Forum Topics: So You Want To Travel Africa

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Originally posted by: simply_angelic

As many of you must know, I’ve been jumping around Africa a lot these past few months (just hit the 4 month mark a couple days ago) and here’s some of the tricks of the trade I’ve aquired through my travels.

(1) First and foremost- BRING A FLASHLIGHT OR HEADLAMP!! Power outages are COMMON, you’ll probably aquire one at least once every few days if not a couple times a day. On average, I’d say they happen about once a day. Even if you (by some miracle) don’t encounter a power outage while in africa street lamps aren’t exactly common in most areas outside the major cities so they definitely come in handy at night.

(2) Don’t bank on maps. A few major cities will have them but that’s pretty much it…and even if you find a map, most roads aren’t labelled. Memorize your route and make sure you know the name of where you want to go/where you’re staying before you head out…otherwise finding your way back can be tres difficile. (As from personal experience in Gaborone, Botswana…)

(3) Roadside vendors rock (also known as people coming up to your bus/minibus-taxi offering you food)!! Don’t be afraid of them…(as I was initially). The further north (outside of South Africa) you go, the more common they will become, especially in poorer countries. When people approach your car offering food, chances are it’s the only food you’re going to get for a while…and it’s cheap!

(4)Long-haul buses are everywhere and reasonably affordable. You can travel great distances for like 5$-10$ in most countries. You’ll learn to love the minibus taxis as well, when there aren’t “real” buses as they’re ridiculously cheap. Rules for minibus taxis:-Always try to barter first, you can usually reduce the fare a bit-The best seats in the house are the front by the driver (leg room) but the back isn’t bad because you have great airflow so it’s not as hot-Don’t talk to the driver, there is a man who’ll usually negotiate the fare with you/sit by the big sliding door who you pay and ask where to get off.- Get into the fullest minibus taxi you can find going to the same location you are. They don’t leave until they’re full (usually)…otherwise you’ll be waiting for a while. I think the longest I’ve waited is 3 hours….-knock on the wall if you want to get the driver’s attention or need off early.

(5) Bring food with you on a long trip or money to buy from roadside vendors…there usually aren’t many stops and you usually dont want to get off b/c the buses are so packed it’s very difficult to walk…

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