Don't take valuables to the beach.
Replies: 9 - Last Post: Oct 3, 2012 6:22 AM Last Post By: onlyMark
Oct 2, 2012 9:35 AM
Don't take valuables to the beach.I find this admonition in my Lonely Planet West Africa guide book in several places. Also the same recommendation for trips in the evening around Accra. I have checked out many Youtube vids of Ghana and other WA countries and I see that the budget resorts where I hope to be staying obviously are not equipped with safes. The locks of the room doors are often opened with 1940's style skeleton keys. I have always traveled with a money belt under my clothes and that has usually worked well. But now I'm being told not to take anything I don't want to lose, to the beach. Because of my annoying personality I usually travel alone. So how do the old African hands deal with this situation? I will have a new kindle, nice camera, and the usual precious paperwork to keep safe. Please advise how you regulars to Africa handle this? Thanks.......LM
Oct 2, 2012 10:14 AM
1Yes, a tricky question - I've resorted to burying my moneybelt in the sand so I could go for a swim!
Sometimes I just leave my bag on the beach and keep an eye on it while swimming nearby. If there are other people on the beach that I recognise as staying at the same place as me, I might ask them to keep an eye on my bag as well.
I don't like leaving valuables in my room, but often cheap hotels have padlocks on the room doors, so I take my own and use that wherever possible, but it really depends on gut feelings whether I'd leave anything inside or not even then. (Although I can't recall if they have padlocks in Ghana specifically).
I wouldn't take a kindle. II doubt it would take well to being buried in the sand.
I've always just taken a couple of paperbacks and swapped them along the way - the more people who take kindles, the less chance of that being a simple option (and a good way to meet people) - so please don't take it!
Oct 2, 2012 10:43 AM
2Do not go off for walks along beaches with your money, passport, cards etc on you that is out of 'range' of a public place (hotel etc), particularly the busier places ... even within the last six months someone lost everything on a beach as they took it with them ... to my mind a bit silly to wander off to a quiet end of a beach with all your possessions.
I'm with Kaz, I take the least possible & leave it on the beach whilst I swim. But a lot of my money etc is stored in inside pockets of clothes & a cheap looking canvas belt ... whereas my point & shoot camera is under the stuff I leave on the beach, if they took that & ran, I wouldn't be bothered so much!
I do leave some stuff of value in the room, but it's fairly well hidden generally, depends on where I am
Oct 2, 2012 11:56 AM
3Kaz, I bought the kindle specifically for traveling.......I'm a prodigious reader on specialized topics which are not readily available from other travelers. Hummmmmmm........burying things in the sand does not appeal to me.......Kira those people that lost everything, by force? or a snatch? I put my papers in ziplock bags inside my money belt and take them swimming so I can't be snatched. But if someone pulls a knife on me they are going to get cards, cash and a nice new American passport! And a hug too boot, if the insist on it. Last year I met a guy that travels with a "PacSafe" armored bag. It has a cable that you can wrap around something and lock it..........I bought one of those but haven't tried to use it yet......well I guess there is no definitive defense. I thought one of you hardcore African hands might have cracked the code. Oh well.........thanks..................LM
Oct 2, 2012 12:35 PM
Oct 2, 2012 12:42 PM
5I usually asked at the hotel if it was o.k. to keep my things in the room. When they recommend that I leave them at the reception I did so. When I went out I always tried to carry only what I needed (usually a bit of money). I never had anything stolen in 12 months (but maybe I just got lucky ...).
Oct 2, 2012 3:04 PM
6Kira, Stop fussing?.........hey i'm a frightened old man going to Africa for the first time in 35 yrs......I'm fat and noone likes me........I'm unsure of myself and riddled with self doubt.......no wonder i'm fussing. ...........if you cared, you would meet me at the Accra Airport and help me out...matter of fact maybe you should give me your cell number and i can text you when i arrive.....buy me a few Star's till i calm down?
Oct 3, 2012 2:29 AM
7I have also buried my small pouch in the sand (containing keys, money, and phone). It is sand colored so it's pretty easy to hide (and lose!). As far as clothes and shoes, you are best off leaving them in a beachside bar/restaurant where you buy some drinks, letting the staff know you've left them there, unless your hotel is right on the beach in which case just leave the clothes in the room.
Two months ago I had my running shorts snatched while I was swimming in Dakar (Senegal). No big loss, they were old shorts. I'm sure the guy (whom I saw do it) was disappointed to find that there was only 2000 CFA ($4USD) in the pocket. Doesn't he know that joggers, no matter the color, don't usually carry much money? The only embarrassing thing was having to jog 5 km home up a busy street wearing rather skimpier shorts than I would prefer to wear in Dakar.
Oct 3, 2012 6:06 AM
8My friend spent a night on the beach in her sleeping bag with her clothes in a heap on the sand next to her. When she woke, the clothes were gone. Watching a girl wearing only a sleeping bag and a bad hangover attempting to get back up the beach without exposing herself was very entertaining.
LM, for the reading of specialist literature, I'll accept your need for the kindle. You are either going to have to take a chance on leaving it in your room - hidden, not left lying on the bed! - when going to the beach, or if you don't feel comfortable with that, take it with you, wrap it in your towel and hopefully no one will realise it's there while you're taking a dip.
Kira's right, you'll work it out when you get there - stop fussing and start looking forward to a great trip!
Oct 3, 2012 6:22 AM
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