Unfortunately, Africa is still subject to many dated stereotypes and misunderstandings when it comes to safety. The truth is, you are statistically much more likely to be a victim of petty theft in Barcelona than you are in Tanzania.
After extensive travel and research, I would classify the safest African Countries as follows:
As you can see, most East African countries made it to the list! This is due to the fact that East Africa has a long history of tourism; East African safaris have been the main attraction of these countries for the longest time, therefore, governments make an extra effort to ensure that tourist are safe, after all, tourist majorly contribute to the economy of these country, so it is a no brainer that the country’s efforts is orientated towards the safety of the tourists. That said, there are however some special considerations to keep in mind when visiting Africa, as if any, the issue is not physical safety, what may cause threat is theft of objects/pickpocket. In most African countries, the locals are harmless when it comes to physical assaults, but due to poverty, there is some degree of threat when it comes to theft of small objects that are handled carelessly (mobile phone, cameras, wallets, sunglasses, watches, etc). Female travellers in Africa (or anywhere for that matter) should especially be vigilant. The countries that we have listed include the Safest African countries for female travellers too, as we are talking about safety in general.
Read further as we will explain how to prevent this.
Feel confident with your choice of tour operators during your trip to Africa by researching them beforehand. Tour companies that have online presence have a reputation to protect, therefore, they are more likely to go above and beyond to ensure customer’s satisfaction.
Tourists are most vulnerable the moment they land to a destination, we recommend you ensure that your airport pick up is organized either by a tour company or the hotel. We understand the desire to negotiate a good deal at the airport, but safety comes first, and most likely you would not get a better deal by negotiating with some random taxi driver at the airport, as they may try to rip you off. If you do have to get a taxi at last minute (either at the airport) or at some point during the trip, always ask for the rate before the drive. If you wait until the end, you may get asked for way too much money and you will not be able to do much about it but pay. Please bear in mind that it is in the African culture to negotiate, so, never accept the first rate that you are given, it can be time consuming, but it is what it is, “when in Rome, do as the Romans”. When traveling to Africa, you need to negotiate the price of literally everything! You may be surprised how something that was initially quoted to you at $100, end up costing you only $20, after negotiation.
Is safari safe? Yes, it is!
Even if the country you are travelling to has not made it to the top ten list of safest African Countries, an experienced tour guide (regardless of the country that you are in) will know the fundamentals when it comes to keeping you safe during a safari. It is important to be vigilant and take precautions where necessary. Safaris have guidelines in place to keep you safe from danger. The tour guide will explain the do’s and don’ts, and he will know the animals and when they are behaving abnormally.
As a tourist in Africa, you will stick out. Don’t wear flashy accessories and try to keep a low profile and don’t look clueless or lost. It is extremely important to be self-aware as to how you come across. Look confident and look like you trust the people around you, as they may get offended by your lack of trust. Consider wearing a money belt, similar device to keep your money safe. Oh, and about money, just carry with the amount that you need for the day. This is not to say that you need to be scared, enjoy your trip, and explore, but use some common sense and be cautious.
Please be aware of your surroundings even when you take pictures. You may see something interesting and may be tempted to take pictures, by all means do so, but be aware of who is around you. A camera or phone can be snatched very easily.
Limit your alcohol intake
We have mentioned a few times that being cautious and aware is the key, how will you do that if you have drunk too much? a drunk tourist is an easy target, this is the equivalent to looking for trouble. Also, as in many touristic cities, you should always avoid walking around during the night, even in the safest African Countries, especially if you are a solo traveler in Africa.
Unfortunately, drinking tap water is not safe when travelling to Africa. Buy bottled water, boil the water, or use iodine tablets to make sure you don’t get sick. It is important not to skip drinking water, dehydration during the dry season is not something you want to experience.
Staying safe in Africa also means, protecting yourself from mosquitoes. The mosquitos will eat you alive if you don’t take the necessary precautions! Don’t sleep without mosquito netting and make sure it doesn’t have any holes. Wear light clothing that covers your arms and legs at night. Keep spraying insect repellant throughout the day and especially after a shower. Do not keep the lights on, when you don’t need it, as this attracts mosquitos.
Your vacation to Africa should be a once-in-a-lifetime experience that is above all, safe. Follow the tips in this Africa travel guide and go enjoy your African Trip.