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Is it Safe to Travel in Africa

Updated on February 7, 2016

Africa is the continent of lions and crocodiles, adventure and safaris.

While resorts and guided tours are generally safe in Africa, visitors need to be aware of the dangers of using public transport and walking the streets alone.

Transport in African Countries

Transport systems in Africa are often a surprise to visitors. City buses are often ancient and in poor condition and buses that travel between towns often have a bad reputation and a history of serious accidents. Before booking a ticket, do an internet search on the company and see if any negative results come up.

Traditional taxi companies operate in most large cities and airports and these are safe to use. Look for one that has professional branding and a meter. South Africa uses minibus taxis that are one of the main forms of public transport for locals. Overloading is extremely common and the maintenance is often questionable. They are not recommended for tourists.

Trains in Africa

Train services are generally dangerous and tourists are prime targets. The carriages and engines may be old and worn and crime and violence on the trains are common in southern Africa. The Gautrain between Johannesburg and Pretoria is the exception to this and is a modern comfortable train with constant surveillance and a police presence at stations.

Car Hire Africa

Car hire is generally the best option for tourists in Africa. There are a number of reputable car hire companies that operate from airports and towns and the cost is affordable. There are some important things to remember when driving on African roads:

  • Always keep the doors locked
  • Don’t drive with windows down in built-up areas
  • Ensure the spare tire is pumped before embarking on a road trip
  • Never pick up hitchhikers
  • Be aware that hijacking is common and exercise caution at deserted intersections

Flying Around Africa

There are a number of airlines that operate in African countries. Do some research and stick to those with good safety ratings. Some of the low cost airlines offer extremely reasonable airfares but may not run to schedule.

Walking around Africa

I would not advise this. If you must, travel in large groups as far as possible and be aware of who is around you at all times.

Health in Africa

There are a number of diseases in Africa with ebola being in the limelight at the moment. Check the regions you’re travelling to and see if you need shots or prophylactic treatment for malaria, cholera, hepatitis or other illnesses.

There are great adventures to be had in Africa and the wildlife and scenery is superb. Just make sure you keep yourself safe and don’t take any chances with transport, safety and food.


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Curio seller in Howick, South Africa
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Street in South Africa
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Howick Falls, South Africa
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African novelties for sale
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Litter is a huge problem in South Africa
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Model of Nelson Mandela at OR Tambo Airport in Johannesburg


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