Travelling to Africa can be different depending on where you go. Some places are hot and you can wear light clothes like a T-shirt and sandals, but other places are cold and you need to wear warmer clothes. The Africa’s section at Woavel is a place where you can learn about Africa before you go. Here we have lots of information about things like history, culture, music, wildlife, food, health facilities and language. But we must tell you that even if you read everything, going to Africa for the first time can still be very exciting and different from anything else you’ve experienced before.
Best Time To Visit Africa
The equator goes across Africa, and it makes the weather different in different parts of the continent. Some places might have a lot of rain and floods, while other places might be really hot and dry. You should be careful when you travel during the rainy season, because the roads might be hard to travel on. But if you visit during the right time, like from October to February, you can have a lot of fun in different parts of Africa.
You may spot animals in East Africa, or enjoy the warm weather in southern Africa. In some places, like North Africa, the weather gets nicer between March and May.
Travelling to Africa is not just a journey to a place, it’s a journey to the soul of humanity.#woavel #africatravel #visitafrica
Budget & Expenses
When you go to Africa, it can cost a lot of money or not so much, depending on how you want to travel. If you rush around and try to see everything, it will be more expensive than if you take your time and explore one place slowly.
The cost of things like food and transportation is different in different parts of Africa. Some things that people like to do, like renting a car or going on a safari, can be really expensive. But if you’re on a budget, you can still travel in Africa and spend less than $35 a day per person. If you want some more comforts, in terms of stay and private transport arrangements, it might cost you upwards of $90 a day.
It’s important to have some extra money set aside in case something unexpected comes up, but beyond that, you can spend as much as you want if you have the money.
Books To Help You Prepare
- “Dark Star Safari: Overland from Cairo to Cape Town” by Paul Theroux – A travelogue about the author’s journey across Africa, from Cairo to Cape Town, offering insight into the culture, history, and people of the continent.
- “Things Fall Apart” by Chinua Achebe – A classic novel set in Nigeria that explores the clash between colonialism and traditional African culture.
- “A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier” by Ishmael Beah – A memoir of a boy’s experience as a child soldier during the civil war in Sierra Leone.
- “Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood” by Trevor Noah – A memoir by the comedian Trevor Noah about growing up in apartheid-era South Africa.
- “The Poisonwood Bible” by Barbara Kingsolver – A novel about a family of missionaries who travel to the Belgian Congo in the 1950s and the impact their presence has on the local community.
- “The Shadow of the Sun” by Ryszard Kapuscinski – A collection of essays about the author’s experiences travelling throughout Africa as a journalist.
These books offer a diverse range of perspectives and insights into the history, culture, and people of Africa, and can provide valuable context and understanding before embarking on a journey to the continent.
Some Other Sources Of Information
The internet has a lot of helpful websites where people who have travelled to Africa can share their experiences and give advice to other travellers. Here are some of the best ones:
- Lonely Planet: Lonely Planet is a well-known travel guidebook publisher, and their website is a great resource for travellers to Africa. It offers practical travel information, destination guides, travel tips, and traveller forums.
- TripAdvisor: TripAdvisor is an online travel platform that provides reviews and opinions of hotels, restaurants, attractions, and other travel-related services. It is a great resource for travellers to Africa to get an idea of what to expect from their destination.
- Africa.com: Africa.com is a comprehensive website that offers news, culture, travel guides, and other information about Africa. It has a dedicated travel section that covers destinations, travel tips, and other practical information.
- SafariBookings: SafariBookings is a website that offers a directory of safari operators and accommodation providers in Africa. It is a great resource for travellers planning a safari in Africa, as it provides information about the best safari destinations, wildlife, and travel tips.
- Africa Geographic: Africa Geographic is an online magazine that covers African wildlife, travel, and culture. It offers articles, photo galleries, and travel guides to help travellers plan their trip to Africa.
- National Geographic: National Geographic is a well-known magazine that covers travel, wildlife, and culture. Their website offers a wealth of information about Africa, including travel guides, photo galleries, and articles.
- African Wildlife Foundation: The African Wildlife Foundation is a non-profit organisation that works to protect African wildlife and habitats. Their website offers information about conservation efforts in Africa, as well as travel guides and other resources for travellers.
