Africa at a Glance
When it comes to vacations and dream destinations, Africa hardly makes it to the bucket-list of most Filipinos. The usual choices would be Europe, like Paris or Barcelona, that is if they already have traveled around Asia for a while. Those who would consider a trip to Africa are usually seasoned travelers who have been to at least 2 or 3 continents. This is because Filipinos don’t have so much exposure to Africa. Apart from the movie, Lion King, and random tv shows from Animal Planet, we don’t really have any connection or idea about the continent.
And this was exactly the case for me when I first traveled to Tanzania. Obviously, that all changed now. Years later, I made great friends and acquaintances and decided to dedicate a page for fellow Filipinos to help give accurate information and to properly introduce the real Africa. Let’s start with the basics!
What is it
Africa is a continent (not a country) with 54 countries such as Kenya, South Africa, Morocco just like how Asia is a continent where countries like the Philippines, Japan, and Korea all belong to. Also, South Africa is a country and Southern Africa is a region
The African continent is south of Europe. For a general idea, from Manila to Kenya, it takes about 15 hrs with at least 1 flight connection. You can travel around Africa by land (unless there is an issue of safety) because unlike the Philippines, which is an island, almost all African countries are connected by land
Where is it
Why You Should Go
See the cast and setting of Lion King in real life. To see and learn where everything began from humans to religion. To discover how much connection we have there. Did you know that in East Africa, they dub Filipino soap operas in Swahili, the local language
Everyone can go from solo travelers to family with young children and enjoy such a diverse selection of activities. Like in the Philippines, some places are not safe but everywhere else is safe to visit with a well-established tourism industry
Who Can Go
How Much to Go
Africa can be expensive if you go for holidays. A 5 days private safari can cost a thousand dollars per person, all-inclusive. A return flight to Kenya or South Africa will set you back at around 600 USD. For backpackers, cheap travel is fun and doable though not as cheap as in Asia and would require longer stays and a more thorough planning
What is Africa Like
Exotic. There are places where you feel like you’re not on Earth. As an example, seeing animals on their natural habitat is a personal favorite of mine. I’ve seen elephants before in Thailand and in Zoos but nothing compares to seeing them in their homes, wandering freely, it feels like Jumanji! You will only understand this when you experience it yourself
We have a closer
connection to Africa
than you think
- Hospitality in most African countries is very similar to the Philippines. They would invite you to eat and share their meal, and open their homes for you
- Their food is very similar to us- rice, beans, and stews
- Eating with the hands is a very strong part of their culture too
- They love to sing and dance and are natural performers. They would probably beat us to Karaoke as they are excellent singers!
- In Tanzania, you’ll find a lot of Filipino products in the supermarkets whereas in Europe (if they even exist), you’d only find them in small Filipino shops
- In East Africa, they dub Filipino soap operas in Swahili, the local language
- Manny Pacquiao is very famous all over South and East Africa
- There are quite a number of Filipino teachers in Africa. I met a random guy in Ethiopia once who spoke fondly of his Filipino teacher
These are our personal recommendations based
on our knowledge and experience in these places.
This list is likely to change or add up as we
visit more countries in Africa.
Northern Africa known for the pyramids of Giza. It’s becoming a more popular African destination but the culture here is similar to what you’ll find in the middle east
Also in the North and home to unique activities and places such as Casablanca, Marrakech, and Fes. It’s getting especially popular because of increasing flights and connections
03. South Africa
The most popular African destination to see wildlife (Kruger) among other places. Probably the most modern and most-visited country in the continent
The cradle of mankind. It is said to house the Ark of the Covenant. One of the countries that were never colonized. Home to century-old rock-hewn churches that are still in use
The Lion King movie was based here, in Maasai Mara, one of the wildlife reserves here. Its capital, Nairobi, is a modern city and now developing to become a tech hub. Expats living here are aplenty and they have amazing beaches in Mombasa
Home to the Serengeti National Park, an A-lister when you talk about must-visit wildlife destinations. Beaches in Zanzibar is topnotch and easily competes with the fine powdery sands of Boracay
This is where you can do the famous Devil’s Pool, a natural pool at the edge of Victoria Falls, which you can visit during the dry season. You can also see wildlife here and do activities like river-rafting
Both Uganda and Rwanda are the places to see Gorillas and Chimpanzee. The entrance fee alone will cost you up to $1500 per individual for Rwanda and $600 in Uganda but definitely a once in a lifetime experience
African Destinations by Experience
Because there’s literally so many things to see and do, I like to suggest choosing a destination by experience. This helps narrow down choices based on factors that are relevant and important to you. Don’t choose South Africa or Egypt just because that’s where most people go to. Though both are awesome countries, there are other choices that are actually more exotic and are safe travel destinations too. More so, it’s more fun to visit a less-traveled destination.
I find that African culture is strongest in East African destinations (Kenya, Tanzania, Ethiopia) while still being accessible and convenient to travel to. Southern Africa has amazing wildlife too and has a modern tourism infrastructure. West Africa has various natural sights but it’s still a challenge to travel and get around. Northern Ethiopia’s culture is similar to the Middle East and easily accessible due to its proximity to Europe and major hubs such as Doha and Qatar.
For safari, there are group-
joining options in Kenya or
self-drive in South Africa.
Africa. Not too much hostels
though. Backpacking is doable
Luxury & Celebrations
Seychelles is a top honeymoon
destination but Serengeti
is a great option too as
African camping makes a
perfect honeymoon setting
Adventure & Safari
Top destinations for safari
are South Africa, Botswana,
Namibia in the South and
Kenya and Tanzania
in the East
Zanzibar is a great option
in terms of quality of the
beach. Seychelles and
Mauritius are famous too
though costs are way higher
Culture & Religious Travel
Ethiopia is a top choice for
learning about history and
religion. Most African countries
have a unique culture of
their own worth seeing
Nature & Unique Sights
Victoria falls bordering Zambia
and Zimbabwe is a sight
to behold. Africa in general has
plenty of natural sites and
How to Plan your Trip
All destinations can be conquered with efficient and proper planning. Who’s traveling and what are your interests? If you’re traveling with kids or elders, you can easily narrow down your options to destinations that are more accessible to them. When are you going and for how long? If your date is not flexible, book your flights and tours way in advance to score lower prices or maybe even get deals. What’s your Budget? Are you doing a DIY or using a tour operator? In Africa, booking with a tour operator might be your better option. They will handle all the logistics for you and you literally just need to arrive. Lastly, before booking any flight or tour, make sure to check the visa requirements for your passport as well as the required vaccinations. For example, yellow fever vaccination is often required. For backpackers, research well ahead of time such as information on the bus schedule and how to cross borders.
Africa: To go or not to go
If you are still reading up to this point, you now probably have a good idea about what to expect in Africa. For further reading, check out what to do while in Africa for more inspirations to guide your trip. Most African tourist countries are visa-free or visa upon arrival for Philippine passport holders. For those coming for vacation and where money is not an issue, you don’t have to worry about planning at all as tour operators will arrange everything for you. For an average middle-income Filipino, you’d probably think you need to toughen up first or save a lot of money before you even consider going. But if you can afford a trip to Japan, Australia, the US, and somewhere in Europe, then you can also afford to travel to Africa. Africa has its challenges but there are plenty of safe destinations you can visit where you don’t have to fear for your life.
Africa is a continent just like how Asia is. Kenya, Tanzania, South Africa, Uganda, etc. are all countries within the African continent just like how Philippines, Korea, Japan, and Thailand all belong to Asia. I’m stressing this fact because I’ve been asked questions by fellow Filipinos like “Is Africa close to Kenya?”.