Read below to discover the truth behind common misconceptions made about Africa!
1. AFRICA IS CHEAP
Sadly Africa is a lot more expensive then you think! On average a flight from Botswana to South Africa is the same price as flying from Brisbane to Perth. Sure if you are visiting Botswana the exchange rate is in your favour with 1 Australian Dollar buying 7 Pula. All it means though is a tub of ice cream costs 40 Pula opposed to $5 back home.The same can be said for fuel which costs about 500 Pula for a full tank. Plus for many travellers you have the added cost of having to buy bottled water throughout most of the continent. To cut down costs while travelling in Africa join an overland tour or free camp in the bush. Both offer a unique travelling experience while avoiding spending thousands of dollars travelling solo.
2. AFRICA IS TOO DANGEROUS FOR TRAVEL
This has to be one of the biggest misconceptions of Africa. As of late this misconception can be associated with the Ebola out break in early February last year. The world went into panic. Claiming over 10,000 lives to date it is easy to understand why. However Ebola is predominately contained to the North West regions of Africa making travel to the rest of the continent fairly safe. Whether it be disease, political unrest or natural disaster as recently experienced by Vanuatu, there are risks involved with travelling to any part of the world. I wouldn’t suggest travelling to areas such as Southern Sudan due to the extreme unrest but with the majestic Victoria Falls in Zambia/Zimbabwe, the Okavango Delta in Botswana and the Great Serengeti Migration to be seen in Tanzania why wouldn’t you explore Africa?
3. I WILL LOOSE WEIGHT TRAVELLING TO AFRICA
I must admit when I was leaving Europe headed to Africa in December I had high hopes of shedding a few travel kilos I had gained eating my way through Italy. How wrong I was! No one produces meat better then Africa. In fact weekend Braai’s are a local tradition cooking anything from Ox Tail (locally known as Potjie) to finely cut rump steak. As for fast-food? Wimpy’s and Nando's are both popular chains in Southern Africa. KFC has also made an appearance in Maun, Botswana earlier this year. Supermarket shopping can often become a scavenger hunt with limited stock. However, most foods can be sourced if you are happy to spend an afternoon visiting several outlets. As for chocolate? Be rest assured Kit-Kats and Cadbury bars can be found throughout Africa. It doesn’t quite taste the same as other continents though. For Australian’s travelling in South Africa be sure to pick up Vegemite and Tim Tams as these aren't as easily sourced the further north you travel.
4. EVERYONE IN AFRICA LIVES IN HUTS
Sure there are thousands of tribes that live remotely throughout Africa but many live just like you and me! Infrastructure is growing rapidly! For the last 4 months I’ve been living in Botswana I have happily enjoyed the basics of the western world; Hot showers, electricity, wifi internet and subscription television. All in an actual house! Head to larger cities such as Cape Town and Francistown where shopping malls are in abundance. For more rural areas or villages in Africa walk through town to pick up handmade bracelets, artwork and sculptures.
5. YOU WILL SPOT WILD ANIMALS EVERYWHERE IN AFRICA
This is an common misconception made by foreigners as Africa is home to the famous ‘BIG 5’. Let me put it in perspective for you. Australia is home to native kangaroos but do you see us riding them down the streets of Melbourne? No. The same can be said for Africa. Though donkeys is a convenient method of travel! Africa is home to over 1100 mammals who for the most part roam freely in National Parks. In Southern Africa head to Kruger National Park in South Africa, The Okavango Delta and The Chobe River in Botswana and Etosha National Park in Namibia for your best chance at spotting these incredible mammals up close. For me calling Maun, Botswana home (gateway to the Okavango Delta) I’m content waking up to monkeys playing in my backyard and watching the occasional Elephant cross the main tar roads when heading to Nata, Botswana for a weekend away.