A woman sitting outside an RV rental in South Africa.

Packing for Your Trip: Essentials for RV Rental in South Africa

RVs, also known as camper vans, are “recreational vehicles” with built-in living quarters. Typically, they have all the basic conveniences you need for camping trips, just in a more compact form. At Drive South Africa, we specialise in RV rental in South Africa and Namibia.

RVs are ideal for group or family travel. In fact, many people have taken their RVs across country borders. But what should you pack for your adventure?

The Essential RV Packing List

An RV rental under the stars in Cape Town.

Camping under the stars in a Maui RV

The fundamentals of packing for RV rental in South Africa – or anywhere, in fact – are simple. Pack light, plan well, and stick to non-perishable foods wherever you can. These principles will serve you well on any camping trip. They’re especially important when vehicle space is limited and could even save you money.

Clothing

Plan your outfits well and make sure you can wear each item at least three times. This will help you avoid over-packing, as well. Always pack a blanket, jacket, beanie, umbrella, and a set of warm clothes, even when travelling during the warmer months.

Stick to two pairs of shoes: one for cold, muddy weather and another for African summers, like sandals. Make sure you pack a hat or two – sunburn is no joke.

Toiletries and Personal Items

Keep toiletries and hygiene products simple and convenient, taking into consideration the duration of your travel, as well. You might find it useful to transfer liquids into smaller bottles, like the ones you can take on an aeroplane. Two in one products come in handy here. For instance, a hair shampoo that doubles as a conditioner will save you a lot of space.

Pack a brush and comb combo, a travel nail care kit, and wet wipes for cleaning everything from yourself to surfaces in the RV. Always pack hand sanitiser, sunscreen, a body exfoliating cloth, and lotion, as well.

Pack a small but comprehensive first aid kit containing painkillers, disinfectant, plasters, bandages, and antihistamines. If you’re on any chronic medication, carry your prescriptions with you.

Last, but not least, don’t forget the insect repellent. It’s not just about itchy bites. When you’re in an RV rental in South Africa, you might visit a high malaria risk area.

A coffee plunger and an enamel mug at a campsite.

A french press is a classic option for brewing coffee on camp

Food and Drink

But First, Coffee

Many people simply can’t start the day without a cup of coffee. RV trips often start early, especially for game drives at sunrise. Make sure you can make coffee while on the move. You can’t bring your home espresso machine in the RV, but there are many good portable coffee makers available.

For a classic approach, you can go with the tried-and-tested french press. If you’re concerned about the glass breaking, some companies now use metal or BPA-free plastic for coffee makers. This allows you to make multiple cups quickly and safely.

Modern coffee enthusiasts, meanwhile, swear by the AeroPress. This simple but effective device can brew filter and espresso-style coffee, so you can cater to different tastes.

Or, skip all the fuss and use instant coffee, although it’s not our preference.

Must-Have Snacks

What’s a road trip without snacks? Snacks keep you energised and satisfied on long drives, so make sure you keep some in arms reach.

Dried food items like biltong, nuts, and dried fruit are always a hit in this department. These foods have a long shelf life and contain plenty of nutrients. We also recommend on-the-go bars that come in a variety of flavours and are ideal for breakfast.

Most major South African roads have convenience stores, so you never need to pack too many snacks at a time. Don’t forget to pack water, though – you need to stay hydrated.

Keep your RV tidy, clean up after yourself and dispose of garbage accordingly and frequently. And, when you’re travelling through wilderness areas like the Kruger National Park, be mindful of monkeys and baboons.

Luggage and Organisers

Plenty of videos are available online on this topic, most with one goal in mind: to fit everything in one bag. Hand luggage bags like spinners and duffel bags are ideal for RV rentals in South Africa.

To make this easier:

  • Pack outfits according to your itinerary
  • Make use of laundry facilities at campsites
  • Use luggage organisers to pack efficiently
  • Keep all your toiletry items in a vanity bag
  • Hang bulky items like jackets over the driver and passenger seats

Other Essentials

Electronics

First off, make sure you pack adaptors that are compatible with the electrical power point at your campsite. And, although RV rentals in South Africa are fitted with on-board battery power, you need to use it sparingly. Some RV rental companies offer solar panels as an add-on, but they work best in sunny weather.

We also suggest investing in camp lighting. Head torches are especially useful, while solar fairy lights can add ambiance to your campsite. After all, nobody wants to trip over camping equipment in the dark.

Here are some other tips:

  • Use a cable organiser to efficiently pack your charger cables
  • If you’re a photographer, store all your equipment in a compact sling bag or backpack
  • Pack extra AA and AAA batteries

Entertainment

This depends entirely on your crew. If you’re travelling with children, you know the drill, but here are a few suggestions anyway:

  • Make a road trip playlist with everyone’s favourite sing-along songs
  • Keep imaginations running with games like “I Spy” and “21 Questions”
  • If you’re so inclined, keep kids occupied with tablets or phones

At the campsite, there’s nothing better than gathering around the campfire and sharing stories. You can also pack board games and playing cards. If you’re going on a beach holiday, remember to pack the beach bats and frisbee.

Camping is also an opportunity to catch up on reading, so pack a few good books. Speaking of books, you’re in Africa, so why not get into bird watching while you’re here?

Preparing Your RV Rental in South Africa

An RV drives along Clarens Drive in Cape Town

An RV drives along a coastal road in Cape Town

That’s it – you’re all set for your RV adventure! If you want to fully enjoy all the perks of RV rental in South Africa, keep this advice in mind. After all, it might turn into the best family holiday you’ve ever had.

At Drive South Africa, we specialise in RV rental in South Africa and Namibia. Our experienced, professional agents are on hand to answer any other questions you might have. So, if you’re ready to explore all the options on offer, check out our RV rental options today.

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