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INTRODUCTION



"It is my belief that unless we Africans can tell our own story within context and show an Africa that has not been seen before the West will continue to throw their hands up in despair believing that our continent is full of a bunch of confused savages that is now beyond salvation/redemption. The only way the West can understand and treat us seriously is to hear the African story first hand from the African perspective rather than the usual whitie version - so why not take the risk if that can help turn things around for our Continent".

Quoting:
Sorious Samura
www.sorioussamurasafrica.org


The African Union

Lion of Africa

African countries, in their quest for unity, economic and social development under the banner of the OAU, have taken various initiatives and made substantial progress in many areas which paved the way for the establishment of the AFRICAN UNION.


From the editor

Its often been said that it takes a stranger to tell what the beauty is of a country and what it has to offer. This absolutely counts for Africa where its own people are too poor to notice, and where they don’t have the means and knowledge to communicate the message to the outer world. Modern Africa is engaging and full of surprises. There are 60 cities with populations over one million, some cities have as many as 15,000,000 residents. Millions of cars, trucks, and varying means of transport are found in city, town, and village alike. The modern media tends to focus on isolated, rural peoples and on animals in their depiction of Africa. We are rarely shown more than a hint that modern Africa does indeed exist. Yet, with its teeming millions, developing industries on the horizon, and eons of political and cultural dynamism, the stories from this new Africa are bursting to be told. Africa is the world's second largest continent. More than three times the size of the United States, Africa is home to enormous mountains, tropical rainforests, grassy savannas, three large deserts, the world biggest swamp, and the world's longest river. In general the culture is rich, unique and diverse, with great craftsmanship, magical tribal dancing and fabulous musicians. Between the majestic Egyptian necropolises, the TWA/MBUTI(pygmid) civilizations, the Zulu kingdoms, our imagination can't help running amuck... Africa is where it all started. Africa is also about luxurious vegetation, wild animals, adrenaline safaris, infinite rivers and vertiginous falls. Africa evokes the tam-tam of the drums, the lollapalooza of exotic dancers. In Westerner's mind, it begets the occult, the paranormal. It holds the keys of life mysteries. And Africa has an enormous reservoir of natural and human resources. Did you know that besides oil and diamonds Africa is the continent that has almost all the world's reserves of the scarcest and most precious minerals, the platinium group minerals: platinium, palladium, rhodium, ruthenium, tantalum. niobium, iridium, and osmium. They are used in minute amounts in electronic and space-age materials, medical instruments, and other high precision devices. Without these minerals there would not have been a New Technology Age. And who has the advantage of it? In any case NOT Africa! The western world knows this since long but most Africans didn't!

Willem Tijssen


GOALS

Besides developing fair trade business projects "in Africa, with Africa, for Africa", it is our main objective to raise awareness for all the good Africa has to offer, and to educate investors and visitors before they come. But also to inform and educate Africa through means of the powerful medium called "The Internet". Education is the basis for economic social well-being and the key to success; one of the major powers to decrease poverty and corruption, leading to peace. Tribal politics, the inevitable result of the artificial delineation of the "countries" left behind by the colonialists, have led to nepotism and to the systematic corruption of officials and politicians at many levels of many governments. Education brought change and economic successes in South Africa, Botswana, Ghana, The Gambia, Uganda, with Benin as a model of reform. These successes should be spread all over Africa.

MODEL QUEST AFRICA

Quest for Models

GLOBAL WATER VOLUNTEERS

Global Water Volunteers


AFRICA IN GENERAL

Africa is considered to be the cradle of humanity, and it had one of the greatest civilizations in the world – Egypt. Paper was invented in Egypt and in South Africa the first heart transplant ever made took place. Africa inspired Frederick Forsyt (The Dogs of War), Alex Haley (Roots), Suzanne Wenger (sculptures/Nigeria), Dr Livingstone and Henry Stanley, Dian Fossey (gorillas), Jane Goodall (Chimpanzees), and who didn't hear of Albert Schweitzer. Did you know that Voodoo originated from Benin? Many Diamonds are found in several sub Saharan regions. One carat of diamond is 0.2 gram. That means a 5 carat diamond (costing at least $5,000) weighs only 1 gram. The Cullinan is the biggest diamond ever. It weighs 3106 carats! It was discovered in South Africa on the site of the Premier Mines. It was given to King Edward as a birthday gift. Originally it was evaluated at around 150,000 English pounds.

