Planning + Preparation

General Packing Suggestions

This list may not include everything you want to bring, but is a basic guide. While every effort is made to ensure the security of your belongings, anything valuable that you do take is at your own risk. 

Essentials:

  • Passport (and visas)

  • Plane tickets/travel documents

  • Travel/Health insurance

  • Emergency contact numbers

  • Immunisation record (YELLOW FEVER CARDS as per your travel doctor)

  • Photocopies of travel documents*

*Make at least two sets of photocopies of everything (one to leave at home with family or friends and one to give to your team leader).

All clothing needs to be modest. Each day you are visiting a community the dress expectation is long skirts for ladies, trousers for men and modest tops for all, with minimal jewellery. Children under the age of 10 are permitted to wear a longer pair of shorts instead of trousers or a long skirt. 

Other items to pack:

  • T-Shirts, cotton shirts / long sleeved shirts

  • Sweater / Jacket (esp. for winter months)

  • Long skirts for ladies / long pants for men

  • Pairs of shorts & jeans

  • Nicer clothes for church

  • Good, comfortable walking shoes

  • Sun hat, sunscreen and sunglasses

  • Wet weather gear

  • Water bottle

  • A First Aid kit

  • Toiletries

  • Mosquito repellent

  • Adaptor plugs

  • Alarm clock

  • Flashlight

  • Camera

  • Photos of friends / families

  • Bible, journal, pens and reading books

 

Passport

It is crucial that your passport is up-to-date and valid for at least 6 months following your return from Africa. You also need to ensure you have enough pages available for visa stamps while travelling. Make at least 2 sets of photocopies of important documents (one to leave at home with family or friends and one to give to your team leader).

Visas

Contact your local Hands at Work International Office for information on visa requirements.
 

Money Matters

Using Traveller’s Cheques is not advised, as it can be difficult to locate places to exchange them for cash while in remote areas of Africa.

 More advisable is one of the following:

  • Withdraw local currency from ATMs available, when arriving in the country. This will work if your bankcard is connected to the Visa or Cirrus network. Be sure to notify your bank before you travel, of your travel dates so they don’t freeze your account when the international withdrawals occur. It’s also advisable to check with your bank about fees connected with international withdrawals.

  • Bringing a small amount of local currency with you is highly recommended.

  • US dollars and South African Rand can be exchanged for local currency in most African countries.

Please review this document for more information about money in the country you are visiting.

 

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Learn more about the specific country that you will be visiting with hands at Work in Africa:  

Malawi | South Africa | Zambia | Zimbabwe 


MALAWI

Dedza.jpg

Accommodation

Teams visiting Malawi will stay at the Dedza Local Office. Located 90km south west of Lilongwe (capital of Malawi), Dedza is a small town surrounded by beautiful mountains. Our Dedza local office building serves as an office as well as functioning accommodation for our visitors.

Rooms are shared, with linen and towels provided.

There is a shower with hot water although the water and power can be unreliable, so bucket bathing may be necessary.

Plugs for electricity are 15 amps square 3 pin (UK standard).

 

 

Catering

Catering will vary depending on the team. Connect with your international office for more information.

Please make sure your International Office is aware of any dietary restrictions of allergies.

 

Internet Access

Internet access is limited throughout Africa, sometimes due to remote localities, poor electricity supply, or limited phone lines. It’s unrealistic to expect daily access.

 

 

Communication

Your Team Leader can decide if someone on the team should purchase a local SIM card upon arrival, for local communication during your stay. You can purchase one for a very reasonable price at the airport or many other stores. If your current mobile phone is compatible for overseas use (check with your phone company before arrival), you can bring it and simply replace the SIM Card for a local SIM. Otherwise, you can investigate international data and calling plans with your provider.

 

Language

You’ll have the opportunity to learn the local language when you are on the ground in Africa but here is the initial greeting for you to practice before your arrival.

Chichewa - Malawi .jpg

Shopping

There are supermarkets in all major cities and it is possible to buy most basic food, drink and health items. Local markets also exist in remoter areas, where you can purchase fresh produce, materials and other random items. Markets are also a great place to shop for gifts for family back home. Some bartering or negotiation is expected, but remember that this is often the seller’s only livelihood.

Learn more about Hands at Work in Malawi and the communities you are visiting

 


SOUTH AFRICA

Accommodation - Hands Village, South Africa

Hands Village is the South African base of Hands at Work in Africa, accommodating permanent leadership, short, and long term volunteers as well as teams. It is located in Peebles Valley, 13km north of White River, 35km from Nelspruit (capital of Mpumalanga Province), and 355km east of Johannesburg.

Rooms at Hands Village are shared, with linen and towels provided.

Bathrooms with hot water are shared.

Plugs for electricity are 15 amps round 3 pin.

 

Catering

During your stay at Kachele or the Hands Village catering is provided on weekdays by our hospitality teams. Water is safe to drink on our Hands at Work properties.

Breakfast is self serve, items provided include: Fruit, cereal/muesli, bread, peanut butter, butter, jam, yoghurt, juice, milk, tea and coffee. For lunch during your time in the community our hospitality team will provide either a packed lunch or food for shared lunches with Care Workers and children in the community. A warm home cooked meal will be provided for dinner.

