10 Commandments of Southern Africa Backpacking

With yours bags all packed and a myriad of Southern African shoestring adventures ahead of you, it’s important to make sure you fit in with the backpacking scene. You’ll feel right at home by sticking to the below commandments of backpacking:


  1. Pack Cheaply – Leave the designer clothes, heavy electronics, and expensive jewelry at home. The African dust will take its toll on your clothes and transporting damageable items comes with a big risk. Besides, the markets will have every budget item you need.
  2. Learn an Instrument (or Learn to Dance) – Music will follow you wherever you go so make sure you’re ready to be a part of it. Bob Marley cover songs will get you a long way.
  3. Pack a Towel – A lot of hostels won’t offer towels with your stay so be prepared. Plus you’ll need something for the beach and lazing by the pool.
  4. Have a Good Playlist – Those long bus rides will need something to pass the time so have your playlists prepared. To take a local flavour, be sure to read our post on your ultimate Southern African playlist.
  5. Pack a Deck of Cards – Power cuts, broken down buses, storms. These are all big possibilities of your trip. Have the cards ready and be sure to know a few games.
  6. Get Social – Get out of your dorm and talk to everyone. Make friends with the guards, the cooks, and other travelers, You don’t know just where your new friend will take you.
  7. Explore – Don’t just stick to the typical tourist traps. For instance, Livingstone has a myriad of activities catering to the tourism scene but a trip to the Maramba Markets or a walk through Linda will show you the real heart of Africa.
  8. Share – Backpacking is all about sharing. Share your food, share your beer, and share your stories. The best memories in life are those shared.
  9. Respect – Have respect for the communities and the people you are staying with. Despite the lure of parties and drinking, you are still visiting many countries that aren’t developed so take the time to experience the real Southern Africa.
  10. Volunteer – Volunteering is a great way to meet local communities and hear their stories. African Impact is a highly respected organisation operating throughout Southern Africa.

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