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Nervous about travel in Africa? Here’s why you shouldn’t be

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Thanks to “gilesmeetsworld” for sharing…

When most people think about travel, Africa doesn’t usually come up as an option, and admittedly originally it wasn’t top of my list either… I think this is because not only are people unaware of all you can experience there, but sometimes the continent can seem an intimidating place to travel. I recently wrote a guest post on WanderingOutsideTheBox (linked here), about why Africa should be your next travel destination, and it made me realise that I should be writing more on my experiences in Africa so that I can show others how incredible it is to travel there.

I want to convey what the reality of travel in Africa is like, and try and go through common fears or things that might put people off. So in this post I’ll be doing exactly that, I’ll be listing common fears about travel in Africa, and then explaining based on my experience what the reality actually is.

A little side note here, I realise throughout this post I use the term ‘Africa’ a lot, which is of course a massive generalisation of a huge and diverse continent with over 50 countries, but when I use it I’m referring to sub-Saharan Africa.

Mosquitoes and Malaria

This is probably what most people worry about. Yes there is malaria and it’s a massive problem. However as a western person with a western immune system who will (and definitely should) likely have anti-malarial medication, the chances of you catching it are very minimal. When I travelled through different countries in sub-Saharan Africa, mosquitoes were actually not as bad a problem as I thought they would be. When you’re staying in a tent that you can seal off completely from anything outside, it means you can be pretty effective in keeping them out.

I was expecting the biggest and baddest mosquitoes I had ever seen, but they never showed up. Just use some mosquito spray (of which you’ll be able to get great brands out in Africa that are much cheaper), take your anti-malarial meds and you should be absolutely fine. My best advice when it comes to travelling anywhere where there might be diseases etc you could catch, is speak to your doctor, get your jabs, and make sure you have health insurance.

Safety

Often people will be worried about visiting Africa because of political troubles in some nations or safety, and if you don’t know what you’re doing or the areas you’re going, then I would strongly advise travelling there first with a guide or in a group. However when you do go with experienced guides who are constantly on the ball with where you’re going and know exactly the areas you’re travelling through, you don’t feel unsafe or in danger at all.

In fact it’s like most places in the world, in that it’s a tiny population of people who are giving places a bad reputation. Most locals were so friendly and passionate about their country and wildlife, and it was an absolute pleasure getting to meet so many great and inspiring local people. Not to mention it’s often in the places where tourism isn’t massive yet, that tourists are treated extremely well because of the financial benefits they bring to the country.

Bathroom & Campsite facilities

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I was expecting a camping trip in Africa to have non-existent bathroom facilities, and yes sometimes we were in national parks so it was just a hole in the ground. But this was extremely rare, and completely a choice by us to want to experience camping in the wild. I actually experienced much worse bathrooms travelling through SE Asia than in Africa. Most of the time we had very decent showers and toilets at our campsites that were perfectly adequate.

Admittedly when you’re doing a lot of travel through remote areas, there aren’t going to be toilets everywhere, so we did stop by the road a fair few times for toilet stops behind some sort of vegetation, but just bring a toilet roll (that you throw in a bin you take with you) and hand sanitizer and it’s completely fine. A little bottle of anti-bac hand sanitiser is generally just a great thing to carry with you travelling anywhere. Not to mention if you’re travelling in Africa and not camping, it’s just like anywhere else with excellent quality accommodation and hotels, if that’s what you prefer.

Western food

If you’re worried about being able to find those delicious snacks when you travel, don’t. We stopped many times at many places and there are usually supermarkets or shops selling the standards snacks crisps chocolate nuts etc etc. We had to stop to get water often so to enough supermarkets to know, it’s not just local stalls selling local foods, there are plenty of western foods too. Also camping, we made all of our own food anyway, and this was often very similar to what you’d eat back home if not with a bit more meat cooked on the brai (South-African bbq) than normal. It’s really not the case at all that you won’t be able to find western food.

