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RTW - but not Africa?

Travel Forums Round the World Travel RTW - but not Africa?

1. Posted by baluba (Respected Member 407 posts) 8y

Just curious. Why is it with the majority of RTW trips Africa is rarely included? Is it because it has to be 'round' the world as per the atlas and so not round the world plus up the middle a bit? Or is it because most companies offering RTW tickets do not include Africa?
I know being an Africaddict I am biased toward this magnificent continent but, like I said, I am just curious.

2. Posted by Utrecht (Moderator 5597 posts) 8y

Good question!
I don't know much of the RTW ticket rules, but it seems as well that Africa, compared to other continents sees fewer travellers and flights (competition) are less frequent and relatively expensive as well. Also, compared to Latin america and (some parts) of Asia, Africa is relatively expensive regarding accommodation, food and transport and thus less popular. It sometimes is even cheaper to get around Oz, Europe or Canada.
But maybe some RTW specialists can shed some light on this

3. Posted by Sander (Moderator 4892 posts) 8y

It's a combination of fewer flights by fewer airlines in the various alliances, and being south of Europe (South America has the same problem (albeit to a lesser degree) due to being south of North America). RTW trips with more miles (or continents) cost more, and a lot of people on RTW trips start in either Europe or North America. Cutting extraneous north-south movement out from the trip makes the ticket cheaper, and so yeah, Africa often falls by the wayside.

4. Posted by baluba (Respected Member 407 posts) 8y

I understand both of your points. I have checked RTW tickets and none encompass Africa on the standard trips. Admittedly, Africa has a very poor infrastructure in most parts thereby making it harder to get around but I would argue the cost of accommodation and food.
It would be interesting to hear the views of other travellers, I have had it said to me that Africa is considered to be 'dark and scary'. In comparison to South America? Surely not?

5. Posted by Sander (Moderator 4892 posts) 8y

Quoting baluba

I have had it said to me that Africa is considered to be 'dark and scary'. In comparison to South America? Surely not?

I can easily believe that most people have that impression. There's 'scary' bits in South America as well, but at least Ecuador, Peru, Chile and Argentina have a great reputation for being mostly safe countries, with very backpacker-friendly infrastructure, and most of all countless fellow travellers who've explored and returned safely before. In Africa, I'd only say the same for the "edges": South Africa, Egypt and Morocco. Undoubtedly that's unfair to a number of other African nations, and I do consciously realize that - but I still have no idea which African countries in particular are safe (at any given moment I barely remember which ones are currently embroiled in civil war or ethnic cleansings), and since I don't hear a constant stream of good stories or see a constant stream of photos of mind-blowing African vistas (with some of yours the exceptions to prove the rule) :) I'm unlikely to go and find out, and unconsciously lump the rest together as "probably unsafe, and not really appealing". (It also doesn't help that the majority of African photos which I do see feature nothing but wildlife, as for me personally that's something which appeals far less than stunning mountain ranges.)

None of that is meant to be actively critiquing Africa; just trying to explain how and why I have a very shallow impression of (most of) Africa, and am not being challenged to change my mind on it. (Also, there's so many places on my list that I want to see right now. I imagine that if that list ever ran empty, I might go and do research into the places that I just don't know about - but until then...)

[ Edit: Edited on Oct 21, 2008, at 11:34 AM by Sander ]

6. Posted by Utrecht (Moderator 5597 posts) 8y

Quoting Sander

Quoting baluba

I have had it said to me that Africa is considered to be 'dark and scary'. In comparison to South America? Surely not?

but I still have no idea which African countries in particular are safe

Interesting question, and I know it is not on topic, I felt the urge to response. I have heard good stories, read a lot etc. about a lot of countries in Africa, where I actually had the idea that travelling in these countries is actually safer than let's say several parts of Latin America. These include Botswana, Namibia (can verify that myself), Rwanda, Swaziland, Tanzania and including smaller countries like Sao Tome and Principe but even Sierra Leone!. I know that doesn't mean it is safe anywhere at anytime, and regular precautions always apply. The list is longer, but haven't included all countries of course. And of course the areas in the world where things really go wrong or are pretty unsafe are located a lot in Africa, like Somalia, Sudan, Congo, CAR and Nigeria. Still, these countries have safe areas.

Again, off topic but I like these kind of things. Cheers!

7. Posted by baluba (Respected Member 407 posts) 8y

Point taken Sander and as they say 'horses for courses'

Utrecht pipped me to the post re 'safe' African countries however, as we all know, things can erupt with little or no notice. Even what was considered as the relatively safe and popular destination of Kenya suddenly found itself off the tourist map following unexpected drought and political violence.

I, personally, have never felt unsafe in all of the 20 African countries I have visited although I do have a little trepidation over my forthcoming trip to DRC and Burundi. But I fully intend to take some magnificent 'vista' shots just for you Sander (Unfortunately it peed down with rain throughout most of my last trip which doesn't make for good photos!)

Perhaps this is a personal choice thing; rotten roads and cutsie lions v magnificent scenery and civilisation???

8. Posted by aharrold45 (Travel Guru 1281 posts) 8y

I think that the main reason for it not being on many RTW itineraries is due to the lack of RTW Tickets that have airlines which allow easy to use multiple flights within Africa. Take the One World alliance, the only ways to get to the continent is going from Sydney - Johannesburg, Hong Kong - Johannesburg, London - Johannesburg and Madrid - Johannesburg. This means that onece you get there unless you take an overland section you are basically restricted to the one flight in to the continent and one out unless you go overland to another country and get a flight to London if heading in a westerly direction on the ticket.

Star Alliance has a couple of options, but it is still hard to take in mutiple stops outside of South Africa.

Round The World Journey (A new alliance which has Kenyan, South African, Malaysian and Emirates to name a few) allows for a trip to include multiple stops in the continent, but again it is not overly easy and seeing Emirates is coming off the ticket as of December 1, it is going to make it even harder.

It is not like in Europe where you have multiple budget airlines flying around so if you land in somewhere like Johannesburg you can cheaply get to places a few countries away. You can pay as much for a one way ticket that takes a few hours in Africa as you do for a long haul flight from Australia to the UK or vice versa. For most travellers this amount of money can not be justified.

That's not to mention that basically your only way in to the continent (apart from Egypt which is considered Europe on the RTW tickets) is via Johannesburg which has a reputation for being the carjacking, robbery and mugging capital of africa and one of the most dangerous cities on earth. I am only going to be there for about 15 hours and I am really concerned about it, but to see the other bits I am not so concerned about it means I have to go there. It also means a killer 2 days straight on flights or in airports getting from Africa - South America.

9. Posted by baluba (Respected Member 407 posts) 8y

Very true!
Jo'burg though is not that scary, I managed to wander around downtown on my own, the only white person visible, and found everyone incredibly friendly and helpful. Maybe I was just lucky. While you are there, why not take a bus to the Apartheid Museum, a real eye opener, or even do some shopping at Sandton Mall, lots of things you could do. If you are scared of buses, just take a cab. Otherwise, the airport is vast, safe and very pleasant. Dont envy your journey though..ugh!

10. Posted by t_maia (Travel Guru 3289 posts) 8y

Baluba, I am a muslim-country addict and the situation is similar in the Middle East and Central Asia. Try to visit certain countries in these regions on an RTW ticket and either the price skyrockets to unreasonable levels or there is no coverage at all. It is especially dire when you want to combine Central Asia or Russia and the Middle East - there is no ticket offering that.