Mind the Gap – Part 2: Africa

It’s time for part 2 of our whistle-stop world tour of the possibilities for your Gap Year. For this one we’re heading to the world’s second largest and second most populous continent. It’s where American Rock Band Toto left the rains back in 1983, and where they noticed that Kilimanjaro rises like an Empress above the Serengeti.

You’ve guessed it. Here’s our guide to a Gap Year down in Aaaaaaaa-frica… Africa is big. Really big. In fact, it’s in the region of 30.2 Million square kilometres. That means – geography-wise – it’s got pretty much every kind of landscape imaginable; deserts, rainforests, mountains, waterfalls, oceanic coast, stunning beaches, as well lakes that are bigger than some seas.

Most Brits’ knowledge of Africa comes from Sir David Attenborough’s legendary Natural History programmes – usually aired by the BBC to critical acclaim. Or from those harrowing scenes etched in our memory from Live Aid – of famine in Ethiopia – some 30 years ago.

But it’s such a diverse continent that there really is something for everyone. It can also be a dangerous place, so it pays to do your homework and check UK Foreign office advice on the African countries you might be considering visiting. As in part 1 we’re going to divide our best picks into two categories – Jolly or Job. The first focussing on those lucky souls who are able to finance their travels, the second on those who are looking to gain the experience through working overseas.


Ultimate Overland Tour

A bit of a ‘money no object’ one this – but if you really want to see Africa, then an overland tour is a great way of doing it. Extremegapyear’s Ultimate Africa Overland Tour lasts 56 days, visits 9 countries including South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Malawi, Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda.

The tour takes in most of the major National Parks – including Victoria Falls, Lake Malawi and The Serengeti. For 8 weeks fully catered and including all the activities it costs £3549 – which is actually pretty good value – it’s hard enough to live in London for £432 a week. It’s worth noting Flights, travel insurance, pre and post tour accommodation aren’t included.

Shorter Overland Tours

If your budget won’t stretch to the full 8 week expedition, then you can plump for a shorter tour – such as the Cape Town to Victoria Falls. It’s 20 days and takes in 4 African countries – stopping off at the Namib-Naukluft National Park, Fish River Canyon, and a Massai Village – before the final destination – where you can give it the full ‘Doctor Livingstone I presume?’ The 20 day tour is £1199 – complete with activity pack upgrade, which includes adventures like White Water Rafting, Skydiving and Quadbking – as well as some special meals out. As with the Ultimate Overland tour flights, travel insurance, pre and post accommodation aren’t included.


Africa is a great place to go and work. With so much geography there’s a huge amount of choice in what you might do. Here are a few examples of what you might choose.

Turtle Power – for Budding Marine Biologists

If you’ve enrolled in a Marine Science qualification, Africa holds many opportunities for volunteering. Kenya’s Watamu Coastline is one such place – with a project that featured in Sir David Attenborough’s ‘Africa’ documentary. Amongst other roles, you’ll get to patrol the beaches looking for stranded or injured Sea Turtles, carry out Beach surveys and clean ups and help replant the Mangrove swamps that provide essential nesting habitat for these magnificent creatures. You might also get to assist in the rehabilitation of an injured turtle through feeding or swimming practice!

Find out more about Turtle Conservation initiatives at the working abroad website.


One of the best ways to help less-privileged communities in Africa is through teaching, and in most cases that’ll be educating English as a language. If you’re anticipating studying languages after your Gap year then teaching can be an immensely rewarding experience. Gap Work have a great portal to help you find your perfect ‘journey with a purpose’ – including teaching English in Africa.

If you are heading off on a long break to this wonderful continent then you might need somewhere to store your stuff – especially if you are in London and are giving up the expense of rented accommodation whilst you travel. Our storage units provide the perfect solution for that – and our terms are flexible if your plans change and you stay away longer or come back early.


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