Africa is a beautiful continent of wonderful people with a very rich culture. More often than not, there are some prejudices concerning Africa that seem to have taken roots in the minds of many. But to visit the continent and fully understand and enjoy the people and the places, you need to be abreast with some facts that you must know about the place.
Africa is a continent with countries and not a country on its own. It consists of 54 countries.
Africa is the 2nd largest continent in the world. It is home to about 1 billion people of the world’s population in different countries.
Africa has some of the best wildlife and nature reserves in the world. This makes it a great place to visit as tourists have a view of nature and enjoy some serenity.
Africa has relatively very religious people who strongly believe in the existence and worship of deities. In Africa, the most common religions are Islam and Christianity.
The continent has strong traditional rulership in most countries and communities. Additionally, these types of rulership are also keen on the governing of the people. They work aside from the centralized form of government.
In Africa, there are over 1500 spoken languages. Most of the languages are grouped into different dialects. The different dialects are spoken by the several ethnic groups that exist.
Africa is the world’s hottest continent with deserts and drylands covering a percentage of the territorial landscape.
Most African countries were colonized by other countries, which is strongly embedded in the history and culture of the people.
9. Africa is a very vegetative continent. It provides a great percentage of the farm foods eaten across the globe.
10. Africa is home to some of the most hospitable people in the world. Africans are always ready to open up their homes and welcome people who wish to tour and have a feel of their continent.
Being armed with these facts about Africa gives you the tourist, an upper hand in knowing and being abreast with information concerning the place you intend to visit as well as debunk any other contradictory information you may have concerning Africa which has impeded your visit. Africa is always ready with open arms. You just need to visit and have the time of your life.
The ACT team will be glad to welcome you to Africa. We have put together sustainable packages on our website. Use this link to check it out.
I choose to travel with as light-weighted baggage as possible to help enjoy my trip right from when I step out of the door and head to the airport. Traveling ‘light’ has enhanced my trips across Africa in so many ways. It always saves me from waiting in line to claim my baggage. Traveling light helps me to avoid the nightmare of carrying a big suitcase around while catching a connecting flight, and even losing my bag.
I simplify my trips by traveling light, with a backpack or hand luggage. And I want to share some tips on how to keep it as simple as possible. I also asked a few friends, colleagues, and neighbors for their tips on simple travel and their answers were wonderful. In this article, I will compile the best tips that will change your travel experience to Africa.
Before I share the tips, I will share a poem that summarizes how to ‘simple travel’.
Poem by Elsie
Open your heart and mind to everything
Accept everything and everyone
Forget your background, habits, and norms
Follow your heart
Reinvent yourself moment by moment
Pack light and remain open to light in people
who bless you with smiles.
Tips to Keep your trip to Africa simple
What to pack to travel light. Travel documents, deodorant, ID, credit card. deodorant, a pair of trousers, 2 pairs of shorts, 2 T-shirts, 3 pairs of underwear, a cap or hat, sunscreen, 1 swimwear, 1 book, journal and pen, phone and charger (also to be used as a camera). “Anything else I need: I will purchase at the destination”. Ask yourself this question “Do I need this item or want it?” There is little you need when you travel. Remember you are packing what you can take along on the flight.
Think about things you can buy cheaply at the destination like toiletries and don’t bring them with you when you pack. You can always buy local products when you run out. It is also part of the experience.
Pack clothes and undergarments that are lightweight so that you can quickly wash them as needed. They will be able to dry overnight.
Arrive earlier at the airport than you think is necessary for both domestic and international travel. You may arrive 2 hours before the time for a domestic trip and 6 hours before the time for international trips. This reduces stress while waiting for along security check as the time for your departure inches even closer. Ordering your favorite drink at the airport restaurant while you wait to board the plane is better.
Prepare for security checks-in. Wear comfortable easy shoes preferably without a shoelace. Do not wear belts with metals or don’t wear belts at all.
Put your jacket in your carry-on before you get to the security checkpoint. Put all your electronics and fluids (perfume, toothpaste, deodorant, up to 100ml) in a transparent plastic bag. Do this to avoid searching through your bag to find at the security checkpoint and repack them after you go through security.
Keep important telephone numbers written down on paper, in your diary, in memory, just in case you lose your phone (telephone number of travel company, tour guides, embassy, people in the ground, and family).
Do not bring all your money with you when you go out (when you arrive at the destination) Leave some at the place you lodge. Leave extra credit cards back home.
Take time for naps in between your trip. I mean it.
Talk to locals and always begin with a smile.
