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Travelling into Africa

By Bidvest Bank
05-03-2015
Africa is vast, diverse, dramatic and challenging. It’s teeming with life in some places and drought stricken in others. It’s sophisticated and modern on one hand, and completely untouched by man on the other. And if you’re lucky enough to call this warm continent your home, you have no excuse not to explore its riches. 

While Europe and Asia have wide appeal to South Africans considering an overseas holiday, here’s why African travel can give you an experience that you’ll never forget:

1. Affordability
As the Rand weakens substantially against the Dollar, Pound and Euro, making overseas travel more and more expensive, African travel remains affordable. Your flights will generally be cheaper, plus accommodation and spending money won’t feel out of your financial reach once you’re there. Overall, you’ll be able to enjoy yourself more without the constant worry of having a huge credit card bill to pay off when you return.

2. Unique
Travel in Africa is the complete opposite of a cookie cutter organised tour overseas. Instead, things like the Serengeti migration and gorilla safaris give you unforgettable experiences with nature that you won’t find anywhere else in the world. As a bonus, you’ll also get up close and personal with a variety of fascinating cultures, customs and people.  

3. Climate 
The hottest continent on earth loves to live up to its name, so if you’re a sun seeker then this is the place for you. Of course there are rainy seasons and snow in some countries, but generally Africa’s warm hospitable climate makes it easy to travel during most of the year. One exception to this can be the hot summer months, so research maximum temperatures of the country you want to visit before you decide to book your African travel experience.

4. Diversity 
History buff? Adrenalin junkie? Culture vulture? Animal lover? Africa is so diverse that no matter what type of traveller you are and what type of trip you’re looking for – a honeymoon, a gap year or a once-in-a-lifetime family safari – you’ll find the perfect fit among the 54 countries on the continent. 

So, now that you’ve decided you want to explore more of what Africa has to offer, what are our must sees? Put some of these countries on your bucket list:
  1. Rwanda and Uganda: Sign up for a gorilla-tracking safari and stare into the eyes of a silverback as you contemplate the intelligence in their eyes. Your trip will also help fund the conservation of this rare group of animals.
  2. Tanzania: Experience the vastness of the wildebeest migration in the Serengeti or get close to chimpanzees in the Mahale Mountains ? two of the more popular Africa travel experiences.
  3. Kenya: Visit the Masai Mara between July and November if you want the best views of the migration, but check this with your tour operator before booking. You’ll also be able to witness the dramatic Mara River crossings, where herds of animals battle the elements and predators to cross the river and continue their migration.
  4. Ethiopia: The Gelada Monkeys are a rare species found only in the Ethiopian Highlands and a trip to view them is well worth it. While you’re there, view the native Simien Wolves who are similar to coyotes in size and build.
  5. Zambia: If you’re a bird lover, visit Victoria Falls and South Luangwa to spot the richly coloured carmine bee-eaters. Or go to Kasanka to see the annual migration of 8 million fruit bats, a lesser-known spectacle than the wildebeests of Tanzania but even more dramatic. 
  6. Namibia: Contemplate the enormity of the universe as you stare at the star-studded sky in Sossusvlei. Then, visit Damaraland to learn more about the unique desert-adapted elephant that calls this place its home.
Thinking of booking that African travel experience? Bidvest Bank offers over 60 foreign currencies and ordering is quick and easy: simply visit one of our retail branches or order your forex online. Many African countries accept US dollars, so check with your travel agent before you leave. Happy exploring!