Travel Tips for an Family Vacation to Africa
Africa offers adventures and beautiful landscapes that anyone can enjoy. From the beauty of Kruger National Park in South Africa to the phenomenal great migration, Africa is a great destination for a family vacation. Just like all foreign destinations, there are certain things that visitors should be informed about before going on a trip to Africa.
Photo credit: Kevin Pluck
Africans are known for their warm hospitality so visiting one of their countries would definitely be a pleasure. To ensure that your travel is free from hassles ensure that you procure the necessary travel documents such as passports, visas, plane tickets and have even booked your hotel accommodations and planned your itinerary long before your touchdown on African soil.
The people’s friendliness and warmth doesn’t ensure your safety and well being though, so you should take concrete actions to safeguard yourself from danger. Never venture alone during the night. Be wary of isolated spots after dark and never leave your personal belongings unattended.
As they say, there is safety in numbers.
A lot of areas in Africa are malaria danger zones. This is a deadly disease that you should not take lightly. It’s for your best interest to seek your doctor’s advice for medical precautions against diseases.
If you are traveling to Kenya, Tanzania, Botswana, Zambia and Zimbabwe, you should know that these countries have been stricken with yellow fever so you should get a vaccine against it. Yellow fever is a hemorrhagic viral disease also caused by mosquitoes.
Traveling with Children
There are so many wonderful activities that you and your family can do in Africa. However, certain safari activities have an age limit of 8 years and older so if you are traveling with younger children, you should double check if your kids meet the age requirement.
Changing your money to African currency outside their country might be difficult. The simplest and most convenient way to have money of their currency is to withdraw money from your ATM cards (ATM machines are available in almost all big establishments). This can be done right inside African airports. US dollars are widely accepted too but it is recommended to bring $50 bills or lesser denominations. Credit cards are also widely accepted as well as traveler’s check though en-cashing it might be quite difficult.
Clothing & Luggage
The trick to a comfortable journey is the clothes you wear. Before going to a country, you should research their weather and their culture too as skimpy clothes might not be acceptable in some places. In fact, it is better to dress conservatively. As most places in Africa are hot and humid, consider only bringing clothing made from cotton.
It is also not wise to bring a lot of luggage as you would be traveling in small places if you are going to cities outside the capitals. Even safaris often have a luggage limit of 15 kilos or lower.
Avoid faux pas by knowing the fact that taking pictures inside the airport and military facilities are definitely not allowed. It’s also being prudent and courteous to always ask permission first before taking pictures.
Though films and memory cards are available in most cities and towns, they might be of a quality that you are not accustomed to so it is recommended to bring your own every time you travel.
Mobile Phone and Internet Reception
Large parts of Africa have mobile communication access. However, there are still some parts in Africa that have limited-to-no telecommunication services. You may ask your service providers for which areas are still covered by their network and partner networks.
Almost everyone is guilty of the fact that even though we are on vacation we want to stay connected to the rest of the world through various social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. You can bring your laptops and iPads as some areas like airports and shopping malls have WiFi connection. Don’t expect internet connection to be available anywhere though, as it is only limited to certain areas.
Photo credit: Trung Nguyen
Africa is a hot tourist destination but despite its renowned beauty, most parts of Africa are poverty stricken. Handing out money or goods is not encouraged. If you want to make contributions, there are community centers and other local programs that accept them.
Travel experts will give you heads-up information and details when you plan your trip. Acknowledging to these tips will make your vacation a fulfilling one.