my backpack

(x1)  | By: lehoa | 1,215 Views | 1 Replies

Hi everyone,

I'm looking to backpack Africa next summer. How long would be suggested to backpack the East and South? Is it safe for a female 2 do on their own? Does anyone have any ideas on companies that organise over landing trips on a budget? Is it best to book with an African company or an English company???
Any suggestions greatly received.
Cheers

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AndyRo

United States United States
Gold Traveler2   Points

Posts: 28


I don't think I or anyone else would recommend a trip like this by yourself, in any part of the continent.
There are no reliable maps or friendly visitor centers, and far too many ways to get lost, mugged, or injured.
If you want to see Africa, you'd be safest going in a tour group, where you can join a bunch of like-minded people and have a guide those trips are relatively safe and fun. (Google 'Africa overland' to see a list of travel agencies)
You also need to travel with armed guards. Probably not in every part, but enough to make you carefully reconsider whether
you really want to go through Africa by yourself.

Two British friends of mine (1 male, 1 female, both aged 24) spent 3 months backpacking around Africa a year ago,
I think they went mostly up the east coast without any serious problems with violence or even major theft.
One did get pretty serious malaria though, and health issues are something that you will have to consider before you do start
your trip.
You will need to assess information about each country you plan to visit on an individual basis,
and should often also consider regions within a country to have some idea of any tensions amongst different tribes or racial groups.
Check out the relevant pages for different countries at the UK's Foreign Office

French will help immensely in West Africa. My friends spoke french so I'm not sure what it would be like to travel there without it.
At least learn some phrases. Ghana is a wonderful country, though, and it's anglophone.

Transportation in Africa is ridiculously dangerous.
That has nothing to do with being alone, or speaking the language, but something to take into account.
Bush taxis often malfunction and the drivers can be quite reckless. Don't count on buses being available 
some countries yes (e.g. Mali), some countries no (e.g. Guinea).
You can almost always pay for extra seats in bush taxis - will make you more comfortable and possibly save your life
if something happens. You can even rent the whole car  (buy all seats) not sure if your budget allows for that,
 but it's the safest choice.
Ferries are dangerous there too. City buses are seriously dangerous, take taxis in cities even if it costs a lot more.

Malaria seems to have broken through larium in Guinea, possibly elsewhere.
Take Malarone (best choice ), or doxicyclene (but it's an antibiotic and you need to be careful about
sun exposure and throat ulcers). Take your malaria medicine religiously and assiduously avoid getting bitten by mosquitoes
other bad illnesses can follow too.


As for your question whether to book an English company or an African, I have no experience with an African company, But I think
that English company is better, my friends booked their trip with Tucan Travel(http://www.tucantravel.com/regions/east-and-southern-africa)
and they were happy, but I suggest to research which company you feel more comfortable with.
And again don't travel by yourself....


Hope this helps...
Andy

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