100 Tourists Robbed in Popular African Travel Destination: Will it Happen to You?
Around 100 tourists were robbed around Victoria Falls, a popular African travel destination, in the past 4 months. That’s crazy! After 7 months traveling the continent (and living in Ethiopia for several years), I still haven’t heard of that many problems happening to travelers in such a short time frame.
Will it happen to you? Honestly? Probably. My grandpa used to say, “If you don’t want to get cheated, don’t travel.” Scams, robbery, thieves are everywhere.
- Cancun– my hotel resort room was broken into.
- Ireland– my credit card was hacked.
- Italy– a local purposely put my safety in danger. I’m still scared when I think about this one.
You couple tell me stories that happened to you and your friends while traveling or even at home. It’s just life.
African Countries More or Less Dangerous?
Travelers are less likely to get robbed in Africa though. Scams & thieves evolve alongside tourism. The less built up a country’s tourism sector is, the less likely you are to get robbed and especially physically harmed. For example, you’re more endangered in a South American country than an African country. Within Africa, you’ll have greater problems in Mozambique than Burundi.
Tourism is top priority for popular African travel destinations. I’m not even talking about all the nice people I met who said things like, “This is how I’d want someone to help my sister.” I’m talking about African governments who rely on tourism financially. Leaders around Victorian Falls are scrambling to better protect tourists. If not, they’ll lose millions of dollars from travelers picking other destinations. Not to mention the fact, that investors and businessmen will get scared too.
Putting it in Perspective
Over 1 million visitors comes to the falls each year. That means less than half of 1% of the tourists experience something negative. Statistically speaking, you don’t need to worry.
If it’s you verse another traveler, who is more likely to be scammed? That depends. Because thieves do exist. But you can definitely protect yourself. For around $40 (Originally, I spent almost $100 on junky gear and threw most of it away) you can buy all the travel gear you need to keep your money safe. Pair that with common sense and some important safety tips, you should be just fine.
Would I Still Go?
Bottom line: I would still go to Victoria Falls today. It’s a popular African travel destination for a reason. What happened there, doesn’t scare me enough to keep me away. But I would, as always, come prepared and exercise caution.
How to Stay Safe in Popular African Travel Destinations
If you want more information, like:
- Specific scams in Africa
- Best (and cheapest) gear to keep your money safe
- How to avoid being robbed by your taxi driver, fellow backpacker, &/or mugged on the street
- Overall safety tips
Then check out my ebook, Backpacking Africa for Beginners. It also comes with my personal email address so you can send me a message anytime you have a question.
Saturday, October 28, 2017