It’s difficult to say what the right way to behave is when travelling in Africa. People still value their traditional customs and ways of life, even though they might also have adopted some Western practices. For example, a Maasai warrior might carry a briefcase in town but use a spear at home.
Africans are usually friendly and polite. If you make a social mistake, people will likely forgive you and find it more amusing than offensive. But it’s important to be polite and say hello before asking for help or information.
Learning a few local greetings can be helpful, but some greetings can take a long time to complete.
Shaking hands is important in many African countries. Men who know each other well might hold hands for a long time and in different ways. Women usually don’t shake hands, but foreign women might be treated like men.
Africans tend to have a smaller personal space than Westerners, so it might feel strange at first. Queues are not common, and people might grab your hand to show you the way.
Most Africans are hospitable to travellers. However, in some heavily visited areas, travellers might be taken advantage of by people they thought were their friends.
The Dress Code
What you wear when you travel in Africa is important. While hip-hop gear might be popular in some cities like Dakar or Nairobi, most African societies are conservative, so avoid clothes that are immodest and revealing. When dealing with authorities or applying for visas, it’s helpful to dress neatly.
If you’re visiting major tourist areas, T-shirts and shorts are generally acceptable. However, in most places outside of tourist-only beaches, it’s not appropriate to wear revealing tops or bottoms.
In rural areas and Islamic countries, women should cover their shoulders and sometimes their hair, and wear long skirts or loose pants.
The Gifting Culture
It’s important to be careful when giving gifts to locals. Sometimes, visitors who give out free items to locals, especially children, can cause problems in the community and make people expect handouts from travellers.
You may get requests from locals for your flashy travel items, clothes or other gifts, but it’s okay to politely decline. If you want to help the people you meet, it’s better to donate to a charity or work with community leaders, schools, and hospitals.
If someone offers you a gift, it’s okay to accept it because refusing it may make them feel bad.
Photography & Selfies
When taking pictures, it is important to ask permission first. Some Muslim women and tribal people don’t like strangers taking their picture, so it’s best to ask before snapping away.
If they ask for money, you can try to negotiate a fair price before taking the picture. Don’t promise to send photos back unless you’re certain you can follow through.
Some Packing Tips
Let’s talk about what you should bring on your trip. You already know to pack basic things like a bag, toothbrush, extra undergarments, etc.. But here are some other items you should consider bringing with you:
- Cash is always a good idea to have on hand, especially in US dollars or euros that you can keep handy.
- ATM cards are useful too, but they may not always be accepted.
- Bring a basic first-aid kit and any necessary medications such as paracetamols. You can buy medicine without a prescription, but it’s a good idea to have some with you just in case.
- Don’t forget mosquito repellent and sunscreen to protect yourself from the sun and bugs.
- If you’re bringing a digital camera, make sure to bring a few spare memory cards so you can take as many photos as you want without running out of space.
- It’s a good idea to make photocopies of important documents such as your passport, visas, tickets, and travellers cheques, and pack them separately from the originals.
- While bottled water is available everywhere, it’s not great for the environment. Consider bringing a water purifier instead.
Some Dos and Don’ts
- Learn a few words of the local language; it can go a long way.
- Interact with local people and avoid sticking only to tourist areas.
- Share your food and drinks with people you meet during long journeys.
- Respect local customs and beliefs.
- Show photos of your family and friends to break the ice.
- Venture off the beaten path; people can be more welcoming.
- Be mindful of your impact on the environment and leave as little lasting evidence of your visit as possible.
- Disrespect elders and officials; treat them politely and with respect.
- Insult touts or hustlers, even if they’re bothering you.
- Wear revealing clothing.
- Get drunk and stumble around.
- Camp or wander across private land without permission.
- Use your left hand for eating or passing things to others.
- Engage in public displays of affection.
Films To Watch Before Travelling
Here are some top films to watch before travelling to Africa:
- Out of Africa (1985) – a classic film based on the true story of Karen Blixen, a Danish writer who lived in Kenya.
- The Constant Gardener (2005) – a thriller set in Kenya that explores issues of corruption and exploitation.
- The Lion King (1994) – an animated musical film that is set in Africa and inspired by the culture and folklore of the continent.
- Hotel Rwanda (2004) – a powerful drama based on the true story of a hotel manager who saved the lives of refugees during the Rwandan genocide.
- Black Panther (2018) – a superhero film set in the fictional African nation of Wakanda that explores themes of African identity and cultural heritage.
