23 Jan 2017

Travel Diaries #: What’s In The Suitcase

Whats In My Suitcase: Travel Diaries on vickiarcher.com

What’s in The suitcase?

I’ll give you a hint it was a surprise to me.

Johannesburg, Monday morning.

I am pinching myself. You read correctly, I am in Johannesburg.

I need to back track a little.

I have a birthday coming up and this particular suitcase, or the need for it, is all part of the surprise. I am heading off on an adventure and I have only the vaguest idea where. I know I am in South Africa and I know the trip is about safari and the wild kingdom. Where in Africa? Which camp? I can’t tell you because I don’t know yet.

David is very good at keeping surprises and so far there has not been a peep, not the slightest hint. Believe me I have tried to work out where we are going. Isn’t that the fun of a surprise, mastering the art of a thousand questions in the hope of a hint or two. No, no success. I am usually quite adept at unravelling puzzles, but not this one.

He knows I have a love of safari more than anything in the world. This guy is a legend and I am pinching myself with excitement as the hours tick by and we head out into the unknown. We have spent the weekend in Johannesburg with some of our dearest friends (they helped organise the destination and aren’t saying a word either) before we fly out and explore a “secret” part of this incredible continent.

What is in a packed suitcase when the destination is a surprise?

The destination may be unknown but the activity is all I needed to know to get that suitcase open, filled and closed ready for take-off. I can’t tell you whether it will be a “successful” pack or not and I can tell you it was a hastily packed bag and there is not a whole load of complication within.

As I laid out the wardrobe options I saw that whatever the destination I still pack a version of the same. I am reasonably strict, most of the time, when it comes to what’s in the suitcase. Experience has taught me I generally take more than I need and way too many complicated options.

This trip I have streamlined.

The 3 Shoe rule is in but I have only one jacket.

I have packed more tee shirts than normal and extra trousers; one dressy blouse can traverse to dinner if the occasion arises.

There is a caftan (always) and a swimsuit. I am dreaming of the downtime and the lazing about. Yes, I did just come home from Christmas holidays and yes I do feel totally and thoroughly spoilt. 

One light sweater, the oversized wrap and a sunhat makes three more.

Believe it or not, that is about it apart from the non-negotiable make-up, perfume and skincare.

I’ll double check…. No, that’s it. xv

What’s In The Suitcase: Much The Same As

the jacket 

madewell fleet  //  **free people utility  //  b.p anorak

the pants and the tops

**bp cargo  //  stretch crepe ankle  //  crew neck tee  //  long sleeve tee  //  bella freud sweater  // frame silk blouse

the shoes and hat 

nike roshe  //  gucci mule  //  bacari bootie  //  sensi studio panama

the extras

kalman zig zag caftan  //  escentric molecules 01  //  marysia one piece

image, will davidson vogue

VA In Your Inbox

subscribe for updates from vickiarcher.com



Taste of France

Goodness! That isn’t the kind of surprise trip that’s easy to pack for. Sturdy boots and socks are important if you are hiking at all–to guard against bug and snake bites.
Have fun and show us lots of photos. I miss Africa terribly.

Anita Rivera

VICKI! What an amazing surprise your beloved has sprung up on you! Goodness, enjoy every minute of intrigue and wonder! Keep us in the know…I can’t wait!

Heather in Arles

I am so thrilled for you. Being on safari is my favorite as well! Hmm, must go to Instagram to see if you have let the cat out of the bag.

Have a wonderful, wonderful time!! Both of you!

Mary S.

You will have an amazing time – perhaps even in the South African camp where I’ve stayed twice! Remember that you never have to really dress up for dinner, just add a pretty scarf. You will need your hat, good footwear, and something warm (including a really cozy scarf) for early morning and late day game drives – it gets really chilly when the sun goes down, and early morning is quite cold. Wherever you stay it will be an experience like no other I assure you – make sure you keep your camera batteries charged!
Looking forward to hearing more!


I’m green with envy. I went on safari to Tanzania in 2013 & it was the most marvellous experience. Our guide was excellent so it was like being on a David Attenborough programme without David Attenborough!!!! Have a wonderful trip & happy birthday🎉🍾

mona turner

Sounds like an amazing adventure! I imagine there will be many fantastic stories to be told afterward with great pictures to share with us all. Speaking of amazing, your husband seems pretty amazing. What a wonderful surprise to celebrate “your day.” Have a safe and joyous journey. Happy Birthday Vicki! xo

donna lampen-smith

I was on safari…too long ago but it was wonderful and the clothing was very relaxed. khaki’s shirts, tees sturdy boots a must. it’s best to have everything be a shade of ‘beige’ does not show the dirt as much. have fun! take lots of photos!!


Happiest of birthdays to you, Vicki, and what an extraordinary gift to receive. Cheers, Ardith

Judy Morgan

Fabulous! Perhaps it will be somewhere amongst the wildlife in Sabi Sands or over on the coast at an exotic resort in the Cape Winelands. Either way, ‘sundowners’ will be savoured every afternoon no matter what the destination. Enjoy a wonderful birthday celebration.


Lucky you! A dear friend went on a wildlife safari after they attended a wedding in SA, one of the camps they stayed at had ‘tree house’ rooms – and leopards hiding in the bushes as soon as the sun went down! Can’t live without my No.5, but know from experience that bugs (especially mosquitoes) love fragrance even more than we do! That being said, a Nat Geo photographic safari is at the top of my bucket list. Have an birthday Amarula on the rocks for us!


Sounds spectacular. You might want to pack a beanie as it can get very chilly on the sunset drives. Good binoculars are essential!


Welcome to our country (and my city) Vicki. You are sure in for a treat, no matter where you guys are going. The weather is turning towards cooler and wet nearer the weekend, so keep that jacket handy. Have a wonderful time. Visiting France in June and can’t wait.


Hi Vicky,

I am a number one fan of yours and live in South Africa!!! However, I am nowhere close to Johannesburg or any safari place. In fact, I live in Durban. The weather in South Africa, all over, is very hot at the moment, so I hope you have packed cool clothes for the day. Just imagine I happen to bump into you should you be anywhere close to Durban!!! Hope you have a wonderful time in our lovely sunny and friendly country.


Happy Birthday Vicki! Can’t believe you are in my home country and I don’t get to meet you? There are so many FABULOUS private game farms with luxury boutique hotels in the bush here, so I’m sure you are going to have the most wonderful time. Enjoy a G&T for me in the bush and enjoy the African sunset every night. I always tell me European friends that once you have watched the sun go down over the African bush, and smelled the combination of thatch and bush, you will never get Africa out your heart. Just magical! Do hope you come to visit Cape Town too?!


Happy Birthday Vicki! Have a magical time and bring back lots of great information. We are going to Africa for the 1st time this coming August!🍾🎉🍾


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

powered by chloédigital