MULTI DAY HIKING PACKING LIST FOR WARM CLIMATE
* Two changes of clothes, clothing items depending on weather: Wearing one set for two days, one clean pair for the other two... yes you’re gonna stink, get comfortable with that idea. You want breathable non-sticky clothing. Bring a swimsuit for the river-swimming in slightly populated areas where skinny-dipping is frowned upon.
* A fleece: The nights can get cool, even in summer.
* Rain clothing: Even if it’s not predicted, weather is very changeable in the mountains and you have to be prepared for everything. Everything! An extra pair of dry socks: For river crossings, you don’t want wet feet -> blister alert!
* Gore-Tex hiking boots: Again, you need to assure dry feet and the uneven rocky trails demand solid footwear... make sure they have been well broken in.
* Camping gear: A tent (I had an expensive light-weight trekkers version), sleeping bag, sleeping mat, pocket knife and headlamp (with spare batteries) are the bare minimum. Bring tape, tie-rips and fire starters to be extra prepared. A silver foil cover inside of the tent keeps the cold out and can be useful in case of hypothermia. I used my spare clothing and towel as a pillow.
* Light-weight cooking gear:I carry propane with a light-weight stove attachment, a tiny pot, pocket-knife-cutlery and a fold-in-cup. I should have brought a plastic plate too, but I forgot.
* Walking sticks: These bad boys made my life so much easier... Ensuring stability during steep ascends and a general better body posture while carrying such a heavy pack.
* A light-weight towel: Forget about the idea of showers, these are for river bathing and drying your feet after river crossings.
* Toiletries: Toothbrush and –paste, toilet paper (there are long-drop toilets, don’t leave used toilet paper in nature), contact lenses... obviously you don’t need make up to look good for the wildlife.
* Bug spray, level bush-bush: Mosquitoes are strongly represented here and don’t even get me started about the sand flies.
* Sunglasses and factor-50 sunscreen: If you're gonna be out all day in the burning sun, you shouldn't settle with anything less. You'll get a tan anyway, so let's keep away the cancer while at it, alright?
* A hat or a scarf:You want to protect your head from the fierce sun and prevent dizziness.
* A map: Generally available at the Visitor Center or online... getting lost is a loud and clear no-no.
* Some spare bags: ... to avoid animals munching on your food I advise to hang it high up in a tree... I had mice eating their way through my tent in Patagonia once and learned a life-long lesson. You also need to take all your trash out of the park and will need a bag for that.
* Cellphone and powerbank: You’ll probably have limited coverage so GPS isn’t going to work, but for any emergencies it’s a good back-up plan. I always carry a whistle for emergencies too.
* A large water bottle (or several) carrying at least three litres PLUS a water filter: Don't count on drinking water, only river water which you sometimes come across only once a day – so you gotta stock up, carry it along and filter it out. Take this extra weight into account! Some recommend boiling water for consumption, but how they think you’re gonna cool that on short notice? Bad idea.
* Basic medication: Band-aids to relief pressure points on your skin, disinfectant for wounds, tweezers to remove splinters, a tick-remover and any aspirin or anti-diarrhea medication is recommended. Take wasp-sting treatment if you’re allergic.
* Light-weight high-energy food: Like nuts, pasta, rice, dried fruit etc. Focus on easy-to-prepare food and take into account that you eat almost double on a demanding trek compared to a regular day.
* A book and iPod: Not really life-saving necessities, but I was glad I took them along.
What I wish I took along but I didn’t:
* Talk powder: You’ll only know the consequences of two sweaty salty butt cheeks continuously rubbing against each other for ten hours a day when you have lived through the misery. Trust me on this one, you don’t wanna go there.
* An extra lighter or matches: If you brought ALL your cooking gear and food but your lighter stops working that means you’re back to zero. Been there too.
As a qualified and experienced mountain and nature guide I will assist on the route, and lead you to the lower plateau of the mountain to ensure you get the best experience and knowledge of South Africa’s history, nature, and culture. You will see Cape Town from a different perspective and learn about our unique biome, the Fynbos.