A backpacker’s guide to Africa

A backpacker's guide to AfricaA backpacking trip to Africa can be a beautiful, exciting and humbling experience all at once. Wild safaris, picturesque beaches and majestic mountains make it naturally very diverse. With the addition of rich cultural strains and an ancient historical heritage, the continent offers a lot of opportunities to explore and discover yourself.

The Easy Trials

If you have never visited Africa before, starting with one of the more relaxed spots is recommended. Ghana is considered to be a good place for first-timers for its picturesque beaches, cheap accommodation and friendly people. Chefchaouen in Morocco, with its beautiful buildings and stunning mountain views, is another popular and tourist-friendly destination. Kenya, Egypt and Mozambique are other countries which are good starting points (or resting spots) for backpackers. Safaris in Kenya, though a bit expensive, are not to be missed. Egypt, of course, is spectacular for its pyramids and the Nile. People in these countries speak English, so language is not really a barrier. Theft and mugging is a problem faced in every country, and these are no different. One needs to keep money, passport and other important documents on one’s person for safety.

The Challenging Trials

Sticking to the easy trials, while relaxing and enjoyable, robs you of a more exciting African experience. Eastern countries like Ethiopia and Tanzania offer a more challenging adventure. Poverty level in Ethiopia is high, and backpackers are often interrupted by locals offering help and advice for money, which can be a bit uncomfortable. However the desert and mountains make for a stunning view and the carved rock churches in Lalibela are particularly awe-inspiring. The local meal of ‘injera’ bread and curries is scrumptious and the coffee is divine. Though food is cheap, travel and accommodation can prove to be quite expensive, so clubbing expenses with other tourists is a good idea. Since Ethiopia does not have too many ATMs, it is best to carry adequate cash. The weather is hot and rainy, so travelling light is of utmost importance. All in all, whether relaxing at the tourist-friendly spots or braving the jungle and desert areas, a trip to Africa can be a truly memorable experience for backpackers.

IMG: Thinkstock, iStock, Jovana Milanko