Why it’s OK to go to Africa
There Are More Than 50 countries. You Do The Math.
It’s a big place, and with more than 50 countries to explore, it’s certainly easy to avoid areas that are currently not deemed safe.
If you want to go on a safari, head to Tanzania in East Africa or Botswana in the southern part of the continent. Yes, Zimbabwe is Botswana’s eastern neighbor, a country where a Z$100 trillion note was introduced in January and a president who claims cholera isn’t a presence in the country though it’s killed nearly 4,000 people, according to the World Health Organization. But simply, just don’t go there. It’s easy to fly to different countries, and most countries are so vast you can spend a month in just one.
Languages: You’ll be Able to Converse More Than You Think
Take Uganda, for example. There are approximately 32 languages spoken in the country, according to Encyclopedia Britannica. However, a large portion of the population – especially in towns or cities – speaks at least a bit of English, the country’s official language.
West Africa primarily speaks French and Arabic is a primary language in the northern part of the continent. Still, in larger cities you should be fine. And, if not, buy a pocket dictionary – it’ll always help you out.
There Are Many Touristy Places & Guided Trips Are an Option
What do you think of when you first hear “Vacationing in Africa?”
Chances are, the words “safari,” “Victoria Falls,” “Egyptian Pyramids,” “the Nile” and countries like Senegal and Morocco in West Africa come to mind.
If you want to play it safe, look into safari or tour companies. Whether it’s a day trip to visit the Egyptian Pyramids near Cairo or a three-week trek in Tanzania to visit exotic Zanzibar, bask or climb majestic Mount Kilimanjaro and take in a safari, there will always be choices for any kind of adventure you want. Cairo to Cape Town tours are also popular.
Kristen McAdam, a 24-year-old Canadian who completed the Tour D’Afrique in 2008, said traveling Africa was an amazing experience and would recommend it.
“Africa is a continent of amazing people, gorgeous countryside, and great food. There was never a moment that I didn’t feel safe. Mostly, the African people are just curious about you,” she said in a message. “When [some Africans] saw I was struggling to change my flat tire, several of them jumped in to help me out. This kind of obliging nature was evident through all of the nine countries I traveled through.”
In towns like Jinja, Uganda, just five or so miles from Bujagali Falls which hosts foreigners to raft the Nile or volunteer close to Lake Victoria, safe hostels and hotels are abundant.
There Are Tons of Other Travelers
You’ve gotta use common sense. Don’t walk alone at night, and use a taxi if necessary. If you go out, use a lock in your hostel or room and make sure your valuables (passport, extra money, etc.) are secure. When you take a bag out, try to have a purse or backpack with a zipper.
Open up and talk.
Danger? Not Everywhere…
…Especially if the most commonly-listed dangerous countries in the world list a few – but not many – places in Africa, according to a 2008 Forbes.com story.
The usual suspects include Somalia and Sudan, for example. Genocide in Sudan and Somalia, an alleged lawless country in the horn of Africa, make those two places obvious choices to stay away from.
Currently, the roaring war in the Democratic Republic of Congo and the despair in Zimbabwe, are also countries not to be entered.
But There’s Another Side…
However, native Kenyan friends later said that “everything went back to normal” in 2008 following the same peace agreement. Currently, Kenya is enduring some violence, so be sure to check it out before you head out on your adventure.
Basically, be smart and do your research. But, don’t just assume it’s dangerous to travel everywhere.
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