Africa Tourism and Safety

By pjain      Published March 22, 2021, 4:33 p.m. in blog Geo-Politics   

Travel Safety 101

Overview

  • Diseases and
  • Climatic features such as drought, flooding, cyclones and extreme heat all are common on this continent
  • Terrorism, Kidnappings - manageable by avoiding worst
  • Cultural sensitivities - don't poke the natives

Watch and Be Aware of Surroundings

Reality to keep yourself safe. Protests are quite frequent.

Theft for careful tourists does occur, but often this is not just targeted towards tourists but can happen in Italy and Spain just as well.

Stick to other Tourists, Hotels and Major Attractions as Safest

Safety and security measures in hotels and major attractions are the best of standards!

Travel in Groups

Lack of Basic Hygiene and Facilities

Even where there’s no war, people are starving, living in poor hygienic conditions into shacks.

Water, health, and electricity systems in African countries are lacking by western standards

Often Poor Rule of Law

Local laws can sometimes be hostile towards foreigners.

Traveling Safely as Female Traveler

If you take sensible precautions and avoid irresponsible risks, you’re likely to feel safe, welcomed and at home across this continent.

If you are a woman, put a scarf over your head. As one traveller found out, on the first day of our stay there had their hair uncovered and it seemed to be fine facing stares. They were advised to buy scarves and it really made a difference in the way people (especially local women) treated them later.

From not going out alone at night and avoiding strolling through dodgy areas, it’s basically all about common sense especially to being safe as a solo female tourist in Africa.

Do not look lost and flashing loads of valuables, ironically you may be targeted as a RICH high payoff target even more than as a simply vulnerable woman.

Violence against women remains a serious issue in the country, where there are no laws against spousal violence. Female genital mutilation also occurs in many African counties eg in Somalia, with 98% of girls having undergone the procedure by the age of 14.

It is Not a Spring Break - Stick to Daylight hours!

From not going out alone at night and avoiding strolling through dodgy areas, it’s basically all about common sense especially to being safe as a solo female tourist in Africa.

Avoiding Theft and Cons

Do not look lost and flashing loads of valuables.

Travel insurance

Staying Healthy

Poor medical facilities

Medical facilities can be poor

Travel medicine for Travel --XFR--

International SOS says it assigns its travel medical risk ratings by assessing a range of health risks, including: infectious disease burden, environmental factors, medical evacuation data, road trauma data, standard of emergency medical services, outpatient and inpatient medical care, access to quality pharmaceutical supplies, and cultural, language or administrative barriers.

Venezuela, Haiti, North Korea, Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen, Eritrea, Burkina Faso, Niger, Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Guinea-Bissau and Burundi all scored “very high” for travel medical risk.

Yellow Fever

A vaccine may be required by Botswana if you are entering from yellow fever endemic countries.

Malaria biggest risk

Dangerous diseases are sadly a matter of life here. From malaria to dengue, health risks are always an issue in Africa and need to be properly researched and taken into account.

Dengue - no shots but only prevention

Pandemics, Plagues actually rare

There are scares like the West Africa ebola epidemic of 2014

Physical and Political Safety Rating systems

Political elements of danger MUST be considered when it comes to travel in this area, with everything from contested elections, civil unrest, political upheaval and terrorism feeding into the complex situation.

Check Travel Advisories

US State Department is good to check

The United States Department of State regularly puts out travel advisory warnings, and the latest warnings and lists of places to avoid feature a fair number of African countries.

It assigns levels from 1 to 4 when classifying the danger associated with travel to various countries. A Level 4 distinction is assigned to the most dangerous countries. Here’s a breakdown of what those levels mean:

1 - Exercise Normal Precautions - Safer
2 - Exercise Increased Caution
3 - Reconsider Travel - Unsafe
4 - Do Not Travel - Very Unsafe

The ratings for safer and unsafe African Countries are derived from the above.

On the Global Safety Index Africa has worst countries include South Sudan and as dangerous or worse than Afghanistan, Syria,Iraq, Somalia, and North Korea.

Global Peace Index

Started in 2009 and compiled by the Economist Intelligence Unit through carefully quantifying peacefulness on a national and regional scale. It started with ten separate indicators to assess the security and safety of society. It is inferred that fewer terrorist acts, lower crime rates, fewer violent demonstrations, stable politics, good relations with neighboring states, and a low number of displaced citizens will indicate that a country is peaceful.

In 2017, the GPI ranked 172 individual countries and territories (that made up 99.7 percent of the population of the globe) for their peaceful levels. Over the last decade, GPI showed an increasing trend for rising violence around the world.

National travel advisories

It may be worth checking the advisories issued by other governments as well due to special political ties or issues and to get a balance on real problems.

CanadaAustraliaUnited Kingdom.

Visa

Risk of Out of Reach

In particular the risks of Africa is that amid unrest or catastrophe, transportation and border access could be closed with little to no notice. You may get stuck and even your European or U.S. government would have a difficult time assisting their citizens in need of evacuation. Other citizens of less powerful countries don't even have a hope.

