Africa is a continent with 54 different countries and 10 independent territories, with close to 2,000 languages spoken across the continent.
It’s the second most populous continent in the world so calling the continent diverse is an understatement.
Now, I know I won’t or can’t talk about every African country in this blog post and therefore some of my points may be vague.
But it is still equally important, that I share this as Africa is unlike any other continent in the world and those who’ve never been to the continent need to bare in mind some of these things.
So without further ado, here are my 5 NO NO’s in Africa.
Now this one should go without saying, but you’ll be surprised how many people I’ve personally met and stories I’ve heard from others about snobby people they’ve encountered.
No matter the African country, Africans take pride in their culture and heritage and love to expose foreigners to their way of life.
If you go to Africa please be respectful and assimilate into the country’s way of life, going with a western mindset and expecting things to be done your way is just ignorant and won’t get you very far.
Cultural immersion is a must.
Speak your language
Tagging on from the above point, though Africa is diverse, sometimes your language will not be spoken in the country you go to.
Make sure you thoroughly use my guide to read about the languages spoken in your desired African country.
Once you’ve done that, why not try learning a few keywords in the country’s native or official language.
You’ll be surprised how far learning the language can get you as locals really appreciate the sentiment of you trying.
This particularly pertains to those who like to volunteer which I personally disagree with anyways. (click here if you’d like to know why).
Safeguarding is a real issue in some African countries and tourists coming over taking pictures of children does nothing but expose them even more.
You would never take pictures of random children in the western world and post them on your Instagram, Facebook, etc now would you?
So why do it in Africa?
Hibernate in your hotel
Now, I get how easy it is to fall into this trap.
Resorts offer you everything you could want in one place so why leave it, right?
Well, I can only speak for myself here but one of my pet peeves is when people say they’ve seen a certain country and when you ask them about it they say they didn’t really leave their resort. What!? You haven’t experienced the country then.
Some of my best travel experiences have been when I’ve been walking around the local areas or when I have met locals who have shown me their highlights in the country. which you can read about in my stories.
Whilst this may not be for everyone, I definitely implore you to ask your hotel staff or any locals about some hidden highlights in the country and I promise you won’t regret it.
Now, this goes without saying, cultural appropriation is bad.
For those who don’t know what cultural appropriation is, it is the ‘unacknowledged or inappropriate adoption of the customs, practices, ideas, etc of a people group or society’, I would add for monetary gain to this also.
There’s a fine line between appropriation and appreciation. You can love Africa and want to showcase it to the world but if you are monetising off of Africa or African labour then that is appropriation.
An example is if you buy artwork from local artists (which is great, as you are appreciating their work and want to provide them with income) but with the intent of benefiting from their culture by then selling that work to make a profit, then that is appropriation.
Africa is a continent where I’m sure you’ll make great memories and have unexpected adventures.
Make sure you read up about your intended destination’s customs and your government’s travel advice.
You can also book your tours with us here.