The Okavango Delta is said to be the world’s largest inland delta and is situated approximately 93 kms north west of Maun, Botswana. Travelling 1,600 kms from Angola through to the Kalahari Desert in Botswana, this incredible ‘Natural Wonder of Africa’ is home to thousands of plant, bird and animal species.
After living in Maun, Botswana for 4 months I’ve been privileged with regular trips to one of Africa’s most beautifully preserved wonders. What I hadn’t had the opportunity to do however was gain a birds eye view!
On my last day in Botswana I was treated to a 30 minute helicopter ride courtesy of Helicopter Horizons. After visiting the Delta a number of times throughout my stay by land I was honestly taken away by the true beauty from the sky. There are few things more stunning then seeing the lush African landscape stretch further then the eye can see! Below you can sneak a peek at Elephants playing at watering holes and if you’re lucky you may even spot a few more African animals such as Zebras, Wildebeest, Buffalo and Giraffes.
I marvelled in awe as the river twists and winds it’s way north through Botswana between swamp like vegetation. Rainfall has been dismal this season though the almost dry landscape was no less beautiful then I imagine it would be in it’s former glory. To truly absorb the breathtaking views straight out of the Lion King Movie, I couldn’t recommend more highly exploring the Okavango Delta by sky.
Thank you to Helicopter Horizons for helping me tick off a much anticipated bucket list experience!
Last week I had the pleasure of exploring Cape Town, South Africa's capital city. One word sums up this incredibly vibrant city.. sensational! Cape Town was one of the only places I found myself awake before my alarm clock due to building anticipation. Trust me, this is a rare occurrence! 72 hours in Cape Town will allow you only to scratch the surface of this incredible city so where possible allow for a few extra days! Below I’ve provided you with a compact guide to cover the main highlights and give you a head start if like me you are under time restraints!
DAY 1 - CULTURE & HISTORY
Rise and shine bright and early! Cape Town is waiting for you. My favourite way to explore a city is on foot. Cape Town however is vastly spread out so I opted to join the Hop-on Hop-off Bus Tour to ensure I got the most out of my morning. The company currently operates in over 100 cities world wide and so far I have joined their tours in Sydney, Dublin and Cape Town. How it works? The bus stops at main attractions around the city where you have the leisure of getting on and off at your own pace. Buses generally come every 15 minutes so it is a much cheaper alternative to taxis and you get the added bonus of commentary along the way. Start your tour at 'Stop 5 - Ticket Office' in Long Street so you can enjoy the abundance of cafes and boutique shops. Once onboard my top recommendations are to hop off at both Table Mountain and the Botanical Gardens. Table Mountain, officially named as one of the new ‘7 Natural Wonders of the World’, is breathtakingly beautiful. If weather permits take the cable car to the summit for 360 degree views from city to bay! The Botanical Gardens offers the unique Tree-Top Canopy Walkway which treats you to stunning views over both the gardens and Cape Town Harbor. Daily ticket prices for the Hop-on Hop-off Bus Tour start from R170 per person. Next up on your cultural day is a visit to the iconic Robben Island. Formally a prison until 1996, Robben Island was home to former South African ANC Leader and President Nelson Mandela for 18 of his 27 years in prison. Mandela was a well loved political figure in Africa and he can still be spotted on the South African Rand notes. Be sure to book your tickets online in advance as this is an extremely popular attraction. To make your way to Robben Island simply catch the Hop-on Hop-off bus to stop number 2 and make your way to the Mandela Museum, 30 minutes prior to your selected time slot, to board your ferry. Unfortunately for me my selected time slot was cancelled due to the weather forecast. There is always next time!