Shops

So this sounds like a strange one, but I learnt the hard way… When I was in New Zealand just before I flew to Cape Town, I stocked up on loads of meds and various things for my Africa trip as I was determined not to get ill, and my thoughts were going to be that I was travelling in remote and less developed areas so wouldn’t be able to pick the things up I needed. I get to South Africa and on the first day we stop in a massive shopping centre just outside of Cape Town which sells all the exact same stuff for a quarter of the price… You will stop in places where you can get clothes, food, meds etc, so don’t be like me, wait until you get there to get the basics. We even had a couple of people in our group who didn’t bring sleeping bags and they managed to find them very easily.

Wifi

Don’t panic folks, there will be internet. Admittedly depending on where you are it may be limited, but you’ll be very surprised how frequent and in how many campsites there will be wifi and internet connections. It’s sometimes nice to have a break from the internet for a while, but if you’re concerned you’ll be weeks without being able to contact home etc, there’s no need. The internet often will be limited or not that strong, but it’s even the case that some companies who run these overland group tours have wifi on the buses themselves!

I’m going to get eaten by a lion!

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Ok, so obviously this sub heading is an exaggeration, but you see my point. Camping in national parks with no fences between you and lions… are you serious?! Yes, I am actually. So firstly and most importantly, the wildlife in Africa is to be taken seriously. You’ll need to watch out for scorpions and snakes etc in the desert, and also bigger game and wildlife camping in national parks. However, if you’re sensible and listen to advice (of which there will be plenty), you will be fine. Wildlife often won’t want to have anything to do with people and will keep away from them. So as long as you are sensible and listen to advice, you will be absolutely fine.

I’ve even camped where elephants and hippos stroll next to people’s tents, but they view them as obstacles rather than anything of interest. People will be there to make sure you are camping in a safe environment, and will be on hand for emergencies, so you shouldn’t let any of these fears put you off.

So I hope I’ve gone through a few concerns people have about travelling in Africa and explained why they shouldn’t put you off. Like anywhere, as long as you’re sensible and listen to locals advice you’ll be completely fine. Anything I’ve forgotten to mention or any fears that are putting you off travel in Africa, pop them in the comments below.

When most people think about travel, Africa doesn’t usually come up as an option, and admittedly originally it wasn’t top of my list either… I think this is because not only are people unaware of all you can experience there, but sometimes the continent can seem an intimidating place to travel. I recently wrote a […]

via Nervous about travel in Africa? Here’s why you shouldn’t be… — gilesmeetsworld

Chasing Sunsets

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Sit back and enjoy a few sunsets from around the world 🙂 Hope everyone is having a great week!

Thanks to “traveldlife” for sharing

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Sanctuaries and Sunsets 

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Black Crowned Night Heron

In the afternoon of Easter Sunday, I went to see the birds at the Seaside Seabird Sanctuary again. Here are a few portraits of the resident birds, some of whom by now are old friends, like the Red-Shouldered Hawk, the Great-Horned Owl and his house mate, the Barred Owl.

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The birds that are most represented among the permanent residents are the pelicans, both the White Pelicans and the Brown Pelicans. They tend to get hurt by human activity on the water. This warm day several of them were bathing in the many pools, large and small placed everywhere in their aviaries. Or preening to look their Sunday best.

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My friend the American Oyster Catcher was there too, and appeared to be doing better than last time I saw it.

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On this Sunday, several other birds were visiting their relatives at the sanctuary, like these American Black vultures.

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I also counted more than 50 nests high in the trees around the sanctuary. I believe birds feel this is a protected zone and are confident building nests in the trees around the park. Here a mama pelican peers down from her nest high up in a tall tree, and a Black-Crowned Night Heron nods off at her nest.

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It was a wonderful, life-affirming visit, as always.

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If only the earth would be a sanctuary for all its inhabitants.

At mid-week, I enjoyed a great sunset walk on the beach with our son, who was on a business trip here on the Gulf coast.

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The sunset was as beautiful as ever. Shore birds were running around at the water’s edge and little sand crabs hurried into their homes for the night.

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The sun disappeared into the ocean leaving a soft glow on the skies. I thought about the beautiful Irish blessing “May every sunset hold more peace.”

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With that thought I wish you all a wonderful weekend. I will be traveling to spend time with the youngest generation of our family. It always gives me hope. Just like the Osprey chicks.

