Common (and silly) questions about travelling to AfricaMay 26, 2016
Just the other day, my sister and I were chatting about her upcoming trip to London.
‘Can you drink the water from the taps? Do people own their own cars? What if I don’t like the food?’ These were just a few of the many questions on her mind.
‘Goodness!’, I thought, ‘I wonder what people traveling to Africa must ask!’
Africa is cloaked in mystery and ill-represented in the media. It’s no surprise that travellers often have numerous questions on their minds when planning to travel to the continent. Most questions are valid, some are just downright funny and ridiculous, but all have their place. Here are a few examples of the more entertaining ones, just for a light hearted giggle…
Q: Are there wild animals in the streets?
A: While it would be nice to answer with a firm ‘NO’, just the other day there was a lion on the loose in the streets of Johannesburg. As it turned out, he had escaped from a movie set and was perfectly tame however we’re sure he gave the locals quite a scare as he was seen strolling around the city. This is however, definitely not the norm, especially not in suburban or developed areas. And as a side note, wild animals are not commonly kept as pets in Africa. This is a big no-no! However, there are always unfortunate exceptions to this and we wish we could say that ALL Africa’s wildlife are wild and free.
Q:Do you have to know how to speak African?
A: Can you imagine how oh-so convenient it would be if an entire continent spoke the same language? Just like every other continent in the world, this is not the case in Africa either. In fact, there are over 2000 languages spoken in Africa. Some of the more common languages spoken are English, Arabic, Swahili, Hausa and French.
Q: Does everyone live in huts?
A: Huts have been, and always will be, an integral part of many African tribe’s cultures. Huts are generally built in small groups and uphold the community based lifestyle that Africa is so well known and loved for. This is not to say that there are only huts though! Quite on the contrary, the majority of African cities are very built up and developed and have adopted the Western style of architecture and living. Villages with huts and more informal housing settlements can generally be found in the more rural areas.
Q: Where can I find an ATM and shopping market?
A: Literally ALL OVER, in the cities and towns especially. When you venture into the wilderness or into the beautifully remote areas of Africa ATM’s don’t really have a set place though. You’ll need to draw cash beforehand in preparation. So when you’re in the middle of Namib Desert or sitting on a house boat on the Zambezi River, don’t expect to find ATM’s as part of the furniture (Although most lodges and camps accept card payments so you’ll be just fine. Don’t panic.)
So, while these may seem like bizarre questions to those who are more familiar with African territory, they are valid concerns to travellers on their first trip to the ‘motherland’. As seasoned safari goers, we’ve heard them all before and will hear them again. To take all the worrying out of your safari, let us do all the leg work for you! Get in touch and we’ll help you plan your perfect tailored safari tour to Africa. Plus, we won’t judge you if you ask ‘silly’ questions.
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