Africa is so amazingly diverse, if you can imagine it - we have it somewhere. (As well as a lot off stuff that people find hard to imagine!) Be it a lazy, tropical Island breakaway or a hard core, adrenaline filled adventure - I will do my best to help you get the most out of your holiday. Seeing that this blog is a brand new project - it will take a while to grow. If you have a particular destination in mind that has not been featured yet, just send me a mail and I will assist in any way possible. Postings on this blog are based on personal experience. I plan to rate places and venues visited on a 'must go' or 'avoid' basis. I will also give a Lemon Award to the very worst festering pits that I have had the misfortune of stumbling across... If you have a comment, or your own input - lets have it! Complaints and compliments received from readers will be forwarded to the relevant venue for comment and/or follow up action. Please bear in mind that opinions expressed in this blog are my personal views only and I do not presume to know everybodys tastes... Any other advice dispensed is based on personal experience, and may not be factually correct. I therefore will not be held responsible if you do something silly after reading my advice on the matter. My main purpose here is to help you to think and plan in the right directions. I trust that you will have as much fun visiting this blog as I plan to have while writing the posts.

Tuesday 03 April 2007

Planes, Trains and Automobiles

This post won’t be of much use to people who prefer to travel with large tour operators and groups, but read it anyway – you may just decide to go Kawaya - Waya’ing* through Africa on your own wits in the true tradition of heroes like Livingstone.

*(Zambian version of the Australian ‘walkabout.’ The expression is always accompanied by a snake like motion with the hand, as if simulating the way a snake moves through reeds...)

Best to avoid

Public Transport (government controlled)
The level of public transport service in Africa can differ in the extreme. Again this is a matter which will require some research due to the different conditions throughout Africa.
As a general rule it is best not to make use of bus (excepting luxury coach liners, where available) and train services (also excepting the luxury options) unless you are a determined backpacker that loves to ‘travel on the edge’ as they say…
Trains in particular can be very dangerous due to crime and overcrowding. I have not been to every country in Africa yet, but this seems to be the case pretty much everywhere.

A few viable options

There are regular flights scheduled between most African cities that are operated by respectable major airlines. A few of these are SAA, Air Namibia and Egypt Air. International carriers like British Airways also service quite a few routes. For smaller distances there are also a myriad of air charter companies available. Example

Luxury coaches
Not very many destinations you may choose to visit have safe, reliable coach services. Better developed countries like South Africa and Egypt have them in abundance. Best make sure first.

Luxury Trains (Highly advisable)
Not the fastest option, but a luxurious train safari en route to your next destination can be very rewarding. These trains do not carry regular commuters, only leisure passengers and is an absolute must if the old stylish mode of travel appeals to you. This option is not available everywhere, but check out the companies listed below. They may just be going your way…

Blue train (Arguably the best in the world)
Rovos Rail (Highest recommendation)
Premier Classe (Great value)

Road Transfers
For the destination minded tourist (resort based holidays) this is probably the best option, and is generally available wherever you find an airport, resort or major centre. Best to arrange transfers through your booking agent or the accommodation venue that you want to use. Although this is one of the most effective ways of getting from A to B, it’s also one of the most expensive… For more than one person it’s often cheaper to just rent a car. (See the Self Drive post.)

For the budget minded traveller and backpackers, there are quite a lot of minibus services available. The Bazbus is a classic example.

Car hire/Self drive (Now we’re talking!)
This is by far the best way of getting around –and the only real way to actually experience the wonder that is Africa. This section deserves a post by itself. A definite must read!


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