Some people perceive Africa as something unified, where borders hardly change anything. In fact, the countries of this continent are very different from each other, although, of course, there are similar ones. Suffice it to say that they differ ethnically, religiously, racially, culturally, linguistically and historically.
It is represented mainly by Arabs and a small percentage of Berbers, Europeans and blacks. Moreover, Islam dominates in these countries, and the degree of safety for tourists will depend mainly on how active the radical Islamic element is in the country. If radicals are kept on a leash, such countries can be considered quite comfortable and safe.
Central African countries
They are populated for the most part by Bantu-speaking Negroids, who mainly practice Islam in the most unexpected mixtures with ancient beliefs and with varying degrees of radicalism. The standard of living here is simply monstrously low, and some residents are ready to send a white tourist to his white forefathers for a mobile phone.
Add to this the fact that the locals are only and that the same person. In fact, they belong to a huge number of peoples and peoples who have been considered a matter of honor for almost centuries, if not kill, then at least rob a representative of another tribe.
The rules here exist only within the community, and in relation to foreigners, its representatives can treat as they please. The locals do not feel any obligations towards them, considering every white person, if not a millionaire, then someone involved in the enslavement of black people.
By the way, the idea of black racism in Africa is quite popular, which a tourist should always remember. However, with proper security, travel to these countries can also be exciting, especially for those who love to tickle their nerves and see the real African tropics.
This part of the continent can be considered the most friendly and secure, especially since this particular region is the most financially secured. Traces of the former colonial rule have been preserved here, including in culture, making the local residents more disciplined. Unfortunately, for most Africans, the extent of this quality is inversely proportional to racial pride and inclination to celebrate at any occasion.
- In South African countries, the traveler does not leave the feeling that he is in some kind of African Europe or in the southern states of America. However, one should not relax here either, because, for example, in South Africa, the black majority still hold a grudge against whites for apartheid, a thing of the past.
- Proving that you are from a country that condemned this very apartheid does not necessarily work. In any case, it should be remembered that the number of rapes, even in South Africa, is extremely high. A significant proportion of the victims are white women, while the rapists are black men. The government condones sexual outrage.
- Add to this the fact that, on average, every sixth inhabitant of this country is HIV-infected, and it becomes clear that women can only “walk in Africa” accompanied by men, and even then only in safe areas and during daylight hours. In the neighboring countries of South Africa, the situation is calmer, but even there you should not count on an idyll.
Which African country to choose?
To deal with this issue, a tourist must first of all ask himself why he is going to this homeland of humanity. Those who are not indifferent to the tales of The Thousand and One Nights, raving about the Maghreb countries, or simply at one time underwent the pernicious influence of the “Clone” series, should visit Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria, or at worst, Egypt.
However, in the case of Algeria, you should be more careful, since it is not the safest country on the continent. Egypt is good, but this is no longer Maghreb, but rather the Middle East with a taste of pyramids, sphinxes, mummies, “imhoteps” and other “scorpion kings”.
You can enjoy the best safaris in Namibia, South Africa, Kenya. Botswana or Tanzania. Those wishing to touch the ancient traditions of the aborigines should visit the same South Africa or Kenya, where you can see the Masai, Zulu, Bushmen or Hottentots. However, in addition to them, the Himba and Mursi tribes are of great interest.
Those who are in the mood for a beach holiday, but are tired of touristy resorts, should go to Reunion, Mauritius, the Seychelles, Kenyan Mombasa, Tanzania or Zanzibar, where the beaches are good and the exotic is more than enough. It is especially pleasant to combine beach vacations with safaris and visits to primitive tribes.
African island regions can also please the tourist with an abundance of beaches. However, it should be remembered that the ratio of price and service here is greatly overestimated towards the first component. Therefore, if a tourist plans to just lie down on the sand, ignoring the sights, it hardly makes sense to go here.
Those who are not afraid of cold weather can visit the beaches of South Africa. They look very picturesque, especially in the Cape Town area, but the coastal waters cannot be called hot. The only exceptions are the beaches located in Kwa-Zulu Natal and in the Eastern Cape, where the warm current allows even the most heat-loving tourists to enjoy a beach vacation.
Those who do not have enough of this exotic should definitely visit Lesotho in the second half of summer, where at this time you can go downhill skiing.
Of course, Africa would not be Africa, apart from its fantastic and diverse nature. A huge number of amazing creations of nature are concentrated on the mainland, which should be seen at least partially. The most important natural attractions in Africa are considered to be:
- Lake Pink (Senegal);
- Tsingi Stone Forest (Madagascar);
- Table Mountain (South Africa);
- Okavango Delta (Botswana);
- Victoria Falls (Zimbabwe and Zambia);
- Volcano Nyiragongo (Congo);
- Kilimanjaro (Tanzania).
