Sitting here starting to prep for a first trip to Africa. Luckily to my right is a gent who has spent years there and traveled through most of it. He says it’s a great place, will change your life and is incredibly beautiful. Also says you need to get your “eyes on the back of your head” mode going and take medical precautions seriously.
The first is that he met incredibly nice and generous people there. Ones who will share their meal with you when they genuinely have no idea where the next one is coming from. That a lot of people love country Western which was shocking and that the most dangerous place he’s ever been was Los Angeles.
When it comes to Malaria, you don’t want it. Mentioned earlier he has had it 4 times now. If you don’t catch it promptly and begin treatment, other viruses from the area are increasingly easy to get as you get knocked down by the infection. Cerebral is the worst and as a result he has lost some of his vision and has periodical malaria flashbacks on long haul flights etc.
Some places you just don’t want to be at night. This goes for the rest of the world but even more so here, even the local people are staying at home or taking transportation if going somewhere at night. Walking around the streets of say Nairobi which is nicked named Nai ROB u is just ludicrous.
Shockingly, it’s more expensive than many parts of Asia simply because of infrastructure. In say Thailand, there are countless buses going direct to wherever you wish, routinely. There is also several competitors for any given trip. The reason is that on any given day there are tens of thousands of foreigners in Thailand looking to move to another stop.
Supposedly Thailand has a million tourists in the country at any given time. That’s a staggering number when you consider the size of some countries in even say northern Europe. With the lack of volume things cost more, are more difficult to navigate and you do stand out more. Perhaps Sri Lanka has been a good starting point to break away from the well worn tourist trail.
Opened toe shoes are a big no. The whole “waste management” system isn’t quite up to par there. As a result, purely from sanitary reasons alone, no way. Furthermore many beaches are used as garbage dumps / toilets. Many local people still don’t see why anyone would want to live by the beach, crazy foreigners.
For personal safety, A great precaution is to carry around a coke bottle that you sip on when in sketchy neighborhoods. It’s delicious and a heck of a weapon, think level the playing field slightly with large glass club. I’ve used this technique in Asia and Europe. No one wants a bottle to the face, that’s about as global as it gets.
The usage of maps and googling information about trips, costs and cities ahead of time is recommended. Guidebooks may be especially useful. Supposedly “Africa on a Shoe String” outlines the average cost of most public transport, city information and the lot. Other guidebooks go into overkill information, are very pricey and country specific not to mention heavy.
Just popped my 1st anti-malaria pill. Have 119 doses left as I bought a 4 month supply. It’s recommended you start at least 2 days before going into an infected zone. Leaving in 5 days, figured might as well start now, don’t want malaria, at all. Some drawbacks are some people go crazy with really weird dreams and other discomforts. One thing for sure is that whenever you’re on an anti-biotic, you become increasingly sensitive to sunlight.
Happy to be in Sri Lanka but leaving from Bangkok would have been nice. If there is anything you need to pick up before you leave, Bangkok has it. The town I’m in Unawatuna doesn’t even have a bank machine, pharmacy or anything. To pick up some last minute preparations some time will have to be spent in Galle or Colombo.
Been to Africa? Besides vaccines, do any special preparations?