I’m exploring Africa in this article, which is a ginormous continent of diverse cultures, stunning landscapes, and exotic wildlife, with 54 countries that are waiting to be explored. When I began to research getting from Morocco to Cape Town my mouth literally dropped at how long the flight was. I had no idea that it would take around 13-15 hours to fly from the north to the south. Who knew? So, whether you’re a seasoned traveler or a first-timer, I’m here to help you understand ways to travel affordably and safely in Africa. From public transportation to rental cars and airlines, this guide will help you plan a memorable trip.
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Exploring Africa: Take the Public
One of the best ways to experience the authentic African way of life is by taking public transportation. With options like local buses, minivans, and trains, you can do so exploring Africa continent without breaking the bank. Local buses are an excellent way to interact with locals and experience their daily lives. Minivans are cheap, memorable, and popular in many countries. Traveling by train is the most enjoyable way to see beautiful landscapes, and you might even meet an interesting character who shares their unbelievable life stories.
Traveling by Train in Africa
Train travel is a great way to see the scenic beauty of Africa. If you’re planning to travel by train, here are some additional details to help you plan: While exploring African landscapes, you can choose train travel.
- Choose the right train: With so many train options to choose from, it’s important to pick the right one that suits your budget and travel style. Whether you’re looking for luxury, mid-range, or budget-friendly options, there are plenty of trains to choose from.
- Book in advance: Train tickets can sell out quickly, especially during peak season. It’s advisable to book your tickets in advance to ensure you get a seat.
- Be prepared for the journey: Train journeys in Africa can be long and may last up to several days. Make sure to pack enough food and drinks, as well as any medication or toiletries you might need.
- Bring entertainment: Train travel can be a great opportunity to catch up on some reading or watch movies, so make sure to bring some books, magazines, or your laptop with you.
- Stay Safe on the Train: While train travel is generally considered safe in Africa, it’s still important to take precautions. Keep your belongings close to you, lock your cabin when you’re away, and stay alert.
- Enjoy the journey: Train travel can be a relaxing and enjoyable experience. Take in the stunning scenery, interact with locals and fellow travelers, and make the most of your journey.
Booking Tickets for Trains
Booking train tickets in Africa can be a bit tricky, but it’s worth the effort. For the most affordable travel, try the Shosholoza Meyl, which connects all major cities in South Africa. The Premier Class is a more luxurious way to travel, offering spacious accommodations and room service. For the ultimate luxurious train travel, take the Blue Train or Rovos Rail, which offers multiday luxury adventures and the most exquisite train journey in Southern Africa.
Car Services in Africa: Uber and Bolt
Uber and Bolt are two of the most popular car services in Africa, operating in 15 major cities across the continent. Whether you’re in Egypt, Ghana, Kenya, Morocco, Nigeria, South Africa, Tanzania, or Uganda, you can quickly and conveniently travel by Uber or Bolt.
Airlines in Africa
Several airlines operate in Africa, including EgyptAir, Ethiopian Airlines, Air Algiers, South African Airways, Comair, and Royal Air Maroc. These airlines have a wide range of destinations within the continent and beyond.
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Here are a few tips to consider when flying with airlines in Africa: Know the flying tips while exploring Africa.
- Check baggage restrictions and fees: Make sure you are aware of the baggage restrictions and fees for your airline, especially if you plan to travel with more luggage than allowed by the standard allowance.
- Be on time: African airlines often have strict check-in and boarding times, so make sure to arrive at the airport well before your scheduled departure time.
- Be prepared for delays: Flight delays and cancellations are not uncommon in Africa, so be prepared to adjust your travel plans accordingly.
- Stay updated on travel advisories: Keep an eye on travel advisories for the countries you plan to visit and consider travel insurance to protect yourself in case of unforeseen circumstances.
- Choose reputable airlines: Stick to reputable airlines with a good safety record and positive customer reviews to ensure a comfortable and safe flight.
List of African Airlines
- Reputation: EgyptAir, the national carrier of Egypt, is generally considered a reliable airline with a long-standing history. It has received positive reviews for its service quality.
- Services: EgyptAir provides a range of services, including in-flight entertainment, meals, and comfortable seating options.