Nature

Unique wildlife can be encountered in the East African Wild Kalahari and Serengeti plains, and in Kruger Park in South Africa, with Elephants, rhinos, gorillas, zebra, and wildebeests. Africa has impressive waterfalls (Victoria), spectacular rainforest sceneries, and oases in the Sahara being the greatest desert on earth. There are many tall mountains in East Africa. Mount Kilmanjaro, the continent's largest peak, is a volcano that is no longer active. Kilmanjaro is located near the equator, but is so high that its peak is always covered with snow. Many lakes have formed in the Great Rift Valley. Lake Victoria, on the border of Uganda, Tanzania, and Kenya, is the world's second largest freshwater lake. Victoria is a source of the Nile, the world's longest river. It is also a source of Lake Tanganyika, a lake in the Great Rift Valley that is almost a mile deep.

The people

The African continent is a mosaic of 3,000 ethnic groups speaking 1,000 languages. Forty five per cent (45%) of Africans are Christian, 40% are Muslim and 15% practice indigenous or local religions. The African religions are usually monotheist and many originate from or are mixed with Christian practices. Most Africans marry within their own ethnic groups. Africans' loyalty to their tribe goes beyond their allegiance to their country. The average birth rate in Africa is 4.3%. The average death rate is 1.3%. Therefore, the population grows by about 3% every year. Africa has tall people and little people; Tutsies and TWA/MBUTI People(Pygmies). West Africa has sunny skies with beautiful palm fringed white-sand beaches, breath-taking reefs and endless rainforest.

Climate

Because Africa straddles the equator with half of its lands in the northern hemisphere and the other half in the southern hemisphere, its climate is mostly tropical and uniform. Rains are rare from May to September, making the dry season the best for safari trips. The dirt roads in the animal reserves turn into mud strips during the rainy months. Winter is cold only in the Southern part of the continent. But, it is only mildly cold.

Remarkable

Africa has great "children" like Nelson Mandela, Miriam Makiba, Desmond Tuto and Kofi Annan. The best soccer players in the world come from Africa as well as the best runners. Cameroon won the Olympic Football Games in 2000, and Kenyan runners win most of the marathons held in the world. Share-taxis are always crowded and are very common in most of the sub Saharan countries. Baobab tree (monkey-bread tree) are spread al over Africa. Bargaining remains quite usual in Africa and so you should not hesitate to cut a price at the beginning of bargaining. Anything is negotiable in Africa they say! Because they repair holes in the roads in rural areas to make little money, kids setup street blocks with robes to stop cars. Most dogs are very skinny (not surprising!). Many people chew on soft tree sticks to clean their teeth. People carry the most impossible loads on their head. In several countries curfew still exists. In Africa things change rapidly. What is today can be changed tomorrow.

A famous King of Malili, called "Tui Malela", a Madagascar radiated tortoise (Testudo radiata), died in 1966. It is believed by many that he had been exported by Captain Cook in 1773 and presented to the King of Tonga. If that is true, he was over 200 years old.

Bantu, a linguistically related group of about 60 million people living in equatorial and southern Africa. The Bantu probably originated in what is now Cameroon, migrating downward into southern Africa. Beginning in about 1000BC and ending sometime in the 3rd or 4th century AD, the Bantu migration was one of the largest in human history. The cause of this movement is uncertain, but many anthropologists believe it was caused by an increase in population, a result of the introduction of new crops, such as the banana (native to south Asia), which allowed for more efficient food production. Early in their history, the Bantu split into two major linguistic branches—the Eastern and Western Bantu. The Eastern Bantu migrated through present-day Zimbabwe and Mozambique, down to South Africa. The Western Bantu moved into what is now Angola, Namibia, and northwestern Botswana.


