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“Which are the safest countries to visit in Africa as a tourist?” is a question that you will come across often. A few years ago, if you had asked me if I’d ever want to visit Iran, I’d answered with a resounding no. Kenya has been a target of terrorism, and I would be insane to want to visit a country portrayed as a hotbed of terrorism. Now, Iran is among my top destinations to visit soon. It’s a bonus that as a Kenyan, I can get a visa on arrival.
Like Iran, the media highlights Africa as poverty, hunger, disease-stricken continent laced with war and insecurity which is usually not the case.
In my opinion, lazy, uninformed people with a skewed perception of the continent curate the travel advisories to Africa. I read this on trip savvy’s travel warnings for countries in Africa.
“Level 3 travel advisory in Nigeria issued due to crime, terrorism, and piracy. Violent crimes are common in Nigeria, while terrorist attacks target crowded areas in and around the Federal Capital Territory and other urban areas.”
Level 3 translates to you should reconsider traveling to Nigeria. I was in Lagos, Nigeria recently and while on this trip someone asked and I quote “I see you are in Nigeria. I heard it’s not safe there.”
Chances are that this person in question came across the above advice. Now, let me break it down to you. Nigeria is home to 36 states, and most of these states are not under terrorist attacks. I was in Lagos not so long ago, and the only terrorizing thing about Lagos was the traffic and hooting. Haha. If Nigeria was a place to reconsider travel because it’s unsafe would traveling in Nigeria be well documented travel blogs like travel with a pen ? Information is power. If you keep relying entirely on such travel advisories, the African continent will always be unsafe to you. Reach out to people that have been there recently or those that live there.
No matter where you are in the world, you are always alert. Right? Unforeseen occurrences happen any time anywhere so if you are looking for the safest place to travel to, you will not find it on earth. No one can assure you 100% safety. The above travel advisory says anyone that plans to go to Kenya should proceed with caution.
I will wholeheartedly agree that when I am walking in some parts of the Nairobi CBD, I am fully alert and in a rush to leave because of pickpockets and scammers. Does this mean that you should not visit Kenya because the CBD is unsafe? That’s like me saying I will not go to the USA because of the reports on several mass shootings and prejudice against black people. Just like these aspects do not represent the entire United States, a troubled region does not constitute a whole country.
For emphasis, I am not saying that there are no danger zones on the African continent. I am saying Africa is gigantic being the second largest continent and home to 54 countries. These countries are then broken down to different regions, counties, and states. It is ridiculous to come up with a list titled “the safest countries in Africa” when you have not been to every region in Africa leave alone every single country. I am saying what you hear or read might be exaggerated, skewed or untrue. Be informed.
Get your immunisation, drink bottled water and avoid street food Jane. You will be fine.