Monday, December 14, 2009

The Final Analysis

Between leaving Prague on March 2nd 2009 and flying out of Cape Town on 30th November 2009 we travelled 20,642 miles (according to GoogleMaps) over 274 days. We passed through 21 countries (not including Czech Republic and Slovakia which were but a snowy blur from our train window) took 6 trains and 10 boats, rode on the back of 3 trucks and 3 motorbikes, squeezed into 13 or so shared taxis, hired 3 cars for a total of 33 days and boarded at least 88 buses. We spent time, money and oodles of patience.

The bottom line is that we spent £12,221.25GBP between us in total (plus a further £219.19GBP in ATM cash withdrawal fees) over 279 days (the previously mentioned 274 plus our stopover in Dubai) at £21.90GBP per person per day, or around $35USD. This included any visas, permits or registration fees applicable for any of the countries, which amounted to a combined total of $1159USD, or just over £700GBP at todays rates, mostly payable in USD only! Monikas visas totalled $672USD, Allans came to $487USD. This also included two safaris (a 3-day safari in Kenya and a 4-day safari in Tanzania) which totalled $1800 (£1100) spent over 7 days at $129 per person per day.

Obviously the average daily budget for each country varied widely both from the trip average and the other countries, therefore a country-by-country breakdown gives a more accurate record (Daily averages generally include all costs except visa/registration costs unless otherwise stated):

From Prague To Istanbul
4 days, £228.45GBP @ £28.55 per person per day.
Prague - Budapest - Novi Sad - Belgrade - Sofia - Plovdiv - Istanbul
Mostly travelling by train, staying in hostels and self-catering.
For a full cost breakdown click here
For a trip report click here for English, here for Czech

Turkey
12 days, £458.97GBP @ £19 per person per day. Estimated budget £15 per day.
Visa: most nationalities enter free, some nationalities require a visa issued at the border/airport, costs vary but for British passports the fee is $20USD.
Istanbul - Cannakale (Gallipoli, Troy) - Ephesus - Cappadocia
Travelling by bus, staying in hostels, self-catering with one cheap meal, read 'kebab' out most days.
For a full cost breakdown click here
For a trip report click here for English, here for Czech

Syria
13 days, £228.54 @ £8.79 per person per day. Estimated budget £10 per day.
Visa: Can be difficult to obtain and should be applied for in country of nationality. Costs vary wildly but for British passport holders in London the cost is £50 for a 3 month multiple-entry visa. For Czech nationals in Prague the same visa cost around £40.
Aleppo - Lattakia (plus Ugarit and Qalat Saladdin) - Hama (plus Palmyra, Crac de Chevaliers, Sarouj and Qalat Ib-Wardan) - side trip to Lebanon - Damascus
Travelling by train and bus, staying in hotels and guesthouses, eating delicious street food such as falafel and more kebabs.
For a full cost breakdown click here
For a trip report click here for English, here for Czech

Lebanon
5 days, £151.69 @ £15.16 per person per day. Estimated budget £15 per day.
Visa: most nationalities can enter visa-free for up to 28 days.
Baalbak - Beirut - Sidon - Byblos - Tripoli - Qadisha Valley
Travelling by bus, staying in cheap guesthouses, self-catering and enjoying more delicious Middle Eastern street food.
For a full cost breakdown click here
For a trip report click here for English, here for Czech

Jordan
7 days, £176.73 @ £12.62 per person per day. This figure does not include the extortionate cost of the ferry from Aqaba to Nuweiba which at £50 per person for a 1.5 hour trip would increase the daily spend up to £20! We regarded the cost of this international ferry as outside of either Jordan or Egypt! Estimated budget £15 per day.
Visa: Cost 10JD (approx £10) each and are granted on arrival. A further 5JD (£5) is levied as a departure tax at all exit points.
Amman (Dead Sea and Jerash) - Petra - Wadi Rum - Aqaba
Travelling by bus and sometimes hitch-hiking, staying in cheap guesthouses, self-catering and enjoying more delicious Middle Eastern street food.
For a full cost breakdown click here
For a trip report click here for English, here for Czech

