Planning an extended stay in Africa is exciting, but it also can be stressful to try and prepare for everything. There are a few key items that need to be taken care of before you leave to set your trip off on the right track. Here are some helpful tips to help you plan your African safari.
Passport and Visa
No matter which countries you are traveling to in Africa, a valid passport is required. You should have at least two blank pages in your passport to leave room for stamps, and your passport should expire no less than six months after your last date of travel to avoid any complications. Your passport is your main form of identification, so be sure to keep it safe, protected and always up-to-date.
Depending on the African countries you are traveling to, you also may need a visa to enter. Look up individual countries on the U.S. Department of State’s website to see if you need a visa. You can also get crime and security information, medical information, drug penalties and localized hot spots. Look into this early in your planning process, since applying and obtaining a visa can take months.
Journeying to the African continent means exposing yourself to new health risks. While that may seem scary, there are a lot of precautions you can and must take before your Africa trip. Schedule a visit to your doctor at least two months before your departure date. Your doctor can make sure you are up to date on all your vaccinations and medications and tell you what you need before going to Africa. The Center for Disease Control also has an extensive list of countries with required and recommended vaccines and medications that are based on your type of travel.
Bring a copy of your vaccination records with you in case you need medical attention while abroad. You can take other precautions once you are in Africa, such as covering your skin with long-sleeved shirts and pants, using insect repellent, and sleeping in screened rooms to help prevent bug bites.
Disconnecting from the rest of the world is one of the main appeals of vacationing in Africa, but it is still recommended to have some sort of communication tool available to you. Much of Africa has Internet and cellular service, but your smartphone may not work there without some additional tools and services. Check with your service provider about international phones and plans. One good option is to get a prepaid phone with an international SIM card, which allows you to call a family member or friend to let them know that you have arrived safely.
There’s a lot to learn before traveling to Africa, but it is well worth the effort to be as prepared as possible. Make the necessary preparations, starting months in advance, and you will have a wonderful and stress-free African safari.
This is a guest post by Staci Matt, a writer with interest and expertise in travel, entertainment, and technology. She’s also a lover of wildlife, movies, theme parks, and hearing about your pets.