Your trip to Africa will be an adventure off the beaten path.
Conditions and customs in Sub-Saharan Africa can contrast sharply
with those in the United States. These pages contain advice to
help you avoid inconvenience and difficulties. Take our advice
seriously but dont let it keep you at home. Most Americans have
unforgettable experiences in Africa. We are often welcomed and
helped by Africans who are happy to share not just their scenery,
but their culture and traditions as well.
This brochure covers all of Africa except the five nations bordering
the Mediterranean. Sub-Saharan Africa includes 48 nations. Forty-two
of these nations are on the mainland. In addition, four island
nations in the southwest Indian Ocean (Madagascar, The Comoros,
Mauritius, and Seychelles) and two island nations in the Atlantic
Ocean (Cape Verde and Sao Tome and Principe) are considered part
of Africa. For convenience, we will often use the word "Africa"
to refer to the sub-Saharan region. For information on the five
northern African nations of Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco, Libya,
and Egypt, see Tips for Travelers to the Middle East and North
Before you go, learn as much as you can about your destination.
Your travel agent, local bookstore, public library and the embassies
of the countries you plan to visit are all useful sources of information.
The Department of States Background Notes series includes
a pamphlet for every country worldwide, including those in Africa.
You may obtain
Background Notes via the Internet by visiting the Department of
State home page at http://www.state.gov.
Consular Information Program
Before traveling, obtain the Consular Information Sheet for any
countries you plan to visit. You should also check to see if the
Department of State has issued a Travel Warning or Public Announcement
for the country or countries you will be visiting. Travel
Warnings are issued when the Department of State decides
based on all relevant information, to recommend that all Americans
avoid travel to a certain country. Public Announcements
are issued as a means to disseminate information quickly about
relatively short-term and/or trans-national conditions that would
pose significant risks to the security of American travelers.
Consular Information Sheets are available for every
country in the world. They include such information as the location
of the U.S. embassy or consulate in the country, unusual immigration
practices, health conditions, crime and security information,
road safety, unusual currency and entry regulations, and drug
penalties. A description of political disturbances may be included
in the Consular Information Sheet under an optional section entitled
"Safety/Security." On limited occasions, the Department
also restates in this section U.S. Embassy advice given to official
employees. Consular Information Sheets present information so
travelers can make knowledgeable decisions concerning travel to
a particular country. Countries to which we suggest that you not
travel will have Travel Warnings as well as Consular Information
to Access Consular Information Sheets, Travel Warnings and Public
The most convenient source of information about travel and consular
services is the Consular Affairs home page on the Internets World
Wide Web. The web site address is http://travel.state.gov. If
you do not have access to the Internet at home, work or school,
your local library may provide access to the Internet.
Consular Information Sheets and Travel Warnings may be heard
any time by dialing the office of American Citizens Services at
(202) 647-5225 from a touchtone phone.
In Person/By Mail
Consular Information Sheets, Travel Warnings and Public Announcements
are available at any of the regional passport agencies, field
offices of the Department of Commerce, and U.S. embassies and
consulates abroad, or by writing and sending a self-addressed,
stamped envelope to the Office of American Citizens Services,
Bureau of Consular Affairs, Room 4811, U.S. Department of State,
Washington, D.C. 20520-4818.
From your fax machine, dial (202) 647-3000, using the
handset as you would a regular telephone. The system will instruct
you on how to proceed.