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10 Africa Travel Tips for First-Time Visitors

10 Africa Travel Tips
(Photo: Africa: Kilimanjaro Sign via Shutterstock)

Molly Feltner, a former senior editor at SmarterTravel, is the communications officer of Gorilla Doctors, an organization dedicated to providing hands-on medical care to sick and injured mountain gorillas living in the national parks of Rwanda, Uganda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Learn more at and

For many Americans, Africa is the final frontier. Sure, it’s home to amazing wildlife and natural wonders—but it’s also a scary place fraught with war, disease, and poverty. At least that’s what many of my friends and relatives told me when I announced in early 2009 that I was leaving SmarterTravel to move there and work for a nonprofit organization. Now that I’m back in the U.S., I can’t stop telling my friends about all the great travel experiences they’re missing out on by not visiting Africa.

If you’re thinking about a trip to the continent, I want to assure you that traveling there is not as challenging as you might think. I trust you’re sensible enough to do your research about visas, tour companies, required vaccines, and other basics, but there a few things important things you might not find out on your own. Here are 10 things I wish I’d known before my first trip to Africa.

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