Taste, eat and enjoy local food you have not seen before. It is part of the experience. Remember that locals are always quick to caution visitors about food that will cause a stomach upset for first-time visitors.
Plan some must-do’s and leave the rest to chance, do not be caught up with a single sight.
Wander around and stay open to the crazier elements of the culture. Observe and ask questions later.
Get up early in tropical climates. This will help you to beat the heat of the day. It will help you to avoid crowds and get more out of your day at a leisurely pace. Again, do the things you want to do first since plans may go awry as the day goes on.
Do not try to see everything in a given place. You will probably have a better time if you focus on meeting great people (instead of going to great places. Sometimes you can only visit the right places when you meet the right people during your trip).
Try to stay away from popular/big tourist spots unless there is something you want to see. I will recommend meeting locals, observing and doing the things they do, and eating the food they eat always makes for a great experience.
Leave your laptop behind. For computer addicts, being away from the internet for a few days recharges and relaxes you in ways you never experience at home.
Get one of those totes or bags that fold up into a small package to slip into your backpack. You can use this to collect your souvenirs. Alternatively, mail your purchases home as you go. This reduces what you must carry around with you, what you have to list for customs.
Old clothes and underwear can be disposed of to make room for your souvenirs when returning home.
Bring along a hand sanitizer, wipes, and Ziploc bags.
Get well informed about the destination you are visiting. Make photocopies of sections of guidebooks. Leave it with your neighbor or family along with your itinerary. If there is an emergency (you have your wallet or bag stolen), you can contact your neighbor or family back home through a telephone call. You can also scan all important documents and mail them to yourself. This way you always access these documents.
Make copies of your passport, credit cards, and other valuable documents and bring them along for emergency reasons. Again, write an emergency phone number for each credit card aside from the photocopy and leave this information with your family back home. In case of an emergency, you can contact your family back home for this information.
When you’re done reading your only book, find a book-exchange and trade it for a new one.
When visiting Africa, many are excited purely because of the culture, weather and typically because they are visiting a destination not typical of places they have visited in their lifetime. (These are answers from Europeans and American friends). To be able to make the most out of your trip consider the great tips mentioned above to help keep your trip simple.
We have been on a rollercoaster ride this year. It has been intense, but we are still here, and we are grateful and hopeful. Many have written off this year but be encouraged because it is not over until it is all over. We have life, therefore, we need to keep our heads high and keep going. Very unfortunately, Covid-19 is still with us. Our local authorities have therefore put some rules in place to keep travelers safe. Many are not familiar with the Covid-19 travel protocols therefore this article will explain to them to make travel much easier for you.
General advice for travelers (Mandatory Covid-19 travel protocols)
Your face-masks are a must. Estimate at least 3 to 4 disposable face-masks for a day depending on your movement. Also, pack extra masks for unforeseen circumstances
Hand sanitiser is your friend. Take along several 50 or 100 millilitres bottles along with you and carry one in your purse when you go outside.
Bring along your pocket tissues.
Keep the results of your Covid-19 test at hand during the immigration check.
Read on the website of the WHO to keep yourselves updated with all other necessary protocols you need to adhere to, to make your trip successful.
Read on the website of the airline you choose to fly with for last minute updates and information.
Sneeze and cough into your elbow and try to maintain physical distance of a least 1 metre from others.
Covid-19 protocols for all travellers
This short article for the “must go” traveler. It will share some general travel protocol and specific travel protocol for travellers going to Ghana (West Africa). Although many have consciously decided not to travel, others may need to travel due to different reasons. This article is for you. Below, I will explain some Covid-19 protocol you have to follow when traveling.
Depending on your country of origin, you might need to undertake a Covid-19 test, also known as the PCR test. The local airline company where you purchased your ticket can confirm this since it will be a requirement before you get on board the plane. The airline will also recommend companies where you can take a valid test of around 150 Euros. You have to undertake the test within 72 hours within the time of travel. The results of the test will be ready between 24 to 72 hours. The time range to receive your Covid-19 test results may differ depending on the company where you took your test. The results of the test will be sent to you digitally through the mail. Print the results out and have it in hand at all times during this trip.
Buying your ticket from a responsible airline company
Be reminded to purchase your airline ticket from a responsible airline company. It means that you have to buy your ticket from a company that offers a variety of options that enhances your trip. Offers include the chance to buy an “open” ticket. An open ticket allows you to choose another travel date just in case you are not allowed to travel due to sickness. Check the availability of the Covid-19 test date before you book your ticket. Many test centres are fully booked and it might take time before you acquire a date to get tested.
