North and Central Africa – An Alternative Travel Guide

In "North and Central Africa", the third book of the So Long to Borders series in which Okan Okumuş regales us with his backpacking adventures, you will learn about unforgettable local dishes, embark on adventures in the wild, meet people from many different cultures, take part in local rituals and witness daily life in these countries as well as learning about their most important historic events.

North and Central Africa – An Alternative Travel Guide

In North and Central Africa – An Alternative Travel Guide, traveller Okan Okumuş shares his experiences on the road in Cape Verde, Ethiopia, Morocco, Senegal, Tanzania, Rwanda, Uganda, Kenya and Egypt with independent-minded travellers, looking to explore outside the tourism industry.

In "North and Central Africa", the third book of the So Long to Borders series in which Okan Okumuş regales us with his backpacking adventures, you will learn about unforgettable local dishes, embark on adventures in the wild, meet people from many different cultures, take part in local rituals and witness daily life in these countries as well as learning about their most important historic events.

While travelling around with the author in sept-places, boda-bodas and tuk tuks, you will sometimes find yourself stuck in the traffic jams of bustling cities, and sometimes in serene paradises which have not yet bowed down to mass tourism, where you will spend days without ever seeing a single tourist.

The So Long to Borders series will continue with the South Africa book encompassing Madagascar, The Republic of South Africa, Lesotho, Mozambique, Malawi, Zambia, Botswana, Zimbabwe and Namibia.

Preface

In his book entitled, True at First Light, Ernest Hemingway writes, “I do not remember a single morning when I did not wake up happy in Africa.” Indeed, the fiercest devotee of cities will be relaxed and purified as they relax and let themselves flow with the high energy of the continent after only several days.

The reason behind my passion for Africa is something else altogether… You must have noticed that it is becoming more and more difficult to break away from the crowds of tourists in Asia, Europe and Latin America. Millions of photos have been taken at the exact same spot. The famous destinations of backpackers have long since given their reins to mass tourism and now you have to enjoy the scenery at such popular locations with countless other tourists.

But is Africa the same? You may still enjoy untouched beauties by yourself at many locations in this continent, which is so rich with with nature and culture. For instance, I didn’t see a single tourist for days as I toured the Casamance region in southern Senegal, a true paradise on earth, or the villages around Lake Malawi.

No doubt that Africa is no longer that unknown “dark continent” as depicted in the 19th century by Henry Stanley, renowned explorer and reporter. All eyes are still on Africa even 150 years later and the Chinese have almost invaded, making the majority of their investments in this rich continent. Yes, contrary to common knowledge, Africa is very rich in natural resources, having 30% of all the minerals in the world. The only problem is that wealth cannot be distributed evenly and that the old colonial powers of the past continue to exploit the continent.

Still, Africa’s GDP figures do not tell the whole story. After all, wealth is a relative concept; if you find the chance to travel in Uganda and Rwanda, you will see that the villagers who live peacefully amidst those green valleys and who only consume what they produce are actually leading better lives than majority of consumerism-addicted city dwellers.   

Another myth about Africa is that it is not safe to travel around and that wild animals roam freely everywhere. Unfortunately, the majority of the world’s population know Africa only by way of the safari documentaries aired on TV channels. However, you feel safer in many regions of the continent than you do in Europe.

I have been traveling this stimulating continent on and off for over 15 years. For me, Africa is an energetic and exciting continent, full of promise for humanity, with over two thousand spoken languages, hundreds of tribal cultures, the world’s most beautiful untouched coastlines and hospitable people who treat you as a long lost relative.

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   In two different books, I will tell you about 18 African countries. The book you are holding now contains the highlights of nine countries of Northern and Central Africa as well as information on their rich cultures and history. We will travel along the River Nile in Egypt, learn about the chilling traditions of the Omo tribes in Ethiopia, watch the sun rise in the deserts of Morocco and the sun set on Lamu Island of Kenya. Together, we will be amazed at the striking beauty of Lake Bunyonyi in Uganda after walking through the palm forests of Southern Senegal and the oldest rain forests of the world in Rwanda. We will pass through that glamorous savannah of Serengeti, the best park of Tanzania and even all of Africa, swim in the blue waters of the Indian Ocean at Zanzibar. We will visit the Cape Verde Islands known as the Cuba of Africa and dance to the music of Cesaria Evora during the famous carnival of Minelo.

   Let go of all your worries and prepare for wondrous experiences and adventures in Africa which you may not find anywhere else on earth. Africa will embrace you regardless of where you come from or who you are and it will most certainly leave a mark in your hearts and minds. And be sure that you will want to return again and again to this lovely continent once you get a dose of its dust and witness its sunsets.

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The So Long to Borders series will continue with the “South Africa” book including Madagascar, The Republic of South Africa, Lesotho, Mozambique, Malawi, Botswana, Zimbabwe and Namibia.