Tourist Attractions in Africa

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Most Viewed Tourist Traps in Africa

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    THE STREET TAILORS

    by DAO Updated Sep 23, 2012


    All across Africa you will see the street tailor. Often just a man with a small table and a sewing machine. Often a very old sewing machine. These guys are amazingly talented. You will see sellers in the markets selling bolts of cloth. These folks can turn them into dresses, trousers, shirts, you name it. They can create anything - including European styled suits. Often they can imitate any design you even just have a photo of. What they are very useful for on your travels are minor repairs. Small tears, hems resewn, just about anything. And any alteration including adding pockets.

    Just agree the price BEFORE they do any work.

    I didn't in Uganda (3rd picture) and the guy charged me $5 for a hem. The same price I could get at the time in a shop in the USA. Should have been much cheaper.

    Unique Suggestions:
    Haggle! Just like the locals. And don't be afraid to say no and walk away. Small alterations should be very cheap. The cost of living is less and they don't pay taxes. So don't pay the equivalent price you would in say Europe. You both win and you can spend your money with more people on your travels.

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    Walking with lions - if you want to help conservat

    by sphynxxs Written Aug 10, 2012

    There are a number of offers (especially in Southern Africa) to walk with lions. Very often, it is sold as a unique wildlife experience and alleged that the money earned with tourists (or volunteers) is meant for conversation or to re-introduce lions or cheetahs into the wild. The animals people "walk" with were raised in captivity, often are bred on special farms. Once they are too big and possibly dangerous to roam around tourists they are retired, in the worst case scenario sold to a hunting ranch where they make easy prey for paying hunters who want a big trophy.

    Plain logic should tell this kind of business is not in the interest of the animals. worse, even if they are reintroduced into the wild, they don´t have the skills to survive: They never learned hunting, and they lost the fears of humans.

    If you are interested to find out more about this from a more scientific angle - Oryx magazine published an article about the "conversation myth" that walking with lions is a way to help them.

    Fun Alternatives: watch the animals in their natural habitat - you might not get that close, you will not be able to feed or pet them (not the smartest idea, especially as far as the attentive mother lion is concerned) but you can watch them right where they belong.

    If you have the budget - doing a walking safari must be an awesome experience, being right around the animals without the shelter of a jeep or minibus (again, from a reasonable and healthy distance). Unfortunately, these tours are very expensive.

    Related to:
    • Safari
    • National/State Park
    • Adventure Travel

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    THE SHOE KEEPERS

    by DAO Updated May 13, 2012


    This story was originally about visiting Lalibela in Ethiopia. However, taking shoes off and discovering a shoe keeper when you leave a church is very common in Ethiopia. You may find similar situations in oter places as its a 'job' that puts rice on a family's table.
    So here is the story!

    It’s great. You have to take your shoes off to enter the sacred Churches. The shoe minder protects your shoes. In fact, he moves them at least once when you go through a passageway between 2 churches and come out in a different place. Then there’s the guards as well. They guard the entrances to some of the other sacred Churches. You are safe and your shoes are safe from robbers. All of these guys have picture ID’s around their neck so you know they are legitimate. They expect a tip for your protection.

    Unique Suggestions:
    Wait a minute! Of course they have ID’s. The whole area is fenced off and patrolled. Thieves can’t get anywhere even remotely near you, the churches or your shoes! Yep, this is a job created to give some guys a job. Do give them a SMALL coin or 2. No more. The cost of living is very cheap here and these guys have a never ending supply of other tourists 7 days a week.

    At the end of the tour you will go to see Bet Giorgis (the deep cross Church) that is outside the compound. Guess what? Beggars will hound you unmercifully there and there is no guard or shoe minder. They don’t like working there. They like being protected back in the compound! Watch your shoes!

