Posted by: Dave | June 4, 2010

South Africa Trip Preparations

Malaria medication? Check.
Cold weather clothes? Check.
Electronics? Check. Check. Check.

I love everything about getting ready for a trip except for one thing. Packing. For whatever reason. I am completely terrible about efficiently and confidently picking clothes and putting them in a bag. No idea why. But I just put the last t-shirt in the North Face duffel and I’m ready to get up at 4:30 and head to the airport.

I can’t believe the how many cables and wires and batteries (and the things that need them) are going on this trip with me. How did people travel 20 years ago?! Here’s my list of items that plug into the wall and I’m sure I’m forgetting stuff…

  • DSLR camera w/ 2 lenses (including my super-awesome new 70-300 zoom telephoto)
  • Point-and-shoot camera and extra battery
  • Kodak Playsport video camera (underwater model – bring on the sharks)
  • Netbook (primarily for photo backup, but will make it a bit easier to maintain the blog)
  • iPod
  • Unlocked Blackberry for use with South African SIM card.
  • Binoculars (ok, maybe there’s no cable and charger for this one)

Yes mom, it’s all insured.

This trip is A LOT more planned out than I normally would want it to be, but the World Cup schedule and the number of travelers it brings to South Africa (not to mention the questionable security and other safety concerns) demand for that sort of preparation. Some of the cities that are hosting World Cup matches aren’t used to this volume of tourism, and they don’t have the accommodation to support an influx of hundreds of thousands of (mostly) Americans and Europeans. That made it essential to book the entire trip in advance… which has not been easy.  I didn’t make it any easier on myself as I arranged a crazy itinerary to try to see a lot of the country in the 23 days we’re there. Here’s the snapshot of our whirlwind tour of South Africa.

June 6 – arrive Johannesburg
June 7 – 12   Kruger National Park area
June 12-14   Durban (Germany v Australia)
June 14-16   Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Game Reserve
June 16-17  Durban (maybe Spain-Switzerland)
June 17-19   Johannesburg (USA-Slovenia)
June 19-20  Pretoria (Denmark-Cameroon)
June 20-21   Stellenbosch – SA’s wine country
June 21-22   Hermanus (Great White Shark cage diving)
June 22-25   Cape Town (Holland-Cameroon)
June 25-28   Port Elizabeth (2nd Round:  A1 v B2)
June 28-29   Durban (2nd Round:  E1 v F2)
June 29-30   travel home.

Looking at that now, I’m kind of intimidated at the pace. But for those of you scoring at home that’s at least 6 World Cup matches, 6 domestic flights, 5+ days on safari, 1 run-in underwater with apex predators and some wine. And much more.

But it’s all about the Beautiful Game. Maybe you have World Cup fever, maybe you don’t…. but ESPN is rightly (and finally) treating this World Cup like the Great White Shark of sporting events – top of the pyramid.  Since I don’t have any fun photos to share today, here’s a link to an ESPN promo spot that perfectly captures what the World Cup is all about.

Now the fun part:  Pick a team. Well, pick a second team – as we should all be supporting our guys.  But pick another team. It doesn’t matter what the reason… maybe you like Argentinian wine, or Australian shepherds, or Ivory Coast’s orange uniforms, or you’re perplexed by North Korea’s bizarre America-hating/Americana-loving leader, or curious about Slovenia and its population of only 2 million.  It’s fun to learn the stories of the teams and athletes from parts of the world that we’re not familiar with.

I have to get on the record with some miscellaneous World Cup predictions:

  • Mexico will make the semifinal.
  • North Korea will indeed win 1 game in the Group of Death.
  • US will finish second in the group, win in the Round of 16 and lose to Argentina in the quarterfinal due to questionable officiating.
  • Brazil will take home the trophy. Again.

I’ll check in after a few days in Kruger Park. Thanks for reading!


  1. Can’t wait to see pictures that will not include Bears… with the new lens. 🙂

  2. Wow, you actually got to see lions on the hunt. Awesome action video. Have a great time….

  3. Love it… it reminds me of the FV!!!

  4. Hey! Watched the Germany-Australia game today on ABC-TV. Couldn’t see you in the crowd, however! Assume you were there tooting on one of those noisy horns!

  5. looking back at your predictions: 0-fer! remind me to not come to you for predictions…see my page with prediction that US would win our group.

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