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Africa Warnings


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Began Gap Year Trip Six Years Ago
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  • Added on: May 10th, 2005
The is a new thread of Africa warnings. It is to be used for Africa specific warnings only. Warnings include instances of robbery in a certain part of a city, bad hostel experiences, etc. As a content-rich thread, we do not want any back-and-forth or questions. Please direct all questions via Private Messages (Click on "Go" in the left hand corner, select "My Space" and then "Private Messages") to the poster. You can also issue a PM by clicking on the poster's name and selecting "Private Message". Any post that does not contribute relevant information will be deleted. Examples include: responses to previous posts in the thread and questions. The information can be on any city, region or country in Africa. When reading these experiences, please remember that there are two sides to every story and warnings should be issued sparingly.
Girl Travels World


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Joined: April 29th, 2004

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  • Added on: May 11th, 2005
In Dar es Salaam, Tanzania -- Do not take pictures near the State House! You may be stopped by "police men" asking for money. This is a scam. If you insist on going down to the police station, you should probably end up not having to pay, but I recommend not risking it because the police might be in on it.
Jill's African Adventure: http://blogs.bootsnall.com/jill/


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Joined: March 30th, 2005

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  • Added on: May 11th, 2005
In Kenya it is illegal to photograph the president, his residences, airport or the military. (We knew a gal who spent a night in jail because she was caught photographing flowers near one of the residences) If you happen to encounter the president's convoy on the road, you must come to a complete stop and wait till he passes. (we'd get out of our trunk and wave.)

There are road blocks (road checks) in some areas; the police sometimes will ask for 'chai' money. It is a bribe. Use your discretion on how to handle the situation. Sometimes we paid the few shillings just to speed things along.


Thorn Tree Refugee
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  • Added on: May 11th, 2005
If travelling on highways outside of major cities, carry certified copies of your passport. Bring photocopies with you and go to a police station and have it certified. Depending on the station this may have a small fee associated with it. These certified copies can be used in place of your actual passport at police checkpoints, roadblocks, etc.

In the northern Sahara, especially in the remote Ténéré, travel with an armed guard if possible.

sub Saharan Africa in general:
Try to avoid taking pictures within cities. This is simply asking for trouble.


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World Citizen
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  • Added on: May 12th, 2005

In Tanzania and Kenya, there is a big daily scam with getting backpackers to buy a little bit of marijuana, and then having an undercover, fake police offer bust them after the transaction. This happens almost every other day on Zanzibar, especially in Nungwi and Kendwa, and happens in Dar es Salaam very often. Having worked at a backpacker lodge in Tanzania, I probably heard about this from every third backpacker.

Usually what happens is they threaten you for a few minutes, pull you into a car, make you really scared, and then demand a payment of a couple hundred dollars. The cops are in normal clothes so you can never know if they are legitimate or just people trying to score a buck. I have even seen them drive tourists to the bank machine and have them withdraw money. Sometimes it's real police, other times it's fake.

The important thing is not mess with fire when traveling in Kenya or Tanzia. You will get burned, it always happens.

The same goes for Morocco. It's all a scam.


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Lost in Place
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Location: in an rv somewhere USA

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  • Added on: June 19th, 2005
Any new info as of june 2005 on Zimbabwe? I think it has been in the news of late..........


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  • Added on: June 24th, 2005
You need to be extra vigilant when traveling in northern Kenya, between Marsabit and the Ethiopian boarder. There are numerous reports of Somali bandits in the region. It's best to travel in a convoy here.



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  • Added on: June 27th, 2005
In Zimbabwe the President has been kicking the poorer people out of their homes. Reports range from 250,000 to a million people have been displaced. I'm not sure if it's caused any riots or violence yet, but I would stay extra carefull when travelling through these regions.
Here is some info from a recent article:

In Zimbabwe, the Harare government's "Operation Drive Out Trash," which began last month, has forced hundreds of thousands of the poorest Zimbabweans to live in freezing cold after the government illegally demolished their homes.
According to the Zimbabwean opposition and human rights organizations, this massive human rights violation is being directed by President Robert Mugabe as punishment against the residents of these impoverished areas for voting against his ruling party in parliamentary elections.

