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Africa Up Close-Three Types of Travel That Will Give You an Insider Look

Posted by rafael on November 28, 2012 in Luggage & Travel Accessories

If you are passionate about discovering all that the world has to offer Africa must be a key element of your bucket list. The vastness of this continent challenges travelers when it comes to allocating time and money and deciding how to tackle the best and most impressive sights and destinations. Even if you have large amounts of money and time at your disposal you will need to prioritize and embrace the idea that you are not likely to see all that Africa has to offer unless you commit to a lifetime of travel. Having lived in Lesotho, Nigeria, South Africa and Algeria here are my top three suggestions to help you put together a trip that will challenge you and expose you to the beauty and reality that Africa has to offer.

Before you continue reading keep in mind that I am by nature an adventure seeker and a lover of the road less traveled. If this type of persona does not match your traveling profile you will find my recommendations les than useful.

Travel by Motorcycle

By Motorcycle I mean off-road motorcycle. Riding a motorcycle will give you access to the less than well-cared roads and paths that would otherwise be off-limits if traveling by car. An off-road motorcycle will also reduce the stress of traffic in urban areas and it lends itself to easy storage indoors. There are plenty of shipping companies that will transport your bike to the starting point of your tour or you can opt to pay for a fully managed tour. Expect to pay about $6,000 for a 14-day trip. Favorite routes include Namibia, Swaziland, South Africa, Red River Canyon and Etosha National Park.

Travel by Motorcycle

Travel by Motorcycle

Travel to Volunteer

If you are passionate about people and culture and you are mature enough to graciously deal with some duress consider traveling as a volunteer. In addition to benefiting local communities you will get a glimpse into the culture that is not otherwise available to the average traveler. A key to fully enjoy a volunteering vacation in Africa is to plan a longer stay and select more than one community or destination where to serve.  Volunteerinafrica.com and wideawake.org are really nice resources to match you up with worthy causes. In planning you trip make sure to allow time for the touristy stuff or select volunteerism activities related to environmental causes that will place you in settings of extreme natural beauty.

Travel Slow

If your budget permits the best way to see Africa is slowly. In 1998 after saving diligently and planning carefully my friend Martha and I had the opportunity to visit Africa on the cheap. We started in South Africa and headed north via the Eastern shores. Our trip was a frugal one punctuated by sleeping in backpacker style lodging and eating local foods in the marketplaces. For this type of travel it is important to make some preparations in terms of health insurance and evacuation plans. Additionally for this format solo travel is not the wisest choice. Due to the general transportation infrastructure the bulk of your travel will take place by bus. Take precautions with your cash by storing small amounts in different parts of your luggage and on your body.

My favorite countries to visit taking a slow approach include Tanzania, Ghana, Uganda, South Africa, Egypt, Tunisia and Swaziland. In terms of budget extra frugal and savvy travelers will be able to make it on about $80 per day volunteer travelers will make it in far less, motorcycle travelers will end up spending in the neighborhood of $250 or more per day.

Happy Travels!

Flor L lives in Africa and helps medical volunteers learn Igbo. Flor is a blogger, adventurer and a global citizen.

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