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General travel safety precautions

How to limit dangers and annoyances

Please note: by reading the advice below you may get the wrong impression that the countries covered on this site are unsafe for travelling. That is not the case. Overall, the countries can be considered safe and this is even more so if your visit is primarily an organized safari or tour. The advice below is solely intended to help you further decrease the already small risks.

  • Buy good travel and health insurance and check that all activities on your trip are covered.
  • Check the entry requirements for the country you are visiting, including: number of empty pages and months left before your passport expires, visa requirements, if holding a return ticket is required, etc.
  • Get all the required vaccinations, preventive malaria medication and insect repellent. Insect repellant should contain at least 20-30% DEET.
  • Lock all bags before handing them over at check-in at the airport. Keep all valuables in your hand luggage or money belt, including your passport and bank cards.
  • Make photocopies of important documents like tickets, insurance papers, passport, and visa and keep them separate. It is also recommended to scan these documents and email a copy to yourself and somebody at home, along with your flight other travel details. If you don’t have a scanner, you can leave photocopies with somebody at home.
  • Put your valuables in the safety deposit box of the hotel and make sure to take at least one bag that you can lock.
  • Check with your tour operator what to pack for your trip. It is important to be protected against the sun and have suitable clothing for wildlife watching (see the Wildlife watching safety precautions page for more info).
  • When small charter flights are part of your trip,check the luggage weight limits, since you often aren’t allowed to bring a lot of luggage.
  • Don’t drive at night as it is harder to see the road conditions. They are often poor and people frequently walk on the road, sometimes drunk.
  • When driving in areas known for car hijackings (like in and around Johannesburg) you should lock all doors and keep your windows closed. Don’t stop at hijacking hotspots, like empty parking lots or the emergency lane of highways. The risk is significantly higher after dark.
  • Don’t offend or irritate police officers. Always show respect. Police officers might try their luck getting a bribe. If so, don’t get aggressive, but also don’t give in and stand your ground. A light attitude and a joke might well get you off the hook.
  • Don’t take photos of government or military buildings and constructions.