THE CAUSE OF POVERTY

Africa is often portrayed in stereotypes: either a wild land of exotic animals and people (be they barbarians or of an unspoiled culture, depending on your outlook) or a world where politicians are corrupt and fat while everyone else starves amidst civil wars that make no sense. Charities and NGOs still stress how Africa cannot cope without the west's help, that these poor people cannot function on their own. Those open-minded individuals who try to help Africa and Africans are just as guilty of pandering to that modern social conscienceness as missionaries and Victorian mentalities. There are also those who stress that Africans should not touch western culture at all and remain true to their own culture. Arguments such as this ignore that this may trap people in a less-technological past, as if they should be happy to remain primitive and unmodern for the sake of culture, as if that culture will not take on and add meaning in the modern world. There is a balance between the past and the future that only Africans themselves can solve - and they have every capability of doing so, as humans have done since they became human.

The reason that the westerners came to sub Sahara Africa in the first place was to exploit to take, to extract its minerals, its rich resources from gold to ivory, from palm oil to spices and most of all for hundreds of years its people. In 1645 the first slaves were shipped from Africa and through the years following, 2 million Africans died during Atlantic Ocean crossings. With all respect to missionaries and Albert Schweitzer, the majority of Westerners who came to Africa did not come to make good and worthy people of the Africans, they came to good and worthy people and brought fear, destruction of tribes and kingdoms, of a way of life that even after years of independence has never been regained. The damage that Christian missionaries have done to the psychology of human kindness in Africa over the centuries is untold. Examples would take a litany too long to fit all the walls of any ancient temple. But here are two: missionaries routinely accompanied soldiers who came to steal lands and loot for their home European country. The procedure went as follows: the missionary would stand and read aloud an edict in Latin to whatever villagers had gathered. The edict, completely incomprehensible to the villagers, ordered that each of them must at that moment convert to Christianity or be killed or enslaved. After it was read, the guns and swords went to work. The soldiers felt justified in their murders through the benediction and authority of the Roman church. Through varying interpretations of the works of church fathers, the Roman church developed a system of permissible murder and looting, and it was used routinely. The missionaries would then go to work on the remaining peoples: the children were taught that their parents' intelligent, peaceful beliefs were "from the devil," and that they were to accept poverty "for the good of their souls;" whereas the conquerers were supposedly blessed by God with superior might and wealth, and so must be obeyed.

Having become a territory under his power, around the year 1717 King Ghezo, the King of Abomey at that time entrusted to his friend, the Brazilian slave trader CHACHA Felix de Souzaall, the administration and running of this new annexed country. Instead killing war prisoners, they were made to do forced labour but then the idea arose to send them to work in plantations in Europe and America. From then on prisoners of war, victim of plunders and adulterers were all sold to Europeans in this place. The huge success this slave trader found led him to increase his market, from then on anyone valid was sold, even royalty. The slaves were exchanged for objects, sometimes of very little value (canons, alcohol, guns, mirrors, hats, bits, and bobs…). A mirror for example was worth 40 - 50 a slave. Sometimes all the inhabitants of a whole neighbourhood were sold in one go: like the Brazilian neighbourhood of Ouidah. After the sale, they were chained on the neck and the hands. Their departure for another world started from the auction place, the slaves went towards the "forgetting tree" of for a last ritual.

There were the discoverers who came to find what was there, and soon after them the race for Africa began. At the end of the 19th century, a period of international rivalry, often dubbed the "Scramble for Africa", the European powers laid claim to African territories. The various claims of the nations were settled at the Berlin Conference of 1884-1885. At this time, most of the continent of Africa was divided into colonies: France claimed the majority of West Africa; Germany received much of the eastern territory that is now Tanzania; Belgium got the Congo region; Portugal retained control of Mozambique and Angola; and Britain received the remainder of the continent. Africans were not invited to attend the conference and therefore received not even an acre of their own land. When the colonial powers left Africa, it handed authority not to traditional rulers, who were viewed as having some legitimacy, but to a horde of literate hustlers who did well in the colonial bureaucracy and or colonial army, and started to make up the ruling class. The Europeans divided Africa; people who did not understand ethnic and tribal territories drew the present boundaries of countries. Tribes, clans and families were divided from each other; they became Kenyans, Ugandans, Tanzanians and the like.


