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2021 Africa Travel Guide: Fears, Destinations and Must-Haves

africa travel

Africa is an amazing place to visit. In several parts of the continent, you can find beautiful landscapes, an abundance of wildlife, and most importantly, warm-hearted people.  But, due to some misconceptions, people from other parts of the world have been scared of traveling to Africa.

In this Africa travel guide, we’ll review these perceptions ranging from crime to general backwardness. Also, we’ll explore some of the best places to visit in Africa – touching on the safest African countries to visit, the best time to visit Africa, and some Africa travel restrictions.

Lastly, we’ll discuss some fun activities to engage in when you visit Africa, as well as some of the best travel accessories you should have in our Africa travel guide.

Misconceptions about Africa

A good number of people from other parts of the world believe Africans are primitive – living in huts, no access to technology, and filled with crime. This isn’t true. The Global Citizen published an article in 2018 that debunks some of these misconceptions.

To clear these ill-perceptions of the African continent, we’ll discuss the following headings:

  • Crime
  • Technology usage/advancement
  • The general way of life

Crime

Is it safe to visit Africa? For starters, Africa isn’t a single country. It is an entire continent made of 54 countries and an estimated 2000 languages. A general answer cannot apply here. Despite that, several parts of Africa are safe. Based on data provided by the Institute of Economics and Peace, African countries such as Gabon, Madagascar, Namibia, and several others are safer than the United States, China, and Russia. This ranking is based on factors such as violent crime, terrorism, and internal and external conflicts in respective regions.

Like other parts of the world, some African countries have experienced terrorism and internal conflict. Boko Haram insurgency in Nigeria, Civil war in South Sudan, and attacks by extremist group – AL Shabab in Kenya, and other scenarios have tainted the image of Africa. However, this doesn’t mean there aren’t safe places to travel to in Africa.

Technology Usage/Advancement

For a long time, Africa has been considered to be a Dark Continent. This is a wrong assumption. Although there is an existing digital exclusion in some regions of the continent, it doesn’t apply everywhere. Also, according to the Internet World Stats, the number of Africans with access to the internet increased by seven times the global average between 2000 and 2012.

During the recent COVID-19 outbreak, a team of Senegalese scientists developed a quick and effective method of testing for the virus. “For the first time since the Covid-19 outbreak began, Africa may be poised to reshape rapid testing for the virus on the continent” according to news authority, CNN.

This rapid testing kit is one out of other numerous remarkable inventions from Africa. The continent is filled with brilliant minds working tirelessly to make the world a better place.

The General way of life

Africa is filled with diverse cultures and practices. Good music, delicious meals, and fun-filled festivals are loved here. There are diverse cultural practices in Africa but generally, family relations are important in African cultures, and respect for elders is a must. Female genital mutilation which was a norm way-back has reduced significantly over the last three decades. Women are now allowed to pursue careers and occupy leadership positions. There have been impressive changes over the years and, it can only get better from here.

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Keep reading our Africa travel guide as we explore incredible destinations on the continent.

Incredible Destinations in Africa

Deciding on particular countries to visit in Africa can be challenging. Why? It covers a massive landmass. The contiguous US, India, China, and most of Europe all combined can fit comfortably in the African continent. Hence, our Africa travel guide discusses destinations based on:

  • Things you can do
  • Most secure countries to visit
  • Top cities to visit

Things to See and Do

There are several nice countries in Africa offering fun-filled activities and spectacular attractions. Here are some spectacular destinations:

Watch elephants bathe at the Chobe National Park (Location: Botswana)

In Botswana, you will find the largest population of elephants in the world. Asides from elephants, wildlife and birdlife are abundant in this Southern African country. Follow the link to learn more interesting facts about Botswana.

Scuba dive with Whales in Mozambique

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There are several incredible scuba diving sites in Mozambique. Located in East Africa, it features beautiful beaches and fascinating marine life. Click here to learn more about Mozambique.

