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Solo Traveler Answers Your 21 Questions!Backpacking Africa for Beginners

backpacking africa

Final up to date on Might 28th, 2018 at 09:25 am


1. Can I Backpack Africa? Is Touring Africa Attainable?

Sure! Undoubtedly! I backpacked Africa for 7 months. It was my first time backpacking ever! (A lot for beginning small 🙂 ). I did it utilizing public transportation solely.

2. I’m Freaking Out About Backpacking Africa! I’ve traveled different locations, however backpacking Africa nonetheless makes me nervous.

I completely get this! I used to be terrified earlier than my journey. Actually, I cried within the fetal place within the German airport throughout my layover. (So embarrassing, I do know. 😉 )

Coming to Africa is horrifying. However truly being in Africa & touring isn’t that scary. It’s our off-based perceptions, our family and friends’s good-intentioned however misguided beliefs, and the “what if……” recreation that’s inflicting all of the nervousness.

Over 64 million vacationers visited Africa final yr. If they will do it, so are you able to. Hold studying under to get extra security ideas, recommendation for solo vacationers, and how-to information which can hopefully calm your nerves down. And keep in mind, “Life begins outdoors your consolation zone.”

backpacking africa

This can be a Japanese man I met in Zimbabwe. He was touring the entire continent by bike. He barely spoke English, however was nonetheless managing to journey & have a good time.

Three. How Do I Get Round? Can I lease a Automotive? Is there Public Transport?

My grandma actually thought I used to be going to stroll round Africa, aimlessly, with lions making an attempt to eat me at any second. I laughed. However then I got here to Africa, and met individuals who have been certainly, utilizing strolling as their mode of transport. I additionally met individuals touring by bicycle, motorbike, hitchhiking, & shopping for a automotive and simply driving.

However the best & hottest means of backpacking Africa is taking buses. That’s principally what I used. Though I did take a pair cargo boats, hopped aboard one practice, and hitched rides with strangers when wanted.

Buses are all over the place although. It’s the primary method locals get round. You’ll be able to take them round city. Additionally they cowl longer distances which might be 1 -10 hours away.

four. How Do I Get From One African Nation to the Subsequent?  From Place A to Place B?

Once I traveled to Italy, I knew the precise trains I used to be going to take and what time they left. I additionally pre-booked the place I used to be going to remain. I deliberate the complete journey, right down to the final element.

Backpacking Africa isn’t like that. You’re not going to know something actual earlier than you come. As a result of nothing is on-line. Additionally, many buses don’t depart till they’re full. You might be sitting on one for hours earlier than it takes off. However I promise you, a bus goes to each city you’ll need to go. They’re all related. And locals will enable you to determine it out.

backpacking Africa

My route touring Africa for 7 months

5. Backpacking Africa Route? Backpacking Africa Itinerary?

Have you ever seen my route touring Africa? I personally liked that I did, “Cape to Cairo.” Ummm as a result of it sounds superior, proper? However truly, I beloved all the time figuring out which path I used to be heading (north), whereas nonetheless having some wiggle room in for spontaneity. It additionally allowed me to see a number of nations and totally different areas (southern, japanese, and northern Africa range tremendously!).

Your backpacking Africa route will in all probability change as you progress. As a result of the continent is filled with surprises. Earlier than my journey, I didn’t comprehend how a lot there’s to do. I additionally didn’t understand how straightforward touring the nations may be. So I ended up going to a whole lot of locations I by no means anticipated (Zimbabwe and Sudan for starters…).

However so far as planning a backpacking Africa itinerary… assume sloowwwww. As a result of journey right here isn’t quick. I’d estimate it takes a strong Three-7x longer than again residence. And that’s when the bus driver exhibits up.

If potential, I’d advocate staying in every nation for no less than 2-Three weeks. I did some shorter (Burundi was solely Three days as a result of I might solely get a transit visa on the border) and a few longer (I stayed in Ethiopia a few months. After my journey I moved right here and married an Ethiopian. I assume I’m actually staying right here some time… 😉

6. Backpacking Africa Solo?  Can I Journey Africa Alone? How Do I Discover a Journey Companion for Africa?

Considered one of my hottest blogs, Journey Africa Solo (whilst a woman), particulars a few of the precautions to take with bank cards, packing, and so on. However should you simply need to know, backpacking Africa alone is completely potential & enjoyable.

I used to be truly supposed to start out my journey with my aunt. She bailed. However I made a decision to go anyhow. It was one of the best determination as a result of I met so many individuals alongside the best way.

In common spots like, South Africa, Mozambique, Victoria Falls, Lake Malawi, Zanzibar, and Mount Kilimanjaro, you’ll meet lots of people!

