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Are you interested in discovering new landscapes, cultures, and culinary journeys? Or maybe you are already hooked on an Africa trip and are interested in some details? In either case, you are exactly right, here on the Travelling Souk! On this page, we are providing some general information and fun facts including an overview of Africa as well as visa and health advice. We – the Travelling Souk - want to inspire to travel to new destinations as well as inform specific requirements so our readers´ explorations can take place in a safe way. Get ready to be inspired for your next Africa travel adventure!
There was a good reason behind the lyrics “It's gonna take a lot to drag me away from you - there's nothing that a hundred men or more could ever do -
I bless the rains down in Africa” from the song “Africa” by Toto. And this good reason behind the song, David Paich - singer and songwriter for Toto – says, was his love for this continent that he discovered when he traveled to Africa. No wonder: the lush, diverse flora and fauna are only the beginning of this culture-rich, vibrant piece of earth. So, let´s attempt an overview of this more than extensive continent to hopefully spark your interest in travel Africa.
With a bit of over 30 Mio km2 including adjacent islands, Africa covers a whole of 6% of our planet, making it the largest continent. Algeria is with 2,381,741 km2 the biggest country area-wise within Africa itself and Seychelles the smallest with 451km2. 60% of Africa´s surface consists of dryland and deserts, also making it the hottest and – after Australia – the world´s driest continent.
The African population is known to have increased exponentially over the last century. Coming with this still rather sudden growth are the typical characteristic of a big youth bulge. This is further reinstated by a life expectancy that still lays way below the global average. In some African countries, life expectancy lies below 50 years. In 2018 the population was measured to be at 1,2 billion with a growth rate of more than 2,5% which is approximately double than the global average. Nigeria is the most populous country with over 190 Million inhabitants and Seychelles the least populous one with 97,000 people living on the beautiful island.
The most diverse continent speaks a whole of 1250 – 3000 native languages. This vast variety is sectioned off into six major language families.
With a climate ranging from tropical, equatorial, tropical wet and dry, tropical monsoon, semi-desert, desert, to subarctic, Africa has weather conditions for everyone. So if you decided to travel to Africa, make sure to do your research about the specific region you are about to venture into. But even with this range of different climate categories: Africa´s climate is more variable by rainfall than by temperature. That´s because - well - Africa is just consistently hot throughout and even holds several records that are heat-based, one of them being that has the highest sunshine duration.
To the most part, Africa´s Flora is tropical and subtropical. Reason being that the African continent does not really extend far away from the equator offering only a few high-elevation regions that would allow for more temperate plants. Botany distinguishes three main African biomes: subtropical desert, tropical savannah, and tropical forest.
The super typical African Fauna can be found in the Afrotropical ecoregion, one of the eight biogeographical realms on Earth. Former known as the Ethiopian Zone it lies almost entirely in the tropics, making it an ideal living space for rich wildlife. More than 1100 mammal species, 2600 birds, 300 different fish, and approximately 100,000 species of insects can be found in Africa.
If you are traveling to Africa from Europe another bonus is that there is almost no time difference! Since you´re mostly traveling vertically Berlin, Amsterdam and Zurich are in the same time zone as Cape Town and Windhoek. Meaning, less jet lag and more time and energy to go out and enjoy your Africa travel to the fullest.
So, dive in and discover the different adventures this continent holds for you: whether it may be classics from a safari tour in Zambia to see the big five, to holiday dreams of snorkeling in the Indian Ocean near Seychelles, to visiting historical monuments in Egypt.
With so much on offer, deciding where to go just might be the most difficult part of traveling to Africa. Few places on earth are harder to beat than this breath-taking continent for natural beauty. There are a million incredible sights to behold, from wildlife in their true habitats to scorching deserts, beautiful savannahs, and deep pink skies. And that's not forgetting its buzzing cities and vibrant nightlife. It is completely up to you what kind of experience you want to have when traveling throughout Africa.
If David Paich wrote a song about his love for this continent, then you know Africa is definitely worth a visit and the adventures you´ll experience on your Africa travels will make for page long diary entries.
Before we venture into our exorbitant adventures and go book our flight let´s considers some legal and health information like vaccinations, visa requirements, and potentially dangerous wildlife.
First, let´s make sure your Africa travel adventures take place in front of a healthy and well-prepared background. We recommend to really gear up on your vaccinations, just to hedge your bet. So at the minimum, make sure your vaccinations are up to date on Hepatitis A, Typhoid, measles, mumps, rubella, polio, tetanus, diphtheria, and whooping cough. Also, a special note if you are interested in traveling to countries with yellow fever endemic: you are only permitted entry if you show proof of the adequate vaccination.
Moving on to visa requirements when traveling to Africa: first and foremost: make sure your passport is valid for at least 6 more months from your planned date of departure from Africa. Second of all: it still has to have enough blank pages for all the stamps you are going to collect! For the majority of African countries, a visa can be obtained at the border. This means you do not need to apply in advance for your visa but can get it on arrival. However, African countries are under constant political flux, so any visa requirements can change overnight. Therefore, always check with the local embassies.
A third point to check in our practical bits and bobs is the wildlife in Africa – obviously not just a chapter, but a whole encyclopedia in itself. As already suggested, if you are an animal fan, Africa is the perfect destination for you. It trumps with probably the biggest diversity of carnivores like lions or hyenas and herbivores such as elephants and camels – and this all running wild! No need to say to be careful and to maybe inform yourself about insects, snakes, and other wild living animals in a specific country before your travels.
Did we spark your interest in some Africa travels? Click on one of the articles we wrote at the bottom of this page and indulge yourself in daydreaming about African adventures.