Marvel at the great Egyptian pyramids

In North Africa, we have Egypt – home to the breath-taking Pyramids of Giza. Follow the link to explore other fascinating attractions in Egypt.

Explore pristine beaches in the Gambia

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Treat yourself to relaxing moments at the unspoiled beaches of this West African nation. The Gambia has lots more to offer. Follow the link to learn more.

Experience the Safari at the Kruger National Park (Location: South Africa)

South Africa is one of the best countries to visit in Africa. The Kruger Park is a hotspot for tourists in the country. To learn about other attractions in the country check here.

Safest countries to visit in Africa

This section of this Africa travel guide will highlight the most secure African countries to visit. Here are some of the most peaceful countries in Africa according to the Global Peace Index (GPI).

1. Mauritius

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Based on data provided by the GPI, the island nation – Mauritius is considered to be the most peaceful country in Africa. The crime rate is low in Mauritius with incidents of petty theft that happen sparingly. Here you’ll find beautiful beaches, fascinating coral reefs, and lagoons. To learn more about Mauritius follow the link.

2. Namibia

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This Southern Africa country is another safe Africa travel destination. There are no wars here and the entire environment is relatively peaceful. However, you can find cases of pickpocketing and other petty thefts here. Follow the link to discover fascinating attractions in Namibia.

3. Botswana

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With a GPI of 1.693 – Botswana is a safe destination for tourists. The political climate here is relatively stable with rare cases of violence. See what Lonely Planet has to say about Botswana.

4. Tanzania

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Home to the breathtaking Kilimanjaro Mountain and the lovely Zanzibar Island –Tanzania is a beautiful country in East Africa with fascinating coastlines and reefs. We’ll let Planet Wareshow you awesome things about this place.

5. Ghana

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Ghana is among the most secure destinations in West Africa. It’s a lovely country with hospitable people and several attractions. Check here to learn more about life in Ghana.

Best African cities to visit

There are lovely destinations in Africa with beautiful sights and thrilling activities. And, as an Africa travel guide it is proper we discuss the top places to visit in Africa.

1. Kigali (Location: Rwanda)

Roughly 3 hours away from the fascinating Volcanoes National Park is Kigali – one of Africa’s cleanest cities. It is one of the best cities to visit in Africa. Kigali is peaceful and features a lot of active places to keep you entertained.

2. Cape Town (Location: South Africa)

People often ask, “Is it safe to visit South Africa?” The answer is yes. However, some regions of the country experience high criminal activities. Millions of people visit South Africa yearly before the COVID-19 outbreak. Cape Town is an amazing city with lovely beaches, incredible attractions, and excellent restaurants. A must-visit site in Cape Town is the Victoria and Alfred Waterfall.

3. Lagos (Location: Nigeria)

Lagos is inarguably the most popular city in Nigeria. It’s a vibrant city and a major player in the entertainment scene in Africa. In Lagos, you experience a mix of excitement and pleasure. There are several bars, restaurants, and nightclubs to give you a swell time.

4. Marrakesh (Location: Morocco)

If you want to experience a bit of Europe in Africa then Morocco is the destination for you. The ancient city of Marrakesh is an enthralling place with beautiful Arabic architecture and contemporary culture. Follow the link to see some attractions in Marrakesh.

5. Johannesburg (Location: South Africa)

Johannesburg also called “Jo’burg”, is another fascinating city to experience. Generally, the best time to visit South Africa is between are from May to July and September to November.  During these periods, you’ll see less crowd giving room to explore Jo’burg as you wish.

Africa Do’s and Don’ts

This Africa travel guide will be incompletely highlighting some things you should and shouldn’t do in Africa.

You should:

  • Research about the people and their culture. Being able to say “hello” or “thank you” can go a long way.
  • Dress modestly.
  • Try local dishes. You’ll love it.
  • Respect practiced cultures, traditions, and places of worship.
  • Interact with locals. In most cases, they are the best guides you can get.
  • Ensure you have an amazing time there.