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    MY GRANDFATHER’S BRACELET

    by DAO Written Oct 28, 2011



    You are looking at pictures of an idiot. This guy hangs around the Bungee Jumping station on the bridge between the borders of Zimbabwe and Zambia at Victoria Falls. He will show you a small cloth with a few copper coloured bracelets inside. He will go on to explain that he has hand-made them as his dearly departed Grandfather taught him as a child. He may even elaborate about how it took years to learn the craft. It is all lies. They are made by machines in factories. There are other idiots just like him all over Livingston (Zambia). I had 2 of them together at one point in town when one of them starts with the ‘Grandfather taught me’ while the guy next to him had identical bracelets held out a few inches away!

    Across Africa- take care. If they offer an antique when you can see other copies. Haggle the copy price or walk away.

    Unique Suggestions:

    I took pictures of this guy because he is the worst. He will start by sounding like he works with the bungee jumping people. He does not. He will follow you and will also follow you again when you return over the bridge. He is a major nuisance. Just keep saying ‘NO’ in a slightly loud manner. Most scurry away, not this guy. Do not even speak to him if you see him. And do not buy the bracelets unless you really want them and you should only pay $2-3. If that.

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    Petting wild animals

    by Wafro Written Sep 19, 2011

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    There are several places in Africa where you can PET wild animals. Sitting on the bag of a hippo, together on the photo with a lion, stroking a crocodile you can’t imagine what they do to attract tourists to give them the perfect snapshot(for money).
    These animals aren’t the same as your dog, cat or tortoise at home, they are wild animals who will come and pose for some food, so keep in mind that all tranquillity can change within a second.
    THESE ARE STILL WILD ANIMALS AND ACCIDENTS HAPPEN!!!

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    TRY NOT TO BE A TOURIST ON SATURDAYS

    by DAO Updated Apr 5, 2009

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    Across Africa I keep finding that official Tourist Information offices do not like being open on Saturdays and Sundays. Sundays, maybe I can understand in some countries. Why the whole weekend? Most travellers arrive places on the weekend because many airlines give discounts for staying over on a Saturday night! If you are a Minister for Tourism in any African country – Please open on the weekends! This is yet another reason to have a guidebook and do research before you go.

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    Zimbabwe ...a visit to in 2009

    by wise23girl Updated Jan 13, 2009

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    This tip was in response to a forum question re a visit to Zimbabwe.

    Be very careful as the political situation is unstable. But a native Zim friend says it is more heartbreak than anything. There is a Cholera epidemic at this time (Dec 2008)

    I just called an ex Zim friend. Left 3yrs ago. She said in the old days you could get a Visa at the airport...does not know now. But if anything can buy one it is US $.
    She also said you might get in from Zambia to see Victoria Falls..

    I just read something another VT wrote and the need for Visa depends on in which country you hold a passport .So check website http://projectvisa.com/countryinfo.asp?countrycode=zw which he provided.
    Me I would still rather have it arranged ahead.

    Another member wrote they had flown from Jo'burg in South Africa to Victoria Falls a few months ago and had no problem. To get in to Zambia a visa is now required and there was a line up for that.

    Also travel with reputable airline....they usually fly in and fly out. A Zim airline...well you do not know when you will get out. Not a good place to be if you are a" Rhodie" with only a Zim passport. According to the VT Africa travelers it could be OK for tourists.
    Hope this helps. Marg

    Unique Suggestions: Have enough US$. Be aware of Zim dollars value. Have all your papers in order. Take nothing for granted. Be fit and well. Watch what you eat and drink.

    Fun Alternatives: Go elsewhere if at all possible,

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    AVOID CHANGING MONEY IN BORDER AREAS

    by DAO Written Jul 28, 2008

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    Think about it. You are entering a Border area and are inside a heavy security area run by the government. There in front of you – before you are allowed to leave the border area – is a Bureau de Change. Can you say monopoly? Only once have I have only ever seen a relatively competitive rate at one of these places, and they charged a fee on top! Not all land borders have them, but heavy tourist & trade areas do.

    Unique Suggestions: Only get enough to get you where you need to go if you really need some local cash.

    Fun Alternatives: Always research before you go so you know what a good rate is. Then check around BEFORE you go over to get an amount you need until you can deal with banks, ATM’s & Bureaus with competition where you are headed to.