- Destinations: EgyptAir offers flights to major African cities like Cairo, Johannesburg, Nairobi, and Lagos, as well as international destinations worldwide.
- Reputation: Ethiopian Airlines has earned a reputation for its punctuality and commitment to safety. It’s one of the largest and most respected carriers in Africa.
- Services: Passengers can expect modern amenities, attentive service, and quality meals during their flights.
- Destinations: Ethiopian Airlines connects passengers to a wide array of destinations, including Addis Ababa, Nairobi, Lagos, and international locations across five continents.
- Reputation: Air Algiers is the national carrier of Algeria and is known for providing reliable domestic and international services.
- Services: The airline offers comfortable seating and in-flight entertainment for passengers.
- Destinations: Air Algiers serves various African cities, as well as destinations in Europe and the Middle East.
South African Airways:
- Reputation: South African Airways is renowned for its quality service and a wide network of routes. It has a strong reputation in the aviation industry.
- Services: Passengers can expect top-tier services, including entertainment options and in-flight meals.
- Destinations: South African Airways covers numerous African cities, as well as long-haul routes to Europe, Asia, and the Americas.
- Reputation: Comair, a South African airline, has garnered a reputation for its reliability and professionalism.
- Services: The airline provides a pleasant flying experience with various services tailored for passenger comfort.
- Destinations: Comair operates flights within South Africa and to some regional African destinations.
Royal Air Maroc:
- Reputation: Royal Air Maroc, the national carrier of Morocco, is well-regarded for its services and punctuality.
- Services: Passengers can enjoy a range of in-flight amenities, including entertainment and quality cuisine.
- Destinations: Royal Air Maroc connects travelers to cities across Africa, Europe, North and South America, and the Middle East.
Rent a Car for a Safe and Comfortable Trip
Renting a car is one of the most convenient and affordable ways for exploring Africa. There are several car rental companies like African Rent Car, AVIS Rent a Car, Just Car Hire, and more. Driving is safe in Africa, with good road systems and reliable police protection. ER24 is one of the biggest emergency services in Africa, and you can contact them in case of an accident.
Protection Against Criminals
When traveling in Africa, it’s important to take certain precautions to protect yourself from potential criminal activity. While the continent offers incredible landscapes and rich cultural experiences, it also has a reputation for high crime rates, particularly in urban areas. In this section, we’ll provide some actionable tips to help you stay safe while exploring Africa.
When driving in Africa, always keep your car doors locked, avoid picking up hitchhikers, and park in well-lit areas. Follow the advice of your hosts and avoid traveling at night.
In case of an emergency, save the following numbers: Police:10111, Fire:10111, Ambulance:10117, Arrive Alive Call Centre:0861 400 800, Netcare 911:082 911.
Tips for Women Travelers to Stay Safe from Criminals:
Traveling alone, especially as a woman, can be daunting in Africa. But with the right precautions, it can be a safe and enjoyable experience. Here are some actionable tips to help women travelers stay safe:
- Dress conservatively: Dress conservatively and avoid clothing that attracts unwanted attention. Dressing modestly also shows respect for the local culture and traditions.
- Be aware of your surroundings: Keep your eyes open, stay aware of your surroundings, and be cautious when talking to strangers.
- Stay in public places: Stick to well-lit, public places, and avoid wandering off into dimly-lit alleys or secluded areas.
- Use public transportation wisely: If you’re using public transportation, avoid traveling alone at night. If possible, choose a seat next to other women, families, or groups of travelers.
- Keep your belongings close: Keep your valuables like a passport, money, and phone in a secure bag or pouch, and carry it in front of you or slung across your shoulder.
- Trust your instincts: If something feels off, trust your instincts and leave the area immediately. It’s better to be safe than sorry.
- Travel Insurance: Consider investing in comprehensive travel insurance that covers unexpected situations, such as medical emergencies, trip cancellations, and lost belongings. It provides an added layer of protection and peace of mind.
Africa is a continent with an abundance of natural and cultural diversity waiting to be explored. From public transportation to rental cars and airlines, you can travel affordably and safely in Africa. With this guide, you can plan an unforgettable trip to this exotic and exciting continent, and no matter where you go, always remember to Travel Till You Drop!