Different occasions, you’ll be alone. An American backpacker named Brian simply texted me as a result of he arrived in Kenya and was feeling lonely (my Backpacking Africa Ebook Full Version comes with my e-mail & telephone quantity so I get numerous messages from vacationers which is enjoyable). A number of weeks later he was in Zanzibar and introducing me on WhatsApp chats with different vacationers. That’s the way it goes. One week you’re alone. The subsequent you’re surrounded by 30+ backpackers.

I feel it’s a very good combine. I may be barely introverted so I undoubtedly cherished the alone occasions. However even for the tremendous social individual, if there aren’t vacationers round, locals will love assembly you. Plus, being alone may also make for some good reflective time.

That is me with some backpackers I met whereas staying at Mayoka Village in Nkhata Bay, Lake Malawi. You possibly can meet dozens of vacationers right here! 🙂

7. Backpacking Africa Value? Backpacking Africa On a Finances? Is Africa Costly?

How a lot does Backpacking Africa Value? Is it costly?  Sure and No.

The tremendous touristy experiences (climbing Kili, trekking Gorillas) can put an enormous dent in your pockets. Even in case you attempt to do an affordable African safari, you’ll nonetheless spend lots of of dollars. However in the event you journey like an area, you’ll spend subsequent to nothing. In Malawi, my tent value $Three an evening. I spent lower than $1 per beer. And consuming road meals was simply a few bucks.

I wrote about my whole journey value in my guide with tons of the way to economize (ex: much less time in costly nations like South Africa, extra time in cheaper ones like Mozambique). However it may be carried out low cost. I even met a man who had been robbed in Israel on his strategy to Egypt. He confirmed up with nothing. Managed to nonetheless purchase me dinner (as a result of so many locals have been giving him cash), and was already to Sudan with nonetheless– no cash!

So don’t let the price of touring Africa cease you. You may even have the ability to generate profits whereas backpacking Africa too.

eight. Backpacking Africa Packing Record? What do I pack for Africa?

I overpacked. A lot so, that years later this British backpacker named Robby nonetheless makes enjoyable of me. A number of weeks into my journey, I bought half of my stuff in a Mozambican market simply to lighten my load.

Which is why I now promote backpacking mild.

However I’m an excellent huggggeeee fan of those anti-theft garments which I evaluate intimately in my backpacking Africa gear publish. I additionally made an inventory of my favourite backpacking Africa assets that features what NOT to waste your cash on. In addition to that, I do advocate a tent & a sturdy backpack (significantly, get a top quality one. Africa is tough on stuff).

My child measurement tent 🙂 I didn’t even like tenting earlier than my journey. Now, I’m obsessed.

9. Backpacking Africa as a Solo Feminine? Is it Protected to Journey As a Woman in Africa? Are Women Backpacking Africa?

I didn’t have any issues touring Africa as a woman on my own. Everybody helped me. I discovered most males to be tremendous respectful. “That is how I might need somebody to assist my sister…” they’d say.

It’s not simply me. Throughout my journey, I met loads of different women backpacking Africa solo too. I additionally get tons of emails from women who downloaded my e-book and message me afterwards about their superior (and protected!) journey.

backpacking africa

The highest message is the very last thing I heard from a woman named Daniela earlier than she took off on her journey. Learn her subsequent message to me… she liked it!!

I teamed up with Woman vs Globe to make this video that goes over this journey fable (together with some sensible security ideas). We additionally determined that we’re sort of twins. It’s significantly bizarre how a lot we’ve in widespread. Depart a remark under in the event you see what I imply.

However sure, GIRLS— I promise you, with some primary security ideas, you’ll be able to TOTALLY journey Africa alone. And also you’ll adore it. Will probably be some of the life-changing, empowering experiences of your life.

10. Backpacking Africa Security? Is Africa Protected? How Do I Backpack Africa safely?

In my guide, I ask this, “Would you journey a rustic that studies a rape each 6.2 minutes?” Or “Would you journey by means of a rustic the place 1 homicide occurs each 35.6 minutes?”

No approach, proper?

These are statistics from America! Ironic that the majority People are too scared to return to Africa.

Each nation may be harmful. However I personally skilled most African nations to be simply as protected because the US (if not barely safer in some respects… I hitchhiked throughout the continent, however I might by no means do this in America!).

Use widespread sense. Do the security ideas I like to recommend in my e-book. Learn the scams I describe and comply with how you can keep away from them. Belief your instinct. And ask locals and different backpackers for recommendation alongside the best way.

backpacking africa

Each hitchhiker wants a terrific signal 🙂 However significantly, I might by no means do that within the US. However I did it in virtually each African nation I went.

11. Backpacking Africa Excursions? Ought to I Do an Overland Tour in Africa? Journey Excursions for Africa?

I don’t like them. I even made a video why I don’t like Overland Excursions in Africa. They’re far more costly. (Despite the fact that, you’ll typically keep in hostels like the remainder of us). You’re on a decent schedule that may’t be modified. It kills the journey half a bit. You may also get caught with individuals you don’t like.

