Make adequate preparation and ensure that your relatives, friends or your next of kin get to know exactly which places to tour. Information your close relatives, friends, and so on for easy trekking – let them know when? And where? Details about your safari.
Documents: Make two photocopies of your passport – the identity page, and if relevant, any visas you need. If it gets stolen then a photocopy is often good enough to prove who you are to get an emergency replacement. Leave one copy at home, and take another with you. If you have a driving licence takes this also, as it can be considered evidence of identity if your passport goes missing.
While it is your choice of which immunizations to take, be aware that a certificate proving yellow fever immunization is required for entry into many sub-Saharan African nations, and may be required if you plan to travel elsewhere from Africa (i.e. home!). Check with your local physician or travel medical clinic at least two months before departure.
First Aid Kit
An African adventure first aid kit needs to be a bit more advanced than a regular one. In addition to all the standard health care items, make sure to bring a course of antibiotics that will help with stomach ailments, extra anti-malarial medication, sterile latex gloves, a sterile syringe and needle, and condoms. Remember that AIDS is spreading throughout Africa like wildfire. Don’t take chances with your health.
Mobile phones: get your phone unlocked – that’s network unlocked – so any SIM card in the world will work in it. Buy a local SIM card when you get there – they are usually pay as you go, and cost about £10. Then SMS your family back home to give them your number there. They can use a cheap international call service to get hold of you if necessary. Get the emergency number for your local embassy or consulate on the phone so you can call your country representatives if necessary.
Money: Western Union offices are all over the place in Africa. It’s a growth industry. So if you get robbed or need money in a hurry, you can get someone in your home country to send it to you. They can SMS the details to you on your local phone number, but you’ll need some ID to pick it up, and they may ask you a test question (“What’s your dog called?”, for example).
Police: If you get into trouble with the police then stay calm. Sadly, a lot of police officers are very poorly paid and only too happy to take a bribe. If you’ve been really criminal then you are certainly in trouble so insist on your right to see your ambassador or consul. If it’s something petty or something you’ve just been accused of for the hell of it, it will almost certainly be easier to pay whatever is needed to have the matter buried. For example, in a lot of African countries homosexuality is illegal. Information such as this is held in country reports that we discussed earlier.
Passports & Visas: It is essential to ensure you have the right paperwork in place before flying to Africa. Generally all passports need to have a number of blank pages available while visa specifications differ depending on nationality and destination. Note that visa regulations can sometimes change without much warning. We recommend contacting the relevant authorities in good time or simply chat to your African Safari Expert before you go – they’ll have all the answers.