Factors to consider before touring Africa
Africa is a continent with 54 countries each having its own jurisdiction and governance. Therefore, if you are planning on touring this large continent, you have to put this into consideration. In addition, there are countries and regions that are inaccessible due to civil war or rebel groups fighting. You need to consider various factors before touring Africa.
It is prudent to divide the continent further into regions so as to narrow down on best practices. There are many factors to consider, however, we will cover the most important.
Factors to Consider before taking a tour to Africa
Climatic conditions of the region you intend to visit
Unlike other continents that have four seasons each year, most regions in Africa have different climate conditions. The equator cuts through Africa dividing it by half, therefore the areas around the equator have the warmest climate. Countries along the equator have sunny months, rainy months with cold nights. However, the temperature does not go below 10 degrees Celsius.
Some parts of Africa are completely dry like the Sahara Desert, Kalahari or Namib desert. This area can go up to a year without rain. The temperatures are always high, windy but there are very amazing safari experiences in these dry areas.
Southern Africa is known to have winter and summer seasons, unlike the rest of Africa although they don’t experience snow like Europe and North America.
Always find out the climatic conditions of the area you intend to visit so as to prepare appropriately. Pack the right clothing, lotions, sunscreen, insect repellant if need be.
Read more: Packing for an African Safari
The language spoken by the people of the area you intend to visit
Africa is a region made up of different communities and tribes, each having its own native language. However, due to the early years of colonization, most countries have adopted the language of their colonizers. There are countries that speak English, others French, Portuguese and some Spanish.
Getting to know the language spoken for the regions you intend to visit in Africa will help you determine whether you need to hire a translator or you will be able to flow with the people of the region. If you can’t afford the translator, you can stick to touring regions with a familiar tongue.
The regulations governing the area your are touring
In most countries, having a tourist visa is a requirement. You can obtain a tourist visa either online or at the point of entry. Ensure to confirm the travel regulations of each country you intend to visit and adhere to them.
With the covid19 pandemic still prevailing in most parts, more regulations have been put in place. Some countries require you to have a current covid19 test done with negative results. Other countries require you to wear masks all the time in public places while some countries are operating as normal.
There are other health certificates required in some countries like the yellow fever vaccine, others require you to have an anti-malaria shot etc. Carefully check each countries requirements and adhere to ensure a smooth travel experience.
Duration of time you have at hand for the scheduled tour
It is easy to plan a tour on paper while marking all the places you intend to visit on the map. However, the African terrain is quite different and not always smooth. As much as you can locate most areas on the map, you need to understand that most areas in Africa are not developed and have very rough roads.
Hence, before you book a return ticket, make sure you have the full details of how long it will take to manoeuvre through the rough terrain. Never assume small details, it would actually be better for you if you added a day or two to your itinerary.
Also read: How long to go on safari
Your health status
During this period of the pandemic crisis, your health is the most important thing for you right now. Other than the Covid19 negative certificate and the vaccine, there are other health checks one needs to be done before travel.
In addition, you need to consider that in some places, health facilities with all the 1st world equipment are hard to come by. Therefore, it would be prudent for you to visit the doctor for a full medical check. If you take particular medications, kindly get enough prescriptions to cover you throughout your tour.
Secondly, Africa is prone to malaria hence you need antimalaria tablets, you can add in some painkillers for those rough days. Due to the many insect bugs, you may encounter while in the bushes in Africa, you can add in some antihistamines and some insect repellants.
Even though we pointed out above that there are not many high-end hospitals. It is prudent to have travel insurance that includes medical covers and evacuation. There are good hospitals in the major cities that can provide the medical treatment you need.
The amount of luggage you intend to carry
When going to a new place for the first time, you always want to be sure you have carried all you need. However, when travelling through Africa it is advisable to travel as light as possible. The weather in various parts of Africa is very favourable, hence you can survive on light cotton clothes. In addition, life in Africa is very simple hence no need for expensive heavy clothes.
When preparing your luggage, pack only the essentials. Consider how long your tour will be and the places you will be visiting. In case you intend to use an internal chatter flight, kindly note they have a limit. At times, especially when hiking there will be a need for you to reduce your load and find a place to keep part of your luggage.
Read more: My Safari Bag
You also need to leave room for adding some purchases especially souvenirs you collect from different regions. If you are an avid traveller, memoirs of your travel are very important, hence make room for some purchases.
Read more: Maasai Market in Nairobi, Kenya.
The local currency used and the main form of transactions
Most African countries have their own currencies. Although they also recognize international currencies like dollars, euros and pounds. It is crucial that you find out which currencies apply in the region you intend to visit.
In addition, you may need to familiarize yourself with the exchange rates and places where you can exchange the currencies. This is available in most airports and major cities. Although some countries accept international currencies, it would be cheaper to trade with the local currencies and avoid exaggerated prices.
Some places may accept visa services while in some countries, they do have ATMs that accept international withdrawals. However, using visas may end up attracting many charges due to exchange rates. It is advisable to carry the visa or Mastercard for emergency use only.
Have an Adventure Spirit when touring.
It’s one thing to see beautiful pictures of wonderful Africa and it’s another thing to be there in person. Some countries in Africa may not have smooth processes when it comes to receiving visitors, you need to be ready for such circumstances.
Most of the terrain in Africa is very rough, at times it may rain and the roads get even tougher. This might make your tour a bit harder. Hence, it is vital to have an adventurous spirit when visiting Africa. Things will not always go as planned or within the speculated time. Embrace every moment and see the good in it. That is the only way to enjoy an African tour and make good memories.