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Travelling to Africa – what you need to know


Information for making your trip to Africa safe and enjoyable

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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


Travel information

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.


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 - typhiod, rabies, and cholera.

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 Meditterranean see, there is a range of climates:

Tropical rainforest - mainly towards the eastern coast

Sub-tropical - south-west

Desert - Sahara (largest desert in the world)

Marine - 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.

National dish

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

Local information site


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