Backpacking in Africa: Things to Know

Backpacking Africa

Backpacking in Africa remains one of the most outstanding travel experiences any intrepid and adventure backpacker should try out. Ideally, backpacking is a kind of low cost, independent travel experience with your belongings. Unlike other safaris, backpacking gives backpackers freedom to discover what Africa has to offer at their pace. However, planning a backpacking trip in Africa is something more challenging and in order for you to get the best of this experience, several factors come into play.

Identify the destination

Africa still stand out as one of the unique, the least explored destination on planet earth backpackers should consider discovering. There is a lot to explore in Africa and most essentially, it is only in this magical continent that you find ostriches, dive with sharks and interact closely with nature in just a single day. Take time and go wine tasting, bungee jumping, trek mountain gorillas, chimpanzees, golden monkeys; kayaking, white water rafting to mention but a few.

Africa has very many backpacker friendly tourist destinations, all offering a sense of adventure. They include Uganda’s magical Ssese Islands on Lake Victoria the world’s largest fresh water lake which is shared by all Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania and comprises of 84 scenic islands. The Ssese Islands are unspoiled paradise worth exploring on backpacking tour in Africa. Don’t forget the pristine protected areas such as Murchison Falls National Park a home to big African game and Murchison Falls-one of the world’s powerful waterfalls, Queen Elizabeth National Park a home to the rare tree climbing lion and diverse bird species, Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park for mountain gorilla trekking experience.

Cape Town in South Africa-the true backpacker capital of Africa. In and around this city is amazing right from its coolest hostels, streets, camp bays to the beaches with possibility of you embarking on wine tasting tour. Chill around the cool beaches of Mombasa Kenya especially the Diani beach, visit the Fort Jesus or the ruins of Gedi around Malindi. Need to get the best of tropical islands in Africa? Zanzibar has you covered-this place is perfect for those of you on honeymoon trip in Africa. Other places include Livingstone in Zambia, wild coast in South Africa, Bale Mountains in Ethiopia, Malawi and many others.

When to go for backpacking in Africa

Backpacking in Africa can be done at any time of the year. However, the dry season is preferably the best time depending on the activities or your travel needs in Africa. The dry months of the year to explore Africa on backpacking tour start in June, July, August, September and December, January, February. These dry months are ideal for game viewing experiences in most of Africa’s wilderness areas, hiking, gorilla trekking and many others. To witness the great wildebeest migration in Serengeti National Park in Tanzania or Masai Mara National Reserve in Kenya, take your trip between June and October.

Bird watching is usually ideal starting March through April and November. Most of the migratory birds confine in most of Africa’s national parks and also, several residential birds can be spotted as it is their breeding season.

Pack appropriately for your backpacking trip

Be considered when packing for backpacking trip in Africa and most importantly, pack lightly to reduce on the overload. Essential items should be considered first in your packing list including waterproof sleeping bag, pad, waterproof hiking boots, waterproof tent, backpack, water treatment, kitchen supplies, valid passport, visa, adequate cash, waterproof jacket, puffy vest/light fleece pullover, hat, gloves, sun hat, t-shirt among others. Also, food is very key to consider when planning backpacking tour in Africa.

Prepare adequately

Africa may differ from your home country in many ways. For starters, Africa is not a single country but rather a vast continent which means, you need adequate days to have a complete exploration and in-depth experience. Backpacking tour in Africa requires you to be physically well and where possible, do some exercise prior the actual travel date.

Where to stay

There are many accommodation choices set for backpackers and interestingly, they are pocket friendly. Essentially, you choose from the numerous campsites which are ideal for over landers or opt for rental cars with roof top tents.

How to get to Africa

There are many flight services offered by many airlines to most of the cities with international airports in Africa. You can fly to Kenya or South Africa and connect to your dream destination to start your backpacking trip. The notable airlines to consider for your flights to Africa include RwandAir, Emirates, South African airways, Ethiopian airlines, KLM, Kenya Airways, Turkish airlines and many more.

How to get around Africa

In case you are interested in exploring places away from the city center, there are many ways to get to that particular spot. To safely get to your dream tourist destination, consider booking with a reliable tour operator and embark on self-drive tour if you don’t trust public means.


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