The most important sights of the Black Continent
The number of memorable and iconic objects in Africa is incredibly large. The contrasts that a tourist will encounter sometimes go beyond imagination. To get a more or less complete picture of this continent, it is worth visiting at least the following places, acquaintance with which will give the traveler every right to say that he knows Africa.
Kenya’s Masai Mara National Park and Tanzanian Ngorongoro and Serengeti
It is a generally accepted fact that it is here that you can see the maximum number of representatives of the African fauna. Moreover, these parks have beautiful nature that could become the cover of an advertising booklet – everything is so African here.
Despite the fact that the cost of an excursion to these endangered animals will cost a substantial amount, the experience will be simply stunning. At least the tourists unanimously claim that it is simply impossible to convey what they see in words. Unfortunately, there are at best 700 individuals left of mountain gorillas, so in the near future they are likely to completely disappear.
This country is a tourist attraction in itself. Some tourists argue that South Africa differs from other countries on the mainland so much that it seems like a separate mainland. On the one hand, everything here is very high quality and comfortable, and on the other, nature is changing at every step.
Thanks to this, the traveler can move from the desert to the cold coast, from warm beaches to admire the penguins, and from there head to the local vineyards, which are considered one of the best in the world. By the way, you can also taste the local noble drink there.
A particularly important destination is Cape Town, which consistently ranks among the cities leading in the quality of cuisine, hotel service, the number of festivals, sports and more. You should take at least a week to explore the city, but experienced tourists claim that no matter how long they stay in Cape Town, they always want to return to this wonderful city again.
This country has probably the best beaches in all of Africa. Jambiani beach is especially good. It is as comfortable here, as beautiful and cozy. There is no crush or garbage here, which will surely be appreciated by those who do not like the hustle and bustle.
It is believed that this particular desert is the oldest on the planet. Its vastness occupies two-thirds of Namibia. Those who think that this is just sand are deeply mistaken, because the local giant dunes, combined with the amazing sky, create incredibly vibrant Martian landscapes. Equally strong impressions can be experienced only in the endless snowy expanses of the Arctic or in the Himalayas.
Although Mount Kilimanjaro is considered the main peak of the mainland, experienced tourists claim that the volcano Nyiragongo is in no way inferior to the mountain glorified by the classics. It is located in the Democratic Republic of the Congo on the border with Rwanda. However, those wishing to climb on it, or at least get closer, should do it from the territory of Rwanda, since the spaces from Nyiragongo to the capital of the DRC are occupied by several thousand kilometers of dense jungle, in which it rains almost constantly.
Here the tourist must decide what he intends to “do” with this mountain. If an ascent is planned, he should go to Tanzania. There are several routes here that will allow almost anyone to climb to the top. For this, minimal physical training is sufficient. The total duration of the ascent and descent takes about a week.
But if the traveler wants to enjoy the view of the beautiful peak, he should choose Kenya. It is from the territory of this country that the best views of the mountain are, although it is located in neighboring Tanzania. Moreover, tourists will be provided with excellent conditions for contemplation, including comfortable chairs, excellent food and wine.
It has already been said above that Africa is not one continuous boiling cauldron, but there are not many islands of complete bliss here. A tourist should be prepared for the fact that even in a calm country something may change, as recently happened with quite prosperous Libya.
Therefore, before going on a trip, you should carefully study the current situation in the country, at least in relation to the military-political situation. If there are inter-ethnic or inter-religious clashes, it is better to postpone the trip. It will not be superfluous to inquire about the situation at the country’s embassy.
The second most important factor after life is the health of the tourist. In order to return from Africa safe and sound, you should carefully study which diseases are most common in the country chosen for the visit, and which are the most dangerous. It is imperative to be vaccinated against all imaginable diseases. Although in countries such as Tunisia, Morocco and South Africa, there is no need for vaccinations.
It is worth noting that while some of the vaccinations must be mandatory, some are not. However, making them is still desirable. Vaccinations against the following diseases are especially important, according to tourists:
- hepatitis A;
- hepatitis B;
- yellow fever.
The most common African disease is malaria, for which there is no vaccine. To avoid falling prey to this scourge, you should first avoid traveling during the rainy season, choosing drier periods when mosquitoes are less ferocious.
But, if a tourist still needs to visit a malaria region during the rainy season, he should stock up on pills for this disease. Of course, before choosing a particular drug, you should consult your doctor.
It is interesting that travelers, who can be safely called grated rolls, are advised not to use such pills at all, betting on the active use of a repellent and a mosquito net, which should reliably protect the tourist’s bed.