DAY 2 - EXPLORE THE REGION
A trip to Cape Town is not complete without fully appreciating the beauty of the Atlantic Coast. For R750 you can join Cape to Addo Safaris on a full day peninsula tour to explore with one of their many dedicated local guides. Start your morning with a drive to Cape Point. The scenic 1.5 hour drive allows you the opportunity to spot pods of dolphins as you cruise along the coastline. Pass through small seaside townships which offer further spectacular views. Marvel at one of the World’s 6 Floral Kingdom’s as you pass through the National Park. Keep a look out for the once endangered Bontebok and Baboons! Once you arrive at Cape of Good Hope you will officially be at the most south westerly point of Africa! The day tour then heads to Boulder’s Beach which in my opinion is the highlight of this tour. Discover a hidden cove with pristine waters. Climb over, under and between boulders to get up close to the African penguins who call Boulder’s Bay home. In winter be sure to bring your bathers as these penguins are known for swimming with tourists. For lunch head to neighbouring area Simon's Town to Kalky’s for the best fish and chips in town. Wander down along the harbor for your chance to feed fish to the local Sea Lion. As if all that isn’t enough, spend your afternoon wine tasting in the world’s oldest wine region excluding France. I was spoilt with a visit to Groot Constantia - Napolean’s favourite wine producer. A perfect end to a fantastic day!
DAY 3 - SOAK UP THE SUN
If you’re like me and hate early mornings, rest assured climbing Table Mountain is all the motivation you need to get you out of bed. Sure you’ve most likely taken a ride on the cable car but why not take the scenic route and explore the mountain by foot? A 2.5 hour hike will see you reach the peak of Table Mountain. The climb is suitable for all levels of fitness. Don’t forget to pack plenty of water and sunscreen as the African sun is quite unforgiving. After you’ve finished your morning hike head down to Camp’s Bay, known locally as the ‘Miami’ of Cape Town. This is a top vacation location for celebrities such as Leonardo Dicaprio. The scenic backdrop also makes for a great movie set so don't be surprised if you see crew filming. Soak up the sun, hire a lounge chair on the beach and indulge yourself at the local ice cream parlours. A tip to first timers - The waters in Africa are typically warmer during winter opposed to summer so before you head for the waves brace yourself! Spend your afternoon strolling Cape Town’s Wharf which was inspired by Sydney Harbour and San Francisco. If you are after a bite to eat I would highly recommend exploring the food markets for an affordable and divine culinary experience. The Wharf Harbor is also home to an extravagant shopping mall with over 450 retailers and international brands such as my favourite Forever New. If you’re on a family vacation stop into the Aquarium for a fun afternoon. The kids will love the interactive rock pools and thrill seekers can swim with the sharks for as little as R600. Please note this is only available to qualified divers.
If you are lucky enough to have an extended stay in Cape Town don’t pass up the opportunity to explore the Garden Route or spot the BIG 5 in Kruger National Park.
WHAT DO YOU NEED TO KNOW
Currency - South African Rand (Estimated conversion rate of 9.2 Rand per 1 Australian Dollar)
Language - Zulu, Xhosa, English and Afrikaans are widely spoken. However there are over 11 official languages!
Cost - I would budget around R3,000 for 3 days. This included 3 nights hostel accommodation, transport, food, activities and light souvenir shopping
Safety - Always travel in a group where possible. For solo travellers stick to the main tourist areas or catch a taxi through residential areas. I wouldn’t suggest travelling alone at night under any circumstances
Pack your bags and head to South Africa! What are you waiting for?
1. PICK A DESTINATION - Check!
2. BOOK YOUR TRIP - Check!
3. PACK YOUR BAGS - Check!
WHAT ARE YOU FORGETTING?
This will be the most important thing you do. If you insure your car, house and contents then why wouldn’t you insure yourself? Travel Insurance covers anything from medical expenses to lost, stolen or broken property. Don’t be caught out of pocket thousands of dollars when something goes wrong. For as little as $1.50 a day Travel Insurance is a must! Be sure to shop around when selecting your insurer. Flight agencies tend to be overpriced compared to your local bank or health insurer. For the last 8 months I have be insured with Southern Cross Travel Insurance for less then an average return flight from Brisbane - Adelaide.
You never know what can go wrong when you are travelling! It is always smart to make several copies of your travel documents. I would suggest 3. One hard copy on yourself at all times, an electronic copy and a copy back home left with a family member or friend. That way if you need an emergency passport issued or to claim on your travel insurance while abroad you can do so quickly and efficiently.
PASSPORT & VISAS
Firstly ensure you have a minimum of 6 months validity remaining on your passport prior to booking an international getaway. For many countries this is a basic requirement for entry. The second important task you need to do is check whether you require a VISA prior to travelling. Being Australian I can travel almost everywhere without a visa or I can obtain one on arrival. Brazil for example however you need to apply online prior to visiting. This simple mistake cost me thousands in lost airfares and no Rio De Janeiro for me this time round!
