Africa has long fascinated the imaginations of travelers around the world. There are the largest deserts and savannas in the world, there are herds of animals as if from prehistoric times. At the same time, Africa is the continent that tourists fear the most. So, here are some basic tips you need to understand to know about the continent. Which African countries are best to travel to, what to see in Africa, what to expect there, where to rest, how not to suffer from disease or gangs?
Two Africans: Arab and Black
First, keep in mind that there are two faces of Africa, and they are separated by the Sahara Desert. On both sides of Africa, everything is radically different as if on different continents: culture, economy, nature, places of interest, and prices.
North Africa is mostly deserts, and the population is Arab Muslims. There are few animals (except for camel flocks), nature is endangered except for mountains or sand dunes. However, the most important civilizations flourished there: ancient Egypt, Rome, the Phoenicians, the Arab Caliphate. And there are many buildings, ruins, sculptures, pyramids that remember them. But many tourists in North Africa are looking primarily for beaches: most countries have great resorts there with reefs for diving or surfing. North Africa is not desperately poor and is a safe place: traveling to North Africa can be very convenient and cheap. The most popular North African countries for travel: Egypt, Tunisia, Morocco.
Sub-Saharan Africa is what many imagine when they hear the charming but frightening word “Africa”. There is the so-called Black Africa. After the wet national savannah parks are running antelopes, lions, and elephants. The major of population is black, many of people live in villages, profess paganism, or have recently converted to Christianity. Poverty is tragic in some places, the atmosphere is like 100 or 200 years ago and there is a lack of primary facilities such as electricity, toilets, hot water. In that part of Africa all tropical diseases and gangs are rampant. There are almost no historical attractions, but the wildlife is extremely impressive. Black Africa is poor but expensive for the travelers. The most popular Black African countries for travel: South Africa, Namibia, Kenya, Tanzania, Gambia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Madagascar.
If there is a rule in the rest of the world, the poorer the country, the cheaper it is, forget it in Africa. Black Africa is expensive. Especially if you visit places of interest: some countries ask tourists for tickets that are difficult to understand (e.g., $80 a day in Kenya’s most popular Masai Mara National Park). And Black Africa is even more expensive if you want western quality and cleanliness. But even if you are satisfied with African quality, it will be more expensive than in any country of Southeast Asia. Because the African culture is like this: “if you do not pay a high salary or need a lot of work, I will not work at all”. It turns out that those who work and try (e.g., trade, rent rooms or cars to tourists) are small, and they have such an almost monopoly in many places and can charge high prices.