THE DARK SIDE

Africa is 8'000 km long and 7'600 km wide. The continent has an area of 30.3 million km2 and counts 900 million people in access, of which 80% lives in deep poverty. Africa is considered to be a dangerous continent with countless wars (civil & tribal), tremendous high crime rates, dictators and high corruption, fear for AIDS/HIV and Ebola, and with parts of Nigeria considered to be a living hellhole on earth. Poverty brings suffering, corruption and criminality. Those are a few of the many problems in Africa, and some of the reasons why so few western companies are willing to do business with Africa or to seriously invest.


THE BRIGHT SIDE

Modern Africa is more than its rampant political problems - themselves vastly misunderstood. It's more than a distant motherland, its people are more than charity beggars, corrupt politicians, or uncivilized barbarians, fodder for missionaries bent on 'saving' them. Africa has a rich history of stable and unique civilizations that deserve a place in world history. Africa's modern history has also earned an as-yet-unrecognized place in the world events that have effected everyone in the western world, such as world wars and the cold war. Africa and its history should be recognized not only for its contribution to human history but because it's worthwhile, interesting and unique on its own. The general business in Africa is “small-small” as they call it here. For many western companies there is not much money to make on all that “small-small business”. But Africa has so much more to offer. Africa has an enormous reservoir of natural and human resources, and a new consciousness. It believes in its own great future again. That should be the reason to invest in Africa to stake your claim for the future, for products of the rich soil and waters: coffee, cocoa, mango, papaya, pine apple, wine, fish, tobacco, logging, iron ore, gold, platinum, tantalum (coltan), niobium, diamonds, bauxite, and oil. Also consider tourism, commodoties, medical herbs, exotic flowers & plants and rubber.


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Northern Africa

Going through Africa from the North to the South, you will first encounter six arab-berber countries: Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, Egypt and Mauritania. Unlike the diversity of their eastern neighbors, the countries of Northwest Africa share certain geographical and cultural patterns. Nearly all of them have a rich fertile strip of land on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea or Atlantic Ocean ( on which the bulk of their populations live), behind which there are rugged mountains and, further inland, endless stretches of the Sahara Desert. The vast majority of people are Sunni (Orthodox) Muslims and the official language of every country is Arabic. Most remarkable destinations are Cairo with its pyramids, Luxor with its valley of Kings, the medieval cities of Morocco such as Marrakesh and Fez and the cities of Tangier, Rabat and Casablanca. Below, you will find the Sahel region. The countries are predominantly Muslim, but African heritage with its influence dominates.

Northwest Africa (also called the Maghreb) is rich in historical traditions. There is ample evidence to prove that the region has been inhabited since remote antiquity, and in nearly every country, prehistoric cave paintings have been discovered in the desert. It was from this region that the famous Carthaginian general, Hannibal , launched his nearly successful invasion of ancient Rome (218-203 B.C.). In fact many fine examples of Roman architecture and art are preserved in this part of Africa. Under the Roman Empire, Christianity took root in the region and several of the Church Fathers, including St. Augustine of Hippo, were native Africans.

In the seventh century A.D., Muslim armies from Arabia dislodged the forces of the Romans' successors, the Byzantines, from northwestern Africa. The region became linked culturally to the Islamic lands to the east, as well as to Muslim Spain. Yet the indigenous population, though converted to Islam, did not abandon its own language and culture. Trade with western sub-Saharan Africa and with western Sudan brought wealth to the Islamic dynasties of northern Africa and introduced Islam and its art and architecture to these areas. Much of the trade was conducted by Saharan nomads - the Arabic-speaking "Moors" of the western Sahara and the Tuareg of the central and southern Sahara - using camels, which had become a means of transport at the end of the Roman period. While early objects have been preserved in urban centers, the rural arts of the nomads living in mountain and desert regions were documented by ethnographers only in the late-nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

The Sahel is the strip of land that separates savanna from the desert. Sahel comes from the Arabic word for "edge" or "border" because it is the edge of the desert. The Sahel is shrinking at an alarming rate. Animals have been allowed to graze on its fragile land, which has destroyed the vegetation. The people who live along the Sahel have caused it to shrink by cutting trees and bushes for fuel. Without the trees and bushes to hold it in place, the thin topsoil is of the Sahel blown away, leaving stony land where neither grass nor crops can grow. The Sahara and the Kalahari Desert creep one hundred miles closer to one another every year as desertification and erosion spread.


