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Three brown lion cubs in Kruger Park, South Africa

Multi-Country Africa Travel Guide

Africa, a vast and diverse continent, is a playground for adventurous travelers seeking unforgettable experiences. From the golden savannahs of Kenya to the towering dunes of Namibia, Africa's landscapes are as diverse as they are breathtaking. Embark on thrilling safari adventures in iconic national parks like Serengeti and Kruger, where you can witness the raw beauty of African wildlife in its natural habitat. Immerse yourself in the rich cultures of Africa's tribes, from the Maasai warriors of Kenya to the Himba people of Namibia, and gain insights into their ancient traditions and ways of life.

Beyond the wildlife and culture, Africa offers a wealth of outdoor activities for the intrepid traveler. Trek through the mystical rainforests of Uganda to encounter mountain gorillas, embark on epic hiking journeys to the peak of Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, or explore the vibrant underwater world while scuba diving off the coast of Mozambique. Africa's vibrant cities also beckon with their own unique charm, from the bustling markets of Marrakech to the modern skyscrapers of Johannesburg. Whether it's wildlife encounters, cultural immersion, or adrenaline-pumping adventures, Africa's dynamic landscapes and diverse experiences make it a captivating destination for travelers seeking the extraordinary.

Key Facts

Time Zone

Varies by country

Money

Varies by country

Dialing Code

Varies by country

  • Africa is a wild, rugged and achingly beautiful landscape full of rich culture. From rare wildlife, local villages, vibrant cities, expansive deserts and exquisite lakes, travelling with us across Africa you will get an authentic and astonishing adventure. As you gaze out over the Serengeti at sunset, marvel at the grandeur of Victoria Falls, or smell the aroma of exotic Zanzibar spices, your overland adventure in Africa will be the ultimate gap year experience of a lifetime.

On your overland adventure, you will visit varied and contrasting locations, from game reserves, deserts, cities and villages. Dependent on your trip you may also be lucky enough to visit one of two capital cities, Cape Town or Nairobi.

Cape Town is the second largest city in South Africa, nestled under the majestic Table Mountain and by the Cape of Good Hope, Cape Town is a multicultural and vibrant city, and one of South Africa's capitals.

Nairobi is the capital of Kenya, with a population of over 3 million it is a thriving modern metropolis. It is the most populous city in East Africa and the perfect starting point for an African safari.

  • See the spectacular Victoria Falls
  • Witness the stunning Namib Desert and Fish River Canyon
  • Go sandboarding or quad biking on desert dunes
  • Explore Etosha, Kruger and Chobe National Parks
  • Visit the vibrant and multicultural city of Cape Town
  • Trek in search of the rare and beautiful mountain Gorillas in Uganda
  • Go on safari in the Maasai Mara, Serengeti and Ngorongoro Crater
  • Experience a Chimpanzee sanctuary
  • Chill out on the white sands of Zanzibar after smelling the aromatic spices in the market
  • See Lake Nakuru National Park and the Great Rift Valley
  • Take in the view on the shore of Lake Malawi
  • Go game driving in South Luangwa National Park

You will be able to sample a wide array of food on your travels in Africa, and we are able to cater to most dietary requirements.

The following information is intended as a guide only.

South Africa

South Africa has a pleasant climate with many dry and sunny days. The dry season is May - Sept with nearly no rainfall, low humidity and afternoon temperatures usually in the 20°'s. The wet season is Oct - April, there is high rainfall, high humidity and high daytime temperatures.

Namibia

Namibia has a desert subtropical climate. Temperatures are high during the day and low at night. There is generally low rainfall and low humidity. The dry season is May - Oct with low rainfall and humidity, and afternoon temperatures are usually in the 20°'s. The wet season is Nov - April, with high temperatures and rainfall, with high humidity at times.

Zambia

Zambia is in the tropics and as a result has good rainfall. May - Oct is the dry season where there is generally low rainfall and low humidity. Mornings tend to be cool with pleasant afternoons. Nov - April is the wet season, with warm temperatures but good rainfall. The middle of the season has high humidity.

Botswana

Botswana has a desert subtropical climate. Temperatures are high during the day and low at night. There is generally low rainfall and low humidity. The dry season is May - Oct with low rainfall and humidity, and afternoon temperatures are usually in the 20°'s. The wet season is Nov - April, with high temperatures and rainfall, with high humidity at times.

Uganda

Uganda is situated on the equator, and as such there is little variation in temperatures with no real summer or winter seasons. The dry season is June - Aug and Dec - Feb, and the wet season is March - May and Sept - Nov. There can be great differences in climate between the north, south, east and west of the country.

