Home Travel 27 Tips For First Time Travelers To Africa

27 Tips For First Time Travelers To Africa

Africa is one travel destination that should figure prominently in your list of must-see places before you die. This beautiful, complex, wild, natural and unbeatably rich in natural resources nation has enticed people from all over the world to visit time and again. If you’re visiting Africa for the first time, you’re to be congratulated. Just keep the following few tips in mind, and you will have a fabulous trip.

Health Tips

  1. At least 6 to 8 weeks prior to travel, get your anti-malarial vaccination done. Check with your GP for vaccinations against dengue, yellow fever and other prevalent and recent outbreaks in Africa.

  2. There are specific anti-malarial drugs meant to combat resistant parasites found in Africa – make sure you ask your GP about those. Carry enough of the drugs to last your trip.

  3. During your travel, keep your arms and legs covered to reduce your chance of being bitten. Don’t visit areas where malaria, dengue or yellow fever is rampant.

  4. After you return, get yourself tested for malaria and complete your full course of medication. Get any flu-like symptoms checked immediately.

Safety And Security Tips

  1. Take only one bag; this way you don’t have to worry about your luggage getting stolen. Make sure this one bag has room for all your essentials.

  2. Wear a hat when you’re out in the sun; this will prevent heat strokes and heat exhaustion.

  3. Buy a cheap mobile phone and obtain a local SIM card upon arrival. Leave your expensive mobiles at home.

  4. Keep cash in 3 or 4 places in your clothes. This is not just for your security, but also so that store owners don’t see how much you have.

  5. Don’t wear a watch if you can help it; poor bandits cannot distinguish a good watch from a bad one and anything shiny on your wrist is a good target.

  6. Befriend local people and get to know which local areas are safe and what to avoid. Your travel guides won’t be able to give you this information.

  7. Keep small change in your pocket or food to give to beggars – you will find many throughout Africa. Be careful and take care of your possessions when you are surrounded by beggars.

  8. Use only official tour guides from the touristy department. Avoid impromptu offers of tour guides or any other service from local people, as there are several touts that make their living this way.

  9. Be wary if you’re offered something ‘for free’. Such offers usually come with associated agendas to make money out of you.

  10. At any African airport, bus or train station, you’ll find many taxi drivers who’ll promise to take you to the best hotel. These people are commissioned by hotels to get tourists to go only to those hotels. Avoid these conmen and choose your hotel from your guide book. Insist your taxi driver take you there, and if he pretends not to know the hotel, then take another taxi.

  11. Always get your currency exchanged at a bank or a legitimate outlet. Don’t be tempted to exchange currency locally; you could get robbed and cheated, instead.

  12. Check travel warnings to know if there have been terrorist attacks, outbreaks of life-threatening diseases such as Ebola and civil war in the areas you plan to visit.

Language And Communication

  1. Africans often use analogies and metaphors to demonstrate a point, which can be annoying. Be patient and try not to interrupt.

  2. Except the people in rural or tribal areas, most Africans speak a modicum of English. Try to learn a few local words as well, as this will please them a lot.

General Tips

  1. Carry a multi-purpose charger and adaptor so you’re prepared for any kind of power outlets on your travel.

  2. Parts of Africa are very hot and you will sweat a lot; keep yourself hydrated at all times.

  3. Wear an undershirt; it will absorb your body’s sweat, keep you cool and your outer clothes fresh.

  4. Carry a flashlight, even in urban cities; power outages are common even in urban areas.

  5. Get travel insurance that covers adventure tours and can be indefinitely extended while you travel.

  6. Locals in Africa do tend to stare at tourists, especially at women. Ignore this behavior, and wear sunglasses if you’re uncomfortable.

Passports And Visas

  1. Make sure that your passport is valid for at least 6 months after you return from the trip.

  2. Your passport must contain sufficient blank pages for entry stamps, visas or temporary residence permits. If you’re traveling to multiple countries, keep at least two blank pages per country.

  3. Some African countries require permits or visas for entry, departure and re-entry. Depending on the countries you plan to visit, check their official websites for more information.

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