Western Africa

Over three thousand years ago there were two important developments in West Africa: long distance trade, and the ability to manipulate stone, clay and metals to sophisticated degree. The peoples of the Atlantic coast of western Africa, from Cameroon to Senegal and as far inland as the Savanna, have developed sophisticated art traditions. Many languages are spoken in western Africa. The Bantu language probably spread from the Nigeria-Cameroon border over much of Africa south of the Sahara. Ironworking technology probably dispersed from the same area, although its origin may have been farth er north or east.

Some countries in West Africa have relatively few tourists which in most cases are due to political turmoil, but Senegal (including the famous Dakar), Ghana, The Gambia and the country of Mali with places like Timbuktu, Segou and Mopti, are among the most visited countries in this region. Mali offers the best "Rock Climbing" sites in the world and Guinea/Conakry is a hidden pearl of Africa with the Fouta Djalon and Guinee Forestiere. Senegal, Sierra Leone, Ivory Coast, Liberia and Ghana have suprising beautiful beaches. Togo is a gem under the West African countries and so is Benin and the Ivory coast. Nigeria has many sights but travelling there can be a "pain in the ...". Togo is among the top ten world producers of chemical furtilizers. Ivory Coast and Ghana are considered to be the biggest cocoa producers in the world. Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea have huge deposits of quality diamonds and Liberia is the biggest rubber producer in the world, and Guinea 2nd biggest bauxite producer.

West Africa, with an area of over 2.5 million square miles and estimated population of 250 million, is comparable in size and people to the continental USA. It is the most densely populated region of Africa despite the fact that millions of people were forcibly taken from her shores during the tragic period of the Slave Trade. People of African descent in the Caribbean, Central, South and North America have all have roots deeply planted in West Africa. The geography of the region is consistent. The Atlantic coastal area, thickly vegetated and tropical, gives rise to low mountains in the interior. Beyond these lies a great flat grasslands (savannah) similar to those of East Africa, but settled by millions of people who cleared the land of vast animal herds long ago. The savannah gradually gives way to semi-desert (sahel) and then the Sahara itself. There are many rivers and waterways in West Africa, the largest being the Niger, Senegal, Volta, and Benue Rivers. After the rainy season, a huge floodplain is formed on the western Niger River that is the size of Portugal. Agriculture and trade have been widespread in this very wide region for centuries. Horses, donkeys and camels were used in grassland and sahel regions.

West Africa has seen the rise and fall of many empires and states, and has over 100 historic urban centers. Several of these empires­, Takur (ca.600-800 A.D.), Ghana (700-1200 A.D.), Mali (1237-1450 A.D.), Songhai (1460-1591 A.D.), and Kanem-Bornu (1348-1890) encouraged the spread of trade and Islam over a long period of time. Over half of the people of West Africa are muslims. Traditional African religions are strong and historic in West Africa. The Asante Empire (ca.1690-1900 A.D.) , Yoruba Kingdoms (ca.1400-1830), Mossi (1200-1900 A.D.) were powerful states in the forested regions and the high grasslands.


Central Africa

The most conspicuous geographical characteristic of central Africa is the huge saucerlike area drained by the Zaire River (formerly called the Congo) and its tributaries. To the north are great forests. The south is more sparsely forested, with open and wooded savannas. The population includes many agriculturists, who keep some animals as well, although, in distinction to eastern and southern Africa, cattle are not herded here. Some peoples of the region practice fishing and trapping; a few are nomadic hunters and gatherers. A vast region stretches across the middle of Africa that we call Equatorial and East Africa. This area straddles the Equator and features several distinct types of land. Most of equatorial Africa, or land near the equator, is a lush, tropical rainforest. The Congo (Zaire) River Basin, is the second largest tropical rainforest in the world after that of the Amazon. The riches of its unparalleled biodiversity remain largely unexplored. The forest is a vital resource for the people who live in and around it; exploited rationally, it can be a real vector for development. But it is also an ensemble whose stability depends on the multitude of inter—relationships between plants and animals. Loss of the latter impoverishes the forest and impairs its capacity to regenerate. The rainforest is hot and wet; an average of more than 70 inches of rain falls annually. The rainforest is home to some of the world's most important vegetation because it provides oxygen to the entire planet, and keeps the earth's temperature from rising. If the earth's temperature rises, even by a few degrees, the ice near the north and south poles will melt and the oceans will rise.

