Sounds like a silly question but the short answer is yes, there are trains running in Africa. Just the other day a Nigerian guy said ‘it’s so hard to get around African countries as there are no trains’. He then went on to say he had lived in Nigeria as a child and never travelled to any other African countries. Little did he know, (having lived in UK for the adult part of his life) that transportation has improved massively across the continent. Even Google doesn’t know, as when you type ‘transportation in Africa’ in the search box, the next predictive word is ‘problem’! I found that quite funny and annoying at the same time. Yes, there are issues with potholes, congestion and maintenance, however the we are getting better.
Buses, minibuses and trains
These modes of transport are very popular amongst locals in the city areas. Most buses and coaches are comfortable and have air conditioning although they can filled with a lot of people and have heavy loads secured to their roofs. The queues for buses tend to be quite long but are a very cheap way to travel and really interact with the locals. Trains are not in every African country, but you can get trains in Ethiopia, Ghana and the high-speed Gautrain in South Africa, which can be quite expensive to use.
Taxis, private hire cars and motorbikes
Taxis are a huge part of the African transport system, hence why Uber has established itself in Nigeria and South Africa. Taxi fares are cheap, however once they hear your accent, you will be charged up to treble the price for a ride. You can hire a cab for yourself or squash in with other local passengers on your route making your fare even cheaper. For some tourists hiring a driver is preferred with some drivers being available 24/7! Motorbikes are quick ways to get around in the traffic and you can either hire one or flag a taxi but just make sure you have your helmet!
Boats, air-planes and overland trucks
You can use ferries, boats and canoes to get to other parts of the main land, beaches, remote islands and other countries on the continent. Flying to/from African countries is quick but costly if not booked well in advance. Larger countries like Kenya, Morocco, Nigeria and South African have more than one airport so you can fly internally as well. Overland trucks are mainly used to travel cross-country and a favourite for tourists partaking in lengthily tours. Taking an overland is quite an experience as you get to meet all the people of Africa.
Bicycles and walking
In more rural areas quite a number of people use bicycles to commute. If all of these modes of transport fail, you can always rely on your feet to get you around 🙂
How do you get around Africa? Let us know in the comment box below.