15 Tips for Africa Travel
There are a lot of things that can go wrong when you go on any trip. Everything from the accommodation not being booked correctly to the car giving problems in the middle of a corn field. To prevent these types of mishaps it’s always best to triple check everything before the trip even starts. To help you out here is a list of things that everyone should have had done and should be prepared for when they travel through South Africa, Mozambique or Swaziland.
1. Keep the documents.
Passports, booking information, petrol receipts and maps. All of these can be important when you are being accused of some wrong doing or need to prove that you are legally in a country. Keeping the receipts for a few months after the trip will greatly help in making you feel secure.
2. Everything that moves gets checked.
The car, the trailer, the emergency generator or even the latest remote control car everything that has a moving part needs to be checked by a professional. Send the car and trailer to professional mechanics to have everything repaired and ask them what to look out for while on your trip. While the car is being checked make sure that your laptop, your phone and anything else that you can’t repair yourself works perfectly.
3. Before you pack arrange.
A week or two before the trip starts get everything that can’t expire together. The tents, chairs, bags and anything else. Get an open area where you can move, take your time and start to pack everything in rows. This will greatly help you by showing just what exactly you have and what you need. Unpacking the tents and making sure all the parts are there is always important, nothing is worse than unpacking your tent and realising that all you have is a bunch of fabric and no poles.
4. Get the right vehicle.
While a BMW M3 can easily travel on any tar road and dodge some of the potholes in the more scary areas it will not be able to drive through any amount of water. So to save yourself a lot of money get an all-wheel drive SUV that should be able to handle some muddy roads. The ideal thing to have is a proper 4×4 vehicle, anything from Land Rover Discoveries to Nissan Patrols will ensure that you can drive wherever you please without getting stuck at the first mud hole.
5. Get the right tires.
No matter what kind of vehicle you choose be sure to put on some all terrains. This will keep a lot of stress away.
6. Choose the right partners
Get all your friends together and plan what exactly you are all going to do. Then decide who is going with whom. If someone speaks the local language let him drive in the front vehicle, if someone is inexperienced be sure to put them with the most experienced. Always make sure that every vehicles occupants can handle any situation. Having a wide variety of people that are all capable of doing something unique will ensure a much more relaxed experience.
7. Get things done
While procrastinating before a family party is fine if you want to find all the possible problems get everything done months before the departure date. This leaves time to stamp out any fires before they become bombs.
8. Health kits, emergency kits.
Everyone should have a small first aid kit in their own bags. Every car should have a water proof big bag full of medicine and every other medical emergency products. What every car owner should get from the car manufacturers is an emergency repair kit. These kits will cost a lot but they are all well worth it and if your brake cable breaks in the middle of a rain forest that extra one in the emergency kit will be greatly loved.
9. Communication devices.
One of the people that you take with you should have a radio license. Along with your radio buddy get a bunch of two way radios and several back-up batteries for your phones. This will increase your chances of getting help when you are in the middle of nowhere and it will make the entire trip a lot more fun. The two way radios can be used without a license between the cars.
10. Get the right food.
While milk, steak and ice cream are all fun to have if you have no freezer they do tend to go bad. This is easily avoidable when you get non-perishable foods. Canned meats, fruits and vegetables might not make five star meals but they can last for years if they are unopened. So instead of that delicious bread get a box of rice cakes, they’re a lot healthier in the long run.
11. Learn about survival.
Most people watch Bear Grylls and Survivorman just for fun. However if you pay attention you will definitely learn something from at least one of them. The best place to find water is always important to know.
12. Learn the locals.
Get to know the problems that the country you are going to has before you go. You don’t have to become a missionary and spread the good will of the first world countries but knowing who to trust and where to go will keep your wallet in your pocket.
13. Learn to be filthy.
A lot of areas in Swaziland and Mozambique have a lack of electricity and clean water. This makes for some great adventures. Unfortunately it also means that you will need to go without a good shower for a couple of weeks, getting used to your own body will come in handy.
14. Remember the coffee.
While large barrels of water might be hard to find and spot lights non-existent in some areas the way of boiling water will never be lost. There is nothing better in this world than getting a cup of hot coffee while the sun rises over the African bush.
15. Have fun.
While there are a lot of things that can be said in a tip guide the most important thing to remember is to have as much fun as humanly possible. When you get stuck in the mud laugh a little before you start swearing, enjoy the hot summer rains. Maybe get a beer and just camp there for the night. You don’t have to see everything to have as much fun as possible.