The official advice is different according to each country and changes regularly. However Tetanus, Polio and Diphtheria (often given in one shot), Hepatitis A, Typhoid and Tuberculosis are commonplace and should be taken before your trip to Africa. Also check if yellow fever vaccination is required at the country’s boarder, in which case you’ll need an International Certificate of Vaccination.It is important you visit your doctor a month before departure to Africa and see with him whether you need any vaccinations.
Malaria is an infectious disease transmitted through mosquito bites that typically causes headaches and fever within three weeks of the transmission and can lead in the worst cases to coma or death. It is spread is most Africa, and it is important you take this risk seriously. As well as taking prophylactic pills, you must always sleep in mosquito nets and use DEET-based mosquitorepellants, especially during the rainy season. The pill you take will mostly be depending on you sensitivity, budget, length of stay and destination: see with your doctor whichone is best for you.
It is very important that you have an appropriate insurance when leaving for Africa. You are free to chose your insurance from the company you want, but do check carefully what is included or not.Check that your insurance covers you against injuries, theft, loss, damage, cancellation and delays but most importantly for emergency transport. Do be aware that road accidents cause much more deaths in Africa for tourists than sicknesses.
When you go out on safari, try not to wear blue, so to not attract insects, and have sturdy footwear. Take some thick clothes as a protection against insect bites and also because it can get chilly at night. It can event get quite cold if you go trekking on mountains. Most lodges and hotels offer laundry service, so no need to pack to heavily.
Tipping is a common practice but it is not mandatory: service is included in the price. However, in places where service is implicated in your trip such as in a safari, it isexpected you tip gratefully your guide, driver, or the staff in lodges.
The quality of food and drink has improved a lot in Africa thanks to better transport and a larger use of refrigeration. However in many parts of the continent you will experience many electricity blackouts and though big facilities will be provided with generators, you must be careful when eating in more local places or on the side of the road. Do not drink tap water.