Going to the airport
Check your body temperature before you go to the airport. Remember that if your temperature is above 38 degrees Celsius you would be sent home and not allowed to travel. Your PCR test results should be with you. Do not forget your hand sanitizer as well and some tissue for personal use. If it is possible, have a good meal at home. Doing this will prevent you from eating at the airport or on the airplane. Remember you will have very limited options to the choice of food at the airport and on the plane due to the Covid-19 protocol put in place. Print the results out and have it in hand at all times during this trip. Remember to wear a face-mask at all times inside the airport. Face-masks should be worn appropriately (extending from the middle of the nasal bridge to halfway between the chin and the neck.
NOSE MASKS RECOMMENDED BY THE WORLD HEALTH ORGANISATION
Persons above 60 years and those with underlying health conditions should wear a medical mask while traveling. A medical face mask provides adequate protection from the virus. Persons who are healthy and do not have symptoms can wear a fabric mask to avoid them coming in contact with the virus. Note that wearing a face mask does not provide full protection. You have to compliment wearing your mask with frequent washing of hands under running water with soap, covering a sneeze or cough with a tissue or bent elbow, and maintaining a least 1-meter distance from others where it is possible.
Covid-19 protocol for when you arrive at the Kotoka International Airport in Ghana.
This part of the article is for travellers who are visiting Ghana. Ghana has placed 3rd worldwide as one of the countries that have been able to effectively manage Covid-19 by the World Health Organisation (WHO). The WHO has made it known that Ghana is safe for travel. The government and the immigration services have therefore put some Covid-19 protocol in place that incoming travellers need to adhere to. The following protocols are expected of travellers aside from what is expected of you from your country of origin. Any traveler who arrives in Ghana is expected to take a mandatory Covid-19 test at the airport for 150 dollars.
Travellers who transit through another country before arriving in Ghana will use the first country of departure as a reference point. The results of the test will be available within 30 minutes after the test. If your results turn out negative, you are allowed to enter the country. If your results turn out positive, you would have to go on a mandatory two-week quarantine at a government selected hotel. You would bear the cost of your accommodation at the hotel. (Note that you are not allowed to go home to self-quarantine if your test is positive). Children under 5 years of age will not be required to undergo testing at the airport.
Travellers who pass their tests are allowed into the country with the advice to use their face masks at all public places. Washing of hands with soap under running water is also required of all visitors.
Travellers have to be informed before their trip
Whether we like it or not, Covid-19 is still here with us. We need to be conscious and intentional about how we live our lives around Covid-19. Although many have banned personal travel, others do not have a choice when it comes to travel. Many need to travel for work and other emergencies. This article has been prepared for every traveler to inform you on how to navigate the trip safely whilst following the rules in place.
Do you need expert advice/help for your trip to Africa?
Would you want to enjoy a travel experience in Africa tailored to your preference?
Do you need us to plan your itinerary by laying out the activities for your trip to an African destination + hours, days, or months of volunteering to make your trip more meaningful?
It’s been a while since I came your way with some travel culture. We went on a research spree to find new trends that would be of value to you. Stay tuned for the coming months where I will share great content on travel for wellness, romantic couples trips, girls trips, family trips and volunteer/internship trips to Africa. This week’s article will focus on traveling responsibly. We all know that travel is an essential part of our lives and we cannot do without it. Since traveling through different means can have a detrimental effect on our environment, we should look at ways to travel that benefit the destination.
Many people are aware of the many negative consequences of our frequent trips around the world to enjoy the scenery and experience different cultures. Traveling to popular and busy destinations, going on road trips for months, packing big luggage, staying in huge multinational hotels, may have negative consequences on the environment. For these reasons, you have to think of alternative ways of traveling responsibly. If you understand how the world works, you will notice that traveling has always been part of our lives and we cannot do without it. We travel for different reasons. This article will share 5 wise ways of traveling to benefit you and the chosen destination.
Take the path less travelled
Be sure to distribute your trip money evenly. Choose an less popular destination where not too many people are visiting. Choose a destination that is not often talked about but is loaded with exclusive natural resources that are not found elsewhere in the world. Have in mind that less popular locations are mostly kind to the pocket – you will pay a fraction for services offered as compared to popular locations.
Curb your carbon emissions
Walking is food for the soul, it keeps you in shape. Take long walks during your trip. Choose a destination that allows you to take long hikes with a cultural experience. Join a group of travellers who are locally assigned to a tour guide. Local tour guides are loaded with information about the destination. They normally share historical stories about the destination, help you find your bearings, and give you that total cultural experience. Going on a long hike keeps you entertained, informed, healthy, and provide the local tour guide with some form of income since he gets paid in the end. You also avoid the use of some form of transportation during sight-seeing which may pollute the environment.
