Africa is known as the land of the brave, and for good reason. Much of the continent remains as wild as it was 100 years ago, and while there are some truly sprawling urban centres, much of it remains an adventurer’s dream. It’s also a continent that has gone through much political and economic strife over the last few decades, with countless dictators and wars that saw great suffering for the people that live there.
But Africa is a changed place, and almost all of it has become democratic and peaceful, the civil wars now far behind them. This also means that there has never been a safer time to travel through the continent, as long as the traveller takes the necessary precautions as we will outline here.
Start In South Africa
South Africa is the most well-developed country in Africa, and it’s the recommended country to start out when preparing from a cross-Africa journey. Cape Town is a good city to do all the preparations and planning, offering plenty of provisions, a good selection of tough vehicles, and a chance to get a taste of the country before heading out. For those that would prefer to drive up along the eastern coast of Africa, then starting out in the city of Durban is a better choice.
A Truly Tough 4×4
Most of the continent offers tar roads, but there will be parts of it, especially within the poorer countries, where dirt roads and rough terrain will need to be negotiated. It may be a good idea for travellers to get a hold of some kind of 4×4 if they can, preferably a diesel, long-wheel based Land Rover or the equivalent. There are countless stories of people crossing the continent in nothing more than a car or old minibus, but it’s best to have the added security of a touch vehicle just in case something goes wrong – it can be extremely difficult to get a hold of emergency services in certain regions. Remember to pack plenty of food, water, extra fuel, and awesome games to keep busy during long nights.
Avoid Some Countries
There are many that view Africa as a dangerous, war-time continent that holds danger around every corner, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, research done by the Institute For Economics and Peace found that many popular African countries, such as Malawi, Botswana, Ghana, Niger, and Kenya are actually safer than the United States. Having said that, there are some that should be avoided, with the most prominent being Ethiopia, Zimbabwe, and Somalia, where there is still a lot of crime that takes place, especially against those that aren’t familiar with the local areas.
Get The Right Shots
Most countries in Africa have been extremely hard at work eradicating diseases that once devastated their citizens, and for the most part it’s been a resounding success. There are some that have remained, however, such as Malaria, so it’s highly recommended to get the vaccinations before heading out. Encountering disease is quite rare, however, and it’s estimated that the infection rate at the moment is around 0.5% even in the Malaria red zones.