Do not forget about the usual household safety measures. In particular:
- You should not drink tap water or even from natural sources. Only bottled or boiled water is allowed for use.
- You can only eat in certified establishments. Diners should be avoided.
- Before use, fruits and vegetables should be washed with boiled water, and then peeled.
- Sex with local people is unacceptable because AIDS is more prevalent in Africa than anywhere else.
- Under no circumstances should one engage in discussions on religious, national, cultural or racial topics, even if they seem completely harmless.
- Any wound or even a scratch should be treated with antiseptics immediately.
- Protect your head, eyes and skin from the aggressive African sun by wearing a hat, sunscreen, dark glasses and light clothing with long sleeves / pant legs / long skirts.
When should you come to Africa?
Since we are talking about a whole continent, it would be wise to divide it into several parts, because the climate in them is very different. Everything north of the Sahara Desert is considered to be the northern part of the continent.
Although the climate here is much hotter than ours, the seasons are distributed in the same way: high temperatures prevail in the summer, and in the winter months what is considered cold by local standards. Most travelers believe that it is optimal to visit the countries of North Africa in autumn or spring.
- The next zone is the space between the Sahara and the Southern Tropic. Here, the daytime temperature is almost constantly kept at about +30°С, while at night it drops to +15, and sometimes even lower. True, in West Africa the temperature almost never deviates from +25°C, and high humidity is also constantly maintained.
- The third region can be called all countries located south of the Southern Tropic, as well as East Africa. Here in June a rather cold and poor rainfall winter begins. Moreover, in the very south of the continent sometimes even snow falls. Strong winds with rains are the norm. The cold season lasts until October.
- Accordingly, the local summer begins in November and lasts until April. At this time, the region is dominated by high humidity and heavy rains. The Western Cape in South Africa stands alone, on the coast of which two currents of different temperatures meet at once.
- As a result, the local climate is remarkably similar to that of the best wine-growing regions of France and Italy. Naturally, fine South African wine is produced here. The best time to visit this place is in February, March, April, September or November.
When it comes to visiting the beautiful Kruger National Park, it’s best to go there in August or September.
When and where can you see African wild animals?
Traditionally, the best places are Namibia, South Africa, Tanzania, Kenya, Madagascar and Botswana. Tanzanian and Kenyan national parks are especially good – Ngorongoro, Serengeti and Masai Mara.
By the way, Botswana is also of considerable value, since it is no less suitable for observing representatives of wild fauna than the above countries, despite the fact that such a vacation will be budgetary.
- Madagascar is good because this island has preserved a unique fauna, representatives of which are not found anywhere else in the world, including in continental Africa. Of particular interest are chameleons and lemurs, as well as some rare species of monkeys.
- Namibia and South Africa are good for their developed infrastructure, which is incredibly reverent in these countries. Sometimes it seems that in these countries tourists are cared more than their citizens.
Thanks to the excellent roads, gas stations and all the related services, a tourist visiting South Africa or Namibia can look at the animals right from the car. Traveling with children will be especially comfortable in these countries.
Regardless of the country chosen, the best time to observe animals is considered to be a drought period, when visibility is higher, and most trails remain passable, and animals do not go far from watering places, which significantly increases the likelihood of meeting them.
Ethno tourism in Africa
That part of the travelers who grew up on the stories of Mine Reed, Ryder Haggard and dreams of wild mysterious tribes should visit:
- South Africa;
On the territory of these countries you can find peoples who to this day adhere to the traditional African way of life, deliberately refusing the benefits of civilization. In particular, it should be noted:
- the Kenyan Masai, for whom the fame of the bravest of the bravest was entrenched;
- the South African Bushmen (San), who became famous for the movie “The Gods Must Have Been Crazy”;
- Himba from Namibia, who managed to preserve the most ancient rituals.
Of course, there are other tribes and nationalities, but a significant part of them live in such remote regions that it will be very difficult to get to them. In addition, they often live surrounded by other peoples who are constantly at war with each other, and some have themselves adopted this African habit.
In conclusion, it should be said that the issues related to accommodation are best solved with the help of experienced tour operators who have been working in this direction for a long time. This is due to the fact that hotel owners (unless we are talking about “Hiltons” and other elite establishments) can advertise arbitrarily loud, which may not correspond to reality at all. The only exceptions are South Africa, Morocco or Reunion.
As for the cost, then, given the distance of the flight, it is in the middle price sector. True, there are countries where three skins are ripped off a tourist, and this does not guarantee high service at all. However, sometimes even such prices are justified, since the photographs of incredible African beauty brought home are worth it.