Africa is a giant continent. By area, it’s the second largest. Surrounded by the Mediterranean Sea to the north and the Red Sea to the south, Africa is where our human story begins. Though it is sometimes thought to be a single country, Africa is the collection of 55 independent countries.
The equator divides it in half and places it in the tropical zone. Because of this, most of Northern Africa has a desert-type climate.
Southern Africa is full of thick forests and lush grasslands. Temperatures only sink to negative degrees (below zero) in the high altitudes of mountain peaks.
Things To Do in North Africa
Cities like Marrakech are popular attractions in Northern Africa. Marrakech is an old town filled with the architecture of the Berber period. Fes screams of the old-school culture of the fourteenth century.
Enjoy the busy marketplace called “ Souks” here. The metropolitan capital of Tunisia, called Tunis, is a change from the medieval atmosphere.
There are many opportunities for the active traveler. You can trek up to Toubkal, the highest peak in the Atlas mountains. You can dive into the waters of the Red Sea, home to the best scuba diving spots found in the area.
Witness the oldest wonders of architecture – the Pyramids. Rest in Egypt’s peaceful Siwa Oasis.
Things To Do in Sahel
See the Agadez mosque, a 600-year-old structure located in the largest city of Niger. Visit Mopti, the urban example of Mali.
Explore the large town of Bamako, which has a film named after it and is one of the fastest growing cities in the world.
Lounge on the shore of the Niger River in Niamey. Discover what makes Timbuktu a world heritage site.
The countries located in the western portion of the continent share the Atlantic coastline. These nations include Togo, Guinea, Ghana, Senegal, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Gambia, Nigeria, Burkina Faso, Guinea-Bissau, Cape Verde, Benin, and Cote d’Ivoire.
Things To Do in West Africa
Spend your days in the economic capital of Benin, Cotonou. It is the largest city in Nigeria and is known for its active nightlife and elegant boutiques.
Immerse yourself in Abidjan, the French-speaking part of Africa. Relax in the calm waters of Bijagos islands, and be sure to taste the delicious seafood.
Forests make up the heart of Africa. These countries include South Sudan, Angola, Republic of the Congo, Gabon, Sao Tome and Principe, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Cameroon, and the Central African Republic.
Things To Do in Central Africa
Once a fishing village, Kinshasa is now the capital of Democratic Congo. The capital city of Equatorial Guinea has hardly any infrastructure.
Enjoy a ride through Garamba National Park, the oldest national park in Africa. Another world heritage site is Manovo Gounda St Floris National Park, known for its incredible flora and fauna.
The eastern coastline meets the Red Sea in the northeast and the Indian Ocean in the southeast. Here, you will find some of the densest forests on earth. The nations of Madagascar, Burundi, Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, Uganda, Seychelles, Ethiopia, Somalia, Comoros, Mayotte, and Eritrea occupy this area.
Things To Do in East Africa
The discovery of the first humanoid took place in Addis Ababa. If you are in Ethiopia, visiting the National Museum to see the fossil is a must.
A trip to Port Louis, the booming capital of Mauritius, will leave you breathless.
Walk amongst the ruins of the iron age in Aksum. Gaze heavenward at Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest mountain in Africa.
Explore the gorgeous ecosystem of Africa on a safari tour of Serengeti National Park.
Things To Do in Southern Africa
Kruger National Park is the largest game reserve on the continent. If you’re lucky, you may catch a glimpse of “The Big Five”–the five most dangerous animals to hunt.
Enjoy the wildlife-rich area of Limpopo, and be sure to explore the incredible fossil caves. Gauteng is the museum hub of South Africa.
Take a relaxing ride along the wine routes of South Africa, and enjoy fantastic mountain views. Johannesburg was home to Nelson Mandela, and is full of tourist attractions, with everything from museums to boating parks.
When To Go To Africa
Africa is a vast continent, and the weather variations are dramatic. There are places like Mount Kilimanjaro and Atlas mountain where the climate is cold all year round. On the other hand, there are places like Horn of Africa where average day temperature is 40 degree Celsius.
While traveling to Africa, you need to keep in mind that it is a huge continent. There are different countries included in the continent which has a different climate. In Cameroon, the monsoon season starts in March, but in Senegal, it starts in May. Other than that there are the tropical cyclones which hit the nations. To get an idea about when to visit the particular countries you can check the separate destination page for each African country.
What To Wear
Comfort is the key to travel without being cranky. In Africa the heat is intense, to cope with that kind of heat you need to wear thin fabrics like Cotton or Rayon. Women can wear comfy blouses, flowing skirts, chinos, and khakis. Men can wear pants and shirts. Do not wear shorts or dresses which show off much skin.
Many indigenous tribes reside in African Nations and in that way they have many languages. English is a language that you can use in most of the nations. But as a blanket language, French is very helpful. No matter your English usage, keep a phrasal book of local dialects of the places you visit. It comes in handy.
