Tips for an Adventure in Africa
After reading about Marius‘s wild life, you’re probably hoping to visit Africa one day. So what better way to start preparing for a trip to Africa than with the advice of Paul and Itziar, who in 2010 traveled the African continent from South Africa to Morocco. Ready for an adventure?
Guest post by Pablo Strubell and Itziar M. Marcotegui
Africa commands respect. Many people imagine an underdeveloped continent with conflicts, poverty, and savage nature, and this is true for some of its 55 countries. However, above all, it is a beautiful and interesting continent. Africa is home to amazing natural wonders and many of its ethnic and tribal rituals are some of the most interesting and impressive in the planet. Add to that thousands of miles of beaches, traditions, and cultures, and it is no wonder African is a continent that captures the imagination of adventurers the world over. With all its diversity and differences among countries and regions, it’s important to be educated before you embark on your journey.
1. Avoid doing too much. When planning your schedule, assume that problems or delays will arise. It always takes a lot more time than you might think to make connections, negotiate new cities, and get your bearings. Scheduling downtime is a necessity…and in case you have too much free time, you can always do something new! Better safe than sorry.
2. Get some good travel insurance. Hygiene and safety conditions are not as good as we are used to, but you don’t need to worry too much. Capital cities have very good hospitals in case anything happens, but medical attention there can be very expensive. A good travel insurance policy is the best way to avoid going bankrupt if any serious contingency requires hospitalization.
3. Be patient. Very patient. If something can go wrong, it probably will. And if there can be delays, there will be. So even if you have planned very well, the unexpected is always just around the corner. The best and only formula to steer clear of stress until is to adopt the African mentality of resignation and patience while you wait for matters to be resolved. It’s a bit difficult at the beginning and you’ll lose your patience quite often, but it is a requirement to fully enjoy this amazing but sometimes unpredictable continent.
4. From dusk to dawn, there is little to do. For safety reasons, is not convenient to move much in the cities after dark; not only because of crime but also because of the number of holes and obstacles that you might encounter (street lighting ranges from bad to nonexistent). It is also unwise to wander the beaches and, of course, driving at night is imprudent. Bad lighting, poor road conditions, and the number of people and vehicles without headlights make nighttime travel a reckless activity.
5. Wherever there is electricity, power outages should be expected and it is not uncommon for electricity to be down for several hours. If you bring electronic devices, make sure you take advantage of the electricity and charge your items whenever you can. Having extra batteries for your camera or smartphone is also a great idea. And, of course, carrying a flashlight or front light is almost mandatory as you will need it for rural and urban areas alike.
A beachfront villa in Cape Verde, a wildlife estate in South Africa, or even a home on a plantation in Kenya…find your perfect base camp in Africa and put these tips into practice!
About the authors
Pablo and Itziar are one of the most adventurous couples in Spain. They have lived in Malaysia, Turkey, Italy, and the United States; they have traveled to Africa more than once, and Pablo even became Marco Polo when he explored the Silk Road. They are looking forward to their first home exchange in Latin America or Asia. In 2012 they published their latest book: Cómo Preparar Un Gran Viaje.