This post is to give suggestions for those who have been accepted into Peace Corps Namibia and are beginning to pack for service here.
There are some things I wish I had known before coming to Namibia. First, you can buy just about everything you need here, such as: shampoo and conditioner (Treseme, Pantene, John Frieda are some examples), contact solution (Opti Free, Renu, Biotrue, and Clean Care), Q-tips, clothes (especially in Windhoek and other towns), etc. Also, in regards to anything medical, you can get most things from PCMO, like sunscreen (not waterproof), floss, condoms, mosquito repellant, chapstick, bandaids, vitamins, etc. Also, the water here is pretty okay to drink, but Peace Corps still provides water filters and iodine tablets (useful if you are hiking Fish River). They also provide a mosquito net and a green trunk that can be locked. You can get everything you really need here or sent in a care package later, so don’t stress about forgetting something.
Luggage & Travel Items:
- 2 Rolling Suitcases
- 65 L Backpack – I was able to use this for my carry-on, but for South African Airlines, the weight limit for a carry-on is 18 Ib. I would recommend getting a large backpack for traveling; it makes life so much easier.
- 1 Crossbody bag
- North Face Jester Backpack
- REI Compressible Sleeping Bag – I highly suggest bringing a sleeping bag that is compressible– it’s easier to travel with and I actually use it pretty frequently when I stay with other volunteers or at night when it gets cold.
- Sleeping Pad – Helpful for when you visit other volunteers or go camping.
- Microfibre Towel
- Neck Pillow
- 2 pairs of black work pants and 1 pair of navy
- 2 Pairs of Jeans
- 1 Pair of Flowy Pants
- 2 Pairs of Leggings
- 1 Maxi Skirt
- 2 Pencil Skirts (my favourite skirts are from Mr Price here)
- 1 Pair of Yoga Pants
- 1 Sweat Shirt or Fleece
- 3 Cardigans
- 3 Sweaters
- 2 Long sleeves
- 1 Maxi Dress
- 1 Business Dress
- 2 Casual Dresses
- 1 Military Green Cargo Jacket
- 1 Rain Coat
- 1 Lightweight Insulated Jacket – It is cold during winter and it’s awesome if you visit Swakop.
- 4 Tank Tops (I bought more at Mr Price and Cotton On)
- ~ 10 Shirts that can be worn casually and for work
- 2 Scarves
- 4 Bras
- 2 Sports Bras
- ~25 Pairs of Underwear
- 1 Baseball Hat
- 1 Beanie
- 1 Necklace
- 8 Pairs of Earrings (Purchased some at Nam Craft and in Cape Town)
- 1 Watch – I wear this everyday to keep track of time during class
- 1 Pair of Chacos
- 1 Pair of Burkenstocks
- Shower Flip Flops
- 1 Pair of Running Shoes
- 1 Pair of Ballet Flats (I’ve purchased two more pairs at Cotton On and Mr Price)
- 1 Pair of Vans
- MacBook Pro & Case
- 2 TB Hard Drive & Hard Drive Protective Case
- 3 Pack of Adaptors – Type M
- Surge Protector Power Strip with USB Ports
- 126 GB Flash Drive
- Headlamp – Great for traveling and if you are marking in the dark.
- Solar Lantern (2) – My electricity is sometimes unreliable, so it is nice to have multiple light sources. I have gone an entire week without electricity once during my service
- Tap Lights
- String Lights (Battery Powered) (**Had these sent in a care package, pretty nice)
- Bluetooth Speaker
- Kindle and SD Card
- Rechargeable Batteries (**Never used them and batteries can be purchased here)
- GoPro (**Haven’t used it except for white water rafting in Victoria Falls)
- Sony Alpha a5100 Mirrorless Camera (**Great camera, but my iPhone has been just as good and I don’t have to carry another thing I’d be worried about losing)
- Fujifilm INSTAX Camera and Film
Toiletries (Just my favourites):
- Kiehl’s Moisturizer with Sunscreen (2)
- Kiehl’s Avocado Eye Cream (2) – My skin was super dry when I got here and I really appreciated that I brought a good amount of moisturizing products.
- Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Cleanser (2) – Amazing. I used this cleanser for about 5 – 6 months before I ran out.
- Deodorant (4) – I just have a preference, but deodorant can be purchased here.
- Tea Tree Oil – Not something you would typically think of, but I was placed somewhere with bed bugs and it was the only thing that helped. I made a solution of ~20 drops of tea tree oil and water in a spray bottle and sprayed my sheets, comforter, bed frame, and then I would put tea tree oil in my lotion so they wouldn’t bite me. (Oils can be purchased in country though)
- Hammock – I’d never used a hammock before Peace Corps, but it is amazing when you want to relax… especially, when you are exhausted and have breaks at camps.
- Insulated Bag & Ice Packs – After grocery shopping, it takes about an hour to get a hike to my village and then 2+ hours traveling back to village, so having the ability to transport my groceries without them completely defrosting is helpful. (Could be sent in a care package)
- Hydro Flask Water Bottle – Amazing when you want cold water in the summer.
- Travel Cutlery
- Hydro Flask Travel Coffee Mug – Amazing when you want coffee as you walk to school. (** This ended up leaking a few months into service, so I had someone send me a Klean Kanteen that has been great)
- Ziploc bags
- 1 Umbrella
- 2 Books (1984 and The Alchemist) and Journal/Notebooks – I like pretty nice journals and notebooks, but they’re really hard to find here. I ended up getting about 3 in Cape Town.
- Office Supplies – My favourite pens and pencils. Markers and coloured pencils for my learners.
- PICTURES! My sister sent me a Photo Frame for them and it made site feel homey, but you can also print in country.
- Tapestry – You know, homeyness.
- Kitchen Knives from Target (3)
- Packing Tape
- String – Helpful for putting up mosquito nets and various other reasons.
- Cliff bars, M&Ms, Beef Jerky, and Reeses – I think the reason for these is pretty obvious.
Gifts for Host Families:
- You’ll need gifts for your families during PST and CBT! I brought my polaroid and took pictures with my families to give them. I brought chocolates and many items with San Francisco on them.
This is everything I can think of, but of course, there are items on the list that might be missing or not necessary for everyone.
Hope this helps with packing and as always, feel free to reach out whether it is through my blog or social media. Happy packing!