Safety for the African Traveler
Yes, Africa can be a very dangerous place for even the seasoned traveler. The wise traveler is much better off, and wise can be as simple as picking the right place to visit. Africa is a very large continent. My business is so often affected by anything and everything that happens anyplace in Africa. Ebola, you say? Well, there was none in South Africa because it was 4000 miles away in Liberia. Shootings and bombings in Kenya and Tanzania? Those places are also far from South Africa, and southern Africa does not have the continuous ethnic and religious struggles you find up there.
Southern Africa provides the safest travel regions for anyone, and it is particularly safe for women and families. I say this with caution because there are places where no tourist should go (and there is one country where I limit my travels to Victoria Falls…and even prefer to send you to the Zambian side). To be safe anyplace, it is very much a matter of instincts, but it is also a matter of experience.
I have years and years of experience in African travel, and I make certain that I know that my clients understand every step before they take them.
I don’t mean in the bush as much as first steps from the plane in Johannesburg.
There is considerable crime in many parts of southern Africa, but most of this crime is not aimed at the tourist, well, unless you are stupid enough to leave your laptop or Nikon on the seat of your parked car in Johannesburg. As a rule, we do not visit areas considered dangerous. There is no tourist crime in any of the game parks, nor in the areas of transport. If we have any road travel planned into the safari, it will be on the safest roads. Personal safety in Africa is like safety anyplace. If you travel on your own, it is best if you are a seasoned traveler. I’ve driven hundreds of thousands of kilometers in Africa, and I’ve come across everything from bandits to beggars, and I won’t put you in harms way.
That’s why I think South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, and Zambia are perfect African safari destinations.
Many of my clients opt to do some traveling on their own either before or after our safari. I will advise you on places to go and things to see, all the time taking your safety into concern. Cape Town, for instance MIGHT be a dangerous place to visit, but let me tell you where not to go and when not to go to a certain place. Most tourist crime is a crime of opportunity, so it is best to take that opportunity away. I will not take you anyplace where I think it is too dangerous. Before my clients leave home, they know what to expect from customs and immigration, and I tell them about the airport layout and where to do things such as exchange money. I prepare you in every way.
In all the time that I’ve led safaris, I’ve found that no one type of person is a typical African safari client. My clients are experienced African travelers and experienced world travelers, as well as first time visitors and infrequent travelers. I have younger clients in their twenties, and older clients in their seventies. I have clients traveling alone, and clients traveling as couples and those traveling with their children. Very often, I make a tour just for four friends…two couples, perhaps. I have also taken several safaris with women traveling on their own or in a pair. African safaris specializing in photography tend to have more photographers traveling alone, but we also have many couples who share the love of photography. Let me know of any special needs you might have such as diet or access. If you are disabled in any way, just tell me what special conditions you might need, and I’ll make it happen; I want you on my African safari. You might have to give me a few tips here and there, but let’s go! South Africa is a very socially advanced country and so many places are handicapped prepared. I can provide you with details, and I can search out more details.
The one thing that all of our clients share is the desire for an adventure travel wildlife experience; an experience that they will never forget.
I am always asked about what health precautions a visitor should take. You can ask your doctor, but he’ll just load you up with drugs you won’t need. The biggest concern is with malaria. There is some malaria in South Africa, but it is rare. It is more prevalent in wetter parts of Botswana and Zambia. Swaziland has more dangerous areas due to less preventive steps taken by the government. It is important to remember that there is usually a malaria season. In Kruger Park, this season begins with the rains in December and goes into April. However, I’d wager that you’ll see more lion than moskees. Prevention is the best precaution, and I’ll be pleased to discuss this with you. Yellow fever shots are only needed if you have traveled to a region with yellow fever, such as Victoria Falls. Other than that, there is little concern with disease. You can drink the water straight from the tap, but I buy bottled water for convenience.
Would you be interested in a long-term overland photo safari?
Five, six, seven, eight weeks? I’d love it and would give you a special price!