Despite its relative proximity to the Western hemisphere, Africa remains a least known populated continent and many travellers planning to visit it should use common sense. As an example, it is a good idea to fill in any emergency information before we leave our country, so people could contact us. We should leave copies of our itinerary and hotel phone numbers with friends and family, so they could contact us easily.
Before travelling to Africa, we should check our overseas insurance coverage and we need to ask our insurance company whether their plan also covers our trip to Africa. Because we could visit a sparsely populated area, we may need to consider occurrences like medical evacuation that requires helicopter or high speed boat. In our plan does not cover the trip, we may consider buying a supplemental insurance. Alternatively, we should visit countries in Africa that are covered by our insurances to reduce costs and make us feel more relaxed.
In general, we could visit the website of our embassy at the destination country to find some basic travel information. There could also be travel warnings issues if the area is deemed insecure. In general, we should read more about our country and find out whether we could get useful information. There are essential do’s and don’ts that we need to be aware of. Several areas could be off-limit, if the country has essentially non-functioning government or if there are rebels or terrorist groups roaming the area.
Once we visit a country in Africa, we should immediately register at our embassy. In general, the embassy should know about our presence and they could contact us when necessary. In general, the embassy could provide us with updated security briefing and they could inform us what to avoid in specific areas and also what areas that we should avoid completely. Common crimes that affect foreigners may include car-jackings and robberies. There could also be certain safety risks, especially when unruly crowds find our behaviour somewhat unacceptable.
We could avoid robberies by avoiding quiet areas in cities and it is also a good idea to be accompanied by a trusted local. However, many areas in Africa are quite safe and locals could try to help us when we are in trouble. In general, we shouldn’t let our guards down, because we are far from our own country and Africa could be very different. We should also stay humble and people who behave like they have a lot of money could become vulnerable targets.
Traffic accidents are still problems in many parts of Africa and more than a few travellers were injured due to this situation. The roads leading into or out of a capital city can be quite crowded and they may not be well marked or kept. Night driving could be dangerous in rural areas because some parts of the road can be poorly maintained. Some African countries are politically unstable, so we should stay away of marches and gathering.