You’ve gone to the trouble of protecting yourself with Travel Insurance. Don’t forget to protect your body! Vaccinations can be extremely expensive but several countries can and will deny you access if you aren’t up to date with your vaccinations. Not to mention the potentially fatal diseases you can catch if you travel immunisation free. Thankfully most vaccinations offer lifetime immunity meaning it is a once off expense. If you have private health insurance be sure to speak with your provider to discuss any available rebates. For me it was $1,000 and over 13 shots later before I was ready for my around the world trip. I am terrified of needles but it was worth every second of short term pain for the long term gain! I use Travel Doctor in both Adelaide and Brisbane City and couldn’t fault them.
REGISTER YOUR TRAVEL
With so many events happening around the world it is vital your government knows where you are. Whether it be a natural disaster or a terrorist attack your government can not help you if they don’t know where you are. For Australian’s I would high recommend registering online with Smart Traveller.
There is nothing worse then international roaming charges! On my first trip abroad I received a bill from Telstra in excess of $6,000 for a 3 week trip to Canada. All because I failed to look into my contract fees! Save yourself the hassle and either leave your mobile at home, use it for wifi only or invest in a travel sim. When travelling through Europe, London is my suggested city to purchase your sim. Recharge from as little as 15 pound to get you started and enjoy data usage throughout most EU countries.
It is always a good idea to have between $100-200 converted currency on you prior to your arrival. Ensure you covert your currency PRIOR to arriving at your departure airport. Airport retailers offer poor currency conversions and charge excessive commission fees. Throughout your trip I would suggest avoid carrying large amounts of cash due to the likelihood of it being stolen. Travel cards are a great alternative and several companies offer low withdrawal fees and no loading fees. I personally prefer to use my Suncorp everyday account card. For a small 3% currency conversion fee and $5 ATM withdrawal fee it is quick, easy and convenient. All without the hassle of having to transfer money for a 3rd party provider.
4-6 weeks prior to your international departure be sure to alert your bank that you are travelling abroad. I’ve lost count of how many cards I’ve had blocked due to forgetting this simple step.
SPREAD THE WORD
If you are heading away for an extended period of time be sure to redirect your mail, turn on your out of office via your email provider and change your mobile voicemail message.
If you have any additional tips to help fellow travellers plan for their trip I would love to hear from you!
Below is a simple broken down guide of what is required for a 1-6 month backpacking trip. This guide can vary depending on your personal preference. However don’t forget that every additional item you add you have to carry! Remember items can be purchased throughout your trip if you discover you just can’t live without something.
x1 Waterproof Rain Jacket
x3 Long shirts
x2 Singlets - Use for layering clothes
x1 Waterproof Rain Jacket
x1 Boots, Converse or Sport Shoe
x1 Sandels or Flip Flops
x1 Shampoo & Conditioner
x1 Toothbrush & Toothpaste
x1 Body Lotion/Soap
x1 Micro-fibre Towel
x1 Sanitary products for girls
x1 Insect Repellent - A MUST have in Africa! I’d suggest opting for a lotion opposed to a spray
x5 Pack of Tissues - Essential when travelling to several parts of Africa, Asia and Eastern Europe
x1 Lock - Useable for both your bag when flying and hostel dorm room lockers.
x1 Universal adapter
x1 Prescription Medication as required
x1 First Aid Kit
x1 Camera - Charger, rechargeable batteries if required and a back up SD card
x1 Hard copy of your passport, travel insurance, flight itineraries and emergency contact details
x1 Compact sleeping bag - TIP: Use a carabiner to clip your sleeping bag on the outside of your pack
x1 Water Bottle & Filter - Cut down costs on bottled water throughout Europe
x1 Neck Pillow
x1 Head Torch - If you are staying in dorm rooms or camping
x1 Deck of Cards
x1 Laptop & Charger
x1 Mobile & Charger
x1 Power Board
x1 Notebook & Pen
x4 Backpack Dividers - A fantastic way to sort out your belongings
x1 Day Pack
For more advice on packing check out my article - IF I COULD PACK ALL OVER AGAIN
No matter where in the world I go I always make it a priority to learn the the basic phrases of a new language. I do this not only to communicate more effectively while travelling but also as a sign of respect to those I am communicating with.
