Getting Around Africa

Africa Things to Do Stay & Play Get There Get Around

There are 54 countries in Africa and travel can often be far from easy. With diverse landscapes ranging from desert to tropical rainforest and with some countries featuring extremely antiquated transport networks, Africa can prove an absolute challenge for even the most intrepid traveler.

Traveling overland is one of the best and cheapest ways go get around this vast continent. One popular and safe way to see Africa off the beaten track is to hire a specially designed truck for a tour of 14-60 days. You will travel in a group and often camp in the bush and the price usually covers all expenses including entry into game parks plus food and accommodation. Travelers will have to help cook, clean and push the truck when it invariably breaks down, and the tours usually run on a tight schedule.

Car: For those travelers who have more time, it is possible to hire a car or even drive your own at least around part of the continent; however, this does not come without risk. During the dry season travel on rural roads can be painfully slow, while during the monsoon many roads can be damaged by flooding contain potholes. Travel can be dangerous when outside of the major towns and cities, and travelers are not recommended to drive at night because high speed limits and animal presences mean that accidents on the roads are frequent.

Hitchhiking: A great way to travel for the adventurous is to hitchhike although travelers should be confident of the political situation in each region before doing so. Hitchhiking is a common mode of transport amongst locals, but you will usually be expected to pay a small fee.

Train: Many African countries have extensive railway systems although services can really vary. Southern and East Africa boast worthy networks, and although they can often be very slow, they offer a brilliant way to see the countryside and meet locals. Services in Central and West Africa can be more erratic, but when they do run there are some stunning trips to be enjoyed.

Train travel in North Africa is usually easy with trains in Egypt and Morocco often featuring berths and different classes. South Africa has some luxurious trains including the world renowned Blue Train and breathtaking journeys include going from Dakar (Senegal) to Bamako (Mali) and Kenya’s Nairobi to Mombasa.

Bus: Many African countries have decent local bus services which offer an extensive and cheap way to see the local culture and land. North Africa and South Africa feature extensive services, while bus travel in some of West and East Africa can be tiring.

Air: Several reliable airlines operate on the continent but many of the small domestic carriers do not meet FAA safety standards so travelers are advised to choose carefully, and where possible, stick to major airlines. South African Airways, Kenya Airways and Ethiopian Airlines are some of the best.