Travelling in Africa 16th August 2017

All travellers planning to go to Africa are strongly advised to check the security and health situation on the UK FCO Travel Advice site and other sites such as the US state Department, WHO and seek a variety of sources. Much of north and central Africa is not safe. The UK FCO currently is currently advising 'Against all travel to' or  'Essential travel only' to many Sahel countries including Libya, Egypt, Tunisia, Chad, Mali, South Sudan, Northern Nigeria, Yemen and Somalia. In late July 2017 the FCO relaxed its advice with regards to Tunisia, Tunis and the tourist areas are now back in bounds.  

Southern and Eastern Africa are popular destinations and are certainly safer than much of north and Central Africa.

The risk of further terrorist attacks in Kenya is currently assessed as high. The Somali islamist terror group Al-Shabalab has claimed responsibility for numerous attacks within Kenya and further attack are likely, especially in Nairobi. On 21 Sept 2013 Al Shabaab killed over 40 people in an attack on the Westgate shopping center in downtown Nairobi and 150 students were killed in a co-ordinated attack on Garissa University on 3 April 2015. Travellers are reminded to be vigilant and to avoid crowded areas. Crime levels are rising and general security situation within Kenya is worsening. On 01 Jan 2017 a system of water rationing was introduced in Nairobi and may last several months, much of Kenya is suffering from a severe drought. On 8 August 2017 president Kenyetta was re-elected, the elections were generally violence free. 

President Museveni has been re-elected as Uganda's president and sworn in again on 12 May 2016.

Nigeria continues in its effort to combat the advances of the Islamist terror group Boko Haram. The Gambia held a presidential election in Dec 2016, the incumbent President Jammeh lost to Barrow but in mid December he rejected the result and refused to stand down, however, via regional mediation, he was forced into exile and left the country on 22 Jan 2017. President elect Barrow has now taken over.

Angola has seen a outbreak of Yellow Fever which has killed over 200 in the last 6 months. As with much of Africa visitors must be in possession of a valid vaccination certificate to gain entry to the country. In Benin there has been an outbreak of Cholera since July 2016. Recent visitors to Uganda have reported the need to show a valid Yellow Fever Certificate. Burundi is currently suffering from thousands of cases of Malaria with over 700 deaths since Jan 2017. Rwanda holds presidential elections on 4 August 2017, incumbent Paul Kagame will be re-elected and may stay in power until 2034, the country is stable and prosperous but no room for any opposition to Kagame. In the Ivory Coast an army mutiny in early January 2017 highlighted the fragility of the political and security situation, travellers are advised to check the situation before they visit. 

Visitors to Zimbabwe can expect months of power cuts due to supply and now worsening financial situation. Since the beginning of 2013 there has been a significant rise in case of express kidnapping in Zimbabwe due to bogus taxi drivers. Once again the Zimbabwean economy is in trouble, in July 2016 the government was unable to pay civil servants due to lack of funds. Pressure continues to mount of President Mugabe to stand down. However in December 2016 Mugabe announced that he would stand again in the 2018 Presidential elections.  In mid January 2017 the authorities banned some street food in Harare due to a cholera outbreak.  In South Africa high levels of crime are an issue in urban areas, especailly in Joburg. There is again a growing threat of power cuts and energy capacity is insufficient.  Water restrictions have also be imposed in and around Johannesburg, politically South Africa is becoming more unstable as opposition to President Zuma increases.  The president faces a crucial non confidence vote on 8th August 17, if he losses he may be forced to resign. A state of Emergency was declared in Zambia by the president on 17 July 17 as political tensions and arson attacks rise. The state of emergency is likely to last until at least October.

The Ebola outbreak in West Africa in 2015 & 2015 killed over 1100 in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia. All three countries were declared Ebola free by the WHO at the end of 2015 but an number of cases have occurred and further cases are expected but the local health authorities are now in a good position to deal with any new outbreak.

Southern Africa has for a number of years been experiencing severe drought conditions, however rains in early 2017 will hopefully help the area recover, inevitably the heavy rains caused much flooding. In Mozambique, Renamo insurgents are stepping up activity, attacks have been focused in the Sofala province, on 15 Aug 2016 6 people were killed when a vehicle was ambushed, travellers must get local security advice. In recent weeks there have been a number of attempted kidnapping against Asian businessmen in Maputu and the general level of crime appears to be on the increase. The drought has caused power shortages in Zambia, Zimbabwe and South Africa as the power output from Hydro electrical generation drops. The situation should now improve but South Africa continues to have a lack of energy generation capacity.

In 2017 there are elections in Rwanda, Kenya, Uganda, The DRC and Liberia.



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