I have currently been living in Botswana, Africa for the last 4 months and have made it my personal mission to be fluent in Afrikaans in the next 3 months.
Read below to find out how I aim to achieve this!
LEARN THE ALPHABET
Every language has different sounds when pronouncing letters. For example Afrikaans requires a lot of tongue movements to roll letters. The key to speaking a new language fluently to the point that you are clearly understood is to get the main words down pat. Once you achieve this you can then begin to expand with words.
Google Translate is perhaps one of the best tools available for self teaching a new language. Save costs on overpriced language classes and books by using the free online program. The great feature of Google Translate is it not only does it translate most words you are wanting to learn, it plays them out loud for your reference to learn how to correctly pronounce them.
PRACTISE OUT LOUD DAILY
Whether it is when you are in the shower or driving, practicing out loud is essential to mastering a new language. The more familiar you are with speaking a new language the higher your confidence will be communicating with others. You didn’t go through all of your hard work not to use your new skills!
INCORPORATE IT INTO YOUR DAILY LANGUAGE
The key to maintaing the knowledge of the new words or phrases I've have learnt for me is to replace existing words in my vocabulary with my new language. For example; ‘Look at that ‘tree’ now becomes 'Look at that boom' in Afrikaans. That way I get used to the new words I've learn and begin to incorporate them into my daily routine. This makes for an easier transition and increases practise opportunities!
PRACTISE ON PEOPLE WHO SPEAK THE LANGUAGE FLUENTLY
Everyone struggles when learning a new language so don’t be scared to test out your new skills on locals. They will most likely respect you more for attempting to communicate with them in their primary language. It is also a great way to learn by hearing foreigns communicate regularly in their native language so you can get to know the sounds correctly.
WRITE IT DOWN HOW IT IS PRONOUNCED
For me this has been my biggest key to success. Everyone is different though with a kinaesthetic learning style reading and the act of doing are essential for me. For example if I am learning how to say ‘How are you’ in Afrikaans I would write it how it sounds; hoot harn debt. This makes it easier to practise new phrases I have learnt and allows me to refer back to my own guide book when practising alone. It may make for writing the language more difficult later on down the track. For the mean time it is a great way to become fluent in a new language quickly and efficiently!
If you have any tips on what works for you when learning a new language I would love to hear from you!
DISCOVER A NEW SENSE OF INDEPENDENCE
I have always been strong willed, stubborn and independent. Many of those factors are what made travelling solo the perfect choice for me. There is a difference though in being independent in a comfort zone you have built at home opposed to wandering the world alone. This is when you will truly learn to sink or swim. Travelling solo will make you stand on your own two feet. When you are abroad you don’t have a security blanket of loving family and friends to bail you out when things get hard. If you get lost, take a train in the wrong direction, loose your bank card or get robbed YOU need to fix it. It is the most testing times in life when you learn who you truly are and realise that sometimes all you really need is you!
EXPAND YOUR FRIENDSHIP CIRCLE
To travel solo is a decision. To discover the world alone is a choice. Everywhere you look there are people and opportunities to form new friendships. The great news is you aren’t the only person brave enough to travel solo! Some of my best memories I have made throughout my travels are with friends I have made along the way. Everyone you meet while travelling is on the same journey as you... To see the world. The likelihood that you’ve both discovered the same destination is high but there is also a high chance they have discovered somewhere incredibly different that will inspire your next trip. While travelling I wouldn’t have found the world’s best custard tart in Portugal or marvelled at Barcelona’s beauty if it wasn’t for people I’d met along the way. I am a true believer that every person in life you meet will change you in one way or another. Embrace it!
EXPLORE THE WORLD ON YOUR TERMS
The most amazing thing about people is our vast differences. The people you choose to surround yourself with are people who you share common interests with. The reason you are who you are though is because you are different. Don’t give up your dreams or settle because someone shares a different vision to you. The best thing about solo travel is the ability to write your own travel plan. Do you want to see the Pyramids of Giza? Do you want to go on an African safari? Then go! The beauty of travelling solo is that there is no one to holding you back! You don’t have to compromise on destinations. You don’t have to experience things to make someone else happy. Spend the precious time you have achieving what you want to achieve on YOUR trip!
