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10 Mistakes To Avoid When Planning On Travelling To Africa

An adventurer after traveling to Africa
Written by See Africa Today

Travelling to Africa for your first trip is thrilling, to say the least. Even for seasoned travellers, the thought of flying to the second-largest continent in the world is nostalgic.

However, the bliss of Africa travel has another side to it; you can easily make mistakes that could ruin your entire trip.

These small blunders leave a thin line between an unforgettable African adventure and a nightmare in the name of a holiday.

So, here are common mistakes you should avoid when travelling to Africa.

Travelling to Africa

Travelling to Africa. Photo/SenseofAfrica


This is one of the most common mistakes when travelling to Africa. A trip to Africa doesn’t mean bringing half your wardrobe with you.

Unless you want to pay the high excess baggage fees, travel with the bare essentials. Secondly, it is easy to get laundry services in the entire continent.

Most hotels/lodges offer this for every guest. Sometimes, they will charge laundry services separately but it is affordable.

Instead, save all that space in your bags for all the cool souvenirs you will bring.

Overlooking Your Cell Phone Data Plan

Check the available data plans before activating your mobile phone to roam in your host country. Connectivity when travelling to Africa is important.

Having a data plan is important because the last thing you want is to return home with a nasty roaming bill. Some parts of Africa still grapple with poor internet connectivity and cell phone signal.

Data is still costly in most African countries, and the video calls you make while on the Serengeti could cost you an arm and a leg. It is essential to check with your service provider before you travel.

Not Booking Enough Time in Between Flights

Assuming your travelling to Africa plans involve connecting multiple countries, you should watch out for those connecting times.

Flight connections in Africa are incredibly tricky and could be the difference between making it to your destination or not.

Moreover, flight conditions are unpredictable, and with all the checks to go through, you need to give yourself ample processing time.

You don’t want to find yourself running in an unfamiliar airport looking for your boarding gate.

Not Purchasing Local Currency at the Airport

Having no local currency is a great inconvenience when travelling to Africa. As soon as you exit the airport, you require local currency to pay up a few expenses.

It could be you are paying your cab fare or something else at a mall or a store. Take advantage of the superior exchange rates available at the airport’s ATMs and withdraw what you need, plus a little extra for emergencies.

You could use your credit card when possible, but always have cash on hand. Some places like flea markets – a common phenomenon in Africa – do not accept credit cards.

Not Informing Your Credit Card Company Your Travel Plans

Credit card providers identify international transactions in the event of credit card fraud and may temporarily freeze your account.

Therefore, it is prudent to notify them in advance when travelling to Africa.

While you are at it, enquire about their foreign transaction cost to avoid unpleasant surprises.

 Choosing Not to Purchase Travel Insurance

Travel insurance covers are paramount whenever you plan about travelling to Africa.

It caters for cancellation fees meaning it saves you a lot of money if you cannot make it for the trip.

Specific plans also cover emergency medical bills if your health insurance policy does not cover you when travelling outside your own country.

Not Enquiring About Visas

Being turned away at a foreign port of entry will cost you money and time and may even end your trip.

This is a major mistake to avoid. Multiple websites detail the visa requirements for various countries, so do your research in advance.

For additional travel information, visit a website that includes a checklist for international travel.

Too Many Activities in a Single Trip

Travel confusion

Travel confusion. Photo/Al Jazeera

This restricts your options of soaking in the beauty of travelling to Africa.

You are likely to be overwhelmed to discover hidden gems or take advantage of local recommendations. This hassle too many activities can be distressing.

Give yourself ample time to unwind and take in the finest that each destination offers.

Ignoring Your Reservation Details

Once you set your mind on travelling to Africa, understand every detail of your reservation.

It’s inconvenient to rummage through your luggage in search of your itinerary at the last minute.

It is an excellent idea to keep your itinerary in a separate pocket of your bag or on your phone.

Failure to Secure Your Valuables

The last thing you want is to have something stolen – and it won’t just happen when travelling in Africa alone. Theft exists in almost every other continent you walk to.

Protect your cash, electronics, and other valuables by investing in anti-theft bags and carrying them with you.

In general, travelling to Africa is an exciting affair but, you should keep your guard up because trips are hard to plan. However, if you avoid the mistakes highlighted above, it will all be smooth.

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About the author

See Africa Today

Pharis Kinyua is the editor of See Africa Today. With over seven years of experience in digital media, he has a soft spot for African tours and travel. His drive is to tell the rest of the world what Africa offers, the best accommodation facilities, national parks, culture, shopping malls and best airline deals to travel to Africa

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