Imagine the feeling of joy when you finally land in Africa to begin your safari tour after all of your hard work planning, only to have the excitement stolen from you when you find that you have become the victim of a scam. Unfortunately, this is all too common, as shady individuals love to take advantage of the fresh flow of tourists that stream in and out of Africa throughout the year. Most travelers are under the impression that they are too smart to fall for a scam, or that they will be able to spot trouble from a mile away. The truth is that even the most aware people become victims of professional scammers. It is almost impossible to know when or how someone might scam you, so it is important to arm yourself with as much insight as possible. Here are some tips for avoiding getting scammed on vacation.
The Overpriced Taxi
One of the most common scams that tourists fall into is the overpriced taxi. The good news is that this is relatively easy to spot once you know that it happens. Taxi drivers will claim that their meter is broken, charging you upwards of hundreds of dollars as a consequence. If you enter a taxi and something feels off, find another mode of transportation or settle on a rate with your driver before you take off.
Closed Hotel Scam
As if being tricked into paying hundreds for a taxi ride was not bad enough, this next scam goes right in line with the last one. Shady taxi drivers make arrangements with certain hotels and receive a commission for dropping off patrons at the door. Drivers will often tell their passengers that the hotel they want is completely booked or no longer open, suggesting an alternate hotel instead. The price to stay in this hotel, much like the price of the taxi, has been grossly exaggerated to pay off the taxi cab driver.
Nothing is Free
This scam mostly impacts female travelers, but men and women alike should be aware. Venders love to put a bracelet on a person’s arm or give them a bit of rosemary. This gesture might make the goods appear to have been a free gift, you the vender will almost immediately demand money.
Help from a Pick-Pocket
Be weary of helpful people. Though some have good intentions, others are simply trying to create an opportunity for their friend to take what you have in your pockets. If you are stopped to be helped, or stopped to answer questions from a stranger, have a friend look out for those who are up to no good.
Learn More about Safari Tours
While you are on your African safari vacation, stay vigilant. Remain aware that scams happen, and try to avoid it happening. If you do find yourself the victim of a scam, do not panic. Contact your insurance agency or travel advisor. If you would like more information on planning your safari tour, visit our safari page or contact a representative with Roho Ya Chui today.
Jill Liphart for Roho Ya Chui. Travel Africa