International rights groups said at least 300,000 people have lost their homes by conservative estimates. The United Nations puts the figure as high as 1.5 million, though Zimbabwe police only acknowledge about 120,000.
More than 42,000 people have also been arrested, fined or had their goods confiscated, police said in the state-run Herald newspaper.

The Roman Catholic Archbishop of Bulawayo, Pius Ncube, who has been a sharp critic of the evictions, was shown on the human rights groups' video saying he was so angered by the campaign he was ``ready to stand before a gun and be shot.''

Today, the African Union rejected any action to stop the Zimbabwe demolitions, with a spokesperson telling the BBC that the AU "had many more serious problems to consider than Zimbabwe."

Hope that helps.
'The time has come,' the Walrus said,
'To talk of many things:
Of shoes -- and ships -- and sealing wax --
Of cabbages -- and kings --
And why the sea is boiling hot --
And whether pigs have wings

Laura M

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Knows What a Schengen Visa Is
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Joined: September 16th, 2004

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  • Added on: August 14th, 2005
someone I know was in Kenya and said it's not really safe at night, and that there are carjackings going on. This is Nairobi she's talking about. how true it is I can't say, but this is according to her.



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Lost in Place
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Location: in an rv somewhere USA

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  • Added on: August 24th, 2005
Planning a trip to Zimbabwe, and have been reading about the "Operation of the Harare Gov." Anyone know how safe it is to travel the the area outside the cities for game viewing. Is
ok alone or would it be better on a tour? Confused


Guidebook Dependent
Posts: 18
Joined: September 14th, 2005

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  • Added on: September 14th, 2005
Remember you're taking chances by walking in Nairobi after dark. A short time ago I was robbed by four men with knives just after sundown. Some parts of the city are riskier than others but you're pressing your luck anywhere.


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Thorn Tree Refugee
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Joined: January 28th, 2006

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  • Added on: January 30th, 2006
norhtern cameroon:

it's not recommended at all to travel by car in the night, as you get next to chad, there are groups of bandits everywhere by the road.

southern cameroon:

as it's a peaceful country, there's not a real risk of anything if the police or army ask you for taxes every 5 kms in the road to akonolinga, it's as simple as saying you ain't got money for that, they just try... normally with a 15-20 minute chat they'll end up asking about football, and if you know any player from cameroon, they'll smile at you and let you continue
I've never been interested in power nor fortune

I'm interested in flowers that grow between rubbish


Thorn Tree Refugee
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Joined: January 30th, 2006

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  • Added on: February 10th, 2006
When I was last in South Africa someone I was travelling with got his credit card stolen while we was being "helped" with a transaction.
The person tried to show him how to insert the credit card the right way. He slipped another card in it's place. While my friend was trying to punch in his pin the guy left. Of course the pin didn't work, but by the time he figured it out the guy was long gone.
So simple and rumored, I was kind of surprised at how frequent it is there.

Caroline Cowan

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Joined: July 20th, 2005

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  • Added on: February 13th, 2006
about that ATM scam, I live in Cape Town and see it all the time - they wait and target tourists because no South African in their right mind would let anyone near them when getting money - everyone should do the same. No matter how friendly someone seems rather be careful than sorry and say you are perfectly capable of withdrawing money on your own.

There are also plenty of people who get into a long story about how something happened to them and they need monet etc etc. These stories are truly tragic until you bump into the same guy a couple of days later and he has a different brother in hospital, his gran has come back to life and is now stuck somewhere with no money for transport and his limp is on the other leg. Use your discretion when giving out money - the more inflated the story the less likely it is to be true.

Danny in Asia

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Lost in Place
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Joined: October 27th, 2005

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  • Added on: February 19th, 2006
(This info is from a friend living in Africa, not from "Danny in Asia")

Tanzania: Be careful of a guy going by the name of Sam or other names used. Last seen he was dreaded. Not sure what the scam is but has been known to pose as a doctor, befriend women, take blood samples and offer tablets (vitamin) on buses. Sometimes saying he is a Zanzibari born German, about 27, seams to have money. Some reports of him leaving places without payments, money missing. Not clear what he is up to but be careful!


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