16 countries, six months, $7000 and a lifetime of memories. A trip from Cape Town to Cairo trip loosely follows the east coast of Africa and includes the most breathtaking scenery imaginable. You’ll get closer to the wild animals you’ve previously seen only on National Geographic or behind iron bars in a zoo, you’ll meet people whose generosity knows no bounds despite their poverty – in short, it will change you in a way that’s difficult to articulate.
Any readers of my blog will know that I’m a big advocate of cheap travel, as much to experience the country as the locals do as to save money. But there’s one thing I can vouch for, and that’s that Africa is not cheap.
$1000 US dollars per month in Africa is a doable figure, anything less than that and you’re either dreaming or missing out on the amazing things to see and do in this awesome continent. My $7k has allowed me to:
- Dive with great white sharks in South Africa ($150 USD)
- Climb Kilimanjaro in Tanzania ($850 USD)
- Trek with wild mountain gorillas in Rwanda ($500 USD)
- Watch the FIFA World Cup final in Johannesburg ($450 USD)
- Go on three-day safaris in both Kruger National Park, South Africa; and the Masai Mara, Kenya ($500 & $300)
- Kayak in Lake Malawi ($10)
- White-water raft on the source of the Nile in Uganda ($100)
- Get off-the-beaten-track in Somaliland, Djibouti and Sudan (visas: $200, $20 per day)
These prices aren’t exactly the RRP but after some hard bargaining, some awkward silences and my fair share of arguments a fair price was finally agreed. These prices are definitely obtainable for anyone willing to chance it (remember you don’t get if you don’t ask).
It’s more than possible to use public transport from start to finish (possible of course but not comfortable, I can vouch for that!). The general rule is that one hour on a bus costs approximately $1 – you won’t want to calculate how much you’ve spent on transport on your trip though because it’s all too easy to work out the disgusting amount of time you’ve spent on horrible buses!
Visa prices and obtainability vary depending on your nationality. Generally speaking, the only difficult visa to get is for Ethiopia, try to get that one in your home country. The Sudanese visa requirements constantly change but at the moment it’s easily obtainable in bordering countries (Kenya, Ethiopia and Egypt). Bring US dollars for your visa fees; unfortunately as you visit more countries the cost racks up. Cape Town to Cairo costs a total of around $400 for visa fees.
Malaria, HIV, yellow fever and bilharzias are the main worries on this trip.
For Malaria there are three general tablets – Larium, Doxycycline and Malarone. Malarone, taken once a week, is the most expensive and therefore the best but for a six-month stint this will probably be too pricey ($500+). Doxycycline, taken daily, is the cheapest and therefore the most popular for long trips in Africa. Larium, taken weekly, is moderately more expensive than Doxy, slightly more resistant to Malaria than Doxy but comes with crazy dreams (crazy, crazy dreams really).
You have to get a vaccine in your home country (around $70), and keep your certificate of vaccination with you as you travel.
There are drugs you can take two months after being exposed to water carrying the disease (Lake Malawi, Lake Victoria etc).
I hope we all know about the prevention techniques involved here. Condoms are an absolute necessity, either that or abstinence!
Unfortunately, and I know I risk the wrath of some Africans here, the food in sub-Saharan Africa is not going to rock your world. Ethiopia aside, the food is quite bland and is consumed more for sustenance than culinary appreciation. You do find the odd gem though, check out Zanizibar ‘pizzas’ for example.
So those are the basic costs of this amazing trip (worth every cent), with some additional information thrown in for good measure. If you would like to contact me directly with any questions about Africa or anywhere else I’ve been feel free to do so on Johnny@onestep4ward.com, I reply to every email I get. Good luck and happy travels!