I often have the opportunity to see Africa in ways most people do not get a chance to. I have loved and enjoyed visiting destinations that are not always filled with tourists. Looking back, I just wish I was more open and more prepared.
I usually rely on the web to give me insight on what to do, what to pack, what to eat, what to watch out for and what to prepare for. As great and as reliable as the web is, there are some tips and trick I wish I knew before I travelled. Other than the normal tips of drinking bottled water, insect repellent, no swimming and no ice, etc. here are some of my top tips for traveling into Africa:
1. Make sure that you have done your vaccinations in advance before you travel. Some countries do not require this, but rather safer than sorry. Once done it most last for several years.
2. Most African countries do not have changes in seasons like winter and summer, it is usually wet or dry weather. Ensure to check before hand. Most countries are usually warm so that means light clothes, easily manageable hair, minimal make up and lots of water.
3. Book a taxi or a car in advance before arrival. Trust me, you really do not want to be heckling taxi drivers. The hotel/accommodation you are staying at should be able to assist with this.
4. Consider restaurants and markets the locals love. I always ask the taxi from the airport where locals meet up and shop and try make my way there.
5. You will often hear about some African countries or cities not being safe. I beg to differ, like any city in the world, just use common sense when visiting a new country. Stay alert, do not wonder off to dark corners, ask the hotel if it is safe to go to certain areas and then explore. Obviously this does not apply to war toned countries anywhere in the world.
6. Try the food, even if that is the only thing you do on this list. Africa is massive and with 54 countries, so it is safe to say there will be a variety of different foods to try to explore.
7. Pack your own basic medication. This would include basic pain killers and allergy medication. When exploring the body can sometimes react differently than expected. and lastly,
8. Keep an open mind. The world is so different, but underneath it all, people are so kind, open and welcoming, and people in Africa, I find, the kindest of all.
“The only man I envy is the man who has not yet been to Africa – for he has so much to look forward to” Richard Mullin