Egypt

23 days, £784.50 @ £17 per person per day. Estimated budget £15 per day.
Visa: $15USD granted on arrival to almost all nationalities, but check beforehand.
Nuweiba - Tarabin - Dahab - Mt.Sinai - Suez - Cairo - Luxor - Aswan
Travelling by bus and train, staying in beach huts, guesthouses and cheap hotels, yet more delicious Middle Eastern street food, including Egypts unique Kushari, we visited most of the major sites at a rate of at least one every two days including the Blue Hole, Mt. Sinai, Suez Canal, Egyptian museum, the Pyramids, Karnak temple, and the Valley of the Kings.
For a full cost breakdown click here
For a trip report click here for English, here for Czech

Sudan
9 days, £211.87 @ £11.77 per person per day. Estimated budget £10 per day.
Visa: $100USD must be issued before arrival. Can be problematic but Cairo is one of the easier places to apply, takes 24 hours and requires a letter of introduction from the applicants embassy. The British embassy will issue a letter on the spot for around £30, the Czech embassy is far less helpful and refuse to issue letters, sadly this ambassador is a rude and pathetic embarrassment to his country, furthermore a letter of complaint to the Czech Foreign Office resulted in this issue being dismissed. There is a loophole however and to read more on Sudanese visa applications click here.
Wadi Halfa - Abri - Kerma - Dongola - Khartoum - Gedaref
We travelled by pick-up except the trip from Khartoum to Gedaref, stayed in Lokandas and camped at Blue Nile in Khartoum. Ate mostly street food although in Khartoum all that seemed to be available were burgers!
For a full breakdown of how to travel in Sudan click here
For a trip report click here for English, here for Czech

Ethiopia
17 days, £359.12 @ £10.56 per person per day. Estimated budget £10 per day.
Visa: MUST be issued beforehand, DO NOT arrive at the border without a visa. We heard of one person who made the horror trip up from Nairobi to Moyale without a visa! Cost $20 in Khartoum ($30 in Cairo), issued within 24 hours for up to a one month stay.
Gonder - Debark (Simien Mountains) - Bahir Dar - Lalibela - Dessie - Addis Ababa - Dila
Staying in good value hotels, eating delicious plates of injera and travelling by bus everywhere. We also trekked for 4 days in the Simien mountains.
For details of the Simien mountains trekking click here, for a full cost breakdown of travelling in Ethiopia click here
For a trip report click here for English, here for Czech

Kenya
21 days, £815.12 @ £19.40 per person per day (this included a $300 per person 3-day safari). Estimated budget £15 per day.
Visa: available on the border for most nationalities costs $25 and is valid for 3 months. Part of the EAC agreement between Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania is that with single-entry visas for all three countries it is permitted to travel between those three countries as often as needed within the validity of the visas. Once you leave these three countries however the visas are void and new visas will be required. It can be a very useful system.
Moyale - Isiolo - Nanyuki - Mt. Kenya - Nairobi - Mombasa - Lamu - Nairobi - Masai Mara NR - Lake Nakuru NP - Lake Naivasha - Hells Gate NP - Nairobi
Camping or staying in guesthouses, self-catering or eating cheap meals of pilau, githeri or chapati, travelling by bus or on the back of a truck, undertaking one organised safari and entering 3 national parks. We did not climb Mt. Kenya because of the ridiculous price increases. Well done KWS.
For full costs and tips click here
For a trip report click here for English, here for Czech

Tanzania

30 days, £1617.65 @ £26.96 per person per day (including a 4-day safari). Estimated budget £15 per day.
Visa: costs $50 for most nationalities (Irish pay $100) and are available for most nationalities at most borders but inevitably there are exceptions. See above for details of the EAC visa agreement.
Arusha - Tarangire NP - Serengeti NP - Ngorongoro NCA - Moshi - trip to Uganda via Nairobi - Bukoba - Mwanza - Dar Es Salaam - Zanzibar (Stone Town and Jambiani) - Mbeya
Staying in hotels or camping, travelling by bus and boat, eating cheap meals in canteens or from street stalls. Includes an excellent 4-day safari organised by Forsters Tours.
For full costs and tips click here
For trip reports on Northern Tanzania click here for English, here for Czech
For trip reports on the rest of Tanzania click here for English, here for Czech

