9 Things You Need to Know Before Going to Africa

Ivan Dimitrijevic By Ivan Dimitrijevic, 22nd Sep 2016 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Travel>Africa>Tanzania>The North Coast

If you are of a mind to visit Africa and explore this exotic continent, we have a few tips to help you prepare.


Traveling is soul food and you shouldn’t stop yourself from exploring distant exotic lands because of some semi-truths you heard or read about – and we all know how Africa constantly maintains its controversial reputation. Visiting this continent is quite a thrill and you’ll be able learn about Earth’s amazing wonders, so find out what you need to know before you set off on your journey.

Africa Isn’t Particularly Dangerous

You shouldn’t allow petty prejudice stop you from learning about the world, especially when it comes to the birthplace of humanity itself – Africa. People are easily scared by the media, which tend to overblow each news story because of various reasons we won’t get into right now.

The bottom line is that every continent is a story for itself and in order to discover all their treasures and learn about their traditions you need to do your homework – that’s it. Africa is an amazing continent with many natural riches, including one of the most exciting wildlife destinations in the world – Ngorongoro Crater in Tanzania, which is famous for Black Rhinos and that is something everyone should see in their lifetime.

But Don’t Be Careless

The usual rules of behavior for tourists apply to Africa, as well. Laws there may be a bit more severe than you’re used to – drug possession, for example, is a severe transgression and it will get you some serious prison time. Also, you shouldn’t take photos of government buildings and borderlines, because police officials will take away your camera without any hesitation whatsoever.

My sincere suggestion is to consult your guide before you do anything that plants a single seed of doubt in your mind – that way you won’t experience any unpleasantness.

Bring Your Own Meds

Health is a reasonable concern when going to Africa and this is something you need to start worrying about a couple of months before you start your journey. Some of the vaccinations you’ll need to get take four weeks to start working, so you need to plan these things thoroughly. The recommended vaccinations include those against hepatitis, cholera, yellow fever and typhoid. As far as the meds go, you should have those which maintain your intestinal flora, just in case.

Pay Special Attention to the Way You Dress

If you want to avoid unwanted (and unpleasant for that matter) attention, you need to put together your outfits carefully. For starters, forget all about miniskirts, revealing dresses and shorts. You should even have something to cover your shoulders with you. This shouldn’t be that much of a burden, because you need to worry about sun exposure and temperatures as well. If you don’t take good care of your skin, it can easily get damaged, causing you all kinds of potential problems

My suggestion is to go shopping before arriving to Africa and stock up on safari clothes – they are light and they will keep your skin safe.

Have Cash with You

American dollars are the currency you should have with you, because you will be able to use them practically everywhere on the continent. Make sure to have small bills, so you don’t waste any time waiting for your change. Another time-saving trick is to locate your ATMs in time.

Speaking about money – you shouldn’t wave around your dollar bills, because the most common crimes in Africa are petty thefts. You should keep it safe in your flat money bag, where you should keep your personal documents, as well. It’s not a difficult thing to do and it can save you a lot of trouble.

Pack Your Gadgets Properly

Although you will be tempted to take all your smart gadgets with you, you shouldn’t – they will make your luggage heavier and you’ll be an easy target to thieves. A good camera and your smartphone will be more than enough, and make sure to have a universal charger with you, because African plugs won’t work with your cables. It’s not a terrible thing if you forget this, because you’ll be able to find them when you arrive.

Travel Insurance Is a Must

Hospitals in Africa have a harsh policy and they will require you to pay for treatments in cash. You can never be too sure – if you get seriously injured or sick you will need professional medical attention. You should also know that insurance will enable you to receive all your money back when you come home, so having cash will be necessary either way.

Have a Copy of Your Documents

This is another precaution you should take and my suggestion is to make not one, but several copies of your passport and other necessary documents in case something happens, and you should leave one at home and one with your travel agency. An interesting fact you should be aware of is that you can’t enter Sierra Leone without your vaccine papers, so have that in mind.

It's Not for the Faint-Hearted

Although filled with amazing natural riches, Africa is a continent of famine and poverty and this is something you’ll definitely see firsthand. In certain areas, the streets are filled with beggars and orphans – admitting that you can’t witness this isn’t a bad thing and it will save you a lot of trouble. You should also know that people act sick or poor there for extra cash and if you want to truly help them out you should give money to a local charity and support one of their causes.


A checklist is in order, I believe – having an extensive list of things you need to bring with you or take care of before this journey is probably the smartest thing to do. I know this seems like a lot of work, but it’s all based on common sense if you think about it. The bottom line is that Africa is truly worth all this trouble.


Africa Travel, African Culture, Travel Tips

Meet the author

author avatar Ivan Dimitrijevic
Ivan Dimitrijevic is a seasoned blogger and SEO consultant with years of experience. His set of skills includes Social Media Marketing, SEO and blogging on a wide variety of topics.

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