Africa is most definitely another place that’s high up on my bucket list!
And I’m pretty sure it’s a place that I’m not alone in wanting to visit!
If you are lucky to be able to make your dream a reality, and you are going to explore the beautiful landscapes and vast wildlife that Africa has to offer, you will, no doubt, be feeling incredibly excited.
However, if you are to have the trip of your dreams, you need to be prepared. There’s a lot of planning that needs to go into a trip like this, and there is a lot to consider too. With that in mind, let’s take a look at some things that should help you to prepare for your once-in-a-lifetime trip to Africa.
Don’t drive at night – It is not wise to drive in Africa throughout the night. There are a number of different reasons why this is the case, depending on where you are. In Lesotho, it is not wise to drive because it is a mountainous area and the roads are pitch black. In Botswana and Mozambique, the roads are filled with livestock, and if it is not livestock, it is elephants. And, in South Africa, it is not safe to drive during the night because of crime. Quite simply, it is not worth the risk, so stick to daytime driving.
Take a trip to the doctor before you head to Africa – You are probably aware of the fact that you are going to need to have vaccinations and take certain tablets with you while visiting Africa to ensure that you are protected from the viruses and risks over there. If you do not have time to go to the doctor, you can actually order online for your trip, which is really convenient. Nowadays, there are plenty of online services as well whereby you can talk to professionals over the Internet and they will tell you the sort of medication you need if you require any assurances.
Be smart with the hustlers – You are likely to get some unwanted attention while you are walking around the streets. There are going to be people that are trying to lure you into their souvenir stores and sell you arts and crafts. It is important to recognise that these guys are just trying to make a living. If you are not interested, just have a relaxed and cool approach. There is no need to be hostile, even if you are feeling a little bit frustrated. If someone asks you if it is your first time visiting, say that you come every year because you have family here. If you do this, they will know you are not a clueless tourist who has never been here before and they will likely move onto an easier target.
Use a VPN – If you are planning on using the Internet while you are in Africa, it is highly advisable to get a VPN. A lot of places in Africa now have WiFi. However, the issue is that the security is not quite up to the level that we are used to. This is why it is definitely wise to connect to a VPN before you try to connect to any WiFi networks in the likes of restaurants, cafes, and hotels. This will ensure that all of your connections are encrypted, ensuring your activity is secure. This is especially pivotal if you are accessing your bank details on the Internet, as well as PayPal or any other type of sensitive information.
Be careful with your camera – Another tip is to make sure that you are careful with regards to using your camera. It is likely that you are going to come across some exceptional photo opportunities of local people doing things that you have never seen before. While taking out your camera and snapping them may be your first inclination, it is wise to try and stop yourself from doing so, as local people will often get offended if you take photographs of them. In fact, they may even come up to you and ask you for money if they catch you. This is why you need to be savvy. You should use the zoom on your camera and snap from far away so that you are discreet. This will keep the peace and the locals will appreciate this level of respect.
Take US dollar bills – The final piece of advice for anyone visiting Africa is to take US dollar bills with you. Why? Well, USD is a currency that is widely accepted across Africa. Not only this but you may find that you are even required to pay with your visa using USD. However, it is important to make certain that you do not take large bills that are older than Series 2006. There are a lot of places in Africa that will not accept bills older than this. Furthermore, there are also a lot of places in Africa that will not accept $1, $5, or $10 bills at all. Needless to say, carrying large amounts of cash around with you is not wise. You should try to use the ATMs whenever you can.
As you can see, there is a lot that needs to be considered and planned for when taking a trip to Africa. This is a once-in-a-lifetime experience for most people, and so you will want to make the most of it. Hopefully, the advice that has been provided above can you help you to have a better understanding of what to expect from your trip, as well as the various things that you need to plan beforehand.