British tourist, visitor and resident deaths in Africa: 325 people in 12 months out of more than 3 million British visitors

Below are the full country-by-country breakdowns of the African figures broken out of the FCO’s recent “British Behaviour Abroad” report. As explained in previous posts, the original published report contained very broad-brush data. I wanted to have the real figures, so have been pestering the press office for the last few weeks. To their credit, after initial reservations, the FCO had a change of heart and I eventually received all my requests.

I haven’t included suicides (there were 104 of those, worldwide).

As consular assistance isn’t a legal requirement, the figures below are likely to be slightly weighted towards unknown causes and accidents and away from natural causes in which friends and family might organise repatriation themselves, especially in the case of residents. For the same reason, there’s probably some under-reprorting of deaths by natural causes, especially from countries with large British resident communities.

It’s perhaps surprising and reassuring that so many African countries (26) recorded no British deaths at all over the cause of the year – and these naturally tend to be the countries with the fewest visitors – but it is worth bearing in mind that deaths occurring in countries with no British consular representation might be reported via the British embassy in a neighbouring country.

I don’t think the apparent variations in the table below in the numbers of deaths compared with the number of visitors and residents (Zambia, for example, seems to have a high rate) are statistically significant: they’re just too small. But maybe a statistician could offer a bit of further analysis.

The overall “death rate” of Brits in Africa, just under 0.01%, is around a hundred times lower than the 0.9% UK annual mortality rate – in line with what you’d expect from short average stays and the fact that most people are healthy when they travel.

Okay, I’m done with this series of posts. I think it establishes that the risks of travel in Africa are not out of line with the risks of travelling (or indeed just staying at home and not travelling) anywhere. And, at the very least, getting all these previously unpublished figures from the FCO exposes the very small true number of Britons who lose their lives – most it would seem in the usual sad, accidental or inevitable way that people generally go, and not through some horrific attack.

As ever, feedback is welcome.

Abbreviations: sorry about the need for this, couldn’t figure out how to fit the table across the WordPress layout.

Tot: Total

N: Natural

U: Unknown

A: Accident

M: Murder

Vis.: British visits

Res.: British residents

<: less than

Tot N U A M Vis.* Res.**
Egypt 77 49 25 3 0 1M 14,000
S. Africa 58 26 11 17 4 500,000 215,000
Zambia 24 22 0 2 0 50,000 6,000
Gambia 18 5 13 0 0 70,000 1,500
Kenya 18 6 10 2 0 200,000 33,000
Morocco 18 15 3 0 0 300,000 3,000
Zimbab. 17 16 0 1 0 30,000 9,000
Nigeria 15 7 5 2 1 90,000 19,000
Tunisia 12 8 3 1 0 280,000 1,000
Ghana 11 3 7 1 0 40,000 7,000
Sierra Leone 6 4 0 2 0 5,000 2,000
Tanzania 6 2 2 2 0 60,000 6,000
Angola 5 2 3 0 0 20,000 700
Uganda 5 1 2 2 0 40,000 2,500
DRC 4 1 0 3 0 3,000 400
Ethiopia 4 1 2 1 0 20,000 1,300
Malawi 4 4 0 0 0 60,000 7,400
Mauritius 4 3 0 0 1 105,000 800
Senegal 4 2 2 0 0 10,000 200
Botswa. 3 3 0 0 0 25,000 5,000
Camer. 3 1 1 0 1 5,000 300
Libya 2 1 0 1 0 5,000 3,600
Rwanda 2 0 1 1 0 20,000 100
Sudan 2 0 1 1 0 10,000 1,300
Moz. 1 0 1 0 0 60,000 1,400
Namibia 1 0 1 0 0 40,000 1,700
Seych. 1 0 1 0 0 15,000 1,800
Algeria 0 0 0 0 0 10,000 600
Benin 0 0 0 0 0 5,000 <100
Burkina Faso 0 0 0 0 0 5,000 <100
Burundi 0 0 0 0 0 5,000 <100
C. Verde 0 0 0 0 0 60,000 <100
Central African Republic 0 0 0 0 0 2,000 <100
Chad 0 0 0 0 0 <1,000 <100
Comor. 0 0 0 0 0 1,000 <100
Congo Rep. 0 0 0 0 0 3,000 <100
Côte d’Ivoire 0 0 0 0 0 5,000 <100
Djibouti 0 0 0 0 0 2,000 <100
Eq. Guin. 0 0 0 0 0 <1,000 <100
Eritrea 0 0 0 0 0 <1,000 <100
Gabon 0 0 0 0 0 3,000 <100
Guinea 0 0 0 0 0 3,000 <100
Guinea-Bissau 0 0 0 0 0 <1,000 <100
Lesotho 0 0 0 0 0 5,000 350
Liberia 0 0 0 0 0 3,000 <100
Madagas. 0 0 0 0 0 10,000 300
Mali 0 0 0 0 0 5,000 <100
Mauritan. 0 0 0 0 0 5,000 <100
Niger 0 0 0 0 0 <1,000 <100
São T. & Prin. 0 0 0 0 0 <1,000 <100
Somalia 0 0 0 0 0 <1,000 <100
Swazi. 0 0 0 0 0 25,000 2300
Togo 0 0 0 0 0 <1,000 <100
Totals 325 182 94 42 7 3.22M 350,000

*Source for visitor numbers estimates: World Tourism Organisation

*Source for local British residents: BBC

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About Richard Trillo

I'm the author of The Rough Guide to Kenya and The Rough Guide to West Africa and co-author of The Rough Guide to First-Time Africa. I've also been co-author of Rough Guides to The Gambia and World Music. The blogs for Kenya, West Africa and First-Time Africa are a way for me to post news for readers and for readers to keep in touch with me and with info from other travellers, posting updates, news and comments. I work as a freelance writer, editor and PR consultant, and was formerly Director of Communications at Rough Guides.
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One Response to British tourist, visitor and resident deaths in Africa: 325 people in 12 months out of more than 3 million British visitors

  1. David says:

    Recently (30th November 2011) two Denmark nationals drowned in Lake Bunyonyi as they tried to swim. This lake is the second deepest in Africa but since its Bilharzia and quite inviting many try to swim its length from the Islands to the mainland. It claims a life almost every month. Better do the traditional canoeing than risk your lives. All travelers should take necessary caution when on this lake. Due to its depth it is almost impossible to find the bodies of the dead..

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