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South Africa, Zambia and Botswana - do I really need a converter?

Staying at One and Only in Capetown they supply adapters etc. Royal Livingston in livingston in Zambia - they say you need to bring a converter. Khwai River Lodge Moremi Game Reserve ????????????? Camp Kalahari Makgadikgadi Pans National Park ?????????????? Confusion on convertors for all locations above ....i have different adapters but hearing different answers on needing the converters????
Help don't want to buy or take uncessary lbs. as limited anyway!

Posted by
11158 posts

First, you need to look at the appliances you are taking. Look at the charging "brick" on each device (you may need a magnifying glass). If it says both "100-240 volts" and "50-60 cycles" you are set. These appliances are multi-voltage and auto-converting, and all you need is the correct plug adapter. Don't try to use it with a converter, as this can damage it. Most electronics these days are multi-voltage (camera battery chargers, phones, iPads, laptops, etc), but of course you have to check. If your appliance is dual-voltage, it will have a switch to change it from 110 to 220 (many travel hair dryers work like this). It's not automatic, so be sure to flip the switch to the correct voltage before you go. You will still need plug adapters. If your device does not go above 120 volts, you will need a converter as well as a plug adapter. Be sure to bring the right kind, or you will fry your device, blow a fuse, start a fire, or some combination of these (not a joke). Also be aware that some devices (many hair flat irons for example) specifically say that they are not to be used with a converter. If you really want/need something that gets hot and that will work with the local voltage, you can buy one in Capetown (recommended, as many here report that hair dryers and flat irons bought in the US, even when dual voltage and used correctly, just don't get hot enough when used on 220 volts).

Posted by
922 posts

That's the best explanation I've seen yet on this subject. Well said, Harold! Jo, this site will help you look up each of the countries you'll be visiting and click the link in the Plug column to see a photo and description of the plug adapter type(s) you will need. Also, any good travel gear store will be able to help you choose the correct plug adapters. The one I frequent stocks every possible variation. I'm excited for you for this trip. I'm dying to go to South Africa. Safe and happy travels. Please pet an elephant for me, if you get the chance. :)

Posted by
23739 posts

jo, this area of the Helpline is reserved for trip reports from people after their trips. You might get more responses if it were in a question asking part of the Helpline.