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Old 07-07-2016, 07:05 PM
 
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I've never been to Africa, but have always wanted to go. Any tips one when to visit and what cities to go to? Any must do's or don't waste your time?
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Old 07-08-2016, 01:27 AM
 
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You're going to have to narrow down your question more Africa is a continent with a lot of countries that are all different in their own way. I can give you tips for South Africa but that doesn't necessarily mean it's going to apply to Kenya or Cameroon or <insert list here>.

So feel free to shoot my any questions about South Africa if you need
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Old 07-08-2016, 08:15 AM
 
Location: Kekaha, Hawaii
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I love Zambia, but it's definitely not everyone's cup of tea. Swaziland is a hidden gem as well. However, like dowsieboi said, you'd have to narrow it down a lot more to receive a more helpful response.
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Old 07-08-2016, 09:42 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hawaii Girl 2000 View Post
I've never been to Africa, but have always wanted to go. Any tips one when to visit and what cities to go to? Any must do's or don't waste your time?
That's only slightly less precise then saying "I want to visit Earth".
What do you want to see? Africa ranges from deserts to rain forests to modern metropolitan areas to rural savannahs.
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Old 07-12-2016, 08:55 AM
 
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I've been to 48 of 54 countries in Africa. As others have noted, it's a diverse continent. I think of the continent in two, broad categories: Africa and Disney-Africa. Disney-Africa exists mostly or wholly for visitors. Safari areas fit in this category, as does much of Morocco, and broad swaths of Tunisia, Egypt and South Africa. At the other end of the spectrum are places like sub-rural Niger, where entertaining outsiders isn't of much interest. Between these, shades of grey. If you want hotels (of any kind), restaurants or any sort of prepared food, shops of any kind, transport of a non-communal nature (taxi, driver), commercial people who speak a Western language (Portuguese, French, Dutch, English) you want Disney-Africa. If you're desiring a trip by bicycle or taxi brousse, self-supported with grocery foods, and housing yourself (a tent or tarp you carry, under the stars), Africa may suit you. Hopefully, this will help you focus your thinking.
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Old 07-12-2016, 11:38 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PBob View Post
I've been to 48 of 54 countries in Africa. As others have noted, it's a diverse continent. I think of the continent in two, broad categories: Africa and Disney-Africa. Disney-Africa exists mostly or wholly for visitors. Safari areas fit in this category, as does much of Morocco, and broad swaths of Tunisia, Egypt and South Africa. At the other end of the spectrum are places like sub-rural Niger, where entertaining outsiders isn't of much interest. Between these, shades of grey. If you want hotels (of any kind), restaurants or any sort of prepared food, shops of any kind, transport of a non-communal nature (taxi, driver), commercial people who speak a Western language (Portuguese, French, Dutch, English) you want Disney-Africa. If you're desiring a trip by bicycle or taxi brousse, self-supported with grocery foods, and housing yourself (a tent or tarp you carry, under the stars), Africa may suit you. Hopefully, this will help you focus your thinking.
I think I understand your point but can't say I fully agree with your Disney-Africa analogy.

Perhaps correct me if I'm wrong but I don't agree with the stereotype of Africa that it tends to portray. By saying that Disney-Africa is where you'll find hotels, restaurants, transport etc - you're essentially saying that "real" Africa is not that? Which is incorrect in my opinion.
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Old 07-12-2016, 12:44 PM
 
Location: Kekaha, Hawaii
306 posts, read 218,923 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PBob View Post
I've been to 48 of 54 countries in Africa. As others have noted, it's a diverse continent. I think of the continent in two, broad categories: Africa and Disney-Africa. Disney-Africa exists mostly or wholly for visitors. Safari areas fit in this category, as does much of Morocco, and broad swaths of Tunisia, Egypt and South Africa. At the other end of the spectrum are places like sub-rural Niger, where entertaining outsiders isn't of much interest. Between these, shades of grey. If you want hotels (of any kind), restaurants or any sort of prepared food, shops of any kind, transport of a non-communal nature (taxi, driver), commercial people who speak a Western language (Portuguese, French, Dutch, English) you want Disney-Africa. If you're desiring a trip by bicycle or taxi brousse, self-supported with grocery foods, and housing yourself (a tent or tarp you carry, under the stars), Africa may suit you. Hopefully, this will help you focus your thinking.
This heavily implies connotations, that, in my experience, are not an accurate depiction of Africa.
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Old 07-13-2016, 08:36 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dowsieboi View Post
I think I understand your point but can't say I fully agree with your Disney-Africa analogy.