Central Africa has seen the rise of many kingdoms, mostly in the period before European contact. Some, such as the Chokwe and Kongo kingdoms, seem not to have lasted long after the arrival of Europeans. Others, such as the Luba, Kuba, and Lunda, also precolonial in origin, have lasted well into this century. All developed royal arts related to the political and religious sources of leadership.

Central Africa is a fertile area, rich in mineral deposits. Here a number of states emerged with sophisticated metal working techniques after 1000 AD in what is referred to as the 'late iron age.' To the East, between the rivers Zambezi and Limpopo, the grassland zone was rich in cattle, and gold. A distinctive and elaborate form of pottery was made. By the 13th century an empire known as Great Zimbabwe emerged, which left stone ruins of what must have been a spectacular fortified palace.

Central Africa also, has had its trouble in recent years, which is the reason why many travellers ignore countries such as the Central African Republic, Rwanda and DR Congo (formerly known as Zaire). Central African Republic is famous for its unique butterfly-wing-art.


Eastern Africa

East Africa is a real treat. Ethiopia with its ancient civilization and spectacular mountain scenery and Kenya and Tanzania with their great game wildlife parks are a topper for travellers. East Africa is characterized by large elevated savannah-type grasslands. The Atlantic coast area is a leading producer of crude oil in Africa. The staple food of East Africa is Ugali: a traditional dish which is made by mixing maize or cassava flour (or a mixture of both) in hot water until it becomes stiff. It is then eaten with a meat, fish or vegetable sauce, using the fingers to dip lumps of Ugali in the relish. The Great Rift Valley of East Africa is an enormous split torn in the Earth's crust that runs from the forests of Tanzania to the deserts of Ethiopia. In some places, the rift is thousands of feet deep. The result is a stunning landscape. There are places along the rift where the walls of the valley are more than a mile high.

Eastern Africa is geographically complex, ranging from the mountains of central Ethiopia to coastal plains and offshore islands. Farther inland are the great lakes of Africa, forests, and the Rift Valley, the cradle of humankind. Tools and fossil remains of the earliest humans have been found in an area that extends from the Olduvai Gorge in Tanzania and northward into Ethiopia. Much more recently, eastern Africa has, like much of the continent, witnessed migrations and population displacements, which have created an area that is culturally and linguistically complex. The incursion of Bantu peoples from the west displaced earlier hunter-gatherers.

The Swahili is the name given to the coastal people who historically could be found as far North as Mogadishu (Somalia) and as far south as the Rovuma River (Mozambique). They share a common language, widely spoken by non-Swahilis, called Ki-Swahili, and enjoy a city-based fusion of African and Arab culture.


Southern Africa

Most of Southern Africa is situated on a high, rugged plateau. The average elevation is 3,000 feet above sea level. In addition there are great deserts, the Namib of Namibia and the Kalahari of Botswana. In coastal regions on both the Atlantic Ocean and Indian Ocean sides, there are fertile farmlands. But the mountains predominate and, like so many other parts of Africa, this area is rich in minerals. Most of the gold and diamonds mined in the world come from this region of Africa.

The south is getting more popular. South Africa is a marvellous country and definitely deserves a visit. A trip there can be combined with Botswana, Zimbabwe and Namibia which are equally fascinating destinations. The best-known arts of southern Africa are the rock paintings and engravings that were produced by the San peoples and are found mostly in the eastern mountainous regions. With the exception of rock painting and engraving, the arts of southern Africa have tended to be underrated and underreported outside the area. The region's impressive stone ruins, especially those of Great Zimbabwe, were long attributed to outsiders on the assumption that Africans were incapable of producing such imposing architecture. Recently, however, it has been clearly established that these sites are African in origin and concept. The inland trading empires that produced them, such as that of the Shona, the builders of Great Zimbabwe, were supported by the Indian Ocean gold trade. In the early part of the 19th century the history of southern Africa is marked by the massive expansion of the Nguni empire under the military leadership of Shaka.




