What most travelers want to know before their actual trip is to find out if Africa is really safe for them to visit. Africa per say constitutes about 54 countries with several island groups thus making it the most diverse continent in the world. Like other continents, Africa consists of both developed and those battling countries and this means that it is not a hundred percent safe. Africa has for long been known as a war zone continent and yet the latter isn’t true. Worldwide, there is no place that is a hundred percent secure and safe. That said, it important that you carry out personal research on specific country you intend before embarking on actual trip.
Like any continent, crime and violence cuts across but level may differ from country to country. The known ones that have experienced high crime rate include Liberia and Sierra Leone. Due to this, one needs to be careful while on safari in such countries. At one point, South Africa also encountered carjacking and muggings. Continent wide, pickpocketing and theft is there but what is important is for you know which areas and what time you visit and avoid carrying valuables anyhow.
Prior your actual trip to Africa, it is important that you get vaccinated against diseases like hepatitis A and B, yellow fever, rabies and also protect yourself from malaria or get medicine that lasts for the period you intend to spend at the destination. Besides, you need to be keen on what you eat or drink just for your safety and health. Dealing with roadside vendors can be more risky and better if you visited a good restaurant or hotel to have a meal. Also, take only bottled water otherwise avoid drinking water anyhow as this will protect you from typhoid, cholera, dysentery, parasitic infections and many more.
Like other continents, there are those specific countries that historically are known for not being safe and in Africa, Algeria and Mauritania have had a dangerous view for western travelers as they have been targets of Islamic fundamentalists and kidnappers. Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, Somalia, South Sudan, Southeast Chad and others are some of the countries that historically have had political instabilities. Before traveling to these countries, you must consult first with your embassy to know the current situation.
While on safari or self-drive tour in the park or any tourist sites in Africa, make sure that you observe all the stipulated rules and regulations. Besides getting closer to wild animals like lions and hippos, be keen on the snakes too as you walk and better if you are on boots and long pants. You can also come along with insect repellents to keep you safe from mosquitoes that may make you get malaria.
For women travelers, Muslim countries like Somalia, Egypt and Libya women tend to be a major target of violence and in case they do not observe specific social convention for instance avoiding sleeveless shirts or short skirts. Women have to cover their heads in case they are planning to pay a visit to any mosque or other religious destination.
Some important and simple safety tips for you are;
Have some case with you, do not keep the wallet in your back pocket, do not keep mobile phone or wallet on the table of café or restaurant, be careful while in a restaurant or withdrawing case at ATMs, avoid wearing expensive jewelry, be protective of your ID and passport and many others.
Conclusively, safety in Africa remains a question of debate but like any continent, Africa isn’t 100 percent safe but it is ideal for safaris. Before embarking on actual trip, make sure that you contact your embassy to ascertain the current safety and security situation of that particular country you intend to visit.