Whether you’re a seasoned Africa traveler or a first-time visitor, knowing what to expect and how to deal with issues that may arise is important. You definitely don’t want to end up in an emergency situation because you weren’t prepared. So, we’ve put together a list of the best tips and pointers for those visiting the continent for the first time.
Prepare your money
Be sure to bring along some crisp bills for any transactions where you need cash. Old bills won’t be accepted and ATMs can be scarce outside of major cities, so it’s best to come prepared with enough on hand for the duration of your trip.
Pack your malaria medication and mosquito netting. Malaria is a mosquito-borne disease that can be fatal. It’s best to take medication daily and keep yourself covered with clothing and insect netting when sleeping to avoid being bitten.
Wear sunscreen, even if it’s cloudy. You might think that you don’t need sunscreen on an overcast day, but in fact, clouds do not block ultraviolet rays. Wear sunscreen every day of your trip to protect yourself from sunburns and skin cancer.
Be sure to stay hydrated throughout the day. Carry water bottles with you at all times, especially if you will be hiking or trekking during your visit. Dehydration is a serious concern in hot climates like Africa, so be sure to drink plenty of water throughout the day and take breaks in cool places if possible.
First aid kit
Be prepared with a first aid kit. You never know when you’ll need one! Make sure you pack bandages, antiseptic cream, a few pain relievers, and anything else that’s really important for you.
Respect the locals
There’s one thing that should be at the top of your mind regardless of where you’re going: respect the locals and their privacy when taking photographs.
We know: it’s exciting to be in a new place with so many incredible people, plants, and animals. You have all these opportunities for amazing photos. But remember: what makes an image “amazing” is not just how “exotic” or “new” it seems—it’s also how respectful it is toward the subject and how much value it adds to their story.
So when you’re taking photos of people in Africa, ask them (or their parents/guardians) first! And even if they agree to pose for a photo, make sure you keep the focus on them as the subject of your photo. Don’t let the background distract from who they are or why they matter.