What was once known as “The Dark Continent” is actually a pretty cool place (in most cases). There is far more to see in Africa than just gorillas in the mist and The Lion King, and on your escapades around this huge continent, you will come across some amazingly friendly people from all walks of life. Despite dangerous experiences in Egypt and South Africa, as well as below-par experiences in such countries as Tanzania and Uganda, there are a handful of countries in Africa that I have visited where I really felt at home and at ease…
5. Madagascar is a country I spent a little time travelling around, although I have only been there once. I always remember the friendliness of the locals in rural and coastal areas, and the guides and drivers I had were very knowledgeable and helpful in keeping me safe during my travels.
4. Gabon is not the kind of place you see many people travel to, but it is situated on the western coast of Africa and has a vast array of tropical wildlife, including hippos and elephants. In a recent visit to Libreville, I encountered so many intrigued Gabonese who were honoured that visitors come to their country.
3. Benin is another country that doesn’t get much attention, yet the so-called birthplace of Voodoo is not the kind of place that lives up to its spooky reputation in the outside world. A short bus ride from Ghana was all I needed to arrive in this delightfully charming country, and it seemed that everybody and their grandma was trying to help tourists settle in (not that there were many of us…).
2. Ghana has a reputation for friendly and chilled out locals, and my experiences in the south of the country proved that reputation correct. One thing I learned is that Ghanaians are very proud of their cooking and they want nothing more than to help you enjoy a local meal (for a good price). Compared to some countries in Africa, Ghana is considered “Africa-lite” (like Singapore being “Asia-lite”) so it is a great place to travel to if you are beginning your African adventures. Around the Cape Coast in particular, I was happy to experience some very friendly people.
1. Ethiopia is really an amazing country, and while I found a lot of travelling around tiresome and repetitive, one thing that kept me ‘alive’ was the energy and enthusiasm of the local people. Whether it be in rural areas, or big cities like Addis Ababa, Ethiopian people have a rich history and culture that endears you to them, yet at the same time they are adaptable enough to cater to your own ‘western’ habits. In particular, the areas of Bahir Dar and Lake Tana had some of the nicest people I had ever encountered in Africa.