Kenya

Kenya is situated on the equator and has a tropical but pleasant climate. Like next door Uganda, there can be great variations in climate between different regions and depending on altitude. The dry season is June - Oct with little rain and lower humidity, and afternoon temperatures are usually in the 20°'s. The wet season is Nov - May with higher rainfall and humidity, and generally higher temperatures.

Tanzania

Tanzania has a tropical but pleasant climate. There can be great variations in climate between different regions and depending on altitude. The dry season is June - Oct with low rainfall and low humidity. Days are usually pleasant with cooler evenings. The wet season is Nov - May with higher rainfall and temperatures, with higher humidity at certain times.

Malawi

Malawi has a tropical continental climate. The dry season is May - Oct with low rainfall and generally pleasant temperatures, but can be cold during the mornings and evenings. The wet season is Nov - April with high rainfall and humidity, but pleasant temperatures.

Visa

Visas may be required in order to enter or transit through certain countries depending on your passport nationality, your reason for travel and how long you intend to stay.

Visa, passport and entry rules are subject to change and you should check the most up to date information from the relevant embassy or visa specialist.

To make things easier we have teamed up with The Travel Visa Company who are one of the UK’s leading travel visa specialists. You can use their website, alongside embassy websites,  to find out the specific entry requirements for the countries you intend to travel to.

For a fee, their dedicated team of experts can also apply for visas on your behalf, taking away the hassle and streamlining the process for you if you wish. For more details on the services they provide please click here – The Travel Visa Company

Passport

Passports must be kept in good condition. Travellers with damaged passports may be refused entry at immigration. It is the responsibility of the traveller to ensure that all travel documents are in good condition before they travel. Most countries will also require at least 6 months of validity on your passport from the time you finish your trip.

Further Entry Requirements

Some countries will require proof of certain vaccines, such as yellow fever or covid, in order to gain entry. Please check with the relevant embassy of visa specialist before travel.

Africa has a variety of diverse languages, even within individual countries. Your guides will be there to aid you and English is the official language of South Africa, Namibia, Zambia, Botswana, Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, and Malawi.

The official languages of South Africa are: Afrikaans, English, Xhosa, Zulu, Tswana, Sotho, Swati, Tsonga, Northern Sotho, Venda and Southern Ndebele.

The official languages of Botswana are: English and Tswana

The official languages of Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania are: English and Swahili

In other countries, English is the official language.

You will need a universal power adaptor. Power cuts are common across most of Africa.

Gap 360 follows advice from the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) and we recommend that you frequently check the FCDO for updated travel advice. You can find the website here: https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/foreign-commonwealth-development-office

South Africa

Always carry your identity documentation or a copy of your passport. You’ll need to be able to produce valid identification on request by South African officials.

Drug-taking and smuggling are offences.

Homosexuality is legal, and the South African authorities have introduced legislation which bans any discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.

Namibia

Drug-taking and smuggling are offences. Punishments can be severe.

Homosexuality is tolerated but Windhoek’s only openly gay bar is regularly shut down by drug squad raids.

There are no formal rules limiting photography by tourists in Namibia, but some people have been detained for taking pictures of the State House and properties where the President is residing. Parts of Namibia require a permit to enter (eg the Cape Cross Seal Colony) and you should check about photography when applying for permits. If the army or police are protecting a building or place, check before taking any photographs. If in doubt, don’t take pictures.

Zambia

Some over-the-counter drugs available in the UK are not legal in Zambia. Check ingredients carefully and contact the Government of Zambia’s Pharmaceutical Authority for further advice if you are in any doubt (email: [email protected]) or write to 'Director General Pharmaceutical Regulatory Authority, Box 31890, Lusaka'. Customs officers may ask to see prescriptions for any medication you bring into the country.

The possession or use of narcotics, including soft drugs like marijuana, is strictly prohibited. Drug-taking and smuggling are offences. Punishments can be severe and prison conditions are very poor.

The possession of pornographic material is illegal in Zambia and offenders may be jailed and/or deported.

Homosexuality is illegal in Zambia and those caught engaging in homosexual acts can be sentenced to long terms of imprisonment.

The Zambian authorities don’t always inform the British High Commission when British Nationals have been arrested. If you are detained, you can insist on your right to contact a British consular officer.

Avoid taking pictures of sensitive sites including power stations, explosives factories, pumping stations, army barracks, government buildings, river junctions, road and rail bridges, the Ndola Oil refinery, mining areas and airports. If in doubt, don’t take pictures.

Botswana

Drug-taking and smuggling are serious offences. The punishments can be severe.

Taking photographs or using video equipment near military and government installations is prohibited. Always ask permission before taking photographs of people in Botswana.

Homosexuality is illegal in Botswana.

You should carry some form of identification with you at all times. A photocopy of your passport is sufficient.

Botswana authorities often do not inform the British High Commission when British nationals have been arrested. If you are detained, you may insist on your right to contact a British consular officer and have access to a lawyer. There is currently no comprehensive legal aid scheme and you would need to pay for any lawyer yourself.

