So you’re dreaming of Africa- and whether your ideal trip consists of going on safari, climbing mountains, going on wine-tasting tours, sitting on a sunny beach in the north of the continent, cycling, volunteering, shopping in local markets and bazaars or going white-water rafting, there are a few things you’ll need to consider before you book your tickets.
Check the visa requirements before you book. Many African nations, Ghana being one, ask that you apply for a visa before you leave home through their embassy or High Commission (usually based in London, but if you don’t live in the capital, visas can generally be arranged through the post). Others, such as Ethiopia, ask that you pay a one-off visa fee in American dollars when you land.
Before anything, staying healthy on your holiday is your number-one priority. That being said, different African nations require different immunisations: for some nations, being vaccinated against certain diseases is only strongly recommended, but for others, proving you’ve been vaccinated is essential for entry into the country. Vaccinations commonly given to travellers to Africa include Typhoid, Hep A, Hep B, Tuberculosis, Rabies, Meningitis, Cholera, Yellow Fever, Japanese B Encephalitis, and tick-borne Encephalitis. Yellow Fever injections are usually given in specialist travel clinics in the UK, and you will be given a little yellow vaccination certificate to show you’ve been immunised. This is valid for 10 years, so keep it safe with your passport to show to border officials. Injections like this normally need to be paid for, even though they can be administered by NHS staff.
Travel insurance is always a good idea, but when travelling to the developing world, it’s pretty much an essential. Emergency medical care may be very limited, so you will need adequate medical insurance to ensure that you’re covered both for immediate treatment and the potential cost of repatriation. Sierra Leone travel insurance should most certainly cover this, as the country’s health system is extremely limited.
Being A Responsible Traveller
If possible, try and take your trip with an organisation which ensures that it works to benefit the local community. Don’t stay in an all-inclusive resort; make sure you get out and experience the wider culture and community of the country you’re visiting, and spend some money in the local shops and restaurants. Travellers can also help by conserving water and other natural resources, and taking care to turn off fans, air conditioning and lights when they go out.
Not all of your activities need to be expensive– and there are plenty of free things to see and do all over the continent. Where it’s safe, you can go out cycling or walking, or visit a local beach. While it’s hard to resist making a purchase a local markets, just wandering around and savouring the atmosphere can be priceless. Take plenty of photos, too, but remember to get permission from local people if you want their picture (it’s just good manners). And don’t forget the amazing African sunsets.
Related post: 7 Great Sites to Know About While Traveling