Africa is a unique place. It’s not nearly as advanced or developed as most of the rest of the world and even if you are an experienced traveler, you need to pay attention to certain things. In Africa, things are done differently and the rules and regulations aren’t always what you’d expect. For this very reason the first and most important thing you need to do is to check with your local embassy on the safety and political climate of both the country and the region that you are traveling to.
There’s civil war all over Africa, and as a tourist you don’t want to get caught in the middle. Getting the appropriate visa is imperative and be warned – it can take a long time to get the right papers and the right documents. Plan it well in advance! As a precaution its also recommended that you make a copy of all your travel documents and leave it with a trusted family member at home.
Travel insurance is vital when you are planning a trip to Africa. Its not uncommon for luggage to ‘disappear’ at airports, so you need to be adequately insured against theft on all your belongings. Also, make sure you keep your valuables with you at all times. At you hotel, you should ask for travel documents to be kept in the hotel safe as a US passport is worth a lot of money in places like Kenya.
Getting health insurance for your trip is vital. Many areas of Africa requires that you take medication weeks (or months) before you leave and its very important that you check this well in advance. Health care in some more remote areas is pretty poor and unless you take the necessary precautions you can pay a heavy price.
Its not always nice to think of everything that can go wrong, but being prepared is indeed a wise way to travel – especially in Africa. Take the necessary precautions and you will enjoy a great and a care-free trip.