You shouldn’t:

  • Explore unknown areas – it’s good to learn more about the place but ensure wherever you visit is safe for visitors.
  • Call animals – you can scare the animals away by trying to get their attention or put your life in danger.
  • Be rude to locals.
  • Walk around holding a map – you could a target to thieves if they notice you’ve lost your way.

Travel Guidelines for Africa

The Coronavirus outbreak led to a clampdown on world travel. African nations also implemented travel restrictions. Please follow the link for information regarding the Africa travel ban, COVID-19 guidelines, and the reopening of borders.

Furthermore, you may be required to take some vaccinations to visit Africa. Here is an article by the World Nomads regarding essential vaccines for Africa travel.

Essential Travel Gear

As promised in the introductory section of our Africa travel guide, we’ll discuss some of the best Africa travel products you should get. Let’s get to it.

  1. Powerful 12×42 Binoculars

Not being able to experience fascinating sights, like a beautiful bird up in the sky, during trips can be frustrating. Having powerful binoculars with incredible magnification can make all the difference.

These binoculars feature a 12x magnification and view-field up to 1000 yards – giving you very clear images and a wide view from afar. It also offers a phone adapter to enable you to capture beautiful moments with your smartphone. The adjustable eye-cups make them great for users of glasses. That’s not all, it comes with free sunglasses to shield you from all that sun.

  1. Travel on Anti-theft Messenger Bag for Women

If you’ve ever had your bag slashed/snatched from you while on vacation, you know it is a frustrating and bewildering experience. If you’ve not experienced it, there’s a great way to prevent it.

Using anti-theft bags such as this Travel on bag might be all the security you need. It features a five-point security system that prevents:

  • E-thefts and privacy invasions
  • Grab-and-go thefts with the help of lock-down straps
  • Slash-and-run theft due to slash-resistant straps
  • You from being victims of pickpockets

Also, you get all this security without having to sacrifice aesthetics.

  1. CHOk.LIDS Unisex Cotton Bucket Hats

Who says you can’t have fun on a hot summer vacation? A headwear is all you need. This bucket hat is made from quality fabric that keeps you cool and comfortable under the sun. The brim is wide enough to properly shield you from the sun. It can be used by males and females with a variety of beautiful colors you can choose from. Stay trendy and shield yourself from the sun using this bucket hat.

  1. Normader Collapsible Water Bottle

If you ever decide to explore the fascinating deserts of Africa, having a portable water bottle will come in handy. You don’t need to be in a desert before you get a water bottle. It is good practice to stay hydrated.

A portable water bottle like this is one of the best travel accessories you can have. It is durable and can be rolled up easily for compact travel. Its twist cap keeps you safe by hygienically covering your mouthpiece, thus, keep those germs away. Also, it comes in a variety of colors.

  1. PAVILIA Hanging Travel Toiletry Bag

Another must-have travel accessory is an organizer kit. The PAVILIA toiletry bag is a popular choice for both men and women. It is portable and convenient to use with easy access to your essential items. If water gets spilled on it you don’t need to worry. It is water-resistant and consists of:

  • A spacious central compartment
  • Two side pockets
  • Twelve smaller pockets

Its unique design makes it easy for travelers to organize toiletries and other essential items.

  1. Travel rest 4-in-1 Travel Blanket

Plane cabins can get cold and the blankets they offer don’t get the job done. Travel rest offers this incredible 4-in-1 travel blanket which can serve as a:

  • Blanket
  • Lumbar support
  • Pillow and neck support

It features quality fabric which gives it a soft and warm feel. The Travel rest travel blanket covers your entire body without slipping down. It is also convenient to carry about due to its carry case that can be attached to your luggage.

  1. Laptop Tote Bag by Tanto

On our list of must-have travel accessories, we have this beautiful laptop tote bag by a brand named Tanto. Ever had trouble fitting your 15-inch laptop in your travel bag? This tote bag does it efficiently, with plenty of room for more.