Source: Sanctuaries and Sunsets. ‹ TINY LESSONS BLOG ‹ Reader — WordPress.com

Story Behind the ‘Rumble in the Jungle’ Fight

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It was advertised as “The Rumble in the Jungle.” The 25-year old powerhouse vs. the aging 32-year old. The late Muhammed Ali and George Foreman were preparing to duke it out on the ring in Kinshasa, Zaire, now known as the Democratic Republic of Congo to an audience of 60,000 on October 30, 1974 for the heavyweight championship title.

President Mobutu Sese Seko, who wanted Zaire to be in the spotlight, had secured a $10 million purse to host the event and split the cash evenly amongst the two. Everything was at stake for these egos. It was Ali’s chance to show the world his fighting spirit never wavered and Foreman’s chance to further cement his invincibility and remain undefeated by taking down the greatest. To celebrate Norman Mailer’s birthday today, we look back at the legendary matchup through his 1975 book The Fight, which features images by Sports Illustrated’s Neil Leifer and Ali’s official photographer Howard Bingham…

The Fight book cover, George-Foreman-Muhammad Ali

It was advertised as “The Rumble in the Jungle.” The 25-year old powerhouse vs. the aging 32-year old. The late Muhammed Ali and George Foreman were preparing to duke it out on the ring in Kinshasa, Zaire, now known as the Democratic Republic of Congo to an audience of 60,000 on October 30, 1974 for…

via The Story Behind the ‘Rumble in the Jungle’ Fight — TIME

Trafficking of Nigerian women into prostitution in Europe ‘at crisis level’ | Global development | The Guardian

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UN says 80% of the Nigerian women who came to Italy by boat in the first half of 2016 will be trafficked into prostitution

Source: Trafficking of Nigerian women into prostitution in Europe ‘at crisis level’ | Global development | The Guardian

“The trafficking of Nigerian women from Libya to Italy by boat is reaching “crisis” levels, with traffickers using migrant reception centres as holding pens for women who are then collected and forced into prostitution across Europe, the UN’sInternational Office for Migration (IOM) warns.

About 3,600 Nigerian women arrived by boat into Italy in the first six months of this year, almost double the number who were registered in the same time period last year, according to the IOM.

More than 80% of these women will be trafficked into prostitution in Italy and across Europe, it says…”

 

Peacekeeping is a tool for political, not military solutions – Eliasson | defenceWeb

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United Nations peacekeeping is “a tool to advance political, not military, solutions to conflict,” Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson told the UN Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations.

He made the comments this week when the General Assembly subsidiary body opened its 2016 session. Noting existing mechanisms are not always suited to meet new challenges he stressed the critical role of the Special Committee plays in setting the direction of comprehensive reform of peace operations.

“Strengthening UN peace operations is a multi-year agenda,” Eliasson said in the opening session, which was also addressed by Under-Secretaries-General Hervé Ladsous and Atul Khare, who respectively head the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO), and the Department of Field Support (DFS).

He said Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon established the High-Level Panel on Peace Operations to examine and develop the range of United Nations tools in order to prevent and resolve conflicts, as well as to sustain peace.

Ban’s agenda centres on three priorities for action: strengthen conflict prevention; build more effective global and regional partnerships and improve the planning and conduct of UN peace operations.

Source: Peacekeeping is a tool for political, not military solutions – Eliasson | defenceWeb

An Opportunity to Give Back

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People living in poor communities have the same aspirations as those in more affluent places, they hope for the same chances and opportunities, good health care, clean running water and high-quality schools for their children but unfortunately their hopes and dreams don’t always become a reality.  This is why Madox is asking club members, flying enthusiasts and friends of Madox to consider helping out and contribute to making a significant, long-term difference in the lives of those we meet while flying in The Gambia.For the cost of a weekends flying in the UK you can greatly enhance someone’s live in The Gambia.  The helping hand will be direct from yours to theirs.  No CEO’s to pay, no administrative staff to pay, no middle men to pay and certainly no one on the side waiting for their share of your well earned funds.  It’s simple, from you to them.  Madox will only facilitate the journey something we love doing as pilots and flying enthusiasts.

Source: An Opportunity to Give Back

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