Costs Money

Africa can be as cheap or expensive as you want it to be. Travelling around like a maniac is going to cost much more than taking time to explore a small region slowly and in depth.

WHAT TO TAKE?

We guess you know to take things like a bag, toothbrush and spare underwear. Here are a few more items to consider:

Cash - you can't go wrong with a wad of US dollars or euros in your pocket (or, better, strapped about your person). Travellers cheques and ATM cards are good too, but not always viable.

Medicine - general first-aid gear and all sorts of pills and potions (such as antimalarials) are available without prescription, but it's a good idea to have some with you. Mosquito repellent and sunscreen are absolutely essential.

Memory cards - if you've got a digital camera, bring along a couple of spare memory cards. You'll take more pictures than you think, and it's useful to have a backup in case one gets damaged.

Photocopies of important documents - photocopy your passport data pages (and those with relevant visas), tickets and travellers cheques, and pack them separately from the originals. Water purifier - bottled water is available everywhere, but the plastic bottles are an environmental nightmare.

You can buy, download and print individual chapters from this guidebook. Get Africa chapters

You can buy, download and print individual chapters from this guidebook. Get Africa chapters

For climate information about each country, see the relevant country chapters. General climate information is given on pi 102.

If you can't get enough of African literature, check out the website of literary magazine The African Review of Books (www .Africanreviewofbooks .com), which has a top 100 list as well as reams of news, reviews and book gossip.

The actual cost of living (food, transport etc) varies around the continent, and travellers commonly blow big chunks of their budget on car hire (US$30 to US$150 per day), internal flights, balloon rides, adrenaline sports, organised safaris or treks (at least $100 a day in East/southern Africa), and diving or language courses.

Africa is thought of as expensive among some budget travellers, but you can still scrape by for under US$20 per day. If you'd like a few more comforts (such as an in-room shower), reckon on US$30, plus a slush fund of, say, $ 100 a month for unexpected expenses. Beyond that, the scope for spending money is limited only by your bank account or your credit limit...

For more on money issues, see pi 107. The Fast Facts boxes in the country chapters provide more specific country budgets.

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