The Essential Backpacker's Guide to Africa – Part 1

Published: 08/08/2014

Backpacking is a less expensive and more adventurous way to see the world, is it not? As someone who loves backpacking, you want to see as much as you can while you are still physically able to do so. Backpacking gives you that opportunity. Moreover, as long as you're doing it, put Africa on your list of backpacking destinations.

Africa is a backpacker's paradise for lots of reasons. First and foremost, it is not the most visited destination for world travellers. That means there are lots of places within Africa you can have all to yourself. Having said that, those who do visit usually have one thing in common: they have come to Africa for the adventure.

We've put together a four-part series to help you make the most of your backpacking trip in Africa. Before we get to specific destinations, let us discuss three important things you need to know about this wonderful place. The more you know about Africa, the more enjoyable your trip will be.

The Wilderness

Africa might be the second-largest and second most populous continent on the planet, but the vast majority of its population is concentrated in a relatively small geographic area. There are vast swathes of African wilderness dominated by nature at its finest. There is no other place on earth where you will see such diversity of animal and plant life in such a raw environment.

We tell you this as a gentle warning to plan your trip carefully. Yes, part of the adventure of backpacking is to simply go as your heart directs. However, that is not wise in Africa. Without a plan, you could easily to find yourself in a dangerous situation.

The People

The African continent is home to more than 1 billion people, half of whom are under the age of 20. There are also no fewer than 50 independent states all across the continent. What does this mean for you? It means you will experience a full range of diverse cultures as you move from one region to the next. You will encounter dozens of different tribes, multiple economic and social classes, and so on. Unfortunately, you may not always find the locals as hospitable as you'd like.

The Transportation

One of the biggest challenges you will face as you travel through Africa is transportation. There may be lots of it, but most the time you will be riding in ancient, broken down buses or in the back of a pickup truck or wooden cart. It may begin to wear on you after several weeks on the continent.

Despite its challenges, Africa offers plenty of adventure and excitement. We recommend working with an experienced travel agent or someone who has previously backpacked through Africa to plan and implement your trip. The experience of others goes a long way toward making sure you truly enjoy yourself.

That's all for now. Join us for part two of this series as we take a look at some of the high points of North Africa.

Posted in: Travel Destinations
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