Cape Town - West Indies captain Denesh Ramdin says they are determined to show "fight and determination" against the world's number one Test side South Africa despite missing two of their best players.
The tourists play three Tests, three Twenty20 matches and five one-day internationals over the next two months, but will be without Chris Gayle and Darren Bravo for the five-day series at least.
West Indies have lost 10 of their 12 Tests in South Africa and claimed just one victory on their last tour in the 2007/08 season when they won the opening match but lost the series 2-1.
That disappointment has stayed with Ramdin and will provide motivation going into the first Test at Centurion starting on 17 December.
"The last time we were here we won the first Test match but then we didn't show the fight and determination for the rest of the series.
"This time we will let that motivate us," Ramdin told reporters on Tuesday.
"Of course for any team that loses Chris Gayle, it's a blow for them and everyone would have loved to see Darren here batting -- he is a free stroke-playing guy but he's got personal issues.
"So hopefully a young player can take the opportunity to do well for himself and the team. T
"There are a couple of young players in the mix but then a couple of senior players, Shivnarine Chanderpaul, myself and Marlon Samuels, who will guide them through."
South Africa has been a tough place to bat for touring teams in recent seasons with difficult wickets and a potent home pace attack of Dale Steyn, Morne Morkel and Vernon Philander.
Ramdin says the batsman will need to show maturity.
"It's very important that guys who are set don't leave it up to the other players.
"If you get a hundred, you should score a big hundred. When you do that you keep the opposition out of the game."
That previous victory in 2007 was the last time West Indies won away from home against a major Test playing nation.
"It will be a very tough series for us. It's going to be tough mentally.
"We have not been playing Test cricket as we would like to play," Ramdin said.
The second Test is in Port Elizabeth (December 26-30), before the series concludes in Cape Town (January 2-6).