How to Stay Safe When Travelling in Africa

Africa has an allure not quite like any other place. With its vast wilderness and timeless culture, it's easy to see why so many travellers visit this bewitching continent. But travelling in Africa doesn't come without its challenges. Here are a few tips on how to stay safe as you travel through this exotic land.

Local lowdown

If you're in the city, be careful of being out on your own late at night, particularly in unlit areas. Get friendly with your hotel staff, and get them to tell you which areas are safe or otherwise. Maybe they'll give you some advice about dress code, too. Try to get the perspective of a local.

To drive or not to drive

If your do decide to drive, be aware that roads in rural areas are more akin to tracks with potholes aplenty. Also, park in areas that are well lit and populated. Keep the doors locked and don't leave valuables inside. Steer clear of deserted areas and, if possible, don't drive at night.

On safari

Africa and safari go together like horse and cart. As always, though, safety must come first. It probably goes without saying (although you'd be surprised how many people ignore this advice, sometimes with fatal consequences), stay in your vehicle and keep a healthy distance from any wild animals. Going on safari isn't like going to the zoo, so don't be tempted to get out to take the perfect snap. You could end up someones next meal. It has happened.

Some of the most beautiful safaris include the world famous Masai Mara in Kenya, the Serengeti in Tanzania, and Botswana is a naturist's paradise with such national parks as Chobe, Savuti and Moremi.

If you're brave enough to walk through the African bush, be aware there are poisonous snakes out there. Thankfully they tend to stay out the way and get off the scene when humans are about. Even so, watch where you're treading. Boots, socks and long trousers are a must for this kind of adventure. Don't be tempted to swim in rivers where there are hippos and crocodiles. It's best to avoid swimming in stagnant water too.

Medical precautions

Make sure your vaccines are up to date as insect borne diseases such as malaria could prove a problem. Make sure you have a good supply of insect repellent and use sleeping nets in your room. For peace of mind it is advisable to purchase evacuation insurance, just in case anything goes wrong and you need to be repatriated.

Don't be tempted by cute looking monkeys, dogs and cats and so on. They may just be carrying a nasty disease.

Plenty of charge and battery power

You will encounter many wonderful photo opportunities on your travels, and scenes that you will want to capture forever. Make sure you have extra batteries and plenty of charge on your cameras and phones. Of course, don't get so close to the wildlife for that perfect shot when it isn't safe to do so. Consult your guide.

Don't be put off by these precautions. Africa has much to offer the careful traveller with its magnificent wildlife, national parks and friendly people, and will undoubtedly leave you with a many fond and happy memories for years to come.