SOMETIMES ALL YOU NEED IS YOU
People always say you can’t love someone until you learn to love yourself. This couldn’t be more true. Travelling solo you have endless opportunities to discover yourself, grow as a person and learn to love your own company. Whether you need some time to find yourself, heal from a broken relationship or become a better version of you, all these things are best achieved on your own. The added bonus is you get to see the world while doing it!
YOU WILL NEVER BE THE SAME WHEN YOU RETURN HOME
Every experience in life changes you. Travelling the world speeds up the process. For me travelling solo opened my eyes to the beauty in the world and also the poverty that makes me thankful to be Australian. I found love in the form of friendships, the African sunset and snowflakes falling in Norway. I have not only rediscovered myself alone but I have grown into the best possible version of me. Travelling adds emotional and intellectual years to your age. You get the opportunity to experience history first hand you learnt in school as a child. You get to meet people from all walks of life who will share their experiences with you. Finally you get an opportunity to invest in yourself to discover your passions, desires and goals in life. After all of these incredible opportunities how could you ever return home the same?
With the Australian Dollar at a 6 year low there has never been a better time to head to Thailand. Thankfully 1 Australian Dollar will see you converting to an estimated 25 Thai Baht. For an affordable, adventure filled, cultural getaway look no further then Phuket!
DAY 1 - CULTURAL EXPERIENCE
For your first day in Phuket, if you can drag yourself away from your hotel swim up bar, I would recommend joining a half day town tour. It is a great way to immerse yourself in the local culture, brush up on some history and spot the town’s iconic attractions such as the ‘Big Buddha’. Book yourself an afternoon cooking class to learn some of the secrets to cooking world famous Thai cuisine! For dinner check out Phuket Simon Cabaret to experience the world famous ladyboys show. Can you spot the difference?
DAY 2 - FUN IN THE SUN
A trip to Phuket wouldn’t be complete without a tour of Phi Phi Islands. Who could resist white sandy beaches, picture perfect views and a chance to soak up the rays where the 2000 famous movie ‘The Beach’ was filmed? Make sure you pack your underwater camera for snorkelling in the islands pristine waters. Colourful coral and fish are stunning here! These tours generally arrive back in Phuket fairly late so I would suggest spending your evening treating yourself to local cuisine and strolling the night markets putting your bartering skills to the test. For something special pick up a sky lantern and head down to Karon Beach under the light of the moon. Whether you are ready to let go of something that is holding you back or wanting to make a wish for the future, releasing a lantern is a beautiful symbolic way to finish your evening.
DAY 3 - ADVENTURE
On my trip to Phuket I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to trek through Phuket’s jungle on the back of an elephant. To get the most for your money several stalls vendors offer combo packages such as quad biking and monkey shows. All of which are throughly enjoyable! If you have some time to kill in the afternoon head down to the Phuket Shooting Range for target practise. If guns aren’t your thing pop next door to Phuket Go Karts for a few laps. For dinner families or couples can’t resist Phuket FantaSea Theme Park. A great cultural night out which includes a buffet dinner, Elephant show, cultural attractions and more. Book your tickets in advance as they often sell out fast!
Please note my recommended itinerary only allows for 3 days in Phuket. If you are lucky enough to have more time available I would recommend enjoying cocktails on the beach in Karon, wandering through the street markets for unique souvenirs, kayaking around the islands or treating yourself to a traditional Thai massage.
MY TOP TIPS FOR PHUKET
1. When bartering always start at at least half of the asking price. Remember street vendors won’t settle on a price with you if they aren't making a profit!
2. Get out of your hotel for dinner! Some of the best Thai cuisines I’ve tasted have been in side streets amongst the night markets.
3. Book your activities locally. When booking in Australia flight agencies tend to charge upwards of 3 times the amount you can bater a tour for when in Thailand. Just be sure to book through an actual shop that can’t disappear overnight!
When a close friend asked me to join a girls trip to Honolulu for a week I jumped at the chance! With some of the world’s best waves, postcard perfect beaches and tropical climates all year round who wouldn’t?!
