Travel News

‘No Ugandan has ever crossed here’: reclaiming the African road trip | Global development

‘No Ugandan has ever crossed here’: reclaiming the African road trip | Global development

When Ugandans Maureen Agena and Edward Echwalu arrived at the Lesotho border during their five-month road trip across east and southern Africa, the immigration officer did a double-take. “I’ve been at this post for eight years and no Ugandan has ever crossed through,” the official told the pair, as she fumbled through her records to see if travellers from the east African country could get into the country visa-free.

Crossing the border into Lesotho, the immigration officer was surprised to see Ugandans travelling. Photograph: Edward Echwalu

“For most of the places that we have been to, that has been the comment,” the couple tweeted, as they chronicled their trip on social media.

High costs and visa restrictions have historically made it harder for Africans to travel the continent, compared with Europeans or North Americans. There is little data on the number of people making such journeys through countries, but leisure and safari tourism in Africa is still largely dominated by western travellers.

At Maletsunyane falls, a 192-metre (630ft) waterfall in Lesotho – one of the world’s highest. Photograph: Edward Echwalu

Agena and Echwalu are among the limited but growing number of Africans embarking on longer-term leisure travel within the continent. Some indications – such as a growing African middle class, and increased intra-African trade – suggest that the number of people travelling for business and leisure is likely to rise in the coming years.

It took the couple, who describe themselves as lower-middle class, several years to save the nearly £20,000 they needed for the 13,700-mile (22,000km) journey through a dozen countries: Tanzania, Zambia, Namibia, South Africa, Lesotho, Swaziland, Botswana, Malawi, Kenya, Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Angola.

For Agena, who works in development communications, the trip was an overdue career break, after “working non-stop” for eight years. She also wanted to discover what it would be like to travel on her own continent, after experiences with racism during her work-related trips in Europe, where she recalled no one sitting next to her on the train and receiving poor service at restaurants.

Agena and Echwalu began their travels in December 2022. Keen to venture off the beaten path, they found their way around using iOverlander – an app that features routes and amenities, including hospitals, petrol stations,…

Click Here to Read the Full Original Article at Travel | The Guardian…