A.k.a. hassle-free travel. Sticking to at most a hand language is good for the environment. It prevents the airplane from consuming a lot of fuel. Use compression cubes or stuff sacks so that you can pack a lot of stuff in a carry-on language. Remember that traveling light also makes your whole travel experience easier. You save your sanity especially if you will transit in another country. The golden rule for traveling light is to pack cotton clothes and take only what you need. It is better to take twice the money than clothes. You can always purchase items that fall short locally.
Choose environmentally-friendly accommodation
Stay in a sustainable hotel/hostel or guesthouse that has employed a local inhabitant and not a gigantic multinational franchise hotel. Look out for facilities that serve local organic food, have eco-friendly water dispensers, conserve energy, limit water use, ditch the use of disposals, recycle, and encourage the guests to reuse linens and towels. Search for hotels and facilities that have accepted regulations and environmental responsibility. They need to have a green lodging certification. Sometimes hotels that work for environment protection and preservation call themselves Ecotel.
Support the local economy
Become a patron for local produce, which can be used as souvenirs. Inquire about locally manufactured handmade crafts and artefacts that are exclusive to the destination. Buying these items provides income for local companies. As a visitor, you also have the opportunity to own uncommon items that are only found at the location.
The importance of responsible travel cannot be underestimated. Sustainable travel saves us money by reducing spending and waste to help our environment to thrive. We have a responsibility to protect the natural ecosystem. Our little contribution to support the ecosystem can go a long way to support life and provide resources to meet the needs of the present and future generations. In the end, there will be healthy communities with clean air, and a non-toxic environment.
Be well prepared to fully enjoy your ‘Vacateer’ (vacation + volunteering)
Although traveling to a dream country like Seychelles may be exciting, preparing for your trip may also be daunting. Seychelles is a tropical country adorned with white sandy beaches and breath-taking palm trees dangling with delicious coconut. Many travelers dream of visiting this piece of paradise. Travelers think about all the wonderful experiences ahead of them but give little attention to other important aspects of their trip. Travelers need to also think about the travel requirements, safety, travel insurance, and what to pack before embarking on their journey. I have written this article to help you prepare for your meaningful trip to Seychelles and beyond.
Entry into Seychelles
Seychelles is a visa-free country but you will need a valid passport for your trip. Your passport should be valid for at least six months to cover your intended stay plus your return ticket. Although you do not need to obtain a visa from your country of origin, you will acquire a visitor’s permit on arrival at the airport. A one-month permit will be issued on arrival for your stay. There is always room for an extended permit at the Department of Immigration, Independence House, Victoria. You would have to show proof of accommodation, return ticket, and spending money to receive your visitor’s permit. You will be assisted by the airport officials to book a room if you have not done so before your arrival.
Health (Vaccination, food, and drinks)
Seychelles is not susceptible to any great health risks.
Worst case scenario, you can get sunburned or dehydrated. Your sunscreen and bottled water is your best friend. To a great extent, the country is clean.
Cholera and Yellow Fever
Cholera and Yellow Fever are major concerns when traveling to Seychelles. You need to take Yellow Fever vaccination If only they had visited a Yellow Fever prone country within the last 6 days before their trip and show a vaccination certificate on arrival at Seychelles. You can find information on Yellow fever prone countries here.
When staying for long periods at a time, for example, for more than a month, I advise you to take a thyroid vaccine. If you consider volunteering in a medical setting/hospital, a hepatitis B vaccine is recommended.
Do not drink tap water
Although many popular hotels boast of filtering their water, I advise avoiding drinking tap water to stay safe and enjoy your trip. Fruits and vegetables should be thoroughly cleaned before consumption. Food bought from a restaurant should be consumed when they still warm to prevent contamination. The country has typical Creole, Chinese and Indian food. Fresh seafood, vegetables, and fruits are common. Local chefs cook mouth-watering dishes such as fresh seafood flavored with coconut milk, ginger, garlic, pepper, and limes. A locally served meal normally goes with a fizzy soft drink, fruit juice, or Seybrew (a locally brewed beer).
You need to choose Travel insurance that gives you value for your money will be of great benefit for emergencies during your trip. Emergencies may include cancellation of flights, sickness, and the cost of hospitalization in a foreign country. Travelers need to be informed about what chosen Travel insurance covers or not. Click here to find out what your options are when you are choosing suitable insurance for your trip.
