Immerse Yourself in Sub-Saharan Africa with Educational Travel Collaborative, L.L.C.
Sub-Saharan Africa is exceptionally diverse - linguistically, geographically, culturally, artistically, you name it. We will help set you up for life-changing exploration and fieldwork, supporting you through the selection of destinations, navigation of logistics, and refinement of your goals. The "spotlight" features below will give you an idea of a few possible destinations - but wherever you'd like to go, get in touch with us - Africa awaits!
Culture, wildlife, and unmatched diversity.
You may know people who have been to Africa - how many do you know who went not on safari or on a mission trip - but simply to learn, grow, and build relationships?
We talk a lot about the importance of relationships here at ETC - and nowhere is this more true than in sub-Saharan Africa. There is a great deal of problematic and even destructive tourism in the region, and we want to set you up for an experience in which you will be a valued and appreciated visitor to the communities you'll engage with and the territories you'll explore.
Africa's diversity reflects itself in a profound diversity of areas of interest it is perfect for exploring - indigenous studies, art, dance, colonial history, a rapidly changing modern political structure, somewhere on the continent (actually, many places on the continent) you'll find exactly what you're looking for, even if it's all of this and more!
Spotlight: East Africa
Unparalleled wildlife. Storied communities.
In terms of sheer numbers, there is no place else on earth that offers such large herds of wild megafauna as the park systems of eastern Africa. From the famous reserves of the Serengeti and Maasai Mara to little-known reserves offering a more intimate and local approach scattered throughout Uganda, Rwanda, and farther North in Kenya - wildlife is what attracts many to east Africa. Independent travel through the region offers the opportunity to engage with local communities living in both modern and traditional communities, as well as the environmental treasures around them. Travelers can explore issues of development, equity, regional political representation, religious identity, and the role of state and NGO activity on all of the above. At the same time, you'll have the opportunity to dive into traditional culture, language, dance, and food in each of the communities you pass through.
The east African safari circuit is one of the most problematic areas in international ecotourism. Wealthy tourists on luxury safaris zip through indigenous communities, snap photos, and head to their five-star lodges for the evening, contributing little to locals beyond an increasingly visceral sense of inequity. By working in lesser-traveled areas, as well as with community development organizations in the top destinations in the region, we allow you to engage with the leaders of the regions you are visiting and to interact with them in a way that is valuable for all parties. Not only is it the right thing to do - it will enable you to reach and surpass your goals on the road!
Spotlight: Southern Africa
Decolonization, Apartheid, and profound Diversity
Southern Africa is defined, in part, by the legacy of apartheid - the legal segregation of the races in the interest of maintaining white rule. In the image above, the historically white wine country of Stellenbosch sparkles, while nearby slums house most vineyard workers. South Africa interfered politically and militarily in the affairs of neighboring states in the interests of preserving white rule, or, where that failed, destabilizing black governments to allow it to maintain the idea that black Africans were incapable of self-government.
The nation of South Africa is the birthplace of the concept of the Truth and Reconciliation process - ending apartheid without the mass violence feared by many. In surrounding nations, civil wars started by the pro-apartheid forces often raged for much longer, and peace processes are still ongoing in some locations. The region is a laboratory of change and progress, forgiveness and resentment. The region is also rich in linguistic and traditional heritage - both foreign (Dutch, Portuguese, and British influences are strong) and indigenous (the Zulu Nation, Xhosa, and countless others). It is also home to unique cultural opportunities, a bohemian arts scene, and some of the best nightlife on the continent. Whatever brings you here, there is so much to engage with and discover in southern Africa!
One region, many worlds.
On the massive continent that is Africa, southern Africa boasts exceptional diversity - from the small states of Lesotho and Eswatini to the varied histories - pre-colonial, colonial, and sovereign - of the nations that make up this dynamic region. You can find yourself in the tropical wetlands in Chobe or on the Skeleton Coast of Namibia experiencing totally different realities. Southern Africa also offers better infrastructure than much of the rest of the continent, particularly in South Africa, which can make it easier for an independent traveler to navigate.
In any area of the world, there are particular planning notes that you should be aware of - and this is truer for sub-Saharan Africa than most destinations. Here are a few tips to help set your expectations for your journey through Africa!
Africa is vast. One of the things we find ourselves supporting aspiring travelers through most often is the adjustment of their expectations around how much they should attempt to see and do in a set amount of time. We want you to have the time to soak up the culture and immerse yourself in your travels. This requires the time to make real and meaningful connections. How long to spend in each country is up to you, but unless you are hurriedly flying between capital cities, 3 weeks per country is a good minimum guideline.
Culture and Safety
Unfortunately, a huge part of the international media coverage of this vast continent is of isolated regional security threats. Traveling safely in Africa is about knowing what parts of a country are generally safe and accessible, where to exercise increased caution, and where to avoid. As with all of our packages, we'll provide you with relevant security information from top national and international agencies and give you some guidelines on avoiding petty crime and unsafe situations to make the best of your travel time, without sacrificing engagement with your destination or achievement of your personal goals.
Getting around in Sub Saharan Africa can be a bit more work than in other parts of the world - seasonal roads, complex border crossings, and infrequent public transportation and air schedules require particular attention to detail when developing and refining an itinerary. We've done this for ourselves and countless others, and look forward to working out the details with you in a way that is both realistic and meets your needs and schedule!
Estimated Costs and Pricing
Every itinerary is different, tailored to what you want to do and see, and your speed and style of travel. That said, these ballpark figures provide a solid estimate of what all-in costs would look like, including our fees, international airfare, ground transportation, day-to-day meals, and expenses. Estimates are for one traveler, see our pricing and design page for more information on small groups, and pricing differences for gap year travelers versus shorter-term travel.
Unlike many regions, the biggest factor in the price of your travels in Africa will be how much time you want to spend in parks versus in the community, as well as your interest in a few "outlier" activities with hefty price tags. General information is below.
Local Travel with Intermittent Park Visits (1-2 days a week in local parks)
21-day Excursion from: US$ 6180
1 Month of a Gap Year from: US$ 4872
Local Travel with Frequent Park Visits (3-4 days a week in parks, including higher cost national parks)
21-day Excursion from: $7650 USD
1 Month of a Gap Year from: $7000 USD
Gorilla Trekking: US$ 850-3000 depending on location
Maasai Mara Hot Air Balloon from: