Safety is something that we all put into consideration every time we travel or move to a new place. In this article we will discuss 20 safety measures you can take to ensure you are safe and healthy during your African travels while having a good time.
1. Learn as much as you can about the country you would be visiting before you travel
It is a good part of preparation to learn about the country you would be visiting prior to travelling there.
Learn about the language, population, fun destinations, geography, what the country is known for, tourists experience in the country and everything you think you should know about the country.
2. Learn basic words in the local language
Learning basic phrases or sentences like greetings, prices of things, local currency, directions and so on in the local dialect of the African country you want to visit can help you get around quickly, especially if there isn’t a local guide to help you out.
Also, you don’t want to always be dependent on a guide, sometimes you just want to be alone to do your thing. Knowing a little bit of the language, at least how to communicate basic words or sentences would be very helpful.
A very great app for learning languages which you have probably heard of is the Duolingo app.
The Duolingo app has a few African languages like Swahili and Zulu which is spoken in several countries across Africa.
Another very grate tool you can use to communicate while travelling is the Google Translate tool.
This Google tool is a perfect tool for translating from text to text, speech to text, and even image having a language can be translated easily.
3. Avoid shady or unpopular areas especially at night
Don’t go out alone at night especially to places that are not safe. Even when you go to out to the clubs or for night life it is advisable that you go with a friend or guide who knows the area better than you do.
4. Avoid using public buses at night
Closely following the previously list safety tip is to avoid using public buses at night if you can. It is better to use a Taxi or an Uber where you are the only passenger.
Better still, you can use a private car if you have friends who have one.
I would emphasize on this safety measure if you are female.
5. Find a trusted guide to drive you or take you around
This is very important in your solo travel because it will make your travel experience stress free or significantly reduce the challenges you will have if you don’t have anyone to show you around and put you through whatever you need.
Having a travel guide on ground to help you move around is gold! Especially if you are traveling to a non English speaking country or a country where they don’t speak a language that you are familiar with.
6. Have emergency numbers on hand
You should have numbers of a family or friend (either on ground or abroad) that you can call if you find yourself in an emergency.
It is advised that their numbers are stored in your memory and you can remember the numbers by heart.
7. Don’t be too trusting
When you travel to Africa you will find that most people are nice, friendly and are always willing to help you. However, it doesn’t mean that there aren’t crooked people too.
Some people are opportunists that might want to take advantage of the fact that you are new to the place to extort you or worse steal from you.
It’s better that you move around with someone you know and if you meet great and trustworthy people along the way ( which you will) make them acquaintances.
They will be handy during your stay there or when next you visit.
8. Keep your valuables safe
Keep all your Items like clothing, wearables, gadgets, and travel essentials safe.
You should put them under lock and key in your hotel or Airbnb and lock your apartment.
9. Avoid doing things that will attract unnecessary attention
Avoid wearing expensive clothing or accessories that might attract attention or make you stand out.
Or showing off your new iPhone, Camera or gadgets. If people notice you have expensive items on you, you might become a target.
10. Have an identity card on you
Your picture ID is important for several reasons.
It might come in handy for instance if perhaps you lost your passport and need a replacement, so it might be useful for dealing with your embassy.
Another good reason for carrying your ID is if you don’t want to carry your passport all the time so that it won’t get lost.
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11. Avoid places or situation that put you at a risk of getting robbed
Be vigilant while enjoying your vacation. Robbery or crime can happen anywhere, you just need to be cautious.
If you want to go out to places at night, go with a local or be in a company of two or more people. It is safer this way than being alone at night.
12. Google map is your friend
Thank goodness for Google map! Its so useful for finding places and it can be used to locate places in most places in Africa. With an App like this, you wont get lost. Hopefully!
Use the google map to find locations you want to go to if you are not familiar with places.
13. Avoid getting drunk or intoxicated when you are alone
This is a safety measure you should take if you plan to go out and have fun in the country you are visiting.
If you are not visiting the club or party with a friend, watch how you drink. Drink responsibly for your own safety.
14. Waist pouches for travel is underrated
To avoid being pickpocketed and having your wallet, phones and other valuables stolen or misplaced, I advise that you can carry a waist bag /pouch.
The thing I love about waist pouches are that they are worn around the waist and not carried across the shoulders or hands.
It simply frees you up to do others things and limits any chance of having to drop your bag somewhere and forget it.
Some pouches are slender and can go under your clothes. This way its not so obvious, if that’s how you want it. Most people just wear it over their clothes
Because some pouches are flat against your body they can’t carry heavy items. they are specially made to be light weight.
What your waist pouch should contain is your passport, wallet, cash, cell phones and keys. You can also carry a cross bag for any extras.
15. Keep your medications handy
So this is especially for people who have medical conditions like asthma, are allergic to certain things or react to certain things.
You need to keep some of your medications with you just in case of an attack or you eat something you are allergic to without knowing.
Take all safety guidelines for the Covid19 seriously. take a test to be sure you are negative, wash your hands regularly, and avoid crowded areas as much as you can during this Covid19 period.
16. Carry a pepper spray with you
This may sound cliché but it still is a security measure that can save a life. I recommend this for ladies. It doesn’t mean men can’t use it too though.
They may not exactly be the kind defense weapon you may need in case of danger but this might potentially delay harm.
17. Tell someone where you will be per time
Let someone be in the know of where you are or will be going so that they can trace your movements if the need arises.
You may not like the idea of this but for safety sake, you should do this, even if you tell just one person.
18. Lock up your hotel or Airbnb before going out
I know you are saying ‘well everyone should know to lock their apartments’. Yes, its not news but I want to emphasize it because some people may not think much of it.
19. Do not carry too much money around
Most countries in Africa are cash based so its necessary to always have cash on you when you are about your business. However, it will be wise to not have more than you need at a time .
So that you won’t loose money or have them stolen from your wallet or bag.
Of course a good alternative to having cash is to have your ATM card with you. So that if you need more than you have on you, you can withdraw or use your card to pay for things where options for such are available.
20. Do not drink water from the tap
In some African countries, people do not drink water from the tap or borehole.
There are exceptions to this of course if the water has been specially treated.
Most countries sell their drinking water which has already been treated for drinking by Water bottling companies.
Tap water is often used for cooking, cleaning and washing.
I included this as a safety measure because most travellers from outside Africa drink tap water and might consider it normal to do so in Africa.
However since tap water in Africa is mostly untreated it might be contaminated and therefore unsafe for your foreign stomach.
I know you are wondering this point if this African trip is worth taking if you have to do all these things ha ha!
Know this, these safety measures applies anywhere in the world you are travelling to. Safety first isn’t it?
You are taking a trip to a beautiful country in Africa with beautiful people, culture, habitat, nature, tourists attraction sites and world wonders.
You are taking a trip that many people have taken and have enjoyed.
To make your trip a safe, pleasant and happy one you want to take safety measures so that your journey will be safe, beautiful, memorable and fun.