SOME FREE ADVICE

While the scenic beauty of Africa makes it a photographer's paradise, photographs should not be taken of military or strategic buildings. These also include airports. Before photographing any person, religious festival or rural homestead it is courteous to ask permission. It is not wise to parade one's wealth and avoid some districts when not accompanied. It is also recommended to leave papers, passport number and copy of the first page, cheques etc, in the hotel safe. Its often tempting to give money to children, but it is better to avoid that in order not to participate in the promotion of that phenomenon. It is normal to give a coin to someone who keeps watch over your car, shines your shoes or stops you a taxi. On the other hand if you feel like helping the poor, send gifts to local organisations which will make good use of it.

Travel

We suggest that you travel lightly, and be prepared on luggage arriving after you. Take precausion and have always a small bag with first needed personal belongings with you. Do never leave luggage unattended, anywhere, at airports, hotels, other transportation terminals... Don't allow your bag(s) to be set down on the sidewalk as they may be snatched and used to hide something. Make sure rental car agencies have secured their vehicles... Be extra cautious about yourself and your personal belongings. Last but not least, know where security is in hotels, airports, transportation depots, restaurants... etc. Have a safe trip.

    What to bring when visiting Africa

  1. Mosquito net is a must, preferably impregnated with permethrin.
  2. Mosquito repellent for those warm evenings when you decide you can't possibly wear long long sleeves and long pants even if it means you'll get malaria.
  3. Bring your own personal supply of important medications, there are plenty of pharmacies but you'll often get inferior quality.


SOME TAVELER REMARKS FROM AROUND THE WORLD

"As a international construction project manager, I have traveled extensively and have taken prescribed Larium prior, during and after trips into malarial areas, on numerous occasions. Frustrated by the lack of sleep, edginess, and nightmares encountered as my personal reaction to taking Larium, I asked my physician if another alternative prescription was available. In January 2001, my physician prescribed Malarone. I had heard a little about it in context hearing stories concerning suspect Larium efficacy, was initially concerned, but learned that Malarone had achieved 100% efficacy in testing in Gabon. A country that I was to be travelling to. I decided to switch to Malarone. I was somewhat shocked at the price of the prescription and somewhat dismayed by the daily dosage requirement (instead of the single weekly Larium dosage). However, I have travelled back and forth to Gabon twice since February and now am on my second prescription. I am pleased to report that I have been able to sleep normally and soundly, and though I am a bit of a dreamer, my dreams are normal and not of the bizarre type encountered after taking Larium".

"My work requires me being able to make quick, clear and sound decisions on a daily basis. The ability to get good nights sleep is paramount. Malarone has given me that...as well as protection against malaria. Those suffering from similiar reactions to Larium, or those concerned of getting similiar reactions, should consult with their personal physician to see if Malarone is an option. The bottom line is that I did talk to my physician...considered the risks/rewards...have changed from taking Larium to Malarone...and I am now a very satisfied Malarone consumer."

"If you want to avoid Malarone and Larium, then your best alternative is Doxycycline, taken daily, plus for 3-4 weeks after leaving the malaria area. It is supposed to make you more sun-sensitive, and to possible cause vaginal yeast infections in women, but I have never had any side effects. It may offer some protection against traveler’s diarrhea".


