Many people say Africa is hazardous and dangerous and see it as a risky destination. I have never had any problem regarding my personal security neither have I felt menaced in any situation, but I admit some cities have a "bad reputation". As far as I know: Pretoria/Jo'burg, Nairobi, Dakar... but is more for small thefts in people crowds as markets and so and maybe some touts and people hassling you to get a guide, buy this and that... not really murders, kidnappings and things like that!
Anyway, I think that if you take the normal precautions and don't show notorious richness (cameras, money...) around, you will be safe walking about the cities as in any other place of the world.
In some areas of Africa you won't find modern western WC services but rather basic ones, so you better be prepared, for instance, bringing your own toilet paper with you.
In some place (i.e. in most of the campings when you do safaris in Tanzania) all you will find are holes on the ground inside wooden huts, and the "showers" will be a barrel of water on top of you from where you get water (cold, of course) from a tap...
In the Djema el Fnaa Square in Marrakesh you will find many street stalls offering delicious freshly made orange juice. For less than 1 euro you will get a whole orange juice glass.
BUT tell the vendor to not add water or ice to your juice, as they add it from the tap and you can suffer stomach problems if you drink that. Tell him to put just juice, even if he has to put double orange to fill the glass, is still very cheap, so don't take the risk
Deforestation is also a major problem in the green belt of Africa.
Acres of virgin rainforest are disappearing every day.
Commercial logging is the main problem.
90 % of thee logging companies are using unsustainable methods, with catastrophic results.
SO, when you buy wood-buy wood with theFCS lable
Several countries or specific areas in Africa aren’t safe for the all day tourist.
Ethnical tensions, political unrests and even gold or diamonds, this all could be a reason for an outbreak of violence.
Always check the areas you want to explore.
Buffalos can be considered as one of the most aggressive animals of the African continent. Whether they live on the savannahs or in the forests you always have to take care and try to avoid all close contact. When they charge they are determent and unhesitant.
You better watch out before using water from the tap.
When you can’t use the water to wash yourself you’ll be sure of it you can’t drink it!
Water isn’t always that clean, sometimes pumped out of a river our stored on the rooftop and refilled by water suppliers and they aren’t always that honest.
AIDS, Hepatitis B are always a risk when you have casual sex.
Avoiding casual sex altogether is the safest option, otherwise use a CONDOM.
Condoms are available in most of the African countries, but you'd better bring your own .
Always be careful with monkeys, they might look cuite and cuddely, but they‘re still wild animals.
In many tourist resort monkeys are habituated and familiar and they cold encounter you in an aggressive way.
Here you’ll find a map with the malaria risk countries of the world.
As you can see, you have to be careful in almost the whole African continent.
Only the north and south are relatively safe.
But you can always find information on these issues at the tropical institutes in your country.
Some countries in Africa are in the Malarial Zone. If you visit such an area - PLEASE PREPARE! Malaria can sometimes be fatal and at best may make you regret that you survived. Medicines must be taken weeks BEFORE you come here. There are 4 different species of Malaria and humans can get them all from the bite of an infected female Anopheles mosquito. Illness and death from malaria are largely preventable - if you plan ahead.
While you are here you need to use a repellent spray early in the morning and any periods of darkness, especially at night. The Bartender at my beach hotel had Malaria 3 times before he was 25. Do not take chances!
I would suggest you buy repellent with 100% DEET.
Travelling to Africa? Hope you are not afraid of needles! You need some immunizations before you go. At the least I would recommend these for any travel other than on a cruise ship:
Hepatitis B – for longer journeys
The full list is here of every possibility worldwide, but includes some immunizations you should have had as a child:
European tick borne Encephalitis
Yellow Fever - You only need this if you are going into affected areas and staying for a while.
BE SAFE: See your doctor before you go! I’m no medical expert, just a safe traveller.
Landmines are the all too real legacy of the many civil wars that have taken place across Africa in the last 40 years. In many countries you will see children and young people with missing limbs decades after a war. That’s because in most conflicts the different sides NEVER marked their minefields. Farmers and children still come across these with devastating consequences. Chances are you will never travel in an area where there are still mines, but stay on roads in heavily mined countries like Mozambique. If local guides say not to hike somewhere – don’t hike there.
If you would like to help, there are several charities that perform demining across Africa. The most famous is the HALO TRUST
You receive an email from an African Prince. He had to flee his homeland and leave behind almost all of his wealth left to him by his Father the King. The King has millions of $’s in a European Bank account, but the rebels killed his father and now he has no funds to travel and realise the wealth of the Royal Family. You can help the Prince! Just send him some money and he will reward you generously! And so the scam begins. Next time it is a Princess, a Church, an Orphanage. They all need 2 things: Your Money and Your stupidity. Unfortunately these scams sometimes work. I work for the Post Office and I have seen money wired to these fraudsters.
What is 419?
A 419 fraud is known as an Advance Fee Fraud, known internationally as 4-1-9 fraud after the section of the Nigerian penal code which addresses fraud schemes. They tell you a story playing on your greed and you send them some money and you get rewarded later. You actually get burned.
Can you fight back?
Take a look at
419 Eaters scam the scammers! At the veryt least look at the ‘Trophy Room’ where they have gotten greedy scammers to take silly pictures of themselves and sometimes even get money from the criminal themselves! The site is addictive.
If you see it here on VT, please report it immediately. Do you know any elderly or vulnerable people who use the internet? Please warn them. These scams do work unfortunately.
Information from the US Secret Service:
419 Scams include:
• An individual or company receives a letter or fax from an alleged "official"
• An offer to transfer millions of $'s in "over invoiced contract" funds into your bank account
• You are requested to provide personal/business info
• You receive numerous documents with official looking stamps
• Eventually you must provide up-front fees for various taxes, fees or bribes
• Other scmas include: c.o.d. of goods or services, real estate, purchases of oil, beneficiary of a will, etc.
This problem was brought home to me by a friend taking a night ferry between Zanzibar and the mainland. He paid for a 1st class ticket and went to sleep. He woke up to find a couple of locals trying to carry away his 2 bags while still in the water! The scam is this. An untrustworthy employee on a ferry or bus lets a thief on without a ticket. If the thief makes some money, he gives the staff some of it. Your bags and their contents can be very valuable to someone making $200 or less a month. Also your luggage is sometimes put on top of a train/bus/van and an opportunist will try and grab it at stops. Just takes a sharp knife. Just keep watch on your bags at all times.
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