In 2022, there was a 51% increase in international tourism to Africa compared to the previous year, which shows how popular the continent is.
Being prepared to travel is essential for staying safe and maximizing your time on the continent. But, if you leave it last minute, you’ll miss out on the hidden jewels African countries have to offer. Maybe it’s this concern that brought you here; you struggling to plan your vacation and need a nudge in the right direction.
Sounds like you? Luckily, we’ve got you covered. Here are our tips on planning vacations in Africa.
Decide Where to Go
When planning a trip, many tourists underestimate how huge the African continent is. The beauty is that you have a great selection of countries to choose from, depending on what you’re planning. For instance, tourists who want to tackle Kilimanjaro must add Tanzania to their list.
Or, if you want to check out the safaris in Africa, then Kenya, South Africa, and Botswana are your best bets.
Outline Your Budget
At the top of your Africa vacation checklist is your budget. This will determine which Africa tourist attractions you can afford alongside the basics, including accommodation and travel.
Make sure you’re realistic with your finances and spread it out for the length of the vacation so that you don’t have issues later on.
Check Your Travel Documents
Regardless of where you’re traveling, check that your passport is up-to-date. Ideally, it should be valid for six months and there should be two blank pages. If you don’t have these travel documents, apply for them well in advance to avoid disappointment.
Complete the Visa Application
But before you can see the wildlife in Africa, check the visa application beforehand. Tourists who own European and American passports can get one upon arrival, so bring at least $100 USD in cash. For peace of mind, research where your country’s passport stands beforehand and you can make the necessary arrangements.
The key to cheap flights is choosing a comparison site like Skyscanner or Kayak. You can change dates until you find a deal you’re happy with. Also, when you reach the continent, many travelers take short-haul flights because it’s far easier and faster to zip between countries.
Browse Accommodation Options
It’s wise to start booking hotels online in advance, especially if you’re on a tight schedule. Depending on where you are, you can stay at campsites, hostels, and even luxury safari lodges.
An added bonus is that accommodation can quickly sell out during peak season, so take this into consideration when planning your trip.
Create an Itinerary
Preparing an itinerary lets you maximize your time and prevents you from missing out on must-see attractions. If you’re traveling with others, it gives you both a chance to discuss the goals for your trip and make compromises. For instance, if your buddy is a history buff, then add the Giza Pyramids and Olduvai Gorge to your list.
Take the Necessary Vaccinations
Many African countries require that tourists take shots for Yellow fever and show proof of certification upon arrival. Because every African country is different, research the necessary vacations beforehand for peace of mind. You should also pack malaria tablets as this is rife in many areas.
Get Travel Insurance
One of the most important items on your checklist is travel insurance. Although it’s an extra expense, it’s better to be safe than sorry. During your search, find a policy that covers all travel requirements, such as stolen possessions, health, and potential injuries.
Organize Your Money
Before hitting the road, inform your bank that you’ll be visiting Africa. This will prevent your credit card from being flagged and potentially blocked. You should also find an international travel card to avoid paying extortionate foreign fees when you’re using an African ATM.
A good rule of thumb is withdrawing a large sum as it’s cheaper than paying for multiple transactions.
When you’ve covered the important steps, it’s time for the exciting part. Regardless of the vacation’s length, always pack light because you likely won’t wear half of the clothes. Aside from the basics, pack a lightweight jacket for the evenings and long-sleeved trousers to prevent mosquito bites.
Alongside clothes, bring the necessary gadgets, such as cell phone chargers, cameras, and a power bank for peace of mind. Travelers should also pack medication, such as over-the-counter painkillers, and plenty of sunscreen.
Research Local Etiquette
You want to be respectful to locals, so familiarize yourself with local customs and etiquette. Note, these will vary between countries, so do your research beforehand. For instance, in South Africa, pointing to someone with your index finger is considered rude.
Arrange Transport from Aiport
To minimize stress, arrange transport from the airport beforehand. A great option is asking your accommodation for a pick-up and they’ll add the fee to your bill. Or, download an app like Uber, so that you have a seamless experience.
Get a Local SIM Card
Your phone carrier at home likely won’t offer sufficient data, so get a local SIM card. This should be the first thing you do when landing. Luckily, you can buy one from most African airports on arrival and it’ll help you stay connected when you’re on the road.
However, airports have significantly inflated prices and long queues, so before traveling on vacation to Africa, we recommend considering eSIM. This is a digital version of a SIM card. Its advantage is that it’s not physical, making it impossible to break or lose.
Its price is half as much, and you can switch carriers with just one touch. We recommend checking out carrier comparisons and their prices before purchasing from eSimAnywhere.com.
If you’re already in Africa and wish to purchase a physical SIM, there are stores throughout the country, especially in Cape Town and Durban. The most popular carriers are Telkom, MTN, and Cell C. Prices for physical cards are inflated, and be cautious with street kiosks. Make sure to verify that the provider is trustworthy.
Our Tips for Planning Vacations in Africa
Hopefully, after reading this article, you’re now a pro at planning vacations in Africa.
There are many useful tips to take on board, such as checking visa requirements and getting the necessary vaccinations. Travelers should also book accommodation online and get a local SIM card for the internet. Happy travels!
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