Do you feel terrified if you think of couchsurfing in Africa? Would you dare to do it? Some of us did it and here is our experience. Thanks to fellow bloggers and African addicts, hope this post will encourage you to use couchsurfing in Africa not because it is free, but allows you to go local.
The funny thing with couchsurfing in Africa is, that you never know what to expect. Thanks to couchsurfing I attended a wedding in Sudan, ate the best tagine in Marrakech, spent few amazing days with Berber people near Atlas mountains, drank morning coffee on a boulder with monekys keeping me company each morning in Tanzania, had the best conversation about life with couchurfer in Zambia. These experiencecs are those kind of memorries that enriched my travels.
Couchsurfing in Morocco – A Couch in Sahara Desert
One of our best Couchsurfing experiences ever, not just in Africa, was when we stayed in the Sahara Desert in southern Morocco. To get to our host Brahim’s place, we had to walk twenty minutes straight into the sand dunes along a path leading out of the nearest tiny town.
Here, in the middle of this barren land, Brahim and a few of his friends were building a riad or small house complex out of mud. The interior decoration of our humble hut amounted to a rug on the dirt floor and another covering the entrance, while the bathroom consisted of cold bucket showers and a lovely squat toilet.
With no TV and no Internet, we spent our days chatting to Brahim about nomad life and watching the wind move the sand grains one by one. At sunset, we’d climb a tall dune and watch the ocean of sand beneath us be bathed in a warm, golden light.
Every night after sharing a homemade tagine with the guys, we’d lean back and let our thoughts fly to the sound of Brahim’s drum and his brother’s guitar. Even today, many months later, we still talk about how absolutely legendary Brahim and his couch were!
Couchsurfing in Rural Marocco – Baumalne Dades
On my last trip to Morocco I spent three days in charming village near Boumalne Dades in Morocco. The region s known as one of the best trekking destinations in Morocco and my couchsurfing stay was of course the reason for more of the exploration of stunning Moroccan landscape.
Family lives simple Bereber life and owns huge fig and olive plantation which is their main source of income. In the mornings I was welcomed to home made breakfast: fresh baked bread was waiting from me, served with home grown olives, cheese, soup, coffee and mint tea.
While for dinner they served the traditional moroccan Tagine. I spent days in the nature hiking and trekking. Ilias, a local guide, took me for a hike to the gorges nearby and full day Monkeys Fingers canyon trekking. If I knew this region was so beautiful I would stay much longer. My couchurfing experience was excellent, event though I initially didn’t plan it at all.
by Nina Zara
Couchsurfing in South Africa
Couchsurfing in South Africa was one of the best Couchsurfing experiences for me ever. It was also the first time I was couchsurfing with my parents – they are both seniors and I have usually always booked tours with luxury stays for them in the past. Hence, needless to say, I was very skeptical of how they will adjust (though they are extremely friendly and can literally live in a place with a roof and a bed).
For them, living with someone else, total strangers at that was very nerve wrecking and it scared the shit out of me too. Imagine Indian parents doing that? I would say no one else would dare to try… but we being an adventurous family, did try and succeeded at that.
In Johannesburg, we had the most amazing house with a huge backyard, two rooms to ourselves, 3 dogs and a wonderful host. This was our first stop so we were excited to see how our next leg went. Next stop was Cape Town and we had an equally amazing experience with a great host, 3 cats this time and long wine talks every night with our host.
We had such unexpectedly nice hosts and stays that my parents fell in love with the entire concept of Couchsurfing. I am sure we can couchsurf anywhere in the world now, as a family.
Couchsurfing in Ghana
My couchsurfing experience in Ghana was 100% positive. Since I was visiting Ghana for the first time, I had decided to stay with a local in chaotic Accra. Nana, my host, was very glad to have a guest after so many months – eventhough there are quite many tourist visiting Ghana, not many of them decide to use couchsurfing.
We exchanged our phone numbers before my arrival, so I could call him straightaway after arriving to Kotoka Airport in Accra. Nana came to pick me up by taxi and we went to his place in Osu, which, luckily, turned out to be in quite strategic part of the big city of Accra. I quickly realized Nana is a very honest and humble guy with a great sense of humor and we could both feel we were going to get along well with each other.
Although I arrived late in the evening I was excited to have my first beer in Ghana with my host and his friends. The following day he took me around to see some of the most interesting places in Accra. He taught me some of the most important culture etiquette which was a welcome introduction to Ghanaian culture.
He kept me away from unwanted male attentions, which is nothing new to me since I have been traveling solo to Africa for some time, but still very annoying.
Nana was also very helpful with going to the embassy of Burkina Faso to apply for visa and to find a ticket for my onward travel to Northern Ghana. We keep in touch ever since I sent him a couchsurfing request and hope to meet again in his hometown.
Couchsurfing in Togo
Staying with a couchsurfer who can speak English in Togo was very convenient. Although I was traveling with my friend, we also wanted to surf a couch for a couple of nights and see a new place with a local. Our host from Kara in Northern Togo is a student and a local guide at the same time, so he did a good plan for our visit in Kara and its vicinity.
Besides the main attractions in town we could also visit his university and small ethnographic museum. We drove all around Kara and later on to Tamberma valley by his motorbike and another zemidjan (moto taxi), which was pure fun.
Planning our getaway from town to Tamberma valley was very easy since our host as a local tourist guide organized everything for our trip. Although he was very helpful and organized, me and my friend didn’t really get along well with him and felt that he is using Couchsurfing just to get closer to tourists in order to sell them organized tours.
But more annoying than this was the fact that we didn’t feel comfortable in his room that was really repugnant. Four smell, dirt, mice in the room and rats in the ceiling etc. made us impossible to stay in his room. Eventhogh we are used to live modestly and don’t have high standard of cleanliness we both agreed that none of us had stayed in a dirtier place before.
In any case, we didn’t regret to stay with our host – we learnt that in future we will try to avoid tourist guides on CS and try to be honest with our hosts in order for all of us to have a better Couchsurfing experience.
By Katja Cof, Africa Addict
Couchsurfing in Tanzania
Each couchsurfing stay is unique. For example, I would never drink morning coffee on a huge boulder in the company of playful monkeys if I chose to stay in boring hotel somewhere in the city. My hosts in Mwanza had an awesome house in the suburbs of the city, built into giant rock with huge backyard dotted with tall trees and boulders.
My couchsurfing host Ernest was a synonym for a true CS host, he patiently waited for me on a bus station for five hours to pick me up and drive me to his home, the next few days he showed me all the sights in Mwanza and at home his wife always awaited for us at the end of the day with super delicious dinner we shared together with interesting conversations.
Featured photo credit:by Rucksack Ramblings