Getting To and Around Africa!
Fancy spending your next holiday on a one-of-a kind African safari adventure? There's only one way to make it the most far-out thing you've ever done, and that's to plan your trips well enough to sidestep all the arrangement hiccups, communication issues and other travel troubles this continent can throw at you.
The first thing to remember when planning a trip through Africa is the sheer size of the continent: you can spend days tracking down gazelles, giraffes and their hunters the lions through hundreds of square miles of national parks. Just like any other continent of the world, Africa has its share of dangerous areas and pockets of stability, so get updates on the local situation whenever you're headed to a particular African destination.
For convenience, Africa's countries can be seen in terms of climate zones and areas of shared cultures. There's North Africa, countries bordering on the Mediterranean and within the Arabian cultural sphere, which is where you'll find Egypt's pyramids and Tunisia's ancient city blocks. From Europe, it's esy to get flights to cities like Cairo and Casablanca; from Malta or Sicily you can o on a ferry to Tunis or Algiers.
Saharan Africa is home to the Tuareg and the hidden delights of the desert oases; with fragments of its famed mud-sand architecture to be found in once-great imperial towns. Vast stretches of the Saharan Desert can be crossed only on camel or 4WDs.
Western Africa shares a history of former French administration, an equatorial climate and diverse linguistic mixture. You'll find savanna haunts, lonely marine resorts and dense deltas to ford in these region teeming with Africa's densest concentration of people. Some countries like Cote d'Ivore have relatively good roads and transportation links, although some other countries have neglected their entire infrastructure's upkeep and endure a deterioration in peace and order as well.
The geographically core countries of Africa have enormous waterfalls, more safari adventures, gorilla sighting, rolling lush hills and some of the oldest-surviving peoples on Earth.
Eastern Africa is Swahili country; this is where some of the best-managed safari reserves and wildlife parks are. Explore the grasslands where wildebeests and rhinos roam free, taking some of the largest annual land migrations in the animal world. In Zanzibar just off the mainland, you'll find the tales of Sinbad the sailor brought to life in its stone porticos and spice racks. Central and Eastern Africa are accessible from the capital cities, which are often located in the highlands.
South Africa and its neighbouring countries round up the rest of the continent, with its wineries, mines for diamonds and other precious gems, picturesque tablelands and tribal splendour.
If you're flying into Africa, you will frequently find it easier and cheaper to get into West Africa from France, and reach Eastern Africa from London. As flights into Africa are less frequent, plus the fact that it's easier to move between Paris and London,it's better to book your final leg tickets first. Of the many airlines based in Africa, the most trusted ones are in South Africa, Kenya and Ethiopia. Regional hubs are Nairobi, Addis Ababa and Johannesburg, which are also served by European airlines under codesharing agreements with their local counterparts. On the other hand, you will not want to enter a plane operated by several countries with little or no safety certification from international aviation agencies. Be wary of Africa's relatively high rate for air transportation accidents, which particularly plagues these fly by night carriers.
Travelling by land in Africa is quite the adventure; road conditions and service is excellent in a few urban hubs, but spotty and dust-track bareboned in much of the rural hinterland. Duststorms and flood are common enemies of land trekkers in Africa, plus the given tentative political stability of most places you'll come across your way; don't even think about driving at night!
Observe defensive driving against incoming vehicles who might drive into your lane, and be ready to lend a hand for the occasional hitchhiker. Frequently you may be the only wheels coming around for hours, and it is expected that you offer a lift in return for a nominal amount of payment.
If you prefer to leave the worrying to others, get a reputable and peer-reviewed travel operator who can hire vans, road trains or jumbo campers for a couple of weeks. Experiencing Africa this way is less stressful, but definitely more adventurous, more rugged and purely scenic most of the time!