1. All your clothes will get ruined
Africa is dusty and I don’t mean the dust you are used to at home. It is and orange-y red color and it WILL get on your clothes. Also, it’s really, REALLY hard to get it out as washing machines will become a luxury while you’re here. My advice? Don’t bring your favorite clothes here and never, ever wear white.
2. You will look less than glamorous
You will probably pack your nicest outfits to make sure you get the perfect insta travel shot while on safari or the perfect #chicbumbeach photo while rockin’ your way around the myriad of African white sand beaches (think Zanzibar or Diani beach). The reality, though? You will stop caring along the way because see #1, and also – it’s hot, it’s humid, you will more often than not spend countless hours under the sun and hot showers are a real luxury in Africa. The equation doesn’t really add up to a perfect look.
3. Your mode of transport will break down
Yes, and you will get stranded for quite a while because Africans are pretty relaxed when it comes to time, so get mentally prepared for that. It can be the car, a train, a bus, you name it. It WILL happen at least once during your journey, but it’s part of the fun and the adventure!
During my first month here, our car’s wheel was punctured by one of the many nails on the road. Luckily, we were near a village and everyone united to help us replace it! We didn’t have the proper equipment, but a pile of bricks did the job. A couple weeks later, I took the infamous “Lunatic Express”, a train that goes from Nairobi to Mombasa. A few hours into the journey, we were told we were headed back to Nairobi because the freight train ahead of us had gotten derailed and there was no way we could pass. Aaaaah, Kenya! Your public transportation system is a wreck, but I still love you!
4. You will wish you were home
Africa is not all Lion King landscapes and perfect adventures – it can get very, very overwhelming and at times you will miss the comfort of home, the being able to go to a shop without everyone wanting to talk to you or having at least 10 people shouting “mzungu” (foreigner) at you (especially when you leave the touristy places and when you’re at touristy places, you will have to endure a crowd of vendors trying to sell you something).