I am interested in backpacking SA soon and have a few questions. When is the best time of year to visit SA? Is it safe for women to travel independently in SA? Is it easy to find work while you are travelling? Do you need a special work visa in order to work? Does anyone have any good sample itineraries?
just moving the topic up....lol
I see no one has answered your quesion yet but I figure there is a reason for that - its pretty scattered and we don't have enough info to really make some suggestions.
To give suggestions as to where to go, what to see, sample itineraries and whatnot, we need to know: what kind of budget you are on (some countries are cheap, some are expensive), what your interests are (beaches, hiking, history, jungles?), and probably most importantly, what time frame are you talking about. We can give you a sample itinerary for a 6 month trip over the whole countinent, or for a month long stop in a couple countries, but we need to know what kind of trip you are asking about. The best time of year will depend on where you go (its a large continent) and what type of activites you plan to do.
Is it safe? This is the million dollar question in SA travel, and everyone has a different opinion. In SA, male or female, people do get mugged, very rarely people do get kidnapped, and sometimes tourist get scammed, ripped off, and taken for ride. But if you consider the thousands of tourists that travel in the region on a daily basis and have no problems, these dangers are greatly exaggerated. But they are real, and you need to go having educated yourself on how to travel safely. If you read guide books and travel forums, learn about the dangers, learn about the scams, and take the neccesary precautions, chances are, you will be as safe in SA as you are in Toronto. There's no need to worry about it as long as you are aware of the risks. When I was in Peru and Bolivia this summer I met many many females travelling solo with no troubles at all.
For work? Yes, to work legally in any other country in the world, you will need visas, and seeing as how there are several different countries, there will be several different rules and regulations around this. I've never looked into this myself, but I can only assume that your only chance of getting a visa is getting sponsored by a company that will hire you for a skill that is needed and unavailable locally. For example - teaching english. There is the odd under-the-table work available, such as bartending or working in hostels in tourity towns, but seeing as how this is illegal, they aren't advertised and finding a job is luck of the draw. This type of work is good if you end up in a good town and good situation and want to extend your stay, but probably shouldn't be the focus of your trip, nor your planned source of funds. As a young Canadian, your best bet for working in a foreign country is either to teach english or get a Working Holiday for participating countries like Australia, UK, New Zealand, Japan, Ireland, etc... If you want more info on this send me a message.
Have you checked the existing threads? You'll find a large number of sample itineraries there. I absolutely agree with Degolasse on the safety issue; for sensible travellers, SA is as safe as any non-war-zone could be.
Working is difficult however. Unless you master some unique skill that makes you an invaluable asset for employers, you better forget about it altogether. Unemployment rates are invariably high in most SA countries, and in the unlikely event that you got a job like waiting tables in a tourist bar, pay will completely suck. Better save up while in in Canada.
Please contact me if you have other, more concrete questions, happy travels,
[ Edit: Edited on Dec 18, 2006, at 12:23 AM by bentivogli ]