Packing Lists

General Packing Guidelines:

  • Pack lightly since most items are readily available in Cape Town.
  • Do not bring anything you would be devastated to lose for example irreplaceable keepsakes or valuable jewelry.
  • Place valuable electronics, such as laptops, in your carry-on, not checked luggage.
  • Consider bringing travel-sized toiletries to reduce weight and potential spills
  • Check luggage weight restrictions and arrive in Cape Town with some spare weight to accommodate shopping

South African Plugs and Voltage:

  • South African electricity operates at 220/240 Volts AC, while the U.S. uses 110 Volts. Ensure your electronics can switch between the two.
  • Many laptops and cell phone chargers have built-in adapters, but not hair dryers and straighteners.
  • South African plugs differ in shape; most are 15-amp 3-prong or 5-amp 2-prong with round pins. Adapters are available at local grocery stores.

Basic year-round packing list:

  • Day backpack that can fit your laptop (you can use this as a carry on)
  • Good hiking/running shoes, sandals, and work shoes
  • Swimming towel
  • Swimsuit/board shorts, even in winter
  • Sunscreen, hat and sunglasses (even in winter)
  • A couple of dressy outfits for city outings
  • Work clothes for your internship
  • Casual clothes for the weekend/after work
  • Clothes suitable for hiking and exercise
  • Emergency Cash. We suggest an amount in the range of $1000 that can be exchanged for Rands in the event you lose your wallet or credit card. You can pay for certain trips and excursions with foreign cash and receive a discount of up to 20% (e.g., the popular Garden Route Trip).
  • Electronics (laptop, smart phone, charging cables, tablet, GoPro, etc.)
  • Your prescribed medications for the duration of your trip in their original bottles as well as your prescriptions
  • Passport, printed flight confirmations, and copies of essential documents
  • Driver’s license (if renting a car or going on a road trip)
  • Student card (for potential discounts and to use as a form of ID)
  • Debit and credit cards

Packing for the winter months: June to August

  • Cape Town’s winter is milder compared to many Northern Hemisphere countries but includes some cold, wet, and rainy days.
  • Average daily temperature: 17°C (62°F); evenings can drop to 6°C (42°F).
  • Central heating is rare in Cape Town, so warm clothing is essential.
  • Essentials for this season include a warm, preferably waterproof jacket, sweatshirt, sweatpants for sleeping, jeans, warm clothes, a beanie or warm hat, warm slippers/socks, closed shoes that can withstand moisture, and some lighter clothes for warmer days.

Packing for the spring months: September to November

  • Variable springtime weather, including some cold and rainy days (mostly in September) and warm, sunny beach days.
  • Early spring (September) requires both winter and summer clothes; late spring (November) may not require many winter items.
  • Essentials include a warmish jacket or rain jacket, summer clothes, sweaters, and closed shoes suitable for wet conditions.

Packing for the summer months: November to mid-March

  • Warm weather with average temperatures around 24°C (75°F), occasionally reaching 32°C (90°F).
  • Essentials: sunscreen and hats, swimsuits or boardshorts, beachwear/sarong, sandals, shorts, cool pants, dresses, skirts, t-shirts,  and light jackets or cardigans and long pants for cooler evenings.

Packing for the Autumn months: Mid-March to June

  • Lovely, sunny, and mild autumn weather, transitioning to winter towards the end of May and into June.
  • Average temperature: 20-22°C (68-72°F).
  • Essential items include a light jacket, summer clothes, jeans and long pants, and sweaters for cooler days.