This is a sponsored guest post.
Many tourists – especially from Europe – have in recent years put African countries in their bucket list of tourist destinations. There are many tourist attraction sites to explore in Africa. Africa is synonymous with its game drives, but it also has some of the best sandy beaches in the world. The climate is hot and humid with friendly people.
There are is a lot of misconception concerning traveling to Africa, but unless you travel there yourself, you could be missing a lot.
If you are a first time traveler to Africa, then this article offers useful tips to help you in your travels.
Plan for a long trip
Traveling to Africa from Europe is a long journey, and with the expansive landscape that Africa offers, you should plan on spending at a minimum of two weeks. This will help you settle in and go on an African Safari. Remember to carry extra cash for park fees. You can start your journey by first visiting Ethiopia, but you need to travel.
Experience different cultures
For you to make the most from your trip to Africa, make every effort to explore the different cultures that Africa has to offer. To do this, you will need to sacrifice comfort for the experience. Eat food the African way – with your hands. Do not spend your entire trip in your hotel room but plan to explore the countryside. This may mean that you will not have some of the luxuries in your hotel room, but it enables you to better learn about the people. Learn a word or two in the native languages.
Do not get scared of CDC and travel control advisories
While we are not advocating that you do not follow their advice their moments the travel advisories make tourist a bit paranoid. Not all of Africa is experiencing some form of tribal clashes – most of the areas are relatively peaceful. It is also unnecessary to get countless shots of vaccines; malaria is real in Africa due to it been humid and hot, but you should be okay after sleeping under a net and using mosquito repellants.
Blend in with the locals
You will always find some form of dressing in every African culture that you visit and what better way to enhance your trip than trying out being like them. You will often find some “Maasai shukas” being sold in the streets or some jewelry.
Carry some sunscreen
Most countries in Africa tend to be very hot and humid. The locals do not need sunscreen, but it would be great if carried some from home. You will find some supermarkets selling it, but it could be overpriced and not your brand for more read here.
Carry some US Dollars
Most African states accept US dollars and British pounds. The exchange rates at the airport can be exuberant so try changing your money in a bureau or bank. Avoid carrying dollar bills older than the 2006 series. Carry your credit cards as they are accepted in most places.
Do not forget your camera and smartphone
Most African countries have excellent network reception, and you can get a brand new 4G SIM card for less than a dollar. Wi-Fi hotspots are available in most hotels and café, but the internet on your phone is also good. Carry with you a camera to capture those special moments. While at it avoid taking pictures of people without permission – many people find this intrusive and do take offense.
Be kind and respectful
There are areas in Africa where you will be confronted with extreme poverty, and it does not hurt to give the poor a little. However, you will often find yourself been confronted with many street kids asking for some money. Be wary of pickpockets.
Carry some baby wipes
When going for outdoor activities or walking in the streets, it is good that you use some baby wipes after touching money and saying hi to so many people. Sticks to bottled water – most of the municipal water sources are not safe for consumption.
Be aware of your surroundings
Most people assume that Africa is one big jungle, but things have changed. You will find high rise buildings and modern shopping malls adorning the landscape. Be informed of what is going around you. Frequently listen to the local news for any developments that can hinder your trip. Inform your embassy of your arrival so that they can offer help in case of any unrest.
Learn African dances
Africa is blessed with multiple cultures, and you will often find some new, interesting dance moves. Do not be so uptight but join in the dancing. The Maasai jumps are very interesting.
Get some sunglasses
If you are coming from a country that receives cold weather then might have some hard time with the African climate. Carry some sunglasses with you.
Be street smart
You will often be confronted with some street hustlers who are trying to make some money off you. They will try to sell you souvenirs, clothes or jewelry but at inflated prices. Most African retailers will lower their prices after a little bit of haggling. This is where learning a couple of words in the local dialect comes in handy. The moment they realize that you know how to haggle they will relax on their prices.
Get a driver
If you get picked by a van or cab from your airport, it is wise that you get the phone number of that driver. Local drivers come in handy when you need to navigate the streets. They also provide valuable information on where to get the best prices for souvenirs. To make friends with the drivers engage in some chitchat. For example, ask him how long his been in the taxi business and basic information about his/her family.
Traveling to Africa is exciting with many tourist sites. The beaches are sandy and offer different marine species. Each country has some outstanding giveaway for tourist. Traveling to Africa cannot be complete without going for a game drive. To enhance your experience learn a word or two of the local languages – learning Kiswahili, for example, helps you when haggling in the streets.