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Africa has, literally, several thousand varieties of spoken languages. Since Africa is a huge continent with a diverse culture, it can be difficult to communicate with some of its residents. However, the languages listed to the right are particularly well known in many regions.
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Africa is an amazing continent with abundant wildlife and ancient artifacts and culture. However, political unrest, violent crime, and terrorism in several countries in the region has resulted in US travel warnings to the following countries:
Travel to the Central African Republic (CAR) is not advised due to the presence of armed paramilitary forces, as well as numerous bandits and poachers according to the US Department of State’s Bureau of Consular Affairs. The US embassy in the country has had very limited power since 2005. Though the CAR is noted for its abundant resources and notably wildlife in its national parks, the country remains one of the ten poorest countries in the world.
South Sudan has only recently become an independent nation, after splitting from Sudan in July of 2011. As a result, strong rebel military presences are still common on both sides of the border. US residents in Juba have a curfew from 1:00 am to 6:00 am to ensure their safety, as crime is quite prevalent in the city. US visitors are required to travel in armored government vehicles in the city at night, and travel outside the capital requires special permits. People who do travel to this country primarily do so as part of ongoing humanitarian efforts.
Though Cote d’Ivoire, known in English as the Ivory Coast, was in the midst of a civil war in early 2011, the country’s military engagements have calmed considerable since the capture of Cote d’Ivoire’s former president. Still, US travel warnings advise visitors to stick to the nation’s capital, Abidjan.
Though Burundi lacks the dangerous paramilitary groups present in several other African nations, visitors face many other potential dangers. The US Bureau of Consular Affairs warns against travel to the country due to rampant violent crime from bandits, a culture of bribes and extortion, the potential for terrorist attacks from Somalian organizations, and suggests that travelers remain in the country’s capital of Bujumbura. Never travel in the country after dark, and avoid trips around the capital after midnight.
Eritrea is quite possibly one of the least hospitable nations in Africa, with any travel outside of the nation’s capital, Asmara, requiring government permission, which is rarely granted, and 10 days advance notice. Anti-US media is incredibly popular, as is piracy, and land mine explosions, crime, and violent border conflict with Ethiopia. All of the press that exists in the country is government controlled, and free speech is limited or non-existent.
While Kenya is one of the leaders in central Africa’s economy, with a strong tourism industry and high literacy rates, recent US travel warnings have advised against trips to the country. Terrorist attacks against foreigners have been somewhat commonplace in recent years along the coast and in the Eastern Province overall. Still, the city of Nairobi is regarded as being relatively safe and a frequently traveled to location for international visitors.
A US travel warning exists for all travelers to Guinea due to ongoing political unrest in the country. As legislative elections have been continually delayed in the country since 2009 due to the potential for voter fraud, many citizens are concerned about the future of the country. In the past, violent military uprisings have occurred regularly.
The US advises against all travel to the country of Nigeria for a whole host of reasons, including the potential for kidnapping, shootings and robberies, as well as the risk of piracy for those traveling near its waters. An ongoing conflict between the government and the extremist group Boko Haram has resulted in suicide bombings and many deaths. For those who do wish to travel to the African country, the southern portions of Nigeria are generally regarded as the safest.
All US citizens already in or traveling to Mauritania are warned about the risk of terrorist attacks in the country. Al-Qaida, operating within the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), have been responsible for attacking westerners from their established bases in northern Mali. Western travelers visiting the country should remain in populated cities and avoid traveling beyond the cities at night.
The US government strongly advises against any and all travel to Mali, a country that, as of 2011, was regarded as one of the more socially stable populaces in Africa. However, a coup d’etat in 2012 successfully deposed the Malian government in the northern states, though this group itself was quickly succeeded by Islamist groups, including Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM). Westerners are not welcomed by the AQIM, and, thus, US residents should flee the country, avoiding northern Mali at all costs.
Due to the 2011 revolution that resulted in the death of leader Muammar Gaddafi, the US Department of State recommends that any non-essential travel to Libya be postponed for the time being. Currently, though the government of Libya has continued to stabilize after the establishment of the Libyan Transitional National Council, the US embassy there is only capable of emergency services. The results of elections in the summer of 2012 will, most likely, determine the stability of the country in the months and years to come.
Ongoing terrorist attacks in Algeria have lead to the country’s inclusion on the US travel warnings list. Car bombings, kidnappings, and other attacks on numerous citizens continue to occur across the country, including in the capital of Algiers. Though civil unrest is less frequent than in other Arab countries in Africa, people visiting country should be on their guard, especially during any political elections.
Any and all transit to Somalia is ill-advised according to the US government. The country lacks a US embassy and has no US diplomats. Kidnapping, murder, and terrorism are all potential threats while in this country, as it is one of the bases of Al-Qaeda. Piracy in the waters surrounding the Horn of Africa is commonplace, and all ships are notified to keep a 300 mile distance from the coast of the country.
Very limited travel to Chad is the most suggested by the US Bureau of Consular Affairs. In particular, eastern Chad and its borders are known for the presence of rebel military groups that frequently clash with the local government. Corruption, crime, and car accidents are normal for most areas of the country, and even the capital of N’Djamena is not safe.
US citizens should maintain extreme caution when considering plans to travel to Niger. Al Qaida and the Islamic Maghreb, a terrorist group, continues to threaten to kidnap Westerners visiting or residing in Niger. However, no kidnappings of foreigners have taken place in the country since January of 2011.
Democratic Republic of the Congo
Due to numerous dangers ranging from armed paramilitary forces to widespread disease, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is one of the many African countries found on the US travel warnings list. Americans and other Westerners are advised against making travel plans to visit or live in the DRC, where public transportation is unavailable, roads and plane flights are unsafe, and ongoing conflict with the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) poses a serious threat.
An ongoing US travel warning persists for all travelers to the African nation of Sudan. Travel to this country, particularly to the southern region near the Chad border known as Darfur, is considered to be highly dangerous. Terrorist attacks and violent outbreaks are not unusual, as is the abduction and ransom of foreigners.