Traversing Africa is not for the faint hearted, and is something which requires planning, patience, and the willingness at a moments notice to toss your itinerary out the window and start from the beginning.
Africa has throughout all modern history, without stop, been the scene for continuous hardship and conflicts – and it is not going to change anytime soon. It remains a constant that things in an instant can go from predictably bad but manageable, to an unpredictable chaotic and unmanageable situation filled with uncertainties and dangers. And, whatever turns worse in an instant, takes ages to improve.
Just to put it in perspective, In the following we will list some of the shaky events that has taken place in Africa since we started planning 18 months ago… meaning only new things which has occurred the last 18 months and not all the old hardships which still are ongoing (and all of the new events that we forgot to mention):
- Morocco – civil unrest and disobedience and demonstrations in relation (ref African spring)
- Tunisia – revolution
- Libya – civil war and revolution
- Egypt – revolution with conflicts still ongoing
- Sudan – Southern Sudan has become an independent nation while in “the other Sudan” has been demonstrations with demands that the president steps down.
- Ethiopia – invades Somalia
- Algeria – civil unrest (ref African spring)
- Mali – kidnapping of two french men, one from the Netherlands, one from South Africa, a Swede and with a German shot and killed from resisting – tourists from the north eastern Region being evacuated as we write this. Most likely the act of Alkaida
- Mauritania – civil unrest in connection with the October elections as well as influences from the “African Spring”
- Western Sahara – a series of demonstrations against work discrimination, looting of resources, violations of human rights, and more
- Guinea Bissau – Military unrest and the prime minister put in house arrest, followed by violent demonstrations with people killed. EU drops their program to reform security forces, giving top generals and powerful drug smugglers carte blanch
- Guinea – the military junta seat a temporary president, elections are held, followed by an unsuccessful armed coup d’etat
- Burkina Faso – military mutiny
- Ivory Coast – a second civil war starts
- Niger – Coup d’etat
- Zimbabwe – Mugabe threatens to expand expropriation of private firms unless the west drops sanctions
- Malawi – protests against breaches of human rights, increased living costs, and more, with more than 18 killed
- Somalia – nominated last place by Transparency International as the worlds most corrupt nation, and by Institute for Economics and Peace as second to last on their peace index, between Irak and Afghanistan. An entire chapter can be written about all the changes in this country
- Djibouti – protests with demands that the president steps down
- Eritrea – nominated by Reporters Without Borders at the very bottom of the scale when it comes to freedom of press, below North Korea
There are still a few months until we leave, with lots of new events to unfold, with hopefully none setting a stop to our adventure. Fortunately, our route is still relatively safe with relatively stable conditions – we only visit a few of the countries on the list above. And, which is often the case, many of these conflicts is nothing new to the people of those countries, to many it is just business as usual.
Africa, here we come!