I get tons of questions about how to stay safe during a visit to Africa. There are people that think of the continent as very dangerous because of the political conflicts and negative media coverage. However, Africa is a beautiful country with numerous attractions and interesting places to visit. Like all travel, there are risks so you need to be aware and careful. By taking a few precautions and educating yourself, you can reduce your risk while travelling.
Here are a few things to consider to help you stay safe:
1. Crime – There are countries where crime is worse than others. For the most part, crime isn’t targeted at tourists. There are pickpockets that target travellers specifically. One thing you may want to consider are pick pocket proof pants which are ideal when travelling in crowded areas.
2. Wildlife – If you are travelling around Africa, there is a high probability that you will encounter potentially dangerous wildlife. Remember, wildlife is exactly that… wild life. Do not be naive and think that ‘the baby hippo is soooo cute, I wanted to touch it’. Keep you distance! Ask locals and your guide about things you should be concerned of and what is appropriate behaviour around the local wildlife.
3. Politics & Religion – Politics and religion are two topics that are delicate the world over. Africa is no exception. Do some research about the area you are visiting and become aware of religious customs and the political landscape. There are a number of things that should be avoided that are only obvious to those who get themselves informed (clothing, social beaviour, etc.). Respect the locals by educating yourself.
4. Stay healthy – Potable water is an issue in a number of places in Africa. Here is an article about 40 shocking facts about water in Africa. Find out what water is safe for you to consume
5. Travel Insurance – This is a must. You should have the peace of mind that if anything happens you are in safe hands. A great source for insurance is Kanetix.
Follow these recommendations to reduce the risks of travelling in Africa, or anywhere for that matter.
Photo Source: Nasa