Botswana residence and work permits are only valid when held with a valid passport. Don’t allow your passport to expire whilst staying in Botswana. If you send your British passport for renewal, make sure you have a certified copy that you can present if needed.

Uganda

Homosexuality is illegal and not tolerated. A Ugandan MP has proposed reactionary legislation that would further criminalise homosexuality and introduce the death penalty for some activity.

Penalties for drug trafficking are severe.

Don’t take photos of military, official or diplomatic sites, including Owen Falls Dam at the source of the Nile near Jinja. If you are taking photographs of people, ask for their permission first.

Kenya

The coastal areas are predominantly Muslim. Although there are no strict dress codes, you should dress conservatively away from tourist resorts and hotels, especially in Mombasa town, during the holy month of Ramadan or if you intend to visit religious areas.

Smoking in all public places (except designated areas) is prohibited throughout Kenya. This applies to areas like hotel grounds, lounge areas and entrances. Smoking outdoors on any public street or on the beach is not banned, but check first and if in doubt don’t light up. Offenders can be fined up to 3 million Kenya shillings or imprisoned for up to 3 years.

The use and trafficking of illegal Class A drugs in Kenya carries heavy fines and jail sentences. The penalty for possession is 10 years in prison.

Taking photographs of official buildings, including Embassies, can lead to detention. If in any doubt, don’t photograph or film around them.

You must get permission to carry any kind of firearm before you enter the country.

It is illegal to destroy Kenyan currency.

Homosexual activity is illegal.

You should carry a photocopy of your passport for identification.

Tanzania

Tanzanians are welcoming and well-disposed towards visitors, but you should be sensitive to local culture. Loud or aggressive behaviour, drunkenness, foul language and disrespect, especially towards older people, will offend.

There is a high proportion of Muslims in Tanzania, especially along the coast and in Zanzibar and Pemba. Respect local traditions, customs, laws and religions at all times and be aware of your actions to ensure that they don’t offend, especially during the holy month of Ramadan or if you intend to visit religious areas.

You should dress modestly. Women should avoid wearing shorts and sleeveless tops away from tourist resorts, and particularly in Stone Town and other places where the local population may be offended. There have been cases where women travelling alone and in small groups have been verbally harassed.

Homosexuality is illegal in Tanzania (including Zanzibar).

Carry identification (a copy of your passport) at all times.

All drugs are illegal in Tanzania (including Zanzibar) and those found in possession will be fined. There are severe penalties, including prison sentences, for drug trafficking.

Malawi

Drug-taking and smuggling are offences. This includes cannabis. Punishment can be severe.

Buying uncut precious stones is illegal.

Outside the main tourist areas, women should cover their legs and shoulders to avoid offending local sensitivities. In late January 2012, there were widespread attacks in market areas on women wearing leggings, tight trousers and short skirts.

Homosexual acts are illegal.

Carry a photocopy of your passport and visa at all times.

 

This list is not exhaustive. Always follow the advice of your guide(s).

Health

Contact your GP around 8 weeks before your trip to check whether you need any vaccinations or other preventive measures. Country-specific information and advice are published by the National Travel Health Network and Centre - http://www.nathnac.org/ds/map_africa.aspx, and useful information about healthcare abroad, including a country-by-country guide of reciprocal healthcare agreements with the UK, is available from NHS Choices.

Gap 360 follows advice from the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) and we recommend that you frequently check the FCDO for updated travel advice. You can find the website here: https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/foreign-commonwealth-development-office

Make sure you have adequate travel health insurance and accessible funds to cover the cost of any medical treatment abroad and repatriation.

Safety

Most of Africa is usually a relatively safe and unthreatening place to visit. Follow the advice of your guide. Carry as little as possible on your person. Keep expensive items limited and out of view where possible. Take a taxi at night instead of walking. Look confident and be discrete as possible with your valuables and cash. Avoid scams and con artists who prey on tourists. Women may suffer harassment from men, and while it is usually more a nuisance than dangerous, it is advisable to avoid situations that could put you in real danger.

The above is a general overview and by no means exhaustive. You should always check country-specific safety and security information with the UK Foreign Commonwealth Office (FCO). For the most up-to-date travel advice please visit https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice, email them at [email protected] or call them on 020 7008 1500.

Make sure you have adequate travel insurance and accessible funds.

We do not recommend hiring motorbikes, scooters, ATV vehicles, quad bikes or other types of motorised vehicles whilst abroad. Safety and quality of vehicles vary considerably and the traffic conditions can be much more dangerous than what UK travellers are used to. Should you wish to go against this advice, you should ensure you are hiring from a reputable company and that your travel insurance covers you for such activities.

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