Uganda

15 days, £337.35 @ £11.24 per person per day. Estimated budget £10 per day.
Visa: Costs $50 available at the border for most nationalities. Student visas used to be half-priced on presentation of ISIC card but this no longer seems to apply.
Mbale - Sipi Falls - Jinja - Kampala - Fort Portal - Lake Nkuruba - Rwenzori mountains - Masaka - Ssese islands
Staying in hotels or camping,eating street food or the excellent food served by community campsites Lake Nkruba and Ruboni and travelling by bus, on the back of boda-bodas (motorbike taxis) and in shared taxis.
For full costs and tips click here
For a trip report click here for English, here for Czech

Malawi
22 days, £604.22 @ £13.73 per person per day. Estimated budget £10 per day.
Visa: free for most nationalities, those that doe require visas should apply before. The embassy in Dar Es Salaam charges $100 and takes 4 days. If you are lucky they may let you pass the border and apply for a visa once in Malawi, and may charge you only $70 for taking this risk and flaunting the rules.
Nkhata Bay - Viphya Plateau - Nkhata Bay - Chizimulu island - Likoma island - Blantyre - Mt Mulanje - Lilongwe
Camping every day apart from those spent on the Ilala ferry, self-catering often and travelling by bus/boat (except for one indulgent taxi ride!). One main expense was beer, here they only sell smaller bottles and the costs is the same or more than for a bigger bottle in Tanzania, Uganda or Kenya.
For full hints and tips click here
For a trip report click here for English, here for Czech

Zambia
12 days, £542.41 @ £22.60 per person per day. Estimated budget £12 per day.
Visa: $50 available at borders (but not when travelling by train from Tanzania) or from embassies.
Chipata - South Luangwa NP - Lusaka - Livingstone (Victoria Falls)
Camping except in Lusaka where we took dorm beds, self-catering almost exclusively and travelling by bus.
For full tips and costs click here
For a trip report click here for English, here for Czech

Zimbabwe
Why we didn't go


Botswana
9 days, £450.81 @ £25.04 per person per day. Estimated budget £18 per day.
Visa: most countries can visit visa-free but for those that require visas, which includes most of Eastern Europe (inc Czech Republic but not Poland) and Israel, the process can be expensive, very time consuming and ultimately fruitless. Hotel bookings and onward tickets may be required plus a detailed planned itinerary, the process could take from one week to two months and once the application has been made the fee is non-refundable, regardless of its success or lack thereof.
Kasane (Chobe NP) - Nata - Gweta (Planet Baobab) - Maun - Okavango Delta
Public transport is scarce so hitch-hiking is a very useful option, food in restaurants is expensive so self-catering or eating from supermarket deli counters is the only viable option, camping is available in most touristic areas.
For full hints and tips click here
For a trip report click here for English, here for Czech

Namibia
12 days, £668.96 @ £27.87 per person per day. Estimated budget £18 per day.
Visa: free for most nationalities. For those that require visas (inc. Czech Republic) they are available at Namibian embassies at a cost of $50, taking around 3 days to issue.
Windhoek - Swakopmund - Walvis Bay - Namib-Nauklauft NP (Kuiseb, Nauklauft mountains, Sossusvlei) - Marienthal - Keetmanshop - Fish River Canyon
Public transport is non existent so the only option is to hitch (if you have the time) or hire a car (if you have the money), camping wild is an option as the country is deserted.
For full hints and tips click here
For a trip report click here for English, here for Czech

South Africa
40 days, 2571.80 @ £32.14 per person per day. This included 26 days car hire (25+1) and all of our souvenir shopping. Estimated budget £15 per day.
Visa: Free 3-month temporary residency permits issued at border to most nationalities.
Cape Town - Cape Peninsular - Hermanus - Cape Agulhas - Mossel Bay - Buffels Bay - Knysna - Plettenburg Bay - Tsitsikamma NP - Jeffreys Bay - PE - Addo NP - Port Alfred - East London - Chintsa - Coffee Bay - Mthatha - Durban - Drakensburg Mountains (Monks Cowl and Royal Natal) - St Lucia (and Hluhluwe) - side trip to Swaziland - Nelspuit - Blyde River Canyon - Kruger NP - side trip to Mozambique - Johannesburg - Bloemfontein - side trip to Lesotho - Cape Town
We camped and self-catered almost all the time and also received a WildCard as a gift, meaning we had hardly any park entry fee's to pay, Hiring a car was the most cost-effective way to see as much as possible.
For a full costs breakdown click here
For trip reports English click here, here or here, in Czech click here, here or here

