7 Things You Need to Know When Traveling to Africa

Traveling the world can lead you to unexpected corners of the planet you have always been curious about. Visiting the brilliant continent of Africa will not only allow you to experience different cultures and climates, but also take you to some of those magically unexpected places. Whether you’re at the base of Mount Kilimanjaro, at the Nile Delta, or taking on a safari in the desert, there is so much to see and do!

Not only can you learn about various cultures and traditions, but you can also see some of the world’s most beautiful and fascinating animals! But how do you know where to get started on your trip to this diverse continent? Whether you’re at a museum in Cape Town, or in the jungles of the Congo, here are seven things you need to know when traveling to Africa!

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One: Planning Your Trip Accordingly

Millions of people visit the continent of Africa from all over the world. In order to see the most sights, take in the most culture, and really experience a true African holiday, you’ll need to plan your journey properly.

Timing is everything when it comes to such an extraordinary adventure. Plane tickets, train tickets, hotels, car rentals, visas, weather, there is a lot to consider! In order to be certain you don’t over stress, a good idea is to find a great booking company that will help you arrange every aspect of your trip.

Research agencies that provide the following:

  • Flights
  • Lodging
  • Skilled Guides
  • Food
  • Transportation
  • And much more!

Once you’ve found a reputable company to help you plan your Safari Holidays, or your rainforest exploration, then you’re well on your way to a successful trip to Africa. This will not only make it so your trip is planned out ahead of time, but take away a LOT of travel stress!

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Two: Weathering the Climates

Africa is a large continent. The climates can range from freezing temperatures in the Southern-most tip, to rainforests, to extremely dry deserts, African weather is ever-changing! You should be aware of the climate and the weather that is to be expected upon your arrival.

If you’re making your way around a lot of the continent, then it is important that you are aware of what may lie ahead weather wise. Pack a variety of clothing items that can be used in various types of weather. This not only refers to your clothes, but also to packing things like sunscreen, eco-friendly bug spray, and hiking boots.

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Not to mention your packing your favorite travel essentials! If you’re having trouble figuring out what to pack on your trip, then start with the lightest layers, and work your way up to the heavier ones. Do the research about the local climate and weather patterns, and you won’t find yourself out in the cold!

Three: Vaccinations and Medical Needs

Traveling to different countries around the world may require having different vaccinations and medical records. This also applies to various countries within the continent of Africa. Though not all of the places you will visit will require new vaccinations, there are places that may!

A great idea is to check with your government’s disease control agency about what vaccinations you will need ahead of time. For most people, vaccinations that you received as a child, or before you went off to college, should cover most of what you will need.

This is a tip that doesn’t just apply to visiting Africa, however! You should always be aware of the medical needs you may have to see to before visiting any foreign country. Don’t find yourself on the wrong side of not being vaccinated!

Four: Visas and Papers

Traveling from one country to another may not require a lot of different visas. However, you should know where you will need documentation and where it isn’t necessary.

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If you are traveling in the following areas in West Africa, you should think about getting a VTE, Visa Touristique Entente:

  • Benin
  • Burkina Faso
  • Niger
  • Togo
  • Cote d’Ivoire

It should be about two months’ worth of time and is very affordable. Other than that your country’s passport should be sufficient to travel through borders. Double, triple, quadruple check what visas you need before you leave your home country!

Five: The Do’s and Don’ts of African Animals

Not every animal that roams the African plains can eat you for lunch, but it’s good to know which can! If you are headed out on safari, or a trip down the Nile, it’s a good idea understand which animals can pose a threat to you. You should also learn more about the animals’ home so that you can help to conserve it while you travel!

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Experienced guides and tour companies will typically issue rules and guidelines for their tours in response to wild animals. You’d be surprised to find that lions and cheetahs may be less dangerous than a grazing Hippopotamus! Be certain you are aware of your surroundings and how to deal with animals on your travels.

Six: Food and Souvenirs

The food around the African continent comes in such a delectable range of tastes and colors you may end up traveling just to try the FOOD! Whether you’re dining on a delicious meal of goat and fried breads, or basking in the aromas of Jollof Rice, you will get to try an amazing array of foods! Stay open to new dishes, new tastes, and new delicacies!

Finding the best souvenir for your African holiday will also mean taking the time to find just the right keep sake! Buying a set of authentic Pichulik earrings, or finding a local artist’s woven tapestries, it’s best to buy local and buy cruelty free!

Also be aware of food and drink items that may not be allowed out of the country, but are considered normal locally. Various teas, animal products, etc. This can save you a lot of time at customs on your way home!

Seven: Travel with Respect!

Traveling to new and exciting places means experiencing diversity in culture, habits, music, and so many other things. Being respectful of other places and other cultures is a must for traveling through so many different African nations.

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No matter where you go in the world, there should be a level of respect while experiencing new things. Get to know a few local customs and understand what is and isn’t polite in foreign countries. This will help you in more ways than you can imagine while you travel.

It’s also good to know what to say! If you’re traveling to a country that speaks a different language than you, brush up on phrases and important travel terms. There are a LOT of countries in Africa where a little bit of French can go a long way! Be respectful of the locals and at least try to speak the language. More often times than not, local residents will at least appreciate your attempt!

Traveling in Africa is an Amazing Adventure!

Now that you know the top seven things to be aware of before traveling in Africa, you are ready to set off on your adventure! Understanding local customs, being conscious of your medical and legal needs, and planning appropriately are just some of the things to keep in mind before your big holiday. Experience all there is to see on the fantastically diverse and beautiful continent of Africa!

This is a guest post.