7 Stereotypes About Africa That Just Aren’t True

Lion Roaring in Africa - inspiration for backpackers

Africa is not what you think (and it’s definitely not what the media portrays). It’s 54 unique countries that are home to some of the best travel spots on the globe. Read on to bust your ideas about this infamous continent.

1. Lions Are Everywhere!

The Lion King screwed up all the kids in the 90’s. Unfortunately, if you’re not willing to shell out a wad of Rands or give up all your Shillings, you most likely won’t see the king of the jungle. Or a giraffe. Or a zebra. Because these typical “African animals” are usually only found in the safety of national park.

What furry creatures you will see plenty of though are donkeys, chickens, and goats.

Don’t worry though. If you don’t have the time or money to go on a safari, there are lots of other awesome and one of kind activitiess you can do on the continent. Check out some of these African adventures in the video below.

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2. I’ll Be the Only Traveler. 

While there are plenty of ways to get off the grid, there are still crowds of travelers that come to Africa each year. In fact, in 2012 alone, over 30 million tourists visited Sub-Saharan Africa according to the World Bank.


3. It’s Super Dangerous

According to the 2012 Global Peace Index, 19 African countries ranked higher in safety than the United States. Of course you should always be careful wherever you are, but you’ll most likely be surprised at the level of comfort you feel while traveling.

Check out ‘Is Africa Safe?’ for more safety tips.


4. Men with AK 47’s Are Everywhere

Somehow Joseph Kony has become the poster child for Africa, but he’s as good as a representation of the continent as the Kardashians are of America.

Who you’ll most likely see everywhere are a bunch of cute village kids running as fast as they can to tell you hello. Don’t be surprised if next you’re welcomed for tea or coffee by a local woman and chances are you’ll get at least one free ride across town from a nice old man driving by.

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Don’t believe it? Check out this video to see some more typical faces you’ll see along the way.



5. It Costs Mucho Dinero.

Yes, safaris and climbing Kilimanjaro can be costly (but also totally worth it). But if you don’t have a lot of cash, you can still travel Africa on a budget easily.

Travel like a local.  Sleep in a tent. And eat some of the greasy goodness served up by street vendors.

For more specific money saving ideas, check out ‘How Much Does Backpacking Africa Cost?’

6. It’s Too Hard.

Traveling Africa is not too hard. Sure, the bus rides might not be the most comfortable and there might be a few other tiresome things you have to deal with along the way (like there is traveling anywhere). But Africa in and of itself is not too difficult for the average backpacker. Even if that backpacker is a total newbie.

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Even if a problem arises, more than likely a local will be more than happy to help you out.

Not convinced? Listen to more reasons why Africa is not too hard to travel.


7. African Countries Are Pretty Much All the Same.

Not in the slightest. All 54 African countries are completely different. From their language, religion, geography, cultural customs, and who colonized them, each nation is separate and distinct from the one beside it.

That’s why Africa is so great to travel though. You can skip from one place to the other and have completely different experiences in each.


In the end, we’ve all been kind of brainwashed by media to believe certain things about Africa that just aren’t true. So lay aside your assumptions and come discover what the continent is really like for yourself.