Swaziland
3 days, £80 plus R200 road permit and 3 days car hire at 187ZAR per day so £140.88 @ £23.48 per person per day. Without the car hire the cost of travelling in Swaziland would be similar to that of Lesotho (see below). Estimated budget £10 per day.
Visa: free for all nationalities that do not require a visa to enter South Africa.
Manzini - Ezulwini and Malkerns Valley - Mbabane
camping at Sondzela Backpackers in Mliliwane Nature Sanctuary, self-catering and travelling in our hire car.
For full costs and tips click here
For a trip report in English click here, in Czech click here

Mozambique
16 days, £568.21 @ £17.75 per person per day. Estimated budget £12.50 per day.
Visa: costs vary wildly, the current best place to apply is in Swaziland where a visa costs $12 and is issued in the same day, visas at the border cost around $25 whilst from embassies in South Africa the cost in around $100.
Maputo - Vilankulos (Bazaruto Archipelago) - Inhambane and Tofo - Maputo
A mixture of beach huts and camping, treating ourselves to excellent seafood as well as self-catering, travelling by bus. Also includes two trips - one to the Bazaruto archipelago and one 'Ocean safari' in Tofo (with a discounted second trip).
For full hints and tips click here
For a trip report in English click here, in Czech click here

Lesotho
4 days, £100 @ £12.50 per person per day. Estimated budget £10 per day.
Visa: Free for most nationalities, for others it maybe worth trying just turning up as the cost of acquiring a visa beforehand can be rather high.
Maseru - Semonkong - Malealea - Maseru
Camping, with one night in a dorm, enjoing lots of street snacks and one nice dinner but otherwise self-catering, travelling by bus.
For full hints and tips click here
For a trip report in English click here, in Czech click here

UAE

6 days, £260.56 @ £21.71 per person per day. Estimated budget £15 per day.
Visa: free for many nationalities, others may receive a 96 hour visa upon arrival or will have to find a sponsor (UAE resident or hotel/travel agent) within Dubai to apply on behalf, the cost is around £120 including mandatory health insurance.
Dubai - Abu Dhabi - Siwa Oasis - Al-Ain - Ras-Al-Khaimah - Sharjah - Dubai
Staying as guests of a friend, shared car hire for three days between four people, most attractions are free entry. Enjoying a welcome return to Middle Eastern cuisine.
For a trip report in English click here

So, as you can see, our actual costs far exceeded our estimated forecast, it came as shock (even after having travelled for over 3 months in West Africa in 2007) just how expensive Africa is as a continent to travel in. Not only expensive but incredibly poor value for money. We camped a few times up until Tanzania but then about 99% of the time after that spending more on camping than we would pay for a luxury double room with hot shower, air-con and TV in most parts of Asia!!!

Finally, if you are still interested, see our exhaustive list of Top 5's here

10 comments:

  1. i do not see much comments on your blog so i add mine to thank you for all those who followed you during your adventure! thanks for writing all important details which i will be very happy to find once i travel to the black continent.

    hope you enjoyed the whole trip despite some occasional misfortune and unexpected costs!

    thank you again for sharing the whole story, i wish you good luck with all future adventures!

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  2. Cape town such a wonderful city, what a great experience. There is so much to do in Cape Town in is the prefect place for a holiday. One of the places you should start looking is www.cometocapetown.com they have a wide variety of information and ideas for you.
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  3. We're a Czech and American couple, just wrapping up about 6 months in East and Southern Africa. We've used your site throughout and found it very helpful. Thanks for all the work you put into this and maybe someday we can meet up for a drink in New York or Prague. Lexi (USA) and Vlad (CZ).

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  4. This is a fantastic achievement!! Especially as you organised the whole trip yourself! I spend the summer on Prague city breaks but this year I think I will definitely try something new!

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  5. Thanks for all the kind comments. Hope you are all still moving on. We are heading to Iran on Friday. Keep on travelling.

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