Introduction to Africa
Africa offers a great diversity to its visitors. Morocco in the northwest of the continent is bordered by the Sahara desert. It is hot, dry and sparsely populated. Egypt in the northeast corner offers fabulous ancient historical remains along the Nile valley. In southeast Africa, Kenya and Tanzania are the center of the amazing wildebeest and zebra migrations. Visitors can still see the big five in the wild here – lion, leopard, cape buffalo, elephant and rhino.
Travel to Africa is more complicated than it is in other continents. Independent travel is more difficult to arrange and information about accommodation and transportation is not as readily available on the internet. We recommend that you take an organized tour, such as those provided by G Adventures, Intrepid Travel and other well known, reputable organizations. Bring a Type C and a Type G electrical adapter when traveling through Africa. The standard North American plugs are not used there.
Let’s Visit Africa
Find information on countries in Africa, including the best time to visit and visa requirements. Then link to destinations in each country.
Best Time to Visit Egypt
The weather in Egypt is extremely hot in the summer months. Temperatures exceed 90 F from May through September. March and November are comfortable months to Visit Egypt.
Visit Egypt – Visa Requirements
A visa for Egypt can be obtained at ports of entry or at the Cairo International Airport. Check your specific country at VisaHQ. For a list of exempt countries, visit Project Visa. Travel to Egypt has been a risky situation in recent years, so check for travel advisories before making a commitment to travel. When the country is open to tourism, it has been traditional for tourist buses to travel in large groups that have spare buses and an armed escort. This applies to cruise ships that disembark passengers from Alexandria or Port Said to Cairo, as well as for trips that leave Cairo for Luxor.
Kenya – Visa Requirements
Most nationalities require a visa for entry to Kenya, however there are more than 40 countries on the list of exceptions. Obtain a visa at the Nairobi airport or get one in advance through a Kenyan embassy or a visa service. Based on our visit in 2013, we recommend that you obtain your visa upon arrival. The line ups are just as long whether you have your visa ahead of time or not. Check out requirements for your specific country at VisaHQ. For a list of exempt countries, visit Project Visa.
Recommended Kenya Travel Vaccinations:
Consult a travel clinic before visiting Kenya. Hep A, Hep B, yellow fever, tetanus, typhoid and malaria are standard precautions. A yellow fever certificate is only required when arriving from a yellow fever zone. Malaria is a risk only in areas with suitable wetland for female anopheles mosquitoes. The Maasai Mara and other areas outside Nairobi are good places to take malaria medication. Review our general Medical Travel Advice too.
Best Time to Visit Kenya:
July through September are the best months to visit Kenya. This is the time when the wildebeest migration travels through the Maasai Mara.
Best Time to Visit Morocco:
July and August are the best months to visit coastal cities like Casablanca, because of the cooling effect of the ocean. It’s better to wait until September or October to visit inland cities like Marrakech, because summers are very hot.
Morocco – Visa Requirements:
Most countries do not require a visa for travel to Morocco. Simply ensure your passport is valid for more than 6 months and that it has a couple blank pages on arrival. A resident permit is required for a stay longer than 90 days. Check your specific country at VisaHQ. For a list of exempt countries, visit Project Visa.
Visit the Seychelles
The Republic of the Seychelles is located 1,000 miles off the east coast of Africa, northeast of Madagascar. Although there are more than 100 islands in the Seychelles, most of the population of 100,000 live in the inner islands surrounding the capital of Victoria. The Seychelles has only had an international airport since 1971. Today the Seychelles are an independent nation in the British Commonwealth and a member of the African Union. Languages spoken include French, English and Seychellois Creole. Most of the islands are granite, which creates striking waterfront sculptures.
Seychelles – Visas Requirements
There are no Visa requirements for the Seychelles. In order to enter, you need a passport and proof of arrangements to leave the country. You can arrive by air at the Seychelles International Airport on Mahé or by cruise ship in the port of Victoria, which is also on Mahé.
Best Time to Visit the Seychelles:
There is no bad time of year to visit the Seychelles, because temperatures are the same the year round. June and July are slightly drier.
There are two ways to pronounce the name Tanzania, as it is appropriate to stress different syllables:
– Tan ZAH ni a
– Tan za NI a
The pronunciation that is not appropriate is Tan ZAY ni a. The name came in to effect in 1964 and is a combination of two former countries – Tanganyika and Zanzibar. The population is around 38 million and it is mainly rural. The capital is Dar es Salaam, which has a population of about 3 million. Tanzanians speak the Swahili language, but English is commonly understood. Due to the influence of missionaries, the most common religion on the mainland is Christianity. The British influence in the country is clear. Tanzanians drive on the left hand side of the road and they use the 3 pronged British electrical outlets.
Tanzanians speak Swahili. Most people don’t realize the accuracy of the language in Disney’s Lion King movie. “Simba” is Swahili for “lion” and the best place to find a lion pride on the Serengeti is on the rock outcroppings. “Hakuna mutata” means don’t worry, which is a commonly used phrase in Tanzania. The most common expression in Swahili is “jambo”. Jambo is said with enthusiasm. The best translation in English to me is Dude. The appropriate response back is jambo too. Here are a few common translations that will help you show respect for the language:
- Jambo – hello
- Asante – thank you
- Asante sana – thank you very much
- Karibu – you are welcome
- Hakuna matata – don’t worry
- Mzungu – foreigner, person who walks in circles (based on whites who go on safaris)
Best Time to Visit Tanzia:
The best month to visit Tanzania is February, because the wildebeest have their young then.
Travelers from some countries will need a visa to enter Tanzania. See the Tanzanian Immigration Services Department web site for details or check your specific country at VisaHQ. For a list of exempt countries, visit Project Visa. Here are the options that were available for my 2011 visit:
- Travelers can get a visa at the airport on upon arrival with US cash. It was very chaotic, because most passengers didn’t get visas in advance. There were only two staff available to process paperwork.
- Obtain a visa from the Tanzanian consulate. You will need to mail in an application, your passport and also a $US money order.
- Obtain a visa by mailing an application and your passport to an agency like IVPSC.com. This is the most expensive option.
The adjustment to the Tanzanian shilling (TZS) is challenging, since there are thousands of shillings to the US dollar. The Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO) is a great place to change US$ to shillings, because it’s the starting point for your visit. The piles of cash are so large that it’s difficult to carry and nearly impossible to count.
Recommended Tanzania Travel Vaccinations:
For Tanzania, we suggest consulting a travel clinic. Hep A, Hep B, yellow fever, tetanus, typhoid and malaria are standard protection. Most medications and injections are at the discretion of the traveler. When arriving from a yellow fever zone, you need a yellow fever certificate. Malaria is a risk only in areas with suitable wetland for female anopheles mosquitoes. The Serengeti and other areas outside Arusha are good places to take malaria medication. Malaria does not affect areas of higher elevations, such as Ngorongoro. Review our general Medical Travel Advice too.