About Tropical Africa

The forests of tropical Africa cover around 18% of the world total and span an impressive 3.6 million square kilometres in West, Central, and Eastern Africa. The region is rich in regards to biodiversity and is home to a remarkable ecosystem.

The countries that make up tropical Africa are Burundi, Comoros, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mayotte, Mozambique, Reunion, Rwanda, Seychelles, Somalia, Tanzania, and Uganda in the East. In the West the countries are Benin, Burkina Faso, Cote d’Ivoire, The Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, and Liberia.

Tropical Africa tends to have a hot, warm climate which is caused by the latitude and the tropical rain belt. However, this varies throughout the region, ranging from arid to humid, particularly in West Africa.

History

The earliest known evidence of man and human civilisation was discovered in Africa. The geography of the continent has a great deal to do with this. Tropical Africa formed in a slightly different way to the rest of the continent; it was transformed by volcanic activity that took place between 23 million and 5 million years ago. Due to this, the area is now made up of sweeping rift valleys and highlands. The range of heights meant that living creatures could survive harsh climatic changes like the ice age. The area still continues to provide scientists and archaeologists with information about human evolution.

Culture

The cultures of tropical Africa are diverse and vibrant, representing a long and rich history and heritage where traditions are an important part of life. Arts and crafts are important, with many tribes and communities creating their own unique handicrafts depending on which materials are available in the area.

Cuisine in tropical Africa has evolved over time due to colonial rule which has resulted in the importation of many food and cooking techniques from other countries and cultures. For instance, in central Africa, there is a prominent Belgian influence with frites, white bread, omelettes, and croissants proving hugely popular. Elsewhere, fish is common. It is usually dried so it can be transported and stored easily. A variety of bushmeat is also available which is caught through traps, spearing, or simply by being chased down.

Health

Tropical travel brings with it the risk of diseases that are not found elsewhere in the world and this is the same for tropical Africa.

Malaria is the most common concern for travellers visiting this region of Africa. Although it is rife in this area, there is medication that can be obtained prior to departure. There are also preventative measures that can be carried out during your time there.

Dengue Fever is another mosquito-borne disease prevalent in tropical Africa. However, there is no vaccination for this so it is important to take preventative measures during your stay.

Yellow fever is again a mosquito-borne disease which occurs in tropical regions of the world. There is a vaccination available for travellers which can be obtained before departure to this region.

Hepatitis is a disease that affects the liver and can be found in three different strains; Hep A is transmitted through contaminated food and drink or through human contact. It is particularly rife in unsanitary conditions so take extra care when travelling in these areas. Hep B is transmitted via bodily fluids and Hep C, the worst strain, is transmitted via blood and sexual contact. There are vaccinations available against hepatitis.

Tuberculosis is a lung infection which is transmitted through bacteria in the air or unpasteurised milk products. A vaccination can be obtained before departure to protect against TB although a few treatment-resistant strains have reared their ugly heads in recent years.

Typhoid fever is transmitted through contaminated food and drink. The vaccination against it is worth getting even though it is not considered to be one hundred percent effective.

It is also recommended that those visiting tropical Africa obtain vaccinations against Cholera and tetanus.