Travel Technology in Africa Basics
If you’ve never been to Africa, you’re in for quite an experience. You also need to know a few things. Africa can be ultra-modern or ultra-primitive, depending on where you are. Africa’s wildness and diversity are no myth, and nor are its dangers. If you’re travelling, you need the right technology as much as you need travel insurance. In fact, your technology can be seen as another type of insurance, the kind that gets you out of messes or prevents you from getting into them.
Absolute basics- Communications
Communications in Africa can vary from global best practice to non-existent. Don’t assume a cell phone is all you’ll need if you happen to be stuck in the Kalahari or a lazy local leopard can’t be bothered hunting a gazelle and wants some fast food instead.
A few pointers:
- Battery powered communications: Heat can sabotage batteries. (In fact, in strong heat they can explode.) Make sure you have spares in a safe, insulated place. Also get a recharger.
- Electronics generally: Heat is a constant danger to most electronic devices. Dust is also a potential problem, both through physical damage and static electricity.
- Wireless communications: These are invaluable, but they should be designed to take a pounding. Good signal power and range is absolutely essential. Get some local advice from professionals, and check out the equipment they use.
- Laptops: As for electronics, but they’re also a bit sensitive. A notepad with a bit of grunt like an iPad is probably a better bet, and make sure it’s well insulated.
- Cameras in general: Africa may be a photographer’s paradise, but that’s for professional photographers. It really is best to check out the pro range and investigate the types of go-anywhere cameras used by wildlife photographers.
- Video cameras: Acquiring a lot of imagery can be a problem in your own home, let alone the middle of Africa. Video cameras are a lot of fun, but they can also give you data issues. You need to manage your stuff very efficiently. Make sure you can store your images and stay organized. Trying to deal with these issues at 50C can be a bit irritating, not to say inefficient.
- Data management: You need to organize your data handling well in advance. The video camera issue can also apply to any other data you’re collecting with your media. Remote storage is great for data when you’re on the move. You can access it from anywhere. Check out cloud storage options.
Important: Traveling with technology in modern Africa
For some inexplicable reason, everyone who goes to Africa seems to think they’re going to the 19th century Africa. That’s not the case. There are issues with where you use technology, both for security reasons and safety reasons, just like everywhere else on Earth. Learn the rules, and if you’re not sure, ask in advance. That’ll save you a lot of bother and embarrassment.
Africa is a fantastic place. Play safe, stay legal, and get some cheap travel insurance online, and you’ll have a ball without the worries.