from the driver's seat

Land Rover AFRICA Magazine - - NEWS - An­drew Mark Pub­lisher

Our Land Rover AFRICA edi­tor, An­ton Pre­to­rius and I are head­ing out to Morocco in May; we’ll be vis­it­ing Mar­rakech and Casablanca (and trav­el­ling in-be­tween). Our mis­sion? To shoot a guer­rilla doc­u­men­tary for our sis­ter mag­a­zine RISKAFRICA. Which got me think­ing on the last time we en­tered a coun­try where there was a higher than nor­mal chance of a ter­ror at­tack. On a sim­i­lar mis­sion a year ago, vis­it­ing Tu­nisia, a ghastly ter­ror at­tack killed 17 tourists, in­clud­ing two South Africans. We cov­ered our event and flew out safely but just a few weeks later another at­tack on tourists took place just down the road from where we had stayed. This time, the death toll was 38. We re­cently opened an of­fice in Europe, largely to be closer to our fi­nan­cial ser­vices cus­tomers from

RISKAFRICA mag­a­zine, and so the re­cent ter­ror at­tack in Brus­sels was again very close to home. Trav­el­ling over­land in the south­ern parts of Africa is un­likely to ex­pose one to a ter­ror at­tack, although there have been ran­dom cases of kid­nap and ran­som, called K&R by those in the know. News of these events is usu­ally quickly dis­sem­i­nated amongst 4x4 com­mu­ni­ties and the ar­eas avoided. Of­ten the lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties will as­sist po­lice in bring­ing these crim­i­nals to book be­cause they re­alise that tourism is crit­i­cal to their sur­vival. There are some pre­cau­tions, over and above what you nor­mally would con­sider, one can take against be­com­ing a vic­tim, though. Es­pe­cially if you’re ven­tur­ing far north into a po­ten­tially higher-risk coun­try. Stay abreast of travel ad­vi­sory in­for­ma­tion on gov­ern­ment web­sites (British and USA sites are good, but use them with a pinch of salt). Take with (but hide away) a satel­lite phone. These can be rented and are a boon should a break­down oc­cur in a sig­nal-free area. Most sub­Sa­ha­ran coun­tries have pretty fair sig­nal around ma­jor towns. Leave a de­tailed itin­er­ary with a trusted friend or fam­ily mem­ber back home, and keep them up­dated should this change. En­sure you have ad­e­quate in­sur­ance pro­tec­tion against risks you may en­counter. Of­ten your road­side as­sis­tance and hos­pi­tal emer­gency cover ends at the bor­der. If you’re on chronic meds, have a month’s sup­ply or pre­scrip­tion at the ready for your ‘at-home’ con­tact to courier to you in an emer­gency. Be wary of car­ry­ing any ra­dio­con­trolled de­vice, like wire­less mi­cro­phones, head­phones and the like. We learned this the hard way when we were in­ter­ro­gated for hours af­ter fail­ing an equip­ment in­spec­tion en­ter­ing Tu­nisia. And look out for a story on our Moroc­can ad­ven­ture in a fol­low­ing is­sue.

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