As the year draws to an end, travel enthusiasts are already lining up their new year travel goals. And with more travel enthusiasts willing to explore Africa, the West of Africa has become a tourist hub of sorts. The tourism bug has begun to plague West African countries like Benin Republic, Ghana and Accra.
Here’s our guide to backpacking through West Africa
Travel documents and vaccinations: Getting visa to most West African countries isn’t a tedious process. Some West African countries issue out passports at the border. However, if you are from West Africa, you don’t require a visa to travel through West Africa. Vaccinations are quite important. As always yellow fever vaccination is a must, meningitis vaccines are also neccessary in West African countires like Mali, Burkina Faso and Cameroun.
- Be Bi-lingual: West Africa is made up of both English and French speaking nations. Countries like Togo, Mali, Cameroon are francophone speaking countries while their counterparts such as Nigeria, Ghana are anglophone speaking countries.
- Don’t embrace the cashless policy: It’s best to travel with just the right amount of cash as getting money in some West African countries can be a hassle due to poor banking systems; non-functional ATMs or high bank charges.
- Weather and transportation: West Africa has two major seasons which are the dry and wet seasons. This makes it a tourist hotspot all year round. But for backpacking through West Africa, the dry season between November to April is considered the best time to travel. Also, transportation in most West African countries is usually via road as there are no major railway/waterway developments. You can move around by using public transportations such as tro-tro in Ghana, danfo in Nigeria or biking in Cotonou.
- Accomodation and food: Accommodation is affordable around most West African countries as there are a wide range of options available such as hostels. We encourage backpackers travelling through West Africa to embrace couchsurfing. See Amarachi’s guide to couch surfing like a pro. Food is readily accessible and affordable. Dont be too upbeat; eat from the road side, local bukaterias and experience the West African life, culture and hospitality and the amazing part is you save more on food cost by doing this.
West Africa is such a beautiful place to embark a a trip to. it’s varying cultures, foods, tourist spots and hospitable people make it a truly memorable experience.
Which is why come January 2019, Side View Magazine is embarking on a trip through 3 West African countries and we will love you to join on us on any part of the journey to eat, meet and drink with us.