Your Gap year guide to Africa

Your Gap year guide to Africa

Your Gap year guide to Africa

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Your Gap year guide to Africa

By: Bruce Haxton
Posted: May 19, 2009


Africa has the size, diversity and beauty to be the perfect gap year destination. With a year in which to explore its worth travelling that bit further find somewhere that will hold your attention and from the most colourful cities on the planet to the amazingly diverse array of wildlife, Africa won’t let you down. The only regret you’ll have is that there aren’t more days in a year or more film in your camera!

If you’ve a year on your hands to fill with incredible experiences and adventure; why not use it wisely and explore the world’s least discovered continent. Increasing modernisation has made Africa more accessible without taming its wild spirit. Plan your trip well and you can visit some of the best countries in the world from Uganda to Ghana, at a fraction of the cost of the other more famous tourist havens. Take a look at the ultimate gapyear tool; the Gapometer which rates Africa as a gap year destination.

*****        Gaptastic

****         Great for gappers

***           Worth a look

**             Too much else to see

*              Never mind the Gap


Your gap year experience wouldn’t be complete without spending some time volunteer volunteering in Africa. The problems of this continent are so well known they’ve passed into cliché. The legacies of past humanitarian crises as well as the attempt to prevent new ones means you can make a real difference here. In 2006, 34 of the 50 nations on the UN list of least developed countries were in Africa. There are lots of opportunities to get involved in volunteering projects in areas such as community work, wildlife protection and teaching or even link up more than one.

The WWF has listed 4 locations in Africa amongst their list of 19 priority places, so it’s not just the people here who face critical times ahead. Africa’s wildlife may grab the headlines but if you read the small print you’ll see that it’s the people that have the biggest effect on travellers here.

**** Projects here are challenging but rewarding

Travelling in Africa

If you’re spending a year somewhere then you’ll want to travel around and Africa offers plenty to enjoy, from jungles, game parks and beaches to a vast cultural heritage. Getting around Africa varies dramatically depending on the country you’re in; the richer the country the better you can expect the infrastructure to be. Public transport and crossing borders can be a source of frustration here as good, cheap transport is not as common as in Asia and officials sometimes expect bribes. Air passes that allow you to make multiple internal flights can be a time, stress and money-saving option. The situation is always improving though and for the determined, travel here is extremely rewarding.

*** By no means easy, but the best travelling never is


When you’re travelling for a long while, it’s important to keep track of your budget, even in a famously cheap continent like Africa. If you become too free and easy you’ll get a shock when you turn up in places like South Africa and find European prices to contend with. Aside from the few glitzy exceptions a modest budget will suffice and allow you to see plenty without running up a huge bill.

Africa has luxuries on offer for those who want them; it has its share of glamorous restaurants and hotels, but the best travelling is done on a shoestring. The best plan is to head for the markets and the budget hostels. Around the shops you can take advantage of a friendly exchange rate that will allow you to get a nifty souvenir or two. For those who plan to travel after a volunteer project, try to make it back to your original arrival destination; one return ticket is usually cheaper than two singles.

***** On the whole the cheapest continent in which to travel

The wow factor

Most of Africa’s wow factor is due to its amazing wild factor. There are very few beaten tracks to get off here and the whole trip will be an adventure. Africa is not the easiest place in which to travel but it may well be the most rewarding. Luckily practice makes perfect and no doubt you’ll be coming back again and again to polish your newly found travel skills.

***** You won’t find anywhere else like it

Bruce Haxton – About the Author:

I’m totally passionate about travel, it’s been my life and work for a good few years! My travel adventures haven’t really been about seeing monuments etc but far more about people and getting off the beaten track. Even in a country that has large numbers of tourists you can still find hidden places if you look hard enough, living and working in country gives you such a different perception of it and more of a chance to absorb the local culture. I would like to share my many experiences and offer a little advice if I can to fellow travellers or anyone who is just about to set off on a life changing trip!



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Article Tags:
travel, africa, gapyear, adventure, explore, adice, tips, volunteer

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