Like many developing regions, African countries have been plagued with false impressions, from the level of urban development on the continent to wildlife roaming free in the cities. Here is a list of common misconceptions about travelling in Africa:
It’s always scorching hot
The northern and southern tips of Africa have a Mediterranean climate. While Southern Africa experiences the winter dry season between May and October, much of the rest of the continent lies between the Tropic of Capricorn and the Tropic of Cancer. Travel in Central Africa is recommended from June to September; in West Africa from October to May; and North Africa’s dry season is from October to March. So rather than counting Africa out as a travel destination, simply plan your vacation with the seasons and regions in mind.
Africa is a country
The continent is made up of 54 countries, with more than about 3 000 tribes, and between 1 500 and 2 000 languages. Needless to say, it’s one the most diverse and complex land masses, with distinct cultures, traditions and people.
Everyone knows everyone
With 1,216 billion people, Africa is the second-largest continent, surpassed by Asia in terms of population. In 2015 alone, the UN’s Department of Economic and Social Affairs released the findings of a study of the world’s population, and forecasted that within 35 years about half the world’s population growth would be situated within nine countries, including the DRC, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Tanzania and Uganda
Getting around is a mission
Travel between and within countries can be done by plane, road or train, which has been made possible by infrastructural development through the years. Some major cities are on par with some of the very best in the world. More focus is also being placed on facilitating cross-border trade through improved infrastructure. The Deccan Herald reported that in 2015, South Africa had improved its cross-border infrastructure ranking to 55, according to the World Economic Forum. Such steps also open doors to cross-country travel opportunities.
Wildlife roams free in the cities
This misconception may be one of the oldest and most outlandish. The safari travel sector is one of the continent’s biggest offerings, costing about $2 600 (R36 000) per holiday, according to Today Online. South Africa alone has a variety of public and privately owned game parks and animal conservation groups. The South African National Parks manages 21 national parks in seven out of the nine SA provinces, and is recognised as a world leader in conservation and protected area management where much of the wildlife such as the Big Five roam.