Traveling to Africa is a life-changing experience. However, if you have never been there before, it can be challenging to know what you need to prepare for the trip.
The people in African countries can be very helpful when it comes to offering directions or giving advice about local culture or customs. You should always accept this assistance graciously, even if you've already visited an area before.
Africa has many different climates depending on where exactly one travels. For example, Ethiopia is known for its cool mountainous regions. At the same time, Kenya tends towards hot desert areas much like those found in North America or Europe.
Culture And Tradition
The people who live on this land have their own unique cultures and traditions that will vary depending on where one is visiting. However, regardless of these differences, most African nations share common factors such as language or religion, making it easier for tourists from different countries to interact with each other.
Because much of this region was under British rule at some point during its history (and still maintains strong ties to the Commonwealth), many people here speak English as a first language. This can be great, especially when you need help urgently, like finding a driving accident lawyer and not sure how to say it in another language. While this can be helpful, it is important to remember that French and other languages are also widely spoken throughout Africa. Language barriers may seem like a challenge, but they shouldn't stop visitors from enjoying their journey abroad in most cases. If you want to try learning some words of the local tongue, however (which won't hurt!), why not pick up an African phrasebook? They're small enough to keep with you during travel and offer great results for minimal effort.
Planning ahead for your trip should include looking into purchasing foreign currency before you arrive at your destination country's airport or border crossing. This will help avoid unnecessary delays when traveling through customs which can take time. It's best to bring cash when traveling around Ghana due to its cash-only policy at most stores/restaurants. In addition, most ATMs in major cities give out local currency instead of US dollars.
In many African countries, you will find that people do not have access to proper healthcare facilities due to a lack of funding from national governments. As a result, doctors may be scarce within certain regions. At the same time, hospitals often only operate during daytime hours Monday through Friday (if they're open at all). For this reason alone, having travel insurance may help save your life should an emergency arise when traveling throughout the continent. Even if medical treatment isn't required, knowing where local pharmacies are located is always helpful if you need to purchase over-the-counter medication or prescription drugs.
Always carry extra water bottles with you when visiting Kenya because there may not be tap water readily available everywhere. This will help prevent dehydration and heat exhaustion when hiking through the national parks of Kenya during warm weather months.
If you're planning on doing some island hopping while visiting Madagascar, expect that there aren't many restaurants and bars outside of hotel resort areas where local Malagasy don't typically eat unless they can afford high-end places like Chez Loulou, etc. In addition, most hotels/lodges only make food available to guests staying in them. So it's best to go grocery shopping before heading out into remote parts of this area because cooking facilities are usually available at tent-style accommodations.
If you're visiting East Africa, it's best to familiarize yourself with the hand gestures of the Swahili language. Especially if you don't speak their native tongue already since they do not pronounce certain letters like "L." Some words sound totally different than how English speakers interpret them. For instance, swag in this part of the world means travel bag or suitcase instead of that hip new dance move your kids/students just learned about on social media recently. Also, be prepared for small huts without screens on all windows/doors because there is always a chance mosquitoes will get inside even when using mosquito nets. These nets can save lives by preventing Malaria here, so bring lots along with you when visiting these areas, especially during the wet season.
If you're planning on visiting Kenya, then be sure to check out Maasai Mara National Reserve. This is one of the most popular safari destinations in Africa because it features excellent sightings for both predators and prey animals alike. Especially during times when they are migrating around July-October every year.
Be sure to visit Africa's most popular coastal city, which is Cape Town, South Africa, if you want a taste of both modern skyscrapers along with beautiful vistas like Table Mountain. This place has become one of the best places for people who enjoy outdoor activities such as hiking or biking due to its scenic beauty.
*Post contributed by peer adventurer lover April Bloom, who just moved to Lisbon.*