Adrian Misfjord is on an epic backpacking trip through Africa. Picture: supplied.
Adrian Misfjord is on an epic backpacking trip through Africa. Picture: supplied.

Meet the man backpacking through Africa during the pandemic

By Clinton Moodley Time of article published Apr 26, 2021

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A world map picture on Instagram inspired Norwegian social worker Adrian Misfjord to backpack through Africa during the pandemic.

The 21-year-old is currently on a five-month trip to various countries in Africa open to tourists.

“I intended to go on a backpacking trip for a long time. When the opportunity arose, it didn’t take me long to quit my job as a social worker in Oslo and pack my bags,” he said.

Not much preparation went into his trip, although he did plan a route of destinations he wanted to visit. He aims to document his adventures on his YouTube channel, Broke and Bohemian.

Misfjord, who is now in Zanzibar, said the pros of travelling during the pandemic included fewer crowds and discounts on activities.

He said travellers needed to factor in the cost of Covid-19 tests when budgeting for their pandemic trips.

“People back home probably think I am insane for travelling to the least developed continent during this crisis. I looked at Africa as a poor place with dangerous people. A place filled with mosquitoes and diseases. But that is far from the truth. Life here works perfectly fine for most people. The fundamental parts of life are pretty much the same. Work, family, friends, eating, sleeping, and so on.

“Although the continent faces many challenges, I believe that life here, for the most part, is not as bad as many perceive it to be. The strong family ties and community feeling is what has touched my heart the most,” he said.

On why he decided to backpack, Misfjord said: “Backpacking through Africa means more than booking a flight ticket to the most beautiful national park and sleeping in a luxury resort. While there is nothing wrong with that, I am doing this style of travel for my own self-development and to learn about society and culture.”

Misfjord has a budget of $20 (about R280) a day. He stays in local’s homes, where he learns about their culture.

“I set aside $20 each day. Sometimes the costs are lower, and sometimes the costs are higher. But when I calculate how much I’ve spent when I go back home, I hope $20 a day is the result. So if I travel for five months, that means $3 000. If I add flight tickets, vaccines and travel insurance, it will be another $1 000,” said Misfjord.

His advice for travellers to Africa is to carry toilet paper and wet wipes wherever they travel.

“Diarrhea comes and goes when eating local food, and the public toilets rarely have toilet paper available.”

Misfjord has already had a string of adventures during his journey. Like the time he ran into some trouble at the Rwenzori Mountains when he was detained by the military for entering a prohibited mining area.

“(But) they escorted me down and we soon became friends. I taught them how to fly a drone, and we had a lovely time.”

He also lived in a fishing village on Pemba Island in Tanzania.

“I’ll probably fly home from Maputo,” he said.

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