Converting currencies in Africa is easy when it comes to Dollar and Pound. All other currencies have a poor exchange rate. The currency is different in all countries.
In Western Africa Franc is used, in South Africa, Zambia and Swaziland South African Rand is prevalent. Check the respective Destination pages of Countries for their specific currency. Many countries accept dollars and pounds, so if you are from America or Europe, you will be alright.
Various African countries offer a memorable culinary experience. You might not see lots of Five-star restaurants, but you are in for a treat in African land.
There are many dishes you must try, among it are the couscous, Mandazi, Jollof Rice, Garri, Tagine, Dodo, Biriyanis, Suyas, and Mafè. And do not forget to bottle up Piri Piri sauce.
Getting around between major tourist countries is easy, as Visa is available without much hassle. Airlines like South African Airways, Kenya Airways, and Ethiopian Airways are the major airlines in the African continent.
Other than airlines, bus service is extensive here. Check the respective country destination page before you opt for the bus. Railways are no good, as they are old and sparse across the continent.
NOTE: Airline Safety is a real concern here. Although South African Airways, Ethiopian Airlines, and Kenya Airways all meet EU and FAA safety standards, the same isn’t true for all airlines, especially smaller domestic carriers in countries where political stability may be lacking, tenuous or only recently reintroduced. Do your research before flying on smaller charter planes.
FREE WI-FI & SIM CARDS
There are nine airports in South Africa that provide free Wi-Fi for 30 minutes to every passenger. The airports are Cape Town International Airport, Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg, King Shaka International Airport in Durban, East London Airport, Kimberley Airport, Port Elizabeth International Airport and George Airport. There are many African cities also with free Wi-Fi- Tshwane, Cape Town, Nakuru County, Stellenbosch, Lagos.
The airports are Cape Town International Airport, Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg, King Shaka International Airport in Durban, East London Airport, Kimberley Airport, Port Elizabeth International Airport and George Airport.
There are many African cities also with free Wi-Fi- Tshwane, Cape Town, Nakuru County, Stellenbosch, Lagos.
For all the African Countries there are various service providers. You can see the respective destination page and know which is the best provider. Your passport and residential proof of where you will stay in the country plus your passport sized photographs are requirements to buy an African Sim card.
HOW MUCH WILL IT COST
Your cost will depend on the country which you visit. If you are a backpacker, then bed at Hostel costs $10- $20, but if you prefer a double room then it is about $75- $80. For lunch or dinner it costs $ 30, but if you stick to street food, then you can survive by $5 in your pocket. A day in an African country can cost approximately $150.
HOW MANY DAYS TO TRAVEL
There are 54 African countries. But you need not visit all. If you cut short your trip, then 2 weeks is a minimum to visit Africa (including two countries only). Those who are looking forward to visiting many places including Mozambique, Victoria Falls, Cape Town and many more need to extend their visit. Do not visit if you do not have at least two weeks minimum in hand.
Those who are looking forward to visiting many places including Mozambique, Victoria Falls, Cape Town and many more need to extend their visit. Do not visit if you do not have at least two weeks minimum in hand.
Do not visit if you do not have at least two weeks minimum in hand.
Road Conditions In Africa
The Roads in Africa are well maintained, but once you move away from major areas to rural part, the roads turn dangerous. Rural roads are dusty in summer and muddy in monsoon. It is a nightmare to drive on these roads. Driving at the night is not recommended as there is a danger of wildlife.
RENT Vs. PUBLIC TRANSPORT
Hiring a taxi is inexpensive. But renting a car is expensive. Moreover, in Africa, the roads are not reliable. You need to hand over the wheel to somebody experienced. For the country- country travel takes airlines, For destination-destination take buses, for getting around in cities take taxis.
To travel to different countries, take airlines, for famous destinations, take a bus, and for getting around in cities, take taxis.
RIGHT or LEFT DRIVING
African Countries which were British colonies still drive on the left-hand side of the road. While Cameroon drives on the right side, Bermuda uses Left-hand side rule. Please check the destination pages to know which country follows which.
ELECTRICITY & PLUG TYPE
Like the driving rules, the English-speaking African countries use British Type sockets. Whereas others use the two pin variety and South Africa uses Type D, M and N sockets. The standard voltage is different in all the African countries. Some use 220 V whereas others use 110 V. Do check the destination pages to have a clear idea of Electricity and Plug type in all African countries. Buy universal adapter and converters, so that you do not face problem in Africa as power cuts are common in Africa.
HOW SAFE IS AFRICA
The African continent is home to many conflicts- from terrorism to local warlords. Stick to the areas which have no terrorism, and you will be fine. Horn of Africa, Somalia, Central African Republic, Central Sahara (Algeria, Mauritania, Mali), Sudan are considered as dangerous places to travel.
The risk of HIV & AIDS is high in Africa. Sub-Saharan countries have highest rates of HIV in the entire planet. Use protection while having sex or better prevent having it.
As you can see, Africa has much to offer. Begin planning your trip today!
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August 3, 2016 12:00 am