There is this notion that traveling to Africa is dangerous and that if you can avoid then you should never make a trip to Africa. This is based on the bad stories that keep on circulating in the western media. The fact is, not everywhere in the world is 100% safe. There is crime in Europe as much as it is in Australia, the United States, and Africa. It’s only that people tend to exaggerate when it comes to Africa and this is a very sad fact. However, when traveling to Africa, you must still be cautious about your security and avoid coming into contact with certain bad elements that may give you a bad experience. To help you out, here is a look at our top safety tips to make your travel in Africa safe and also help you avoid ding into contact with criminal elements.
Don’t do things in Africa that you wouldn’t do in your home country
The first step towards staying safe in Africa is that should never do things that you know you’d normally not do in your home country. If you know that in your home country you would not talk to beggars in the streets, then don’t think that you can talk with them in the streets of Africa. You need to know that there are some cities in Africa where begging is a very big cartel. People stationed in strategic places so that they can ask money from tourists and if you’re naive enough to display the amount of money you have by giving the money on the streets, you’ll be marking yourself as a target by the bad guys. Don’t blame anyone if you are followed and attacked because you’re sure that you have money.
Don’t leave your valuables in the car
Whether you’re using a private hire or a taxi for your movement within the cities, never ever make the mistake of leaving valuables such as your phones, laptops or tablets in the car. These are hot items in the African markets, and once a thug sees them in your car, they will simply break in and take everything. If you have to leave them in the car, then ensure that they are safely locked in the boot and that you have constant access to the driver of that car at all times. It’s common for tourists to lose their belongings simply because they left them in the car seats when they went about having fun.
Don’t change money on the streets
There is a perception that tourists in Africa must be very rich because they can afford to leave their home countries to come and visit Africa. When it comes to changing money, you should always avoid changing money in the street though you’ll find so many people offering exchange services on the streets. This is because the African currencies sometimes may run into thousands and thousands of notes and walking around with such bundles of cash may be a real security risk. Besides, the act of changing your money in the street is marking you out as a potential target by thugs who will be keen on following you to see if they can get some of that money. The best place to change your money when traveling in Africa is in the banks within the cities. Don’t even think about changing your money at the airport because it will be very expensive and not get good value for your money.
Don’t lose sight of your credit card
There are places where you may use a credit card to make purchases in Africa. This is a very convenient way to pay for the services and the goods you will get, but you should never lose sight of your credit card during the transaction. Most of the times, you will be given a handheld device where you will insert the card and then key in your pin to complete the transaction. And don’t ever agree that the operator or the shop attendants leave your site with the credit card. Remember, all they need is your card numbers as well as the three digit code at the back of the card, and they will be good to use your card for purchases. Therefore, in every transaction that you make with your credit card, always ensure that it is in your sight until you keep it back in your wallet.
Avoid walking alone at night
The habit of working alone as a tourist in Africa at night should never be entertained. It is a fact that Africa is a potentially dangerous place to travel to and though some places will be safer than others, you must still be very careful not to expose yourself at night. If you have to do anything at night, like going to the Kiwi casinos, ensure that you have the assistance of the locals to help you move around. You can hire a taxi to take you from one point to another and also bring you back to the hotel once you’re done with your activities. This is especially important if you are a solo female traveler. Crime in Africa is real and if you give them a chance, they will surely strike and hurt you.
Don’t help strangers on the roadside at night
If you know that you’ll be driving on the African roads, then you have to be very careful about carjacking and highway robberies. These are very common and one of the tricks they use is to feign an accident so that they can wave you down and stop you pretending to be asking for assistance. If you see people either at daytime or at night trying to wave you down to ask for your help and you see as if it is some kind of an accident, don’t make the mistake of stopping by. The moment you stop, a gun will be on your head and you’ll have to release your car as well as every other valuable item you have on your person. Just drive by and let the local authorities respond if at all it is an actual accident.