Last updated on August 12th, 2020 at 07:12 am
Myths about Travelling to Africa
There are many myths about Travelling to Africa that make us cringe and flinch. However, I wish some were true, the likes of everyone in Africa has a Lion as a pet, wouldn`t that be cool? Or even everyone dons animal skins and no clothing, well that wouldn`t be so bad given that we would never need a budget for those Italian suits and turkey dresses.
Being an African I just know where you hit it wrong and today, I want to clear some of the myths. Though, this misconceptions about Africa mostly come from people who have never been to Africa.
I don`t blame the whole perception entirely on ignorance but also the media takes a lion share in misleading you. The only news you will get from Africa is periodically negative. When DISEASES STRUCK, Poverty Which I believe no country everyone is a millionaire, corruption, crime and of all the things, terrorism which is a global catastrophe.
Let`s now delve in and Stripe of the Myths about Travelling to Africa.
9.) Africa is a Continent.
Africa is not a country? It is a continent comprising of 54 Countries and the second largest and populous continent after Asia. Africa covers about 17% Population and has the highest number of young populations across the world.
Different cultures, about 2000 -2200 different local languages, for instance, one of the most popular countries Kenya has around 68 Spoken Languages, South Africa 11 and Tanzania around 126 languages just to mention a few.
In the political sphere, some countries are headed by the president while others by the prime minister and then the kings, the Monarchies of Africa include Swaziland, Lesotho and Morocco. So, it is a folk tale to generalize Africa as a single country.
8.) Wild Animals Roam Free Across the Streets.
This one I experienced first hand, I had gone to page for Incredible Kenya Adventures back in 2017, they were a couple, their flight was a bit delayed but I stayed put and waited for them for about an hour, Upon arrival I was holding a pager written their name on a tablet, this was at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, Nairobi Kenya. They were not bothered to look at the paging team but you could see from their faces they were Startled as if they just landed on another planet. They were befuddled for like 7 Minutes, only then they looked where pagers were standing and even became more bewildered after reading their name on an LCD Screen. Well, they could move but only signalled me and swiftly I went to welcome and help them with their luggage. This is what the man asked, “Wait young man where are the animals?” I asked him “Which animals Sir?” He answered, “I thought we were going to be welcomed by some pride of lions, is this Kenya? At least he did not say, Africa. He said that he thought we lived with animals and 90% of our land is just bushes with the Manyatta Houses, to say the least. The guide was busy for the next two weeks they stayed in Kenya. They flew back home with a complete perception of “Africa”.
7.) Africa is unsafe.
This is another myth about travelling to Africa. “Are you travelling to Africa alone? Are you insane? Have you written your will? It is not safe, do not go alone. These were exact sentiments by friends and family from her blog when Paula Froelich told them she was going for a solo Walking Safari in Zambia. This country is renown for walking Safaris check how to do a walking Safari-like an Expert.
She did her Safari and flew back home Safely. The myths of travelling to Africa, you will be eaten by a lion alive since they are not used to you, are pure bullshit, we have national parks, reserves and conservancies where you will get all the animals up-close and personal and unless you have a death wish, no way you will dive in Masai Mara River full of crocodiles and come out alive, they will happily dismember you. It is just common sense to be careful and sensible.
6.) Crime is a daily meal in Africa.
I find these myths about travelling to Africa entertaining at the same time disturbing, now which country is crime-free? How do you walk in any street in this world parading your 1 million Dollar Gold Chains and watches? No security guards just the self you? Somethings are common sense, be simple. If you go to Roman behave and act like Romans, don`t treat yourself special and brand yourself a victim when shit breaks loose because of your ignorance. Am not saying Africa is safe or anywhere in the world for that matter. My point is, be sensible, use common sense. Avoid dark and isolated areas, follow your guide instructions and most importantly if you must walk around cities, get a local, that way you will be safe.
5.) Safari to Africa cost a Fortune
Well, this will entirely depend on you. You don`t have to fly to Local destinations, you can use the road, a good Jeep (Land Cruiser) will do. If you need a luxury plus Safari, yes it will break your bank. However, you can choose to do a budget Safari which will be quite affordable. Just because you requested for a Safari quote from some Tour company and got unimaginable figures it doesn`t mean every other Safari will be expensive. You should understand there are two main factors which determine your Safari Budget.
Accommodation: This is the main factor, if you choose luxury lodge your entire Safari package will be high too. Why can`t you choose hotels according to budget? Some even opt for Camping which is way cheaper and helps you connect with the wild and nature more.
Tour Company: Many tourists prefer their home-based travel big Companies, now the moment you book with them. The price will be higher sometimes even double of the prices you could have gotten if at all you booked directly with a local African Tour Company. They have to keep their cut and this makes the prices to skyrocket. To say the least request a quote from a local company and an International Company, keep the results to yourself, now you know. Check common mistakes tourists do while Booking a Safari to Africa Here
4.) All African Houses are Huts
This myth about travelling to Africa pulls many thinking the first building they will see is a hut. This is not true, Africa has sprawling Sky scrappers in their cities and mansions in suburb areas. However, in some rural areas, you will locate mud houses but most of the people in rural areas have build Mansions and only a few live-in mud houses (huts).
The Maasai people have maintained their culture which is a tourist attraction and earns a living through it. They still rock huts (Manyattas) dubbed by Tourists as Maasai Village visit. This activity is common near almost all National Parks in Kenya and Tanzania.
3.) Africa is Corrupt.
This is not one of the myths about travelling to Africa, it is true. My country people excuse me for this but it is what it is. Calling a spade, a spade. Though not everyone is corrupt, most of our leaders are. This infuriates most of us but am non-political and I desire to make problem with no one when it comes to politics. Though I never understand, how a leader can cling on power for decades as if they are the only people able to rule? Young and energetic leaders are ready to serve the public but never given a chance in many African countries. Everything has a price no matter how horrific and devastating it is. I hope to edit this part someday, for now, we keep on expecting the worst from our leaders but never stop hoping for the best.
2.) Not every Kenyan is a Runner.
Africa, precisely Kenya is home for Athlete Champions since time immemorial, however, not every Kenyan is a runner and Not every Kalenjin is a Runner (Kalenjin is a tribe in the rift valley where 90% of Kenyan runners come from). Eliud Kipchoge a Kenyan: The greatest marathoner of the modern era, this is how Wikipedia Describes him. He broke the human record of doing Marathon under 2 hours. Dubbed as “No human is limited”. This mounted this perception and created a tourist attraction where Eliud and other renown runners train due to the favourable climate, The place is known as Iten. Located east and about 35Kilometers from Eldoret, Kenya.
1.) “Jambo Jambo” is widely used.
Any tourist who has ever been to East Africa knows Jambo! (How are you? in the Swahili Language) Is the daily greeting here and there is nothing you can tell them to change that myth about travelling to Africa. When you land here as a tourist, we instinctively say Hi by Saying “Jambo Jambo” I think by now this should be international greetings. However, do not feel cheated, this is special greetings between us (East Africans) and you as the tourists. Please don`t say hi or hello to us as it feels odd. Energetically Say” Jambo Jambo” and you will brighten our day.