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11. Posted by Utrecht (Moderator 5596 posts) 9y

Petercasie,
You mentioned Sierra Leone as a destination not to travel to. But as far as my information is accurate, it is pretty safe at the moment, for the last couple of years even!
Michael

12. Posted by inanon (Full Member 85 posts) 9y

Hi Peter,

- Between 3-8 months I can’t be certain as I will be travelling Asia at an uncertain pace.
- I love sightseeing and experiencing the true cultures of places I visit, so metropolitan cities etc do not really interest me. I love to be as integrated into the culture and way of life of others.
- I will be backpacking, I prefer being in control of my own trip as I’m reluctant to spent money on a tour guide as I always feel it’s unneeded.
- I would like to spent time in Africa experiencing the off-beat places. I would not mind getting a little taste of Africa as well though
- I do not mind being in a place where I do not speak the language.
- I would like to have a place to volunteer and then travel to it overland visiting countries on the way.

Thanks for the book recommendation, I’ll be sure to get it and thanks for the link :) Danger areas in essence do not bother me as such but because I prefer travelling overland it may cause a problem when arriving at a border or stop me entering a country. I would love to be able to just take buses from here to there and not have to deal with visa’s and conflict (how is that for idealism :D )

Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and Botswana, Lesotho and Namibia all sound amazing!

I honestly really appreciate your help, Planning my Asia trip was a lot of work and it's great of you to help :)

13. Posted by Mel. (Travel Guru 4567 posts) 9y

Howie

U might not have much trouble, at the African borders. It depends on which passport u hold. They put stamps on my passport, but did not charge anything. I even forgot to get my stamp, on the way into Uganda. The border guy did not make a big deal out of it, on my way back to Kenya. However, I was traveling with a Dutch guy. He got charged 25 to 30 euros, at the border, with every crossing.

Also, I got into Egypt, without any trouble, or paying visa fees, via the airport in Cairo.

Mel

14. Posted by petercasie (Budding Member 21 posts) 9y

You mentioned Sierra Leone as a destination not to travel to. But as far as my information is accurate, it is pretty safe at the moment, for the last couple of years even!

"safety" is relative, Michael.. :)

It is definitively not a place i would send someone to, for his first African trip, as is the case with Howie. I'd rather advise to stay out of 'it might go wrong'-places... So many times things go wrong at a moment's notice as many stories on my website show :)

For any traveller, a good resource for travel safety is simply Google:
"travel warning, Sierra Leone", gives the answer e.g. (source was Canadian Foreign Affairs):

"
You are advised against all non-essential travel to the border area with Liberia and Guinea, where transborder military and rebel activity continues. In general, security conditions in Sierra Leone have greatly improved, but Canadians should still exercise caution when travelling by road outside Freetown and avoid travelling after dark. In remote regions, certain essential services may be lacking and water and gas shortages occur from time to time. Crime, including theft and assault, while reduced, remains a problem. Local police may not be able to assist you. Demonstrations should be avoided. Canadians should check with local authorities for the latest information.
"

The internal security rating we use in our organisation does not indicate Sierra Leone is suitable for 'free time' travelling neither..

But you are right on one hand: since the end of the civil war, things have been improving a lot! And it is safer now than it has ever been.. Good for them!!

Peter

15. Posted by inanon (Full Member 85 posts) 9y

Quoting petercasie

You mentioned Sierra Leone as a destination not to travel to. But as far as my information is accurate, it is pretty safe at the moment, for the last couple of years even!

"safety" is relative, Michael.. :)

It is definitively not a place i would send someone to, for his first African trip, as is the case with Howie. I'd rather advise to stay out of 'it might go wrong'-places... So many times things go wrong at a moment's notice as many stories on my website show :)

For any traveller, a good resource for travel safety is simply Google:
"travel warning, Sierra Leone", gives the answer e.g. (source was Canadian Foreign Affairs):

"
You are advised against all non-essential travel to the border area with Liberia and Guinea, where transborder military and rebel activity continues. In general, security conditions in Sierra Leone have greatly improved, but Canadians should still exercise caution when travelling by road outside Freetown and avoid travelling after dark. In remote regions, certain essential services may be lacking and water and gas shortages occur from time to time. Crime, including theft and assault, while reduced, remains a problem. Local police may not be able to assist you. Demonstrations should be avoided. Canadians should check with local authorities for the latest information.
"

The internal security rating we use in our organisation does not indicate Sierra Leone is suitable for 'free time' travelling neither..

But you are right on one hand: since the end of the civil war, things have been improving a lot! And it is safer now than it has ever been.. Good for them!!

Peter

Thats all very well for them but that doesn't help me

16. Posted by petercasie (Budding Member 21 posts) 9y

Howie,

ok, based on your answer, here is what I would propose as a start for an outline of an overland trip, that would take you some to usual and unusual places, easy to start, more off-beat in between. English and other languages. Jungle, savanna, lake and sea (do i sound like a touroperator to you? haha)

[disclaimer: there is not ONE answer to your question, this is just my personal suggestion and others can chip in, but at least it can start you off.]

