10 Lessons I Learned Traveling to Africa for the First Time

I can still remember the feeling as I got off the airplane 17 years ago: like walking into an oven. My first trip to Africa took place 17 years ago in Lagos, Nigeria. I went with my family and friends for 1 week to the West African country.

I was shocked at many things at once: the weather, the tons of people, the poverty, the lack of resources, the beautiful women, and of course the food.

It made me really think about how lucky some people are to live in a western country with access to food, healthcare and jobs. Nigeria felt like a country with lots of potential that suffers from lack of opportunity.

Here are 10 things I realized during my first trip to Africa as a Black American:

1. Africa is Hot and Humid

You will experience incredible heat and humid weather. It’s like LA weather on steroids.

2. Many Cities are Overpopulated

Seeing masses of people in the street at times was unbelievable. There were times where I could not walk because everyone was packed in the streets like sardines.

3. Poverty is Real

It’s crazy to see African people struggle with basic needs like food, shelter and clothing. Beggars on the street are often so skinny they weigh less than children.

4. Africa struggles due to lack of business resources

Western countries provide business loans to boost economic productivity. Africa is seriously lacking financial opportunities for entrepreneurs to create jobs.

5. Africa women are beautiful

Ethiopian Women
Ethiopian Girls

Wow. Africa ladies are stunning and I was falling in love every 10 seconds. Black american women definitely get their looks & grace from the motherland.

6. Food options are limited for most people

It’s shocking to live in a place where most meals consist of chicken, rice and bread. It’s not the best place for foodies unless you only eat at expensive upscale restaurants. Street food options are lacking.

7. Many African countries lack job opportunities

Unemployed Men in Africa

I’ve never seen so many unemployed men in my life. There are not many jobs available so many people seek work in western countries. This explains the large flow of African immigrants to America and Europe.

8. Many people still live in traditional African huts

Traditional Senegalese Homes

Traditional homes are still popular, especially in villages. Most lack running water, electricity and other western amenities.

9. Your First Visit to Africa Will Be Overwhelming

It was eye opening and emotionally moving. I was shocked at every thing I saw. It was nothing like TV portrayed.

10. Every African American Should Visit Africa

Africa is a must visit for every Black person, especially African Americans.

What Was Your Experience During Your First Trip to Africa?

Have you been to Africa? Share your experience in the comments.

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  1. Your observations are still very low-level. First, it seems you don’t understand that African is not a country, but a CONTINENT that is more than four times the size of the U.S. Second, there are many parts of Africa that are not hot and humid. Many countries in east and Southern Africa have climates that are semi-tropical. Addis Ababa (that’s a city in Ethiopia; based on the level of this article, I felt the need to point that out to you) rarely gets above 75 degrees F. Third, there is no “general” culture in Africa. Since you were in Nigeria, I’m surprised (but not really) that you didn’t learn that there are over 250 LANGUAGES (not “dialects”…insert “tired-of-the-delegitimization-of-anything-African” eye roll here) represented there; and that the traditional societal structures among the Igbos and Yorubas, for example, are totally different!
    Stop writing articles as though you’ve researched facts and possess even a basic understanding of, and apply respect for the people (the women, especially) of these countries you visit.

  2. My experience of Africa I have been to Zambia, three times, Morocco, South Africa overall 5 times. Africa is a one of the most beautiful places in the world but it’s one of the most of fucked places in the world. I like Africa but I could’t live there fuck that. There is a lot of money to made in Africa that’s why the Chinese, Indians, etc are flocking in hoards. I have had bad experiences with Africa I like it but I don’t like going there, People are not that nice in Africa it’s a low trust society. There isn’t many things I like about Africa.I consider my Black British not African I wasn’t born in Africa I don’t have a connection with Africa. After the first day in Africa I want to leave even my old man says he doesn’t want me to live in Africa. This is just my opinion of Africa but I agree all blacks should visit Africa once in the their life. Africa is a acquired taste you either love or hate it, its not for all black people I think most people including me couldn’t hack it in Africa.

  3. The first country in Africa that I visited was Ethiopia and I felt right at home there with a few exceptions. I stayed on the outskirts of Addis Ababa, which Addis is a huge city. The people, the culture and the food were all wonderful. Also, the women there are gorgeous. It seems like they are being manufactured just to beautify every place I visited there.