Please make sure your International Office is aware of any dietary restrictions of allergies.

On weekends, breakfast items will be provided for teams to help themselves, lunch and dinner will be self-catering. There are a number of restaurants and shops available in the area.

If you are not staying on a Hands at Work property catering arrangements will be made. Please contact your International Office for details.

 Internet Access

Internet access is limited throughout Africa, sometimes due to remote localities, poor electricity supply, or limited phone lines. It’s unrealistic to expect daily access. 

 

 

 

 Communication

It is recommended that your Team Leader purchase a local SIM card upon arrival, for local communication during your stay. You can purchase one for a very reasonable price at the airport or many other stores. If your current mobile phone is compatible for overseas use (check with your phone company before arrival), you can bring it and simply replace the SIM Card for a local SIM.

 

Language

You’ll have the opportunity to learn the local language when you are on the ground in Africa but here is the initial greeting for you to practice before your arrival.

SiSwati - South Africa.jpg

Shopping

There are supermarkets in all major cities and it is possible to buy most basic food, drink and health items. Local markets also exist in remoter areas, where you can purchase fresh produce, materials and other random items. Markets are also a great place to shop for gifts for family back home. Some bartering or negotiation is expected, but remember that this is often the seller’s only livelihood.

 

Learn more about Hands at Work in South Africa and the communities you are visiting


ZAMBIA

Accommodation - Kachele Village, Zambia

Kachele Village is the Zambian base of Hands at Work in Africa, accommodating permanent leadership, short, and long term volunteers as well as teams. Kachele also serves as a training ground for mentoring African Leaders and a facility for hosting kids and youth camps. It is located 13kms outside of Luanshya, Zambia in the Fisenge Area in the Copperbelt Province.

Rooms in the Main House at Kachele Village are shared, with linen and towels provided.

Bathrooms with hot water are shared.

Plugs for electricity are BS 1363 three-pin (rectangular) socket, also called 3 square pin plug or UK Standard. 

Catering

During your stay at Kachele or the Hands Village catering is provided on weekdays by our hospitality teams. Water is safe to drink on our Hands at Work properties.

Breakfast is self serve, items provided include: Fruit, cereal/muesli, bread, peanut butter, butter, jam, yoghurt, juice, milk, tea and coffee. For lunch during your time in the community our hospitality team will provide either a packed lunch or food for shared lunches with Care Workers and children in the community. A warm home cooked meal will be provided for dinner.

Please make sure your International Office is aware of any dietary restrictions of allergies.

On weekends, breakfast items will be provided for teams to help themselves, lunch and dinner will be self-catering. There are a number of restaurants and shops available in the area.

If you are not staying on a Hands at Work property catering arrangements will be made. Please contact your International Office for details.

 Communication

It is recommended that your Team Leader purchase a local SIM card upon arrival, for local communication during your stay. You can purchase one for a very reasonable price at the airport or many other stores. If your current mobile phone is compatible for overseas use (check with your phone company before arrival), you can bring it and simply replace the SIM Card for a local SIM.

 Internet Access

Internet access is limited throughout Africa, sometimes due to remote localities, poor electricity supply, or limited phone lines. It’s unrealistic to expect daily access. 

 

 

 

Language

You’ll have the opportunity to learn the local language when you are on the ground in Africa but here is the initial greeting for you to practice before your arrival.

bemba - Zambia.jpg

Shopping

There are supermarkets in all major cities and it is possible to buy most basic food, drink and health items. Local markets also exist in remoter areas, where you can purchase fresh produce, materials and other random items. Markets are also a great place to shop for gifts for family back home. Some bartering or negotiation is expected, but remember that this is often the seller’s only livelihood.

 

Learn more about Hands at Work in Zambia and the communities you are visiting


ZIMBABWE

Accommodation

When in Mutare, teams will stay at the Pabanhla Guest Lodge which is approx. 1km from the Service Centre and 270km south east of Harare (capital of Zimbabwe).

When in the Honde Valley, teams will stay at Aberfoyle Lodge which is approximately 120 kilometres north of Mutare.

In both locations, rooms are shared with linen and towels provided. There are bathrooms with running water.

Plugs for electricity are 13 amps square 3 pin (UK standard).

 

Catering

Catering will vary depending on the team. Connect with your international office for more information.

Please make sure your International Office is aware of any dietary restrictions of allergies.

 

Internet Access

Internet access is limited throughout Africa, sometimes due to remote localities, poor electricity supply, or limited phone lines. It’s unrealistic to expect daily access.

 

 

Communication

Members of the Regional Support Team in Zimbabwe will have a local SIM card available for your team leader upon arrival, for local communication during your stay. 

 

Language

You’ll have the opportunity to learn the local language when you are on the ground in Africa but here is the initial greeting for you to practice before your arrival.

Shona - Zimbabwe.jpg

Shopping

There are supermarkets in all major cities and it is possible to buy most basic food, drink and health items. Local markets also exist in remoter areas, where you can purchase fresh produce, materials and other random items. 

 

Learn more about Hands at Work in Zimbabwe and the communities you are visiting