from the driver's seat
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.
Enjoy the read