- Timbuktu (2014) – a drama that takes place in Mali and explores the impact of radical Islam on a small village.
- Queen of Katwe (2016) – a biographical drama about a Ugandan chess prodigy who rises from poverty to become a champion.
- The Last King of Scotland (2006) – a historical drama set in Uganda that explores the rise of dictator Idi Amin.
- Beasts of No Nation (2015) – a war drama set in an unnamed African country that follows the journey of a child soldier.
- Blood Diamond (2006) – a thriller set in Sierra Leone during the civil war and explores the issue of blood diamonds.
Famous African Festivals
Here are some famous African festivals and the time of year they are typically held:
- AfrikaBurn (South Africa) – April: AfrikaBurn is a week-long festival held in the Tankwa Karoo desert of South Africa. It is an annual celebration of art, music, and self-expression.
- Festival au Desert (Mali) – January: Festival au Desert is a music festival held in Mali, featuring traditional Tuareg music, as well as contemporary African and Western music.
- Lake of Stars (Malawi) – September: Lake of Stars is a music festival held on the shores of Lake Malawi. The festival features a mix of local and international musicians, as well as art, film, and theatre.
- Cape Town International Jazz Festival (South Africa) – March: The Cape Town International Jazz Festival is the largest music event in sub-Saharan Africa. It features jazz, blues, and world music, and attracts thousands of visitors from around the world.
- Timkat (Ethiopia) – January: Timkat is a festival celebrating the baptism of Jesus Christ in Ethiopia. The festival includes colourful processions, traditional music and dance, and the blessing of the water.
- Durbar Festival (Nigeria) – July/August: The Durbar Festival is held in various cities in northern Nigeria to celebrate the end of Ramadan. It features a colourful procession of horsemen and dancers, as well as music and traditional dress.
- Ouidah Voodoo Festival (Benin) – January: The Ouidah Voodoo Festival is held in Benin to celebrate the traditional religion of voodoo. The festival features colourful processions, music, and dancing, and attracts visitors from around the world.
Some Closing Tips
Travelling to Africa can be a life-changing experience. However, it can also be overwhelming, especially for first-timers. But with the right preparation and attitude, you can make the most of your African adventure. Here are some tips and tricks to help you travel in Africa:
- Do your research: Before you go, make sure you do some research on the country or countries you plan to visit. Check the weather, the customs, the food, the language, and the currency.
- Get your vaccinations: Many countries in Africa require specific vaccinations before you enter. Check with your doctor or a travel clinic at least six weeks before you travel.
- Pack smart: Pack lightly, but don’t forget to bring items like a first aid kit, insect repellent, sunscreen, and a reusable water bottle.
- Dress appropriately: Dress modestly and respect local customs. Keep in mind that some African countries are conservative and may require you to cover up.
- Learn some local phrases: Learning a few words of the local language can go a long way. It shows that you’re making an effort and can help you communicate better with locals.
- Keep an open mind: Africa can be different from what you’re used to. Be open to new experiences and ways of doing things. Remember that your way isn’t the only way.
- Respect wildlife: If you’re going on safari or visiting a national park, remember to respect the wildlife. Keep a safe distance, don’t feed the animals, and don’t disturb their natural habitat.
- Embrace public transport: In some African countries, public transport is the norm. It can be an adventure in itself. Try the local buses or minibuses, and you might be surprised at what you discover.
- Be cautious with money: Keep your money and valuables safe. Use a money belt or a hidden wallet, and be cautious when using ATMs or exchanging money.
- Respect Local Culture & Customs: Africa is a culturally diverse continent with different customs and beliefs. As a traveller, it is essential to respect these customs and beliefs to avoid any offence.
- Stay healthy: Health is a significant concern when travelling in Africa. Some common diseases in Africa include malaria, yellow fever, and cholera, among others. Before travelling, it is advisable to visit a travel health clinic to get the necessary vaccinations and medication.
- Be prepared for the unexpected: When travelling in Africa, it is essential to be prepared for unexpected situations. This could include road closures, political unrest, or changes in weather conditions. It is advisable to have a backup plan and keep some extra cash with you in case of emergencies.
- Enjoy yourself: Africa is a beautiful continent with so much to offer. Be present in the moment, take it all in, and enjoy yourself. You might just have the adventure of a lifetime.