The expectations of a foreign backpacker in Africa – by @toniwonitravels

This post was written by Toni of

Tomorrow I’m going to Africa.  And not just one country but seven.  In six weeks. In a truck.  Camping amongst the creepy crawlies and the ferocious animals.  Half of me can’t wait but the other half?  Terrified.

I’ll be honest; I know virtually nothing about the continent aside from the nature documentaries and charity drives we do as a nation.  The only true expectation I have is that it will be a journey of contradictions.  Wealth v Poverty, Isolation v Claustrophobia and Sadness v Happiness.I have been told a great many things I should expect on my journey from South Africa to Kenya; children have the biggest smiles yet quickest hands, you should always be on guard but get to know the locals and a lovely mash up of ‘some of the places are very worthy of their safety warnings and Africa is safe for tourists; you’ll have no trouble’.  I can’t deny that it doesn’t do much for a clear head.

I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous about my journey.  My Government issues consistent warnings about dangerous situations occurring in each country I’m going to and whist I know that a common sense approach goes a long way to preventing problems on the road, I’d be stupid to deny my feelings of caution I have.

And yet, I suppose, the inherent danger in any adventure is the adrenaline rush we all, as travellers, desire.  That feeling that something could go wrong quickly, knowing you will have to react with similar speed.

That’s not to say that I am full of negativity for the journey ahead; quite the opposite.  I’m full of excitement to engage with people, places and experiences that few others can say that they have had.  I may not staying in one location for a long amount of time but I am still travelling extensively through the continent and hope that, whilst I am still a tourist, it gives me a slightly deeper insight into nations that remain all too forgotten about in the Westernised World.

I want to float through the Okovango Delta and meet the Bushmen who make their lives between the reeds and the Hippos and speak to the Masai Tribe about their culture whilst I see the smiling faces of their children.

My expectations of Africa are, quite honestly, ones that I have taken from the media but the one expectation I am glad to have?  That Africa is a thing of beauty.  From the people and culture to the wildlife and landscapes; I have no doubt that it will take my breath away.

You can find Toni at, on Twitter (@toniwonitravels) and on her FB page.