Let’s start with Waikiki Beach which was one place I couldn’t drag myself away from. Whether I was sipping coconut cocktails at Tiki Bar and Grill (my personal favourite) over looking the pristine waters or working on my tan under the scorching sun I just couldn’t get enough! For thrill seekers there is an abundance of water activities available from surfing lessons to kayaking off the main beach.
If you’re like me who always seems to forget sunblock, drag yourself away from the beach to explore the island. Start your morning with a hike to Diamond Head for stunning views. Head to the Pearl Harbour Museum to visit the USS Arizona Memorial or visit Waikiki Gun Club for a first class shooting experience.
For an authentic experience you can’t miss the Big Chief’s Luau which ranks #1 on Trip Advisor. Learn all about the rich history of the Hawaiian Islands and witness incredible Polynesian dancing. All while enjoying a buffet dinner as the sun sets over the North Shore. This was the perfect way to end my 7 night stay in Honolulu!
Next is shopping! It was a girls trip after all. Waikele Premium Outlets offers over 50 outlet stores with savings starting from 25%. Shop Tommy Hilfiger, Ralph Lauren and Calvin Klein just to name a few. You really are spoilt for choice!
Lastly, a girls trip wouldn’t be complete without more cocktails! Besides from Tiki Bar and Grill which was conveniently located at my hotel, Aston Waikiki Beach Hotel, Duke’s Waikiki is another excellent choice! For a romantic night out view the daily light show available at Sheraton Waikiki overlooking the infinity pool. If you are a beer lover like me you can’t pass up a schooner at The Yard House. They have a large collection of local and imported beers with over 130 on tap! If you are looking to party until the sun comes out check out LuLu’s on a Tuesday night! Most hospitality staff are out and about so there are great drink specials to be found.
With Hawaiian Airlines flying direct from Australia daily what are you waiting for?
As a child story time wouldn’t be complete without my parents reading me the Lion King. It is no wonder that my around the world trip would eventually find me in the heart of Kruger National Park in South Africa.
There are moments in your life that truly take your breath away and for me game driving through Kruger National Park did just that.
After an early start my safari group organised by Acacia Africa headed to the gates of this incredible park. The park has welcomed it’s gates to tour companies for over 80 years making one of Africa’s largest National Parks the perfect opportunity to spot the 'BIG 5'!
As the sun rose over the grasslands I marvelled at the beauty of a herd of African Elephants, watched three 2.5 month old leopard cubs play for what seemed like hours and gazed at a White Rhino lazing by the road cooling down in a puddle. There is truly nothing more beautiful then seeing animals in their natural environment.
After spotting 3 of the 'BIG 5' I was aching to spot the final 2. I was in luck because after lunch I did just that! My tour operator received a tip that a pack of wild dogs were in the area. This is an extremely rare experience as Kruger estimates there are only 200 of these beautiful dogs remaining in the 19,500 sq park. Not only did I see a pack of up to 8 of these beautiful dogs but I got the privilege of seeing the leopard cubs mother attempt to hunt one of the dogs down. It was like I was sitting at home watching the Discovery Channel except it was all unravelling before my eyes. The Leopard was unsuccessful as she failed to spot the rest of the wild dogs pack and was quickly out numbered. How quick the tables can turn. Luckily for the leopard cubs mum made a great escape!
Next up was spotting a herd of over 20 buffalo laying in a riverbank. The Cape Buffalo are arguably the most dangerous of the 'BIG 5' and it was incredible to see such a large herd. My Safari day wouldn’t be complete without heading further north into Kruger where I spotted 2 male lions escaping the African sun under a large tree. These magnificent mammals are incredibly fascinating to watch.
The afternoon was spend appreciating some of the other 147 mammals who call this National Park home; Zebras, Giraffes and Impalas. Unfortunately a Cheetah that was spotted earlier in the afternoon was long gone by the time my truck arrived. However spotting all of the 'BIG 5' and 6 of the 'Magnificent 7' I can wholeheartedly say my safari in South Africa was one of the best days of my life!
For more South Africa destinations you can't go past Cape Town!
Africa is the world’s 2nd largest continent comprised of 54 countries. War, disease and poverty has given Africa a bad wrap over the years so I am here to set you straight.
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.
Welcome to Australian Abroad! This website was created to share my love of travelling with fellow nomads.