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Travel Tips When Travelling to Africa

Africa, a diverse and exciting land of people, animals, and cultural traditions. Africa is a place not only to visit but also to give aid and comfort to those who are in need. We call this “humanitarian travel.” Today we want to discuss some travel tips when travelling to Africa. Yes, you will see vast savannas, flame trees, the Nile River, the Sahara desert, or Mount Kilimanjaro.

There are many villages filled with beautiful and welcoming people celebrating their lives in dance, but you will also see poverty, destruction, sick children, and tired mothers. Humanitarian travel is a way to help these children, mothers, and farmers in Africa with their sanitation needs, wells, education, and spiritual practices. That is we believe that you need some travel tips when travelling to Africa. You will learn about the culture and learn to speak a new language in the area of Africa that you choose to visit. To experience these rich cultural traditions, you will need to prepare and gather information and documents for your travel.

Why Humanitarian Travel to Africa is Different

The African continent is the second largest continent in the world with over one billion people who speak over 1,500 different languages. This vast area is about a fifth of the earth’s total landmass, so choosing a specific place to travel is important. With such a large population comes many challenges for the villagers as seen in the news reports of political unrest, corruption, poverty, epidemic illnesses like AIDS and Ebola, and religious intolerance and persecution.

NGOs are there helping with these problems, and you too can help by volunteering or applying for an internship. The best known NGOs are The Red Cross, Doctors Without Borders, Care, Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, African Salvation Group, but there is a myriad of local and much smaller faith-based groups that travel to Africa to help combat lawlessness, safety, lack of fresh water, poaching of large and exotic animals, famine, and disease that are pervasive in this beautiful, serene, natural resources-rich yet beleaguered continent.

Travelling to Africa

Travel tips when travelling to Africa

  • As a humanitarian aid worker, you will choose and research your destination in Africa, and you’ll need to prepare in advance for your travel.
  • Apply for your passport and obtain a visa for the country in Africa you are traveling to.
  • There are many health risks in Africa, and knowing those in advance is critical. Find out what vaccinations like influenza, yellow fever, and malaria are needed and get them 4 to 6 weeks in advance of your travel. Know your medical care options in Africa.
  • Knowing what to pack for your trip is very important. Check with Raptim; ask about the NGOs working in the area in addition to online research. You should check the seasonal weather, or for longer trips, bring clothes for all seasons (these can often be purchased once in Africa).

Tips for packing on your adventure to Africa

  • Choose your luggage carefully. A lightweight suitcase or backpack that you can carry easily is ideal. Luggage tags should not contain your address, but a colorful tag specific to your group is often helpful.
  • Solar-powered equipment will help ensure the availability of your computer and cell phone connections. Disguise these valuables creatively.
  • Carry on your valuables and medications (always carry a list of medications that you need as well).
  • Personal necessities like shampoo, cookware, towels, flip-flops, duct tape, sanitary napkins, lip balm, and face towelettes are usually available in mid-size cities in Africa which is probably where you will be landing first. So, buy them there if you do not want to carry them on the first leg of your trip.
  • In the developing world most diseases are water-related. Bringing a water purifier can help yourself and the local population. Here you can read how to purify water in remote locations. There are many solutions available for this, such as the LIFESAVER drinking bottle.
  • Last, but not least, is care for hydration. Drink at every opportunity. Bring along an empty water bottle to refill wherever you can.
  • Also read our article “Packing Luggage Done Right“.

The Importance of Duty of Care

Check frequently with the person in charge of your care—that is your trip leader. Or, if you are the leader of your group, make sure you have studied the requirements of this duty of care. Check in with your local US embassy as well. Humanitarian workers who have great compassion and passion for their mission to help African people in need must be aware of the risks. In African countries there are always challenging circumstances like the civil unrest in Southern Sudan or infectious diseases like yellow fever in Nigeria. Trip leaders and travel managers are there to help you avoid these dangers. Keep in touch with them. You may also have changes in your flight or ground travel arrangements, a medical emergency, or a new outbreak of violence in the region you have chosen. These travel managers and trip leaders are your “people to go to.”

Duty of Care

Let us help you

We at Raptim believe our world is a better place when compassion can travel where it is needed most. Therefore we devote ourselves to serving those who serve the world by being a genuine global travel organization. That is why we gave you some travel tips when travelling to Africa today. Please contact our experienced staff for specific questions about travel tips when travelling to Africa. Use our quick address locator to contact your nearest Raptim office should you have any questions. You can also follow our blog for more stories and travel information.

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