First Time Travelling in Africa (What You Need to Know)

Travelling Africa is an amazing experience, but it is also very daunting. Compared to the other continents, Africa is the most extreme and punishing, which makes it the most uncomfortable in a lot of ways. Before you start your travels, then, it is important to study the region and make sure you keep yourself out of harm’s way. Here are a couple of tips that will come in handy for first-time travellers, and any travellers visiting Africa.

Don’t Pack Light

Although the weather looks like it is blistering hot, Africa can get very cold. In fact, at night when the sun sets, the temperature plummets. If you don’t have some heavy duty clothes in your suitcase, you will freeze to death! Okay, maybe you won’t freeze to death, but you will be very cold. Before you set off, pack a couple of sweaters and a jacket because you never know when it will come in handy. Plus, the terrain is incredibly difficult at times, so strong footwear is a must.

French Is Handy

One thing you will learn about Africa is that the continent is heavily influenced by France in a lot of places. From Nigeria and Cameroon to the Ivory Coast, French is the main language, and it is spoken everywhere. It is because of the history of the continent and France’s foreign policy in the 18th and 19th centuries. As a result, it is always good to know a bit of French. Africans tend to have strong accents, so understanding their English can be difficult. Having French to fall back on is a nice backup in case you are struggling, or in case no one speaks English.

Safaris Are A Must

Safaris are a once in a lifetime experience, so you have to experience one if you get the chance. What makes a safari in Africa special is the fact that you can’t see most of the animals anywhere else in the world. Lions, hippos and giraffes are all indigenous to the region, so you might never get the chance again if you pass it up. Watching an animal in the wild in their natural habitat is one of the most humbling and exciting experiences in life.

But You Need to Watch Out For Hippos

Although you might think that lions and crocodiles are the main danger, that is not entirely true. The biggest killer of humans in Africa is hippos. Hippopotamuses are very cranky animals that are prone to charging and can run up to almost thirty miles an hour. If they catch you, they can do some serious damage. If you are on land, never get in between a mother and her young and always keep your distance. If you are on a boat, strike the side of the boat to let the hippos know your location.

You Won’t Need Every Injection Possible

Of course, you are going to need to see the doctor before you go because Africa is tropical and there are lots of diseases. But, there are some diseases that are not prevalent in the region, so there is no point worrying. What you will need are malaria tablets, a yellow fever vaccination, a hepatitis A shot, and a typhoid shot. Also, a rabies shot is a good idea, especially, if you are going to be in close contact with wild animals.