Start in Kenya, and go overland to some of the safari spots. Some give you the possibility for camping etc.. Public or cheap transport is not a problem, and pretty safe. (stay as short as possibly in Nairobi aka 'Nairobbery' within the expat community) That will immediately give you a good taste of Africa, with the typical savanna, and you will at once see a lot of wildlife in the parks.

Then overland, go to Uganda. Organise yourself in Kampala (loads of trekking companies, expats as well as the main hub for public transport) Queen Elizabeth Park or another park on the West (but don't wander into DRC), and then continue south to the border with DRC/Rwanda/Uganda for a mountain gorilla trek. That will bring you into great jungle area.

Go via Rwanda into Tanzania, or via Kenya (again) into Tanzania. Maybe go to the coast first touching Serengeti wild park and Mount Kilimanjaro along the way (Kilimanjaro can be trekked with a guide. No mountaineering gear needed, and it is great, highest spot in Africa). Then try to cross through in the middle of Tanzania, back to the East (try a railroad trip if you want some adventure!) and stay along Lake Tanjanika all the way down into Zambia. Some of these areas are very safe, but not a soul goes there. (i am writing a story about that area now. Will be called 'Stuck in Mpulungu' or something. Will be up soon)

From Zambia, cross into Malawi. Do a North/South in Malawi eventually along the lake (!), and cut into Mozambique.

That will bring you into another language and very different culture.
Mozambique and the countries further South, I have not been to long enough to give you decent advice.

For volunteering: i have not found an English forum on volunteering travel. I would avoid paid volunteering travel, which seems to be a business by itself. Rather, before your travelling, once you have more or less an itinerary in your mind, contact some of the expats there on the ground (check with http://www.expat-blog.com/en/directory/africa/ ). This is a small but very active blog community with great people. Many of them either work in the aid-world or at least will know people that can help you. So contact those on the ground directly. Don't go through a headquarter in Europe to find short term work (do that only if you want several months of volunteering).
Certainly living on the spot, working, will give you a completely different taste than travelling through, so I would highly advise that...

Voila,

Hope it helps. You will find several shortstories about my travels in Africa on my blog (theroadtothehorizon.blogspot.com). Some good, some bad, but I am sure it will give you inspiration, and get you eager to go too..

I saw you plan to do Asia? Where too? I would love to do Asia again. I went to most of the countries in Asia, but wayyyy to fast (for work).. Need to redo it.

Peter

17. Posted by inanon (Full Member 85 posts) 9y

Peter,
Disclaimer :D Peter that looks absolutely amazing!

http://www.travellerspoint.com/member_map.cfm?itinid=21798&tripid=21798

http://www.travellerspoint.com/member_map.cfm?itinid=20738&tripid=20738

^ This is plan planned trip for Asia so far. I will be volunteering in India for a few months and then Sri Lanka travelling and then I thought I would go to Africa. The only problem with everything you suggested is finances. How much do you reckon that would cost? I will £3000-£4000 saved my entire trip and I have booked initial flight and insurance. I always go into budget accommodation and on public transport etc. In Egypt and Israel when I travelled there I spent £4-6 a day as my budget.

18. Posted by petercasie (Budding Member 21 posts) 9y

Howie,

I looked at both route maps.. Great trip to Asia..!!

For the africa trip:

1/ cut east after you come south of Lake Tanganyika. No need to go all the way to Lusaka. (so you follow the east shore of lake tanganyika all the way to a place at the very south of it, called Mpulungu. Then branch east into Malawi and go south from there, continuing into Mozambique. That will save you a lot of km (and money). There is not much to see from Tanganyika to Lusaka anyway.

2/ Kenya will be the most expensive. they are used to dollar-tourism there. Either find a local expat who wants to show you around or put you up.. (check the expat blog forum i gave the address for e.g.).

3/ if you can't do, then maybe cut kenya all together (you will see the wildlife in Tanzania anyway), and fly into Uganda. Start from there to the mountain gorilla area, and continue as I described in the previous post

4/ In many of these places people will let you pitch a tent. So take one with you, with good mozzie screen.

5/ take local transport, and maybe have a local buy the ticket for you, otherwise prices might be inflated as you will be treated as a muzungu (like 'falang' in thai?)

6/ After Uganda, Tanzania, just see how far your money will take you. Most expensive will be the park entrances and guide fees in the parks. So once you passed Serengetti and Kilimanjaro, you should be living on the cheap.

Oh and take a mozzie screen with you, and 1st class tropical mozzie repellent. Malaria is a big thing in that area, so avoid getting bitten.

Hope this helps.

P.

19. Posted by inanon (Full Member 85 posts) 9y

I only did that route to outline the general direction of my travels. I take it you think an £8 daily budget for 15 months is alright?

Thanks for the help btw

20. Posted by petercasie (Budding Member 21 posts) 9y

Howie,

i think if you do it really on the cheap, you should be able to get by with that budget. (that goes for Africa, I can not remember the prices for Asia as there, my travel was paid for). But that EXCLUDES the entrance fees to the parks (which I can not remember... check on the web).
It is a sharp budget, though, so definitively:
- skip Kenya then (unless if u r with a local expat friend)
- take your tent with you
- local transport or hitch a ride.

I would suggest you take that itinerary as a start and look for ways to keep the cost down.. (youth hostels, camping grounds, local networks of backpackers...)

P.