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## How to Travel on a Cargo Ship to Africa


Embarking on a journey aboard a cargo ship to Africa offers a unique and immersive travel experience. While it may not be the most convenient or luxurious mode of transportation, it provides an authentic glimpse into the world of maritime shipping and the opportunity to explore remote and off-the-beaten-path destinations. This guide will provide detailed instructions on how to plan and execute a cargo ship voyage to Africa, including tips on finding available routes, securing a berth, and preparing for the journey.

Finding Available Routes

The first step in planning a cargo ship voyage to Africa is to research available routes. While there are no regular passenger services on cargo ships, some companies do offer limited berths for paying guests.

Search online: Websites such as Freighter Travel and CargoShipVoyages list upcoming routes and provide contact information for booking.
Contact shipping companies directly: Reach out to shipping companies that operate routes to Africa and inquire about potential passenger availability.

Types of Cargo Ships

Cargo ships come in various sizes and types, each with its own advantages and disadvantages for passengers.

Container ships: Massive vessels that transport goods in standardized containers. They typically offer limited passenger accommodations.
Bulk carriers: Designed to transport dry goods such as grains, coal, or iron ore. They may have more spacious accommodation for passengers.
Tankers: Transport liquids such as oil or petroleum. They usually do not offer passenger accommodations.

Securing a Berth

Once you have identified suitable routes, it’s time to secure a berth. Berths on cargo ships are typically limited and in high demand.

Book early: Contact the shipping company well in advance to inquire about availability and make reservations.
Be flexible: Cargo ship schedules are subject to change, so be prepared to adjust your travel plans accordingly.
Consider sharing a cabin: To reduce costs, consider sharing a cabin with another passenger.

Preparing for the Journey

Packing for a cargo ship voyage requires careful planning, as amenities may be limited.

Pack light: Space on cargo ships is often cramped, so pack only essential items.
Bring entertainment: Expect long hours at sea with limited access to entertainment. Pack books, games, or a portable DVD player.
Stock up on snacks: While meals are typically provided, bring additional snacks and drinks to supplement rations.
Prepare for seasickness: Pack over-the-counter remedies or consult a doctor for prescription medications.

Life Aboard a Cargo Ship

Life aboard a cargo ship is a unique experience that offers both challenges and rewards.

Limited amenities: Expect small cabins, shared bathrooms, and basic dining options.
Long transit times: Voyages can take several weeks or even months, so be prepared for extended time at sea.
Opportunity for exploration: Make the most of stopovers in remote ports to explore local cultures and landscapes.
Safety regulations: Adhere strictly to safety guidelines and follow instructions from the crew.

Destinations in Africa

Cargo ships offer the chance to visit a wide range of destinations in Africa, including:

South Africa: Cape Town, Durban
Namibia: Walvis Bay
Angola: Luanda
Nigeria: Lagos
Ghana: Accra

Tips for a Successful Journey

Be prepared for delays: Cargo ship schedules are often subject to unforeseen delays. Pack extra patience and flexibility.
Embrace the experience: A cargo ship voyage is not for everyone, but those who embrace the unique nature of the adventure will be rewarded with unforgettable memories.
Respect the crew: Cargo ships are working vessels, so show respect to the crew and follow their instructions.


Traveling on a cargo ship to Africa is an extraordinary way to experience the continent’s remote destinations and gain insight into the maritime industry. By following the steps outlined in this guide, you can plan a successful and memorable voyage. Remember to pack light, prepare for seasickness, and most importantly, embrace the adventure that awaits.

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