1. Always Have Cash (Most Important)
Most African borders do not have the facilities to take your hard earned money electronically. So it’s in your best interest to carry cash at all times. Bare in mind if you’re in small villages some ATMs have a cash limit for the day so you should get to them early. Some African states do allow safe passage for free but this isn’t a guarantee because certain individuals decide that’s the way it is on certain days. My best advice is to look like you’ve been doing this for a while so you do not have to pay a bribe. Again, if you don’t have cash they probably won’t want to help you. Seriously, it happens.
2. Bring Your Own Pen
This is your life line. You will cherish and hold this pen with respect. Most African borders are old school requiring pen and paper. Many people who are passing are unwilling to let you borrow their pens because as I said its your lifeline. Don’t be careless. A good rule of safety is to make your pen yours. You need to get drastic with this, you might have to chew the end of your pen so no one is entitled to ask you to borrow your pen. If you don’t have a pen, don’t panic. You can buy one at most vendors which are nearby the border post for a 400% mockup. Believe in me when I say you’ll pay whatever they want because most borders are isolated and are far away from any city so turning back is not an option. There’s a lot of comedy associated with your pen so just keep it safe and everything will be okay.
3. Be Prepared to Wait
Take a seat. Drink some water. Make friends. When an African border is full, for some reason only two officers will be on duty because lunch is taken very seriously, a religion if you will. You may not rush the officers on duty because of their very fragile sanity. Just keep calm and everything will go smoothly. African people are very accommodating so if you don’t speak their language they always try their best to improvise. Keep in mind some won’t care if you don’t understand. Most importantly don’t take anything to heart.
4. Exchange Money Before You Travel
The only currency you can get away with in Africa is the American Dollar. Anything else is just a good piece of writing paper. Before traveling to different African countries, ALWAYS exchange your money before you leave. Don’t leave it for last minute at a small town because when you get there Sphiso, the forex guy will be on lunch and it’s 3PM. Lunch started at 12PM and they tell you he is still on lunch. I hope you catch my drift here. Sphiso isn’t coming back to work until tomorrow. That’s the best adventure about Africa. Nothing is guaranteed.