Africa is big.
Until you compare a map of your own country or state with the map of Africa, you don’t realize how big: at more than thirty million square kilometres the continent’s 59 countries and other territories cover an area five times larger than Europe, four times the size of Australia, more than three times the size of the USA and seventy percent bigger than South America.
The image below gives you an idea – yes that brown patch over West Africa is the United States – and there’s more jaw-dropping stuff about Africa’s scale here.
So the first recommendation is to give yourself time – nothing ruins a trip to this part of the world quicker than trying to do it too quickly. Secondly, be sure to have enough money: Africa’s countries may mostly be poor but they’re rarely cheap, and there’s nothing so frustrating as having to pass up on an experience because you don’t have the funds. If you can, make your trip coincide with the three or four weeks immediately after any rainy season. Once the big storms are over, but before the crowds return, the days tend to be cooler, the air clearer, the views sublime.
Chapter 1 of the book, from p.19–52, includes “Africa in Perspective”, with a detailed rundown on regional highlights, and “Africa’s tribes and cultures”, giving you some insight into who lives where and how the continent’s complexity meshes together.
Peoples covered in Chapter 1 North Africa Arabs Bedouin Berbers Moors Tuareg West Africa Asante Bamana Dogon Fon Fula Hausa Igbo Wolof Yoruba Central Africa Kongo "Pygmies" Tikar East Africa Amharic-speakers Baganda Kalenjin Kikuyu Maasai Swahili Southern Africa Khoikhoi San Shona Tswana Xhosa Zulu
This page last edited 9 June 2011 © Richard Trillo and Emma Gregg