Anyone who loves the idea of chasing legendary creatures around the world and uncovering their magic needs to go to one continent. That place is Africa, home to some of the most iconic and fabled living entities in the world. If there is one place where the dream might become a reality, it is on the plains of the Serengeti or the Okavango.
Still, before anyone heads off into the fiery sunset, there is some red tape you need to take care of first. I know that the search for mythological beasts doesn’t scream admin, but no one wants to turn up at the airport without their passport!
So, with admin and red tape firmly in mind, here are the things every explorer will need to take care of on their journey. Good luck.
There is no doubt that Africa is a big place, and not every country is secure. Sure, there are places like South Africa where the mood is relatively calm and stable. But, for every South Africa there is also a Somalia or an Egypt which is under siege at the moment. Of course, you might think that you can avoid these places and stick to the safer countries. But, the quest for the legendary might take you to places which you never imagined you would visit before. Of course, safety is crucial when that happens. Still, there is only so much one person can do, which is where travel insurance comes into play. Should there be an incident, like a robbery, it’s possible to claim everything back through the company. A tip: make sure the policy has a high medical coverage. The idea of being stuck in Africa with an illness is enough to put anyone off going in the first place.
God, I’m making it sound as if it’s the most dangerous and deadliest continent in the world! Africa is a beautiful place – that’s a fact. But, to say that there aren’t fatal diseases would be a lie. And, they are even worse to you and me because lots of them don’t exist in the US of A. If you were to contract malaria, for instance, the side-effects could be severe. Thankfully, vaccinations are available at most doctor’s surgeries, clinics or hospitals. To be fair, there isn’t an immunization for malaria, but a medical professional will still provide advice on tablets and how to avoid mosquito bites. Just tell them where you’re going and ask them which shots are a requirement.
Ah, the perils of having an American passport. Yep, thanks to our forays into other countries’ affairs in the past, a US travel document doesn’t get much play. They will let you in, but you will have to pay for a visa beforehand. It isn’t like the Europeans who can waltz into places without a care in the world. You’re going to have to do some research, and the first port of call is to figure out which countries require a visa. Anyone who doesn’t know where to start can visit Africa Ranking for more tips and advice. Once you know the countries that are flexible and the ones that aren’t, it’s time to file. Most embassies take an age to guarantee travel, so it’s always wise to apply for one a few weeks if not months in advance.
The odds are high that you’re going to be on safari at some point or another. After all, it’s the best place to find creatures of a mythical nature. At least, it seems like the best place to begin, but no one knows because no one has seen them before! Regardless, there is no better way to see the country or experience the wildlife than on the open plains. The only problem with a safari is the safety. Unfortunately, there is times when the animals get too close and panic. When it’s a springbok, everything should be okay. When it’s a hippo or an elephant, it could turn out pretty bad for the Land Rover. As a rule, listen to the guide at all times and do what they say. Remember that they are there for your safety, so their words carry a lot of weight. Not as much weight as a charging rhino, but still pretty big.
Some things might be omitted depending on your travel choices. For example, anyone that turns up to the plains and hopes to go on safari will need a pass. Sorry, but there is no way to get into any official vehicle and inspect the wildlife without a ticket. There are unofficial guides that want to make money, but they go against everything rule in the safety manual. If you do plan on winging it, please have a backup plan because most tours are sold out months in advance. Or, just don’t get your hopes up as very high. The other option is to buy a package trip which includes everything from excursions to accommodation. By doing this, there is no need to worry about missing out on the journey of a lifetime. The trick is to weigh up the cost and the hassle of being independent against going all inclusive.
Plenty Of Water
In case you didn’t know, Africa is insanely hot. In fact, please don’t underestimate the role the sun plays on the continent of man. Because everything is so close to the Equator, the heat is almost unbearable. Apart from being a health scare for your skin, it also means you’re at risk of dehydration. In simple terms, a lack of fluids is the enemy when you’re hunting down any fairy-tale. After all, venturing into the unknown is thirsty work which is why you need gallons of liquids. Also, don’t forget to make yourself drink. Thirst is a poor indicator of dehydration, so it’s important to take on fluids at regular intervals.
Okay, I know that the above isn’t what you had in mind when you booked your trip. But, you have to cover every base if you want to a successful expedition.