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Travelling to Africa – what you need to know

AfricaInformation for making your trip to Africa safe and enjoyable

Africa’s 54 diverse countries make up the world’s second largest continent. 

Hosting a population of over a billion people, nothing could prepare you for the vast size and magnificence of this land.

Most travellers will leave Africa with excellent experiences and no unpleasantness. However, some countries have civil unrest or suffer extreme poverty, which may increase crime rates, and risk to travellers. So check the FCO foreign travel advice website to see how safe your intended destination is. And get yourself covered for peace of mind.

Some information before you travel to Africa

Travel insurance  Travel insurance is essential when travelling to Africa, as hospitals there can be quite pricey, especially for a good one.

Some travel insurance companies will have exclusions, so make sure you have sufficient cover for the duration of your stay.
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As Africa is made up of 54 countries, the currency will differ depending on which country you visit.

The currency in South Africa is the Rand.

The most popular currencies for travellers are the US dollar and the Euro.

Money info 
Credit/Debit cards are accepted in ATM's in most capital cities, just make sure to contact your bank before you travel to avoid any restrictions being applied.

Traveller's cheques
are still accepted in Africa, as they are easier to replace if stolen. Expect to pay a fee to exchange them into cash.

It is a good idea to carry a small amount of cash with you, just in case you find it difficult to locate a bank/ATM.

American Dollars are widely accepted across the continent.

Official language 

Africa has a wide variety of languages including Arabic, Somali, Swahili, and Yoruba.

You will find many English speakers in tourist areas/hotels/resorts.

Biggest country by population
Over 173 million people

Time difference

Africa has six time zones. for example:

Cairo, Egypt GMT+2
Lusaka, Zambia GMT+2
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia GMT +3

Visa requirements
Visas are required to visit most countries in Africa. If you book a trip through a travel agent, they'll be able to arrange the relevant visa.

However, if you're backpacking or going it alone, you'll need to contact the embassy or consulate of that country.

Be sure to state which passport you hold, as regulations differ depending on nationality.

Vaccinations will vary depending on which countries you visit. You may need to be vaccinated against diseases such as - but not limited to - typhoid, rabies and cholera.

Check with your GP at least eight weeks before you plan on travelling.

British embassy 
You can find a British embassy in capital cities across Africa.

The British embassy in South Africa can be found in Pretoria.

As this continent is so large and bordered by the Atlantic Ocean, Indian Ocean and the Mediterranean sea, there is a range of climates:

Tropical rainforest
- mainly towards the eastern coast 
- south-west
- Sahara (largest desert in the world)
- South-west

Main attractions
You can be sure to tick many attractions off your bucket list in Africa.

Choose from the
Pyramids of Giza (one of the 7 ancient wonders of the world) to the outstanding wildlife safaris, Table Mountain in South Africa, to the natural wonders of Victoria Falls.

You'll be spoilt for choice wherever you go in this impressive continent.

National dish
Africa has many cuisines and traditional cooking methods. Stews and tagines are among the continent's favourites 

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