    Related to:
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    • Road Trip

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    THE HIGH COST OF MEDICINE

    by DAO Written Jul 5, 2008

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    This is not only a Tourist Trap – it is a trap for local people as well and is sadly true in many places in Africa. When you go to the pharmacy (chemists) to get some pills for a cold – they charge you for each individual pill! Despite the fact that the manufacturer never intended this to be so. Then you often have a 100% import tax on the medicines in many countries. Now the price is really going up. I purchased these cold tablets and bought the whole box. That is what you need to get rid of a cold. The price? By the time it was all added up it cost more than it would in the UK! It was about double what the price would be in the USA.

    Now combine further that fact that many local people have low wages and they can only afford some of the pills. That means they may often not be able to afford the full course of medicine for illnesses.

    This applies even to asprin!

    Unique Suggestions: Shop around. Prices vary considerably. Also, you will be charged more for being a foreigner in some places. Be prepared to pay high prices, but you don’t want to be ill or run out of anti-malarial medication on your travels. Also spare a thought for local folks.

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    EXPENSIVE & DIFFICULT VISAS

    by DAO Updated Apr 4, 2008

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    All these pictures are of criminal activity. In fact you are looking at an illegal invasion and international border crossing – by me. Why did I not just go through the border post? Because the country (Angola in this case) makes the whole process to long and/or expensive. Why do many African countries have high visa fees? Because some poor countries have no capacity to have personal income tax or even a sales tax, so the tourist at the border gets it in the wallet. Now, you may ask, why then make the paperwork complicated and take forever? Because that creates jobs for people. The longer the process, the more people on a living wage. I appreciate the need to raise revenues, but to a budget traveller it comes across as ‘we may not really want you’ or ‘hurry up and get out’ when the time you can actually stay is close to the time it took to get the visa.

    Unique Suggestions: Check this website and make sure you plan ahead:

    PROJECT VISA

    Countries can and will refuse you and keep your fee if you mess up.

    Fun Alternatives: There is no alternative. Unless you do like I did and illegally enter Angola and Zimbabwe. I take no responsibility for any beating and/or incarceration you receive if you try and imitate me.

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    Big game gnitnuh.

    by Wafro Updated Apr 2, 2008

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    Big game hunting is legal in several African countries, Benin, Cameroon, C.A.R., Tanzania,….... I don’t wanna encourage this because I prefer living animals instead of death ones. But the big money enters the country and development and protection will follow. Governments have shooting quotas, so when everything happens correctly the wildlife will not experience any damage.

    Fun Alternatives: Cameras instead of rifles
    Pictures instead of bullets

    Related to:
    • National/State Park
    • Jungle and Rain Forest
    • Budget Travel

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    Overcrouwded coral reefs

    by Wafro Written Apr 1, 2008

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    Public coral reefs in the Red Sea are most of the time OVERcrouwded and for the greater part destroyed by incautious tourists. When you dive into the water, you’ve got to keep in mind that there are other visitors coming after you. TAKE NOTHING BUT PICTURES & DO NOT STEP ON THE CORAL. Corals are living creatures and when you touch them, they certainly will die.

    Related to:
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    • Eco-Tourism
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    Dirty public beaches

    by Wafro Written Mar 12, 2008

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    Public beaches near towns or cities can be sometimes very dirty, they use them as a junkyard or public toilet. It is a pity but the truth. You’ll have to walk a few miles further to enjoy a clean dip in the sea.

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    luggage costs

    by Wafro Written Mar 12, 2008

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    When you are travelling by public transport the luggage boys or porters will ask you to pay for your luggage. First ask your fellow travellers if they paid for there baggage. Most of the times you don’t have to, but you are always free to pay some small money.

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    Phone calls

    by Wafro Written Mar 2, 2008

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    When you make a phone call in an internet-café or phone-shop you can expect a phone call when you’re back at home. Some operators guard the phone numbers you’ve dialled and they use it afterwards to ask for money or an invitation letter.

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