||[Aug. 25th, 2009|07:28 pm]
Off to Africa, off to Africa! But where shall I go? I'm currently planning a trip out to that far-off continent in January to visit a friend in the African bush and get some hands-on experience for the Peace Corps lifestyle at its most poverty-stricken levels. This will be a most interesting time getting away from everyone and everything familiar and having nothing but my own wits to keep me out of trouble. It's been awhile since I've traveled abroad and certainly for not this kind of duration - I'm planning to be gone between 45-60 days!|
Budgeting is an issue, but I'm aiming to have enough for about $40 per day on top of lodging and transportation costs. Since a significant portion of the trip will be spent in a village without much opportunity to spend money, this further increases the flexibility of my budget. Simply getting to Niger is the biggest bulk of the cost; a ticket runs about $1,500 round trip. Souvenir acquisition is going to be limited by my desire to haul things around with me, but I have no doubt I'll find some interesting relics along the way that will be worth the added weight and mass.
I've recently acquired a Lonely Planet guide book to all of Africa. Reading through it has me really excited to see all of the wonders. Having been to Kenya and Egypt, I've already gotten to experience the desert heat, the colossal monuments, and the vast herds of all manner of wild animals. However, where I'm going boasts those things (so repeats are in order!) as well as rainforests the likes of which most people have never before seen in their lives. So far I'm interested in taking another safari, doing a camel caravan through the Sahara, a river tour of the Niger river, visiting Timbuktu in Mali, visiting the voodoo markets, finding fossil and gem dealers, trying all of the local foods, possibly scuba-diving, seeing the throne made of human skulls (remnant of the slave trade empire), doing a hot air balloon ride, going to the game and wildlife preserves, doing a rainforest tour, the sky's the limit.
I'll be starting out in Niger, flying in to Niamey and staying there for several weeks in a small village of some 600 people southeast of the capital. After my visit there, I'll have all of Africa available for visiting - the full list being Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Chad, Sudan, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Somalia, Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda, Burundi, Tanzania, Malawi, Mozambique, Madagascar, Comoros, Swaziland, Lesotho, Botswana, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Namibia, Angola, Democratic Republic of Congo, Gabon, Central African Republic, Cameroon, Nigeria, Benin, Togo, Ghana, Liberia, Burkina Faso, Mali, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Gambia, Senegal, Mauritania, Sierra Leone, Ivory Coast, and Western Sahara. The bolded countries are the ones slightly more accessible from my location without flying in to another hub on the continent; I could travel by bus or car for the most part between them. The prospect of visiting the southern tip of continent does intrigue me though, so a flight between hubs won't be ruled out.
Advice welcome! Suggestions encouraged! For those of you who have been there or want to go there, what would you do?
To Do List:
Apply for visas
Get regional maps
Find a good knife, water bottle filter, and mosquito netting