Welcome! Akwaaba! Bienvenue! Bienvenido! bem vinda! Karibu! Sawubona! These are different ways which we say ‘’welcome’’ in many different languages in Africa. Despite the many years of instability in many African countries and the general misconceptions about our beloved continent. Africa remains one of the most hospitable continents in the world. Countries like Ghana, Egypt, Kenya, South Africa and Morocco lead the way when it comes to tourism and hospitality in Africa. However, although we pride ourselves with these achievements, there is still a lot to be done to make Africa the safest place for international businessmen and tourists. Often, many different nationalities travel here, mainly for business and leisure. The one key concern most of them have is safety and security. Many governments in Africa have taken steps to improve on the safety and security of all visitors but the primary responsibility falls on the traveller to take very good care of him/herself. Jumia Travel, Africa’s leading online travel agency looks at some safety tips that one should never forget when visiting Africa.
Carry enough money but not cash – What many people will tell you is that you must carry enough money on you when coming to Africa because you are entering a land of the virtual unknown and money makes everything work around here. Yes! To a very large extent, this is true. However, there is another fact, which is very true. You are at the mercy of robbers and criminals when you carry large sums of cash on you. You will need money to have a good time here but that money should be electronic. This way, anytime you need some cash, you can just find the nearest visa ATM and withdraw. The first point of concern with this is the assumption that digital operations are not that functional in Africa but these days, there is an ATM less than 100metres apart in all major cities. When visiting a remote area though, the best way out is to carry cash but the responsibility of keeping the money and yourself safe rests on you.
Malaria / Cholera prevention – For a lot of foreign travelers, the mention of Africa may bring a few unpleasant memories and fears. This may be due to personal experiences with diseases such as malaria or cholera. Even stories from fellow travelers may create doubts for them. Malaria is a common disease in Africa but is also easily preventable. Ensure that you have mosquito repellents, nets and other protective meds. Also, don’t stay in open places for too long exposing your skin to these mosquitoes. Never eat cold food or from eateries that you don’t feel comfortable in. If you must try local food, ensure that it is hot and recommended by your local guide. Immediately you suspect any unusual change in your health, report to your doctor or visit the nearest health facility for treatment.
Dress down and study the weather – Every continent has it’s own climate and weather conditions. Whiles it’s snowing in New York, the sun may be blazing hot in Lagos. While it’s windy in Tokyo, it may be dry and hazy in Accra. Africa is noted for generally being dry and hot for most periods in the year. Before you travel, ensure that you have studied the weather pattern of your destination. Very likely most African countries will be hot and dry. Grab an umbrella, dark sunglasses and light clothes. Shorts and tank tops/ t-shirts work best for casual occasions. Also, apart from corporate business, Africans normally dress down. Be sure not to overdress to a party or dinner. You may end up feeling out of place. Also remember that we love our culture and tradition. This means that you are likely to enter an event where almost everyone is wearing an African print outfit or some locally made attire. Grab one at a shop or the airport on your way into the country. This helps you settle better and enjoy the country.
Be careful with your camera – Tourists love cameras. Cameras are what capture the amazing memories we make when we travel and therefore you should always carry one along when coming to Africa. There is a lot to capture. Safari’s, monuments, historic sites, artefacts and artistic landscape. However, you should be very careful where and when you pull out a camera. Certain tribes have strict rules and taboos about the use of cameras. Others perform certain rituals that cannot be captured. Even in certain countries, some national sites and monuments cannot be captured and the use of cameras here attract strict sanctions which may mar your tour rather than make it memorable. If you must use a camera, always ask your local tour guide or your host for directions and permission before you click.
Get a first aid Kit – Aside checking with your personal doctor before you travel, be sure to carry a first aid kit along wherever you go. Africa is not dangerous but you have to be careful. An insect bite or a prick from a thorn may just be what ruins your day. A slight headache or stomach upset shouldn’t be allowed to end your pleasurable tour. Long hours of walking or hiking is usually accompanied by body aches and joint pains. With a first aid kit, you are sorted and well equipped to solve all minor health problems. Now you can keep going and enjoying your African vacation. Sometimes, it’s not even about you. Your friend or partner on the trip may have some challenges that your first aid kit can solve making it imperative to always carry one along.
Stay Hydrated – Water! The universal solvent. That’s what the scientist call it right? Yes, it’s one of the most important liquids ever known to man. The lack of it causes dehydration which can lead to fatalities. In Africa, because of our weather conditions, it is always advisable to stay hydrated by drinking and carrying along loads of water wherever we go. Especially if you are touring deserts and safari’s, you always need a bottle or two of clean drinking water on you. This helps you keep calm and stay moist. Without water, you may run into serious complications.
Africa is special, Africa is unique, Africa is amazing. You are invited to see this beautiful continent but when planning that vacation, kindly ensure that you take these key points into consideration to stay safe. We would love you to go back in one full piece and tell a lot more about your super extraordinary experience here.