When visiting East Africa you will need to have enough funds to cater for all your needs. You will be paying for your accommodation, meals, travels, and everything else you’ll need during your stay. Unfortunately, there are people that see you as their solution to all their needs and will do anything to get your money.

Here are some of the common scams that people who want to steal from you will use:

1. Making false hotel wakeup calls

When in your hotel, you may receive a call where the caller claims to be the front desk operator at the hotel at odd hours, mostly at night. The person will lie to you that they are calling to verify your credit card details and that you should submit them immediately. Most of the time, this is not a genuine caller but a scammer seeking to get your credit details so that he can steal from you.

If this happens, do not disclose any details. Instead, inform the caller that you’ll sort out the issue in the morning personally. If indeed it was the front office, they’ll have the courtesy to wait until daybreak to get the details they wanted from you.

2. Avoid flirtatious women

When you get to your destination, it is possible to see some beautiful women paying too much attention to you.  The women may even offer to take you out for a drink or even a dance which is quite tempting. Do not fall for them! Most of these women will go out with you and after taking their fill, they will disappear leaving you to pay the huge bills. They could even drug you and rob you in collaboration with a gang that works together with them.

To stay safe and keep your money and other possessions safe, do not pay any attention to a woman who is hitting on you. If you must go out, get a good company as the woman will have minimal chances of stealing from you when you have company.

3. Do not buy travel tickets from unknown sources

In an effort to spend less on your travels, you may ask your taxi driver to recommend a place where you can get affordable bus, plane or train tickets. If he is fraudulent, he may mislead you and you end up getting fake tickets and when you present them for your travel, they will get rejected. To stay safe, always ensure that you buy your tickets at the designated offices or online where you’ll be assured of getting the right ticket.

4. Stay away from friendly ATM helpers

When planning to withdraw money from a local ATM, you may find some people who’ll offer to help you get a better deal and avoid high bank charges. Do not fall for these tricks as these people will scan your card using a card skimmer and immediately you enter your pin, they will take note. You’ll receive the shock of your life when a few hours later, you’ll have huge sums of money missing from your account.

Traveling Safely

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Most East African countries are relatively safe and you’ll not have too many security threats during your stay. However, due to the past security threats in the region, it is advisable to check the security status of the country you intend to visit before embarking on your journey. The truth is, no country is exempted from security threats and anyone, local or a visitor can become a victim.

You need to remain conscious of what is happening around you to avoid losing your possessions to muggers or even suffering from physical injuries as a result of an attack. Most of the attacks happen where western tourist frequent and you, therefore, need to remain alert especially in crowded areas. 

Here are some safety precautions you need to observe when traveling in East Africa:

  • Carry your items to your front: though it is easier to carry your luggage on your backpack, it is important that you do not lose sight of your luggage. It is easier for a mugger to snatch your backpack than it is to get a bag you are carrying to your front. 
  • When you get to a hotel, do not hang your bag on your chair, keep it on the floor or even place it on the sidewalk. It is likely that you’ll get distracted and if someone is interested in your bag, he will use the opportunity to get away with it. If possible, keep your bag on your laps, on the floor with the strap tied around your legs or anywhere else where you’ll feel whenever anyone tries to take it. 
  • Check around you before you leave: if you are in a hotel or other public places, make it a habit to look back before you leave. You may discover that you were leaving behind an important item such as a shopping bag or even a purse. 
  • Reserve your expensive jewelry for when you return home: wearing expensive jewelry is one way of attracting unnecessary attention from people that would want to steal from you. Keeping it simple when in East Africa will may you to blend well with the locals who will be a form of security during your stay. If you have an expensive camera to capture the moments, keep it safe when not in use. 
  • Avoid accepting food or drinks from unknown people when traveling: there are many instances where tourists have been drugged and on regaining their consciousness, they discover that all their valuables are missing. To avoid this, only take your food in restaurants where your safety is a primary concern and where you have a guarantee that the food you’ll be taking is safe.
  • Do not fight with muggers: in the event that a mugger attacks you with an aim of stealing from you, do not fight back. It is possible that he is armed and will not hesitate to harm you if you don’t give him what he wants. To be safe, give him what he wants and he’ll leave you alone! You still have a great life ahead of you where you can get even better possessions compared to what he’ll take from you.