However with that being stated, I do know that some vacationers actually do take pleasure in them. If that is the one approach you are feeling snug coming, then guide one. You’ll in all probability adore it. Simply don’t assume you must do an overland tour. As a result of hundreds of backpackers are in Africa proper now with out one.

backpacking africa

That is Daniel from the Sunflower Cease Hostel in South Africa. He was soo good! I discovered all hostel employees are as useful & good as him 🙂

12. Are there Backpacking Africa Blogs?

A few of my favourite blogs I’ve written are Ethiopia Journey: 7 Causes You Should Go, Bucket Record Concepts: 21 Issues to Do in Africa Earlier than you Die, and my bio which provides you a superb background on my story in Africa.

However there are some others you’re going to like! See a few of my favourite works they did on Africa under:

Kenyan Backpacker
Helen in Wonderlust

13. Is There a Backpacking Africa Discussion board? How Do I Join with Different Vacationers?

In case you have extra particular questions, you’ll be able to ask them on Thorn Tree. The Backpacking Africa Fb group is absolutely well-liked too. There’s additionally some actually cool Israelis who began, Mzungu.Org, which has numerous ideas & journey buddy choices. (Random reality, you’ll meet lots of backpackers from Israel in Africa).

14. Is There a Backpacking Africa E-book or Information? Backpacking Africa E-book for Newbies?

I’m clearly biased, however you need to undoubtedly obtain my Backpacking Africa for Newbies e-book. It’s actually the whole lot you need to know, in step-by-step element, about backpacking Africa (visas, crossing borders, prices, vaccines, security ideas, issues to do, additional useful stuff for women, and so on)

I truly simply obtained a message from two vacationers who met and began courting in Malawi. In the future, they realized they each got here to Africa through the use of my guide! I really feel like such a matchmaker. In the event that they get married, I higher be invited to the marriage. 😉

However in all seriousness, most vacationers additionally include Lonely Planet Books. They’re full of a lot of useful journey details about the place to remain, easy methods to get round, and so on. I favor those on a selected nation or two (moderately than a area) since you get much more detailed info (instance: Get each the Kenyan guide & the Tanzania ebook slightly than the East Africa e-book or Africa ebook). In lieu of backpacking mild, an e book type could be extra useful. However it’s Africa, and energy will exit…. So hardcopy isn’t a nasty choice both.

backpacking africa

15. Backpacking Africa Locations? Greatest Nations in Africa to Journey To? The place Ought to I Go to in Africa?

African nations are extraordinarily totally different from one another (regardless of how we have been all introduced up within the West to consider “Africa” is a big glob of safari animals and that’s it). That’s why in my route touring journey Africa I like to recommend together with a number of nations so you’ll be able to actually really feel the distinction.

I already listed a few of my favourite African journey locations. If I had to decide on my favourite nation is Malawi. Palms down, embrace it in your journey. However I additionally actually liked Uganda. Truly I beloved each nation on my journey for its personal cause.

For instance, Sudan blew all my stereotypes away and deepened my information concerning the Islamic tradition. I even liked their pyramids greater than those in Egypt as a result of they’re so non-touristy.

I beloved Mozambique for it seafood (besides I’m now vegan) and seashores. Burundi was an interesting, however considerably a tragic to see nation. Rwanda, personally impressed me. The velocity at which the nation reworked itself (and aspect word– is likely one of the cleanest nations on the earth) amazes me.

I might go on and on…. However in case you aren’t positive the place to start out, backpack South Africa first. It’s the simplest to journey and full of backpackers. Which is sweet, in case you’re a beginner.

16. Does Africa Have Web? How do I discover Wifi in Africa? Can I backpack Africa if I want web for my work?

You’ll find wifi in Africa. Your hostels will supply it (however will probably be sluggish or not working lots). You can too purchase an area sim card, purchase pre-paid telephone playing cards regionally, after which use cell knowledge. (In Ethiopia, ensure you purchase the credit score & then get an web package deal by dialing *999# in your telephone first to economize.)  Or you should use an web middle which is filled with tremendous previous computer systems. You’ll pay an affordable worth per minute. (They’re good for checking Fb & writing emails, however not ok for Skype). However in case you’re actually frightened about web since you want it for work, you possibly can go to any good lodge, order a espresso, and use web there.

I additionally advocate downloading a free VPN in your telephone or pc. I exploit Betternet (though they’re just about the identical. I don’t assume it’s value it to get the paid model). Most locations you gained’t want one, however as soon as in whereas some African governments block sure websites. In case you flip your VPN on, it’s going to nonetheless let you entry them.

(Aspect observe– in Ethiopia one of the best locations for web are The Monarch, Jupiter, and Sheraton Resorts. Simply purchase espresso, they usually’ll provide the password).

