I’m hoping this post can be helpful to people trying to figure out what to pack for Peace Corps Namibia or other countries in Southern Africa. Every site is different so these items may not be the same for everyone.
Unlocked iPhone 4s – Used everyday for SMS, voice calls, email, photos, etc. The drawback is that it could be a target for thieves, but I try not to have it out frequently in public. I haven’t had any issues in 21 months.
Laptop – A nine year old Dell running Ubuntu OS. I carry this clunker to work everyday. Very heavy and hard to do photo editing since the screen resolution is poor, but I just need to get two years out of it (at this point, three more months). I will leave it with a colleague or a local business owner at the end of my service. I use my computer everyday at work, but I would not recommend bringing an expensive laptop to Namibia. Colleagues have had their computers stolen or break here, and the heat and dust are hard on electronics.
Granite Gear Nimbus Ozone backpack – This pack has seen all 2,175 miles of the Appalachian Trail, multiple Colorado and other Rocky Mountain backpacking trips, and now a trip to Africa. Going strong for ten years now!
REI Quarter Dome T3 tent – The camping options are great in Sourhern Africa and many lodges offer inexpensive camping at around $10USD a night per person. Right now we are camping in Livingstone, Zambia at Livingstone Backpackers. You can use the pool and other facilities at the lodges and most also have braai facilities so you can grill dinner. We also usually bring our campstove or alcohol stove for making meals while camping.
Sea to Summit mummy liner – This is great on it’s own for camping in warm temperatures as it is basically like a lightweight sheet. Also nice in hostels and guesthouses if you question whether they changed the sheets from the last guest.
Crocs shoes – Lightweight and seems to keep out sand somehow. Easy to clean and fast drying. Very comfortable for work and for walking around town as well. The update to this style does not fit as well as my first pair but still great.
Canon EOS Rebel T3 SLR Camera – Entry level digital SLR camera for taking photos of Peace Corps projects and also for documenting the amazing scenery of Namibia. A telephoto lens is key for birding. I bought my first lens for $100 used and just had another replacement for a similar price brought over by friends.
Big Agnes ground pad – Amazing comfort for camping. The seam on my first one failed, but I sent it back to them when returned to the US in May. They quickly mailed a new one to my parent’s address. The replacement was a nicer model than the one that failed, and my parents brought it to Namibia when they visited in December.
Sea to Summit pack towel – Small size, quick drying and useful even when Peace Corps puts you up in a guesthouse because there always seems to be a towel shortage.