It features a:

  • Spacious compartment for laptops and multiple pockets
  • Strap pad
  • Small separate bag and
  • USB charging cable

It is great value for money and ideal for carrying your laptop and other accessories when you’re on vacation.

  1. Matein Travel Laptop Backpack

If you aren’t a fan of tote bags, a backpack could be what you need to keep your devices/accessories organized while traveling. The Matein travel backpack is spacious and rests comfortably on shoulders. It is also equipped with anti-theft measures, a USB, and durable material which makes it great travel merchandise.

  1. MZOO Unisex Sleep Eye Mask

Getting quality sleep during the day can be difficult. But, having a good eye mask can help you get better sleep. The MZOO sleep mask stands out amongst others with its unique features. It is super-soft with a 3D hollow design that doesn’t put any pressure on your eyes. It’ll fit naturally to the bridge of your nose with an adjustable buckle strap that won’t catch your hair. 

  1. Miamica Laundry Bag

Where do keep your dirty clothes when you’re on holiday? This Miamica laundry bag is perfect for keeping your clean clothes away from the dirty ones while traveling. It’s spacious enough to take a lot of laundries and can easily fold to a compact size when not in use. It is lightweight and is made from moisture-resistant materials, serving as an excellent alternative for plastic bags.

  1. Zoppen Passport Holder Cover Wallet

 Losing your passport while traveling can ruin your trip. Having a secure accessory to hold your passport and other essentials is necessary. This Zoppen travel wallet might be just what you need. It is eco-friendly and features an RFID-blocking material that protects you from e-thefts. The Zoppen wallet is made from quality leather material and comes in several colors.

  1. Universal Airplane in Flight Phone Mount

This might just be the best travel gear for 2021. Phones are excellent companions during those long boring flights. But, having to hold it always can be a chore. With this universal airplane mount, you have nothing to worry about.

It features a 1 ½ -inch wide clamp and opens up to 3 ¾ inches wide. Meaning it can hold phones as big as the iPhone pro maxes or Galaxy Note. Also, it can fit in a lot of places such as an airplane meal tray, wheelchair, kitchen cabinet, you name it!

The build quality is also impressive, ensuring long service life.

  1. Polarized Rimless Frame Sunglasses

You don’t have to sacrifice style to protect your eyes. You also don’t have to break the bank to get quality glasses. These polarized sunglasses by Kaliyadi is a perfect choice for the outdoors.

You get UV protective coating and HD polarised lens which ensures you see the world in its true colors. Also, the frames are comfortable. There’s more! The pack includes a:

  •  box to protect your glasses from damage
  • Test card which detects the lens’ polarizing effect
  • Cleaning cloth to keep to clean your glasses without leaving your lens with marks
  • Dust protection pouch to keep the dust away
  1. Panasonic LUMIX FZ80 4K Digital Camera

We know your phone can take good pictures. But, having a stand-alone camera to capture beautiful moments on those family vacations can be incredible. With a digital camera, you get better image quality and longer battery life.

This Panasonic LUMIX FZ80 camera is inarguably one of the best budget accessories you can get.  The zoom feature is superb. The FZ80 takes impressive wildlife shots, bird-watching, or cool objects that are far away. The FZ80 also offers stable 4K video recording for its price.

Overall, it’s an excellent camera for outdoor images and videos in the sunlight.

Final Remarks

Popular recording artist, AliaumeBadara (a.k.a. Akon) in an interview claimed African-Americans and Americans, in general, are scared of visiting Africa. He says people living in America have wrong information about what Africa truly is. As shown in an earlier section of this guide, there is truth in his statement. Misinformation about the crime rate, diseases, and way of life of Africans breeds fear in the hearts of foreigners.

We’ll close this article with wise words by renowned human rights activist Martin Luther King, Jr:

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”

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