17. Will I discover sufficient electrical energy in Africa? How typically will energy exit? How do I cost my electronics in Africa?

It can exit. Quite a bit. I hope you want campfires. However truly, it’s fairly superior to disconnect from the world. Particularly if you’re surrounded by a lot pure magnificence, it’s actually wholesome to place your telephone a means for some time.

Now that I’ve began a social impression snack firm, Dirkosh Crunch, that depends on an oven, the electrical energy points are so much much less cute. However as a backpacker, the shortage of energy may cause you to actually bond with the individuals round you.

For these tremendous frightened about it although, I really like this photo voltaic powered USB charger. To be truthful, any system that’s photo voltaic powered is useful to have with you. However most hostels understand how dependent vacationers are on electrical energy. They do their greatest to seek out methods to get your stuff charged.

backpacking africa

Horse again driving in South Africa is so fairly! (Besides half means by means of this, I noticed I HATE horse again driving. I used to be terrified the entire means! Haha 🙂 )

18. Is there Clear Water in Africa? What sort of water do I drink whereas backpacking Africa? Can I drink faucet water in Africa?

Faucet water will you get significantly sick. In addition to South Africa, you’ll want to purchase bottled water. It’s all over the place. Additionally, Coca Cola is all over the place too. However that in all probability gained’t assist hydrate you.

I personally wouldn’t journey and not using a Life Straw or some water purification tablets in case of an emergency (I met a backpacker whose bus broke down in Somaliland for a pair days. He had nothing to drink! He was about to drink out of a close-by, soiled creek, when assist lastly arrived. I really like Africa, however be ready for an emergency too.)

19. Is There Scorching Water in Africa? Will I Discover a Scorching Bathe?

It’s a 50/50. Some hostels have it. My favourite one, Liwonde Safari Camp, has advertisements that actually boast “piping scorching showers”. The proprietor is a loopy, however cool Dutch man who lets the entire place run on solar energy. The water was undoubtedly scorching! However I’d brace your self elsewhere– particularly in Ethiopia. The one good factor is that being soiled is considerably acceptable as a backpacker.

20. Ought to I come to Africa Now? Ought to I Wait till I Have Extra Cash? Greatest time To Backpack Africa?

On this order: Sure, No, & Anytime.

There’s by no means a handy time to backpack Africa. You’re sure to overlook a pal’s wedding ceremony, screw up a brand new courting relationship, or run right into a wet season someplace alongside the best way. However for those who let these excuses get in the best way, you’ll by no means come.

So I’d block out a while, and are available now.

If there are one or two massive actions you need to do (like shark diving or touching a whale shark), plan across the season. If not, you’ll miss it. However in case you’re touring a continent this massive & numerous, it’s not potential to all the time arrive in the perfect climate. Even in the event you arrive within the off season, you’ll discover different benefits like decrease costs. You’ll be able to’t go flawed.

backpacking africa

That is me and one other backpacker on the brink of bounce in a cage & go shark diving! It was freakinggg scary! However so cool getting that shut! Shark cage diving in South Africa is predicated on seasons.

21. How has backpacking Africa modified you? Is Africa actually well worth the prices, the vaccines, the time?

Sure! A thousand occasions sure! Backpacking Africa, particularly as a solo feminine, was probably the most empowering expertise of my life. Even once I face a problem now, I feel, “Okay, I actually backpacked throughout Africa. I can determine this out.” I additionally was launched to so many new cultures, religions, and people who I’m extra open minded ( I used to be earlier than too, however there’s a higher depth to it). I discovered that I’m able to a lot greater than I knew. I had loopy, journey crammed, experiences that I can be telling to my grandchildren some day. I additionally discovered what African nations are actually like, they usually blow my mined!

After dwelling right here for a number of years & getting actually into the Ethiopian tradition, I’ve additionally discovered new values. I’m far more group oriented (I’m naturally vulnerable to being virtually too unbiased/lone wolf-ish). I worth relationships extra. My endurance has elevated. I drift extra. I assist others higher. I’m much less targeted on my seems to be. I’m extra grateful for all times. I’m capable of keep extra within the current.

Backpacking Africa additionally set off a bizarre chain of occasions I by no means anticipated. I ended up shifting to Addis Ababa after my journey. I obtained married to an Ethiopian (I assumed I needed to remain single for all times). I began my very own snack firm. I’ve develop into an enormous advocate for African agri-business. I’m additionally actually captivated with supporting Ethiopian ladies with disabilities.

Perhaps your expertise gained’t be as dramatic. However everybody I meet who involves Africa will get touched to their core in someway or one other. So sure, backpacking Africa is value it.

backpacking africa

Swimming with sea turtles in Zanzibar. A lot enjoyable! And solely $eight!

What Different Questions Do You Have?? How Can I Higher Assist You Determine to Come to Africa? Depart it in a remark under!!


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