Crime

Piracy

These areas are often currently controlled by armed groups who regularly kidnap, hurt, and even kill civilians.

Terrorism

Political/Civil Unrest

The US State Department warns of demonstrations currently happening in the Central African Republic, and notes that even demonstrations that began peacefully have been known to escalate into violence. The crime in the middle of the country is said to be the most frequent, with armed robberies and kidnappings being commonplace.

Terrorism - manageable by avoiding worst territories

Kidnappings - manageable by avoiding worst

Arabic Cultural sensitivities - don't poke the natives

Ranking African Countries' Travel Safety

--- Safest African Countries - Like Western Countries

Morocco is Probably safest country in Africa

Malawi Is Nearly As Safe As Italy

The U.S. Department of State categorizes Malawi as Level 2 – Exercise Increased Caution his is mainly due to civil unrest. American citizens will need to be vaccinated for yellow fever prior to entering the country.

Malawi hosts a selection of nature-based attractions and is a haven for anybody with an interest in the outdoors.

  1. Liwonde National Park for spotting elephants and black rhinos

  2. Majete Wildlife Reserve for going on safari

  3. Lake Malawi National Park has great beaches

Ghana

Ghana ranks safer than the United Kingdom, South Korea, France, Greece, Argentina, and several other popular tourist destinations around the world.

Some areas have an increased risk of danger and crime still does occur. But the country is still considered safe for American citizens to travel to.

  1. Kakum National Park

  2. Mole National Park

  3. Museums and historic buildings to see include Cape Coast Castle and Elmina Castle.

--- Safer African Countries - Level 1

Botswana Southern Part

The landlocked country has huge reserves and safaris

  1. Central Kalahari Game Reserve which is a huge point of interest for tourists. Those visiting the reserve have the chance to see wild giraffes, hyenas, cheetahs, wild dogs, and other animals.

  2. Chobe National Park

  3. Moremi Game Reserve

  4. Okavango Delta. There is also the Tsodilo World-Heritage site where you’ll find historic rock paintings.

There is no visa required for entry

A vaccine may be required by Botswana if you are entering from yellow fever endemic countries.

Egypt

Relatively safe even though the media portrays Egypt as a kind of war zone!

Egypt is suffering from a dramatic decrease in tourism and since the country relies on tourism so much, they need visitors more than ever, so there are less tourist crowds about and locals are super friendly and welcoming.

  1. Cairo city proper

  2. Giza Pyramids

  3. Luxor

  4. Aswan

--- Out of Way, Infrequent Risk is High!

Travelers are few and far between, so be prepared to attract curious looks and expect people come up to you and ask questions even if their language skills are limited.

In these exotic locales still, there’s not much to be afraid of.

There are police stops on the way

In these countries you might be forced to hire a "fixer" translator and/or an armed guard when you travel by car.

Somaliland

While some maps and most ignore Somaliland as a separate it has been independent for over twenty years now. Somaliland is not ranked in the GPI index of the most dangerous countries in the world, since it’s not recognized by the international community

As a traveler you’re likely to feel safe there. Enjoy Somaliland's delicious goat meat and drink sweet milky tea.

  1. See the 5000 years old cave paintings of Laas Geel

  2. Walk the dusty streets of a seaside town of Berbera

  3. Enjoy the bustling markets of Hargeisa

Kenya

Nairobi, the capital city of Kenya has had a number of terror attacks over recent years – in 2013, 67 people were killed in an attack in the city’s Westgate Shopping Mall.

So, rightly Kenya has a bad rap.

--- Best to Avoid - Level 3

Nigeria

Mali

Mali in northwest Africa is graded “extreme” for security risk.

--- Unsafe African Countries - Level 4 US State Do Not Travel

South Sudan - the most dangerous country in Africa

  • ALL OUT WAR! Because of years of civil war and tribal conflict, the general population has access to weapons. Land mines also remain a huge problem, particularly in rural areas.

Women, in particular, suffer from high levels of violence

  • Even journalism without permission from the South Sudanese Media Authority is considered illegal.

A visa and a vaccination for yellow fever are required before entering the country, and the government advises those who are traveling to South Sudan despite the warnings to exercise extreme caution in all areas, at all times.

Somalia - Extreme Poverty leads to Piracy and Extreme Terrorist Attacks

There is an increased chance of terrorism in Somalia and areas that tourists are likely to frequent such as hotels, restaurants, airports, seaports, and shopping areas are often targeted. American citizens who must travel to Somalia are advised to dress conservatively and avoid displaying their cash or other valuables around.

Violence against women remains a serious issue in the country, where there are no laws against spousal violence. Female genital mutilation also occurs in Somalia, with 98% of girls having undergone the procedure by the age of 14.

Central African Republic

Libya

Sudan


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