Unlike before, today, things are gradually changing with majority getting concerned on their safety while on an African Safari. What leaves many wondering is if Africa is indeed safe. Despite the challenges, a trip to Africa is safer however, by just saying that it is safe isn’t enough and that is why it is important for you to stay informed, safer and well-prepared. Eddie Kafeero of Budget Uganda Safaris shares some of the most interesting tips to help you stay safe on an African safari. The best way to stay safe while on safari is by taking note of the following;
With many traveler forums for you to visit, you can get informed on current situation of the area you would like to pay a visit to. You can visit Trip Advisor, the US and UK government advisories and famous Africa travel blogs which make it faster and simpler for you to get know what is on-going around the world. These forums also do recommend travelers which places safe to visit and those not to visit.
2. Contextualize the headlines
In most cases, high crime rates do taint the whole image of a destination and for any kind of incident in one area; it doesn’t mean that the whole of Africa is in trouble. Leading safari destinations such as Rwanda Volcanoes National Park, Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Maasai Mara Wildlife Reserve are safer sites.
3. Be sensitive
Photo taking in some border areas is highly restricted or even in some government buildings and adopt a positive attitude when dealing with uniformed authorities. That said, you therefore need to have ground information and your travel agent or hotel can guide you through.
4. Be respectful
Try as much as possible to treat certain areas especially religious sites or cultural places with care. A trip to a new destination comes with its own restrictions that you have to comply with. Places like the Maasai homelands or Zanzibar as well as most cultural sites in Uganda have to be treated with some respect. Do not take intrusive photos of people and also you need to dress well perhaps in accordance to the religious settings. Dress well regardless of your sex in religious areas and this means you need clothes which over your knees and elbows. In case you have long hair and you are a woman, try to tie it back or just tuck it into a hat. Visitors who are aware and sensitive enough find it easier to interact with communities in a respectful manner.
5. Ask a healthcare professional
Getting into some countries in most cases may mean you getting immunized against certain diseases. They include among others yellow fever, tetanus, meningitis, typhoid, hepatitis A and B.
6. Take note of anti-malarial precautions
Get yourself protected from malaria by sleeping under treated mosquito net while on safari in Africa. Most importantly, most safari lodges have mosquito nets. Consult your healthcare professional on the malarial prophylactics that are available for you. Be aware of common side effects and ensure that you have taken prophylactics prior and after a trip.
7. Take bottled water
It is good idea to hydrate but try as much as possible to avoid tap water or other cheaper water sources because you want to save money. Most of safari lodges in most cases do offer complementary bottled water on a game drive and in the room and this means that you do not need to take tap water.
8. Safari safety
Be keen on safety briefing. Note that most safari lodges are not fenced and wildlife species roam around. You therefore need to pay keen attention on these creatures as they are wild and they can react defensively in case you seem to threaten them. Also, make sure that you make the best use of your room’s mosquito net and ceiling fans as well as insect repellent. When you set off for actual trip, make sure that you listen to your guide as he is knowledgeable on how to keep you safe. This can only be possible if you do listen to his instructions.
9. You need a hat/sun block
Given the scotching sunshine in most African states for instance in Namib Desert, you may need a hat or sun block to help protect your head from sun heat.
In most cases, this is a very common cause of upset on a trip. It is as a result of overheating or not taking adequate fluids. The notable symptoms of this include headache, nausea, constipation, fatigue, dry skin, dizziness and thirst among others. Taking adequate water alone may not be enough and you need to replace the electrolytes that you lose in sweat. Do consult your healthcare professional on electrolyte replacements which can supplement the bottled water in case you are suspicious of any dehydration and ensure that these never miss out in your first aid kit.
11. Come with personal first aid kit
You need to come along with adequate prescribed medication that will last your stay while on safari in Africa. Do not assume that you can probably find the same medication in a destination you are planning to head to. It is wise that you carry it in your small first aid kit.
12. Communicate to your agent or guide
Let your travel agent or guide aware of your chronic illness in that your safari lodge and guide are well-informed of any special needs just in case. For cases where you are not feeling well while on a trip, make sure that you inform the guide, lodge host or hotel concierge. They will however help you find a professional medical care or find a way of adjusting your travel plan depending on how long you intend to be at that destination.
When planning for your trip, make sure that you are familiar with area that you are heading to. If you are visiting Kenya then you will land into Nairobi’s Jomo Kenyatta International Airport or perhaps transfer to Wilson Airport for easy connection for your safari to your dream destination. Once you know where you are going to and how to do it, then this will minimize any kind of inconveniences along the way. This also means that if you are heading to for instance Uganda, Rwanda you shouldn’t know it from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
13. Plan for airport transfers
Prior your actual trip, you need to have planned for airport transfer. Most airports and other travel hubs are main areas where most visitors get lost and hence they are taken advantage of.