Live chat: Adventure travel in Africa

02:31, Apr 14 2014
Sue Badyari
TOP OF THE WORLD: Sue Badyari (2nd from right on the bottom row) on the top of Mt Kenya.

She's climbed Mt Kenya, Mt Sinai and Mt Kilimanjaro.

She's trekked through the Rwenzori Mountains and tracked gorillas in Rwanda.

She's gone on safaris as far away as Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda.

Sue Badyari
INTREPID TRAVELLER: Sue Badyari, the global Chief Executive of World Expeditions.

Sue Badyari, the global Chief Executive of World Expeditions, is mine of useful information.

Replay her live chat here to find out more on adventure travel in Africa.

To view this event on mobile devices click here.


Baobab Trees
MAGICAL AFRICA: Baobab trees at sunset.

As we received such a large number of questions and could not cover them all in the chat, Sue has answered a few more of your questions here:

How fit do you have to be to do all of this?


Your fitness level really depends on the trip you would like to do. Most safari trips involve a fair amount of driving around the game parks and some walks for a couple of hours. For this style of trip we suggest doing a few walks a couple of times a week before you go.

If you would like to conquer one of the mountains such as Mount Kilimanjaro or Mount Kenya we do suggest you do some training before your trip as these treks will involve trekking for 6-8 hours a day with days spent at altitude.

For this style of training we suggest 45 minutes to an hour of aerobic exercise 3 to 4 times a week. It is also important to wear your trekking boots before you go so they will be comfortable during your trek.

My fiance and I want to spend our honeymoon travelling through Africa. Is it best to do this on our own, or as part of a travelling group and, if so, which do you recommend?

Africa would be a great place for a honeymoon as it is a place that once visited you spend the rest of your life talking about! There are plenty of options where you can go as a group and also go with just the two of you with maybe meeting others on game drives or treks.

Visiting the gorillas or trekking through Ethiopia or up Mt Kilimanjaro are best in a small group. Some lodges or camps may put you with others on a game drive but otherwise you would be on your own. Beach destinations such as Zanzibar offer a great opportunity for you both to relax on your own.

 How dangerous is it? What are your tips on being safe in Africa?

Africa is like many other places where you should use a hotel safe where possible, avoid large demonstrations of people and avoid walking alone at night. Always be aware of your surroundings in a large city.

Leave any jewellery at home and in the cities always use a taxi to go from your hotel to restaurants and back again. Hotel and restaurant staff will help you with this. When you are in a game park or on a trek the guides are there to look after your safety and will know the local conditions well.

They will not put you or themselves at risk. Some parts of Africa do have travel warnings where the New Zealand government advises you not to travel.  It is advisable to check the Safe government travel website when planning your trip.

Where is the best place to do a safari in Africa to see the 'Big 5'?

The big 5 are lion, African elephant, Cape buffalo, leopard, and rhinoceros. They can generally be seen in many countries such as  Botswana, South Africa, Kenya, Tanzania and  Zimbabwe. Animal spotting always has a bit of luck involved but the safari guide will  always do their best  to help you find them.

I've read a lot about voodoo and black magic being practised across Africa. Is this true? Have you seen anything like this?

There are many forms of shamanism in Africa with traditional medicine and spiritual beliefs still holding a lot of influence.  I have only seen a Zulu medicine doctor do a consultation in South Africa in a village. If you want to see this sort of thing you will need to ask your guide to arrange a visit to a village. It is suggested going with a guide so you can get a translation. 

Voodoo is thought to come from West Africa. Christianity is also strong in parts of Africa. I went to a church in Malawi where the singing was wonderful and I was made to feel very welcome.

What's the best way to carry money?

We suggest you take your money in a couple of formats so you can be covered if something doesn't work.  You can use ATM's in large cities but once in the countryside they are few and far between.

ATMs are plentiful in South Africa. Safari lodges and some permanent camps will take credit cards in Kenya but not all the time in Tanzania. Credit cards can only be used in big hotels in Rwanda. 

In Southern Africa credit cards are widely accepted in lodges and towns. It is always good to have some cash with you as well which can easily be changed. Take either USD or EUR which can be changed.

Where would you recommend for a family trip? We have 3 kids, aged 5 to 14. Definitely want a safari but unsure where to go?

Safaris are a great experience for families and this can be done in east Africa in countries such as Kenya and Tanzania or Southern Africa such as Botswana, Namibia and South Africa.

Either option works well for families.  So your children don't get bored with spending hours driving though game parks we suggest breaking things up with  doing  game walks where you go with a guide and look at animal tracks.

Local village visits are fun as well in places such as the Masai Mara where you meet the local Masai people or a Himba village in Namibia. This will give the children an insight into a culture very different to their own! A river cruise or boat trip is also a great way of adding another dimension to your trip and are great for bird watching. Sunset cruises can be done on the Zambesi or you can take a boat through the Okavango delta in Botswana.

Many lodges and permanent camp set ups have swimming pools too so they are great for children to have a break in between game drives.  Your children may also be interested in some of the animal conservation projects such as wild dog project in Zimbabwe.

I'd love to make a career out how travel but don't know how or where to start. Any tips?

Working in travel can be very rewarding but be warned your bucket list of places gets bigger as you learn more!  I suggest getting in touch with a local travel college to do a short course. This will give the skills to get  started as well as showing you the different types of work available in the industry. Good luck!

I'm spending a few weeks in Cape Town, visiting relatives. What are some must-do things there?

Cape Town is a very beautiful city with lots to do.  A visit to Table Mountain is a must. There is a cable car that will take you to its iconic table top.  A visit to Robben island is also worth it. Nelson Mandela was incarcerated here for many years. Green Market square is great for shopping for souvenirs. 

The Cape of Good Hope or Cape Point has spectacular scenery and there are some good walks in the area. V & A waterfront is great to explore with many restaurants and bars. The surrounding beaches are also wonderful.  The wine region of Stellenbosch is not too far either.

What are some do's and don't's when on safari, in terms of approaching/photographing the animals?

It is best to wear something that will help you blend in rather than bright colours. While it is really exciting when you start spotting animals or birds  especially if they are rare it is best to tone down the excitement and keep quiet.  Stay with your guide and/or group for your safety.

The guide also knows about the animal's behaviour so always listen to their instructions.  Don't get too close to an animal so it feels cornered or startle it so you get an " action" shot as it moves. Never feed the animals either. Drink plenty of water while you are out and about.

How do you combat altitude sickness?

Make sure that you spend some time acclimatising as you go up - most important! World Expeditions trips always build in acclimatisation time as well as looking after your health so that you have a better chance of reaching the summit. While climbing drink plenty of water and take it slowly.

We also recommend avoiding alcohol.  If you start getting symptoms such as headaches, dizziness,  fatigue,  insomnia, nausea or loss of appetite you need to chat to your guide. 

Our guides are trained in altitude medicine so they know what to look for and will send you back down if need be.

We are heading to Durban in South africa next year in June. We are there for a wedding and will travel around for about 3 weeks. Any places nearby you recommend

Durban is a wonderful place and has a lovely climate. Some of the surrounding beaches are great too. The locals are very proud of their state-of-the-art stadium, constructed for the 2010 World Cup. You can head up the arch in a SkyCar or walk up the 550 stairs. Wilson's wharf has lots of eateries and shops and great harbour views.

Shaka Marine World boasts one of the largest aquariums in the world with  the biggest collection of sharks in the southern hemisphere.  The surrounding area of KwaZulu-Natal has lots to see I suggest getting out to the Drakensberg ranges which as beautiful and have many walks and also visiting some Zulu villages and learning about their culture.