I was so excited to publish this guest blog article from some backpackers in Africa! It was founded by the founders of Mzungu Backpackers This is a really great platform for backpackers in Africa. The founders are Gal Zanir and Ziv Oriol, both 26-year-old students from Israel.
Gal traveled from Ethiopia to South Africa in 2015 for 10 months. Most of the time he was solo and part of it was with other travelers he met along the way. And Ziv traveled with his wife Hadas from Uganda to South Africa for 6 months and ended in 2016.
1. Tell me about Mzungu Backpackers. What is it and why did you start it?
Mzungu Backpackers is a project that we started together almost 3 years ago. We both traveled separately in Africa, fell in love with this beautiful and colorful continent, and wanted more people to experience it the way we did.
The idea for the "Mzungu Backpacking Africa" community was to create a place where backpackers in Africa can interact, make recommendations freely and support local businesses, and have a positive impact on how people relate to them Touring the continent.
In Israel, we have a monthly meeting with backpackers traveling to Africa. Among other things, we talk about the harms the short-term volunteeringRespectfully treating locals and traveling in a way that promotes the flourishing of local communities.
2. Why did you choose Africa? And if you have traveled to other places (eg Southeast Asia, Europe, etc.), how would you compare that?
(Gal) Having compared a lot with friends who have traveled elsewhere, we have found that what makes Africa so special is the PEOPLE.
Traveling here conjures up adventures you can not imagine – one lady in the bus kept asking me questions and not resting on one evening, and the next morning I was a guest on her radio program broadcasting one million people live Ugandans!
3. For Gal – did you feel safe traveling alone? Did you feel lonely when you left alone? How did you meet people?
Well, I always get that question when I tell people that I've traveled Africa alone. However, "alone" does not necessarily mean "alone". Actually, I was never alone I've always been surrounded by backpackers in Africa from all over the world, spending days and nights together, meeting lots of new friends, or meeting locals who got to know so many of them that we're still friends today 3 years later.
Anyway, if travel on your own was a bit complicated 3 years ago, now that the website "Mzungu-Backpack Africa, Together" is online, everything is much easier! For each country, there are WhatsApp groups where you can coordinate and meet new friends from around the world at any time, and many more tools to create that real sense of community among fellow travelers.
4. What would you say to a girl who wants to travel alone to Africa?
(Ziv) In the last 3 years we have seen many girls and have been in contact with them, traveling alone to Africa. As a girl, it is definitely possible and recommended!
In terms of safety, of course, normal precautions should be taken, but none other than I would say to a girl traveling alone to Europe. Plus, it's easier than ever to find a traveling companion in the backpacker community when you're tired of being alone. Some of the backpackers in the community even wrote articles on the website that make you feel like girls traveling in Africa, as this is a pretty popular question that keeps us very busy.
5. How was Ziv wandering with your wife? What are your tips for other married couples who want to take a backpack to Africa?
(Ziv) We saw many couples on our trip and it really felt like the easy choice. I think it's a little reassuring to always have a partner, and I would recommend it to anyone in a relationship. It's worth mentioning that this is not for everyone – if you're looking for luxurious suites and world-class dining, you may want to look elsewhere, but if you're looking for a journey where every day is an adventure, then that's the case.
6. What was your favorite piece you packed? Or what is the best gear you can recommend to other backpackers before you come?
(Ziv) I think I have to go the backpack itself. During the journey, the backpack becomes your home and is much more important to you than the few shirts it contains. We were traveling with a tent, sleeping mattresses and cooking utensils – at this point I would say it is a lot of fun and it could save some money on accommodation, but it is not a must, you can travel easily and find everything you need.
(Gal) I would have to go with my ukulele, If I had to share something to take it on a long journey, it would be a musical instrument. I did not know how to play ukulele before my African adventure, but a long journey with a new instrument gives you plenty of time and opportunity to learn how to play! My ukulele is now one of my favorite instruments, as it even contains a meaningful memory from every country on the way there.
7. There is a myth that traveling to Africa is really expensive … what do you think?
(Ziv) As a couple, we spent on average around $ 1,100 per month, including everything – car hire in Namibia, safari in Tanzania and many other expensive things. Some of the popular tourist attractions are extremely overpriced, but that's not your everyday journey. If you eat in everyday life like the locals, spend the night and use public transport, your expenses are minimal.
(Gal) Some of the myths began with people coming to the most expansive attractions on the continent for short trips. For example – a two-week trip to Tanzania would turn out to be quite extensive if you do the safari plus Kilimanjaro trek. But when you spend those costs on a long journey on the continent, it turns out that in everyday life as a backpacker in Africa, it's pretty cheap and REALLY AFFORDABLE.
More on this Cost Breakdown for Backpacking Africa (plus ways to save money).
8. How can the Mzungu tribe help new travelers? And how can people who have traveled to Africa give something back to the community? (Adding tips, pictures, etc.).
Be part of this warm and inviting backpacker community in Africa! You are welcome to join us all Mzungu.org ,
- Use the tip-maps When you travel and add new places that others can enjoy.
- Use the community Whatsapp and Facebook groups to make new friends and discover new ways to travel around this beautiful continent, asking questions and answering questions.
- Take advantage of special discount vouchers, exclusive to Backpacker of the Mzungu Community– It assures you the best prices for big attractions along the way, lowers your costs and supports local businesses.
And most importantly, take care of yourself and others, discover this colorful and vibrant continent, and invite other backpackers to join in and help the community grow!
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