How to Plan an African Route

How to Plan an African Route
Planning a route for a trip in Africa can be an overwhelming process; with 53 countries (including islands) and landscapes that vary from Saharan desert to lush rainforests, the travel possibilities are endless. As you plan your route through Africa, consider time, distance, political situations, depth of experience, and activities.


Difficulty: Moderately Challenging

Step 1
Consider time restraints. Africa is an enormous continent, and travel between countries is expensive by air and time-consuming by land. For shorter trips, plan to focus on one region to avoid spending most of your time in transit. Consider also the travel time between countries or even between cities in a single country. Much of Africa does not have a well-developed transportation infrastructure, and long delays are common. In a time frame of two weeks, for example, you could reasonably plan a route that includes a camping safari in the Masai Mara in Kenya, a visit to the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania, and a day or two at Lake Victoria in Tanzania.
Step 2
Be aware of current political situations. The African political climate is continuously shifting; as you plan your route, research the most recent uprisings and unrest in the regions you want to visit. Rwanda, once the site of a horrific genocide, is now safe for travelers and offers spectacular scenery and unique outdoor experiences such as gorilla trekking. For recent updates on political and social situations, monitor the BBC news website.
Step 3
Focus on one country. If you would like to explore one area in depth, consider planning a route around just one African country. In South Africa, for example, you can hike the stunning seaside cliffs on the Cape Peninsula, watch whales in Hermanus, rock climb in the Drakensberg, safari in Kruger National Park, and surf or shark cage dive near Cape Town.
Step 4
Allow flex time. Travel in Africa is full of unexpected delays and surprises; when planning a route, budget extra time to explore new places or to account for the inevitable transportation problems. With a few extra days of unaccounted time, you might be able to follow a local's recommended hike in Kenya's Nandi Hills or bike through South Africa's wine country. When planning flights, be careful to allow considerable time between flights to avoid missed connections; this is particularly true if you are flying on national airlines in undeveloped countries.
Step 5
Plan a route based on activities. If you would like to spend your time in Africa in the mountains, consider visiting Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania or the stunning Ethiopian highlands. For kayaking, surfing, windsurfing, and other water sports, head to the southern coast of the continent. If you are interested in trekking to remote villages, consider visiting Mali or Morocco.

Article Written By Elizabeth Smith

Elizabeth Smith has been a scientific and engineering writer since 2004. Her work has appeared in numerous journals, newspapers and corporate publications. A frequent traveler, she also has penned articles as a travel writer. Smith has a Bachelor of Arts in communications and writing from Michigan State University.

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