Perhaps correct me if I'm wrong but I don't agree with the stereotype of Africa that it tends to portray. By saying that Disney-Africa is where you'll find hotels, restaurants, transport etc - you're essentially saying that "real" Africa is not that? Which is incorrect in my opinion.
Note my use of the terms "spectrum" and "shades of gray". At one end of the spectrum sits Marrakesh or Rosebank (Johannesburg) - Western/affluent shopping, abundant hotels and restaurants. At the other end are places like Niamey - a capital city with just eight hotels listed on Tripadvisor; most Americans aren't likely to find these hotels to Western standards. Again, that's the capital. If you think there are lots of hotels awaiting your arrival in Bouza or Agadez, two other major cities in Niger, well...

I don't mean to pick on Niger here. It's just an example. I could have chosen from any of a dozen countries (that I've been to). For (armchair or real) travelers who have only been to Egypt, Morocco, Ghana, Kenya, South Africa, Tunisia, Algeria, Cote d'Ivoire, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Senegal, The Gambia, Botswana, Zambia, Gabon and Cameroon, you've seen the side of Africa that has a tourist/visitor infrastructure, Outside of these places, the level of development for discretionary travel is much more limited; and outside of the capitals, more limited still.

The continent is huge. It's also changed over the 30 years I've been working there. (My perspectives on Benin or Togo may now be dated.) For people who fly in - well, obviously there is an infrastructure there - an airport for starters. But if you're traveling place-to-place by bicycle, as I do, you'll pass many days between McDonalds.

Keep in mind: The question is from someone called "Hawaii Girl" (a fine name). My image of Hawaii - where i used to live - carries with it an image of a certain level of travel/tourist infrastructure. If the original poster was from - just for example - Chad, well, my answer would be different. Nuance.

Last edited by PBob; 07-13-2016 at 09:08 AM..
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Old 07-13-2016, 09:37 AM
 
274 posts, read 293,175 times
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Originally Posted by PBob View Post
Note my use of the terms "spectrum" and "shades of gray". At one end of the spectrum sits Marrakesh or Rosebank (Johannesburg) - Western/affluent shopping, abundant hotels and restaurants.
Yes you have your Rosebank, your Sandton etc but then you can drive like 20-30 minutes away and you're in a township. Drive an hour away and you're outside the city and surrounded by grazing areas with cows everywhere. Drive further and you're in the middle of nowhere surrounded by mountains. The spectrum varies so much within a single country, let alone across Africa.

But like I said, I understand your point where people have a perception of Africa as being this rural area of open areas and no infrastructure. People want the "raw" experience - which I imagine is your real Africa that you're talking more about. But in reality, most of the countries will have a major city which will tend to be more developed with infrastructure and then they will have their rural areas which will have that experience. Tourists don't tend to travel as far as the rural areas. They'll go to Sandton or the fancier Kruger resorts or the richer areas of Cape Town or Durban.

My opinion on tourism in SA has always been the same, we're an amazing place to visit but growing up and living here is a completely different story.
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Old 07-13-2016, 10:04 AM
 
163 posts, read 111,855 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dowsieboi View Post
Yes you have your Rosebank, your Sandton etc but then you can drive like 20-30 minutes away and you're in a township. Drive an hour away and you're outside the city and surrounded by grazing areas with cows everywhere. Drive further and you're in the middle of nowhere surrounded by mountains. The spectrum varies so much within a single country, let alone across Africa.

But like I said, I understand your point where people have a perception of Africa as being this rural area of open areas and no infrastructure. People want the "raw" experience - which I imagine is your real Africa that you're talking more about. But in reality, most of the countries will have a major city which will tend to be more developed with infrastructure and then they will have their rural areas which will have that experience. Tourists don't tend to travel as far as the rural areas. They'll go to Sandton or the fancier Kruger resorts or the richer areas of Cape Town or Durban.

My opinion on tourism in SA has always been the same, we're an amazing place to visit but growing up and living here is a completely different story.
I think we're in agreement here - especially about South Africa. Whether your point of reference is Johannesburg or Cape Town or Durban or Port Elizabeth - a journey of a few miles is quite a long journey. For a would-be visitor who has seen the pictures in the "Amazing Pictures" thread, the parts of Africa with a well-developed tourist infrastructure can look like any big, shiny American or European or Asian City. But, if one travels far outside those areas, the infrastructure dissipates and disappears. My purpose in my reply was just to give some sense of the diversity of the continent. It's easy for someone without experience to say "Oh, I'm going to fly into Nairobi and I'll go across to Lagos" (both fine places, as are Uganda and Rwanda, by the way) thinking it will be like going from Germany to Spain.
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