What to pack for your trip.
This certainly depends on the length of stay. For a few weeks stay a hand language will do the job. As Seychelles is hot all year round, light cotton clothing in blouses, T-shirts, and dresses will never go wrong. You can go as informal as possible since the goal is to relax and have fun. Note that nudism is not allowed.
Personally, I packed essential travel necessities such as sunscreen, a lot of white blouses, and Tee’s which works well with sweating, shorts, sunglasses, flip-flops, open sandals, and a pot of moisturizing cream. One thing I regretted not bringing along during my trip in my wide-brimmed hats. Hats are really a great essential against the direct rays from the sun. Do not forget to bring yours along. If you plan on taking a hike, comfortable walking shoes are recommended.
A small torch light will serve you well when you stay out late and you are trying to find your way home. For the animal lovers who want to engage in bird watching, binoculars. Snorkeling equipment is readily available for rent if needed. For the scuba divers, your certification of proficiency is a must. In case you forget a great need, it is almost always available to buy. Just ask a local for directions.
Declare these products at the airport
Personal products such as cigarettes, liquor, wine, and perfumes are controlled. Each person is allowed 200 packs of cigarettes, 21 bottles of liquor, 21 bottles of wine, and, 200ml of perfume. Seeds, tea, flowers, plants, and meat products are not allowed into Seychelles. No weapons and firearms are allowed into Seychelles. On your return to your home country, you are allowed 300 Euros worth of gifts and souvenirs. Do have in mind that there are very strict rules and controls concerning the smuggling of plants and animals. It is possible to bring plants (Coco de Mer) to your home country with permission from the Ministry of Agriculture and Marine Recourses, Union Vale, Mahe, Seychelles, Tel. 4225333.
Means of transportation to Seychelles
Seychelles lies in the middle of the ocean, therefore there are two means of getting there. You can either travel by air or by sea. Since many travels embark on journeys by air, I will share with you how to efficiently travel by air to Seychelles.
When commuting from Europe, most of the flights available to Seychelles are not direct. When Travelling from Amsterdam or Brussels, there are no direct flights. Available flights include Etihad Airways (stops in Abu-Dhabi), Air France (Stops in Paris), Kenya Airways (Stops in Mombasa), Emirates (stops in Dubai), British Airways (stops in London), Qatar Airways (stops in Doha), and then finally on the main island of Mahe in Seychelles.
The German Condor is the only direct flight is from Frankfurt Main and this is a comfortable 9-hour flight. Depending on the season of travel, flight fares range between 800 and 1200 Euros. Of course, there is a cheaper flight with multiple transits in different countries. Transiting for long hours in different countries gives you the opportunity to see other countries. It is up to you to decide. You can find less expensive tickets here on Skyscanner.
Other regular flights link Seychelles from other continents such as Africa, American, and Asia. Air Seychelles with its fleet of modern aircrafts links cities such as Zurich, London, Paris, Rome, Frankfurt, and Madrid to Mahe.
Inbound flights are available to different islands in Seychelles. Air Seychelles operates regularly to w11Praslin. It is always affordable to go for a package tour when you want to do Island hoping. A private chatter is always readily available if you are not a budget.
Based on my own experience, Seychelles is a very safe country. It is not a crime-ridden country. It is wise to keep all personal and valuable belongings in sight. For instance, make sure that your handbag is not left unattended on the beach when you are swimming or snorkeling. One of the things that made me feel safe is when a police officer randomly showed up when we visited the Grand Anse waterfall to check if we were doing okay. Local police officers wear dark blue trousers and a white short-sleeved shirt.
It is generally safe for women visitors to be out on their own. Physically challenged travelers have access to wheelchairs at the airport ad most of the big hotels. Please make a local travel agent aware of your challenges prior to your trip. You can call 999 for police, fire, or ambulance if you find yourself in any problem.
Seychelles is truly a magical destination that will give you an experience of a lifetime in Africa. These travel tips are helpful to get you prepared and make your trip enjoyable. Do not forget that you can always highlight your vacation with some form of volunteer/charity work to make it your trip more meaningful to yourself and the destination. Find out more about which volunteer work you can add to your trip.
Get your curated travel experience
Do you need expert advice on a ‘Vacateer’ (vacation+volunteering) to Africa?
Are you seeking a travel experience in Africa tailored to your preference?
Do you need us to plan your itinerary by laying out the activities for your trip to an African destination + hours, days, or months of volunteering to make your trip more meaningful?