Editor's remark: More about Malaria & Lariam
AT linkM



    Surviving in Desert Areas

    By: Jacobus Willem Greeff/South Africa: Mail Koos


  1. Always have a good map with you and stop often to ask the locals your exact position, even if you have a GPS and know how to use it. The locals knows the area and will offer you tips and info on road conditions free of charge. Take some cheap ballpoint pens or writing books with you to hand out – if you need to.
  2. Always have extra fuel and water with you. You can use empty 2-liter soda bottles. They are lying around all over and are strong, easy to handle and easy to store away. You must have at least 2 liters of water per person and 20 liters of extra fuel. Put it away in your vehicle and forget about it. If your vehicles has a large fuel tank and is capable of doing 700 km plus a tank, it would not be necessary. Fill the tank at every available station.
  3. Plan a proper itinerary and give it to friends and family – stick to this itinerary. If you must change it, immediately notified them via SMS, satellite phone or Internet when and how you plan to change the itinerary. Make specific appointments to contact them. If not - they must notify the authorities.
  4. Certain areas are off-limits for 1 vehicle. Do not take a chance on this. If you are unsure about a specific route, rather ask advise ahead of your tour. Speak to others that have traveled that particular route. Log on to the rec.travel.africa newsgroup and ask for advice. You are also welcome to write me at Kosie@new.co.za. If you must enter that particular area – go to the last point of "civilization" and ask the locals for more info. Wait till you can join up with another vehicle or group going into the area.

    If there is no way out of this - report to the local police and to the contacts at home. Tell them the exact place, route and duration of the particular route. Make a firm appointment to report back.

  5. Do not leave the vehicle - it is easier to spot a vehicle than to spot a person. If you must leave it, write a proper report of your situation and your plan - give as much detail as possible. Leave it on the seat or dashboard where anybody can read it. If possible - leave somebody at the vehicle whilst others goes on a scout – always decide beforehand exactly where the scout would go and stick to the agreement.
  6. Always make a fire and keep it burning - have lots of leaves or wet branches to put on the fire. Smoke will always draw attention in remote areas. People will see it from miles away and will sent somebody to investigate - they all fear uncontrolled veld fires. Burn the spare-wheel after you have deflated it to make a lot of thick, dark smoke.
  7. Your vehicle has at least 20 lt. of water under the bonnet and in the engine. With proper planning, you can utilize that to survive.
  8. Remember that more people die of cold than of heat - take proper care at night. Do not discard your warm jacket or sweater during a hot day, even in the midst of summer, it can be very cold during the early morning hours.
    Do not sit in the vehicle when it is hot; move into the shade of a rock or tree closeby. Keep something on your head – an opened magazine during the day, if you do not have a hat. Rap a towel or any piece of cloth around your head at night – the head is where the brain-box is situated and needs special care.
  9. Look at the animals and insects. Most of them need water every day and you can determine where it is by observing them - especially at sunset and during the first 3 hours after sunrise.
    If you do not know how to distill water from liquid, wet a cloth and wipe your cheeks with it. Wait 15 minutes and if your see no rash or experience any uncomfort, wipe your whole body. Your skin will absorb a lot of moist. You can even roll in the liquid or wet all your clothing with it.
  10. Do not drink liquids with alcohol in it. This will cause your body to loose a lot of fluids. Rather heat the alcoholic liquids to allow the alcohol to evaporate – then drink it. You can even open the can or bottle and let it stand open for a few hours. Keep your bladder as full as possible at all times – restrict yourself to urinate. This will prevent your body from dehydration so quickly.
  11. Keep a small, hard stone in your mouth. This will cause the glands to secrete spittle and your mouth will not feel so dry. In this way, you can fool your thirst a bit.
  12. In the desert, many of the plants are succulents with thick, watery leaves. Watch animals to determine what they eat and follow suite. What ever you decide to chew on, first smear a bit of the plant on your cheeks and wait 15 minutes – see for a rash or any feeling of discomfort. If none - chew some of it. Do not swallow it but spew it out and wait another 15 minutes. Wait for any discomfort in your mouth. If none – chew the plant properly and swallow it – wait another 15 minutes before the rest of the group is allowed to also chew the plant.
  13. Urine is a very good anti-septic fluid, use it to clean bruises, bites or scratches.
  14. Blow the horn/ hooter of your vehicle early in the morning and late at night. Sound carries very far and the dogs will hear it from miles away. The locals will come to investigate. Blow the horn/hooter for about 10 seconds and wait a minute of so. Repeat about 20 times.
  15. Tune the radio to any station you can find and listen to it. The radio uses little current but the contact with the outside world will keep your spirits up. Stay calm and think. Talk a lot to your companions and plan together. Remember to pray.

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