I did an article for a magazine about this...
They didn't pay me so I'm happy to share it... It's VERY basic and VERY generalised but you can get the idea.
I've done extended overland trips in South America & Africa. PM if you want any more details. Happy to share
When the average travel biker feels that their last trip around Western Europe just wasn’t a challenge, and they fancy an extended trip to take them out of their comfort zone, there are two continents that usually come to the top of the list. Africa and South America are still considered the wild continents, and for good reason. You would struggle to find such a diverse mix of terrain, road conditions, cultures and climates than these two stunning continents. Here we are comparing the east coast African route from Cairo to Cape Town and an eastern coast route of South America from Argentina to Colombia. Obviously, this comparison is only going to give you a general feel for the destinations as going into too much detail would take up a whole magazine.
The biggest thing here is the Carnet de passage. A very expensive customs document that could cost you anything from £300-£20,000+ to organise.
A visa for Sudan can take weeks and other counties embassies change their mind about who they like on a weekly basis. Egyptian bureaucracy will also turn your hair grey. A lot of dynamic planning and research is required. Things get much easier and very simple as soon as you reach Kenya and continue to be simple all the way south.
The west coast route has even more borders and visas to deal with. Worth remembering.
Obtaining insurance is simple enough and usually compulsory at borders. One “COMESA” certificate works in a collection of counties making things fairly simple.
Vast northern deserts, stunning mountain ranges of Ethiopia, immense wildlife in the Safari parks like Serengeti, Kruger etc, immense lakes such as Victoria, Tana, Malawi etc. Coral reefs of Mozambique are a divers dream and South Africa is an experience in itself with everything from mountains, beaches, the garden route, the Stellenbosch wine region and fantastic Cape Town.
There are over 300 languages spoken in Africa!!! Although English is widely spoken in the old British Colonies, you will find yourself waving your hands in frustration everywhere else. Arabic, Amharic, Swahili, Portuguese etc to name but a few. Even South Africa has 11 official languages. Don’t forget your phrase books.
FOOD AND DRINK
With so many cultures and countries, it’s impossible to judge them all. There are some great, exotic dishes available for those brave enough to ask. As for western foods, they are scarce or very expensive. Meat is usually goat or chicken and vegetables are limited. Poor agriculture and poverty has a large impact on availability. Wine is terrible until you reach South Africa and the local spirits are usually pretty scary. The staple food in much of Africa is a mealie porridge which doesn’t appeal to many.
Fuel costs on average £1 a litre although it’s much cheaper in the north. Safaris are hideously expensive and you have to pay $1500 just to climb Kilimanjaro. VISAS usually cost between $50-100 USD which really adds up. Western food costs more than in Europe and hostels/campsites are happy to charge western prices. The cost of travel in Africa will surprise you. The cost of a Carnet dramatically increases trip costs and spare parts usually have to be imported with huge duties. Eating local food is very cheap though and wild camping is usually easy to find and free.
CRIME AND STABILTY
Is there a more turbulent continent? With so many tribes, war lords and dictatorships, African politics changes daily. Where the people are very friendly and more likely to shake your hand than rob you, poverty is rife and opportunist theft is a problem.
TOTAL S Scores are out of ten... Ten being the most desirable. 33/50
Borders for all South American countries usually take less than 20 minutes unless you’re stuck in a cue. Three months for you and three months for your vehicle is the general rule. Sur Assure insurance will cover you most of the way and easily obtained in major cities. Borders are organised and officials polite. Very easy.
Colonial architecture, Amazon rainforest, most impressive water falls in the world with Iguazu and Angel falls, snow capped Andes mountains, vibrant energetic cities like Rio & Buenos Aires, pristine beaches, massive glaciers, ... To name but a few. A stunningly beautiful continent with so much to see. 9/10
Spanish is by far the language of South America. Portuguese is required for Brazil but Spanish is often understood. It’s a lot easier to learn some Spanish than Arabic or Swahili if you’re a native Western European.
FOOD AND DRINK
The best beef in the world comes from Argentina, the finest wines from Chile, unimaginable varieties of fruit from Brazil. Western food is also everywhere and affordable. You can eat western or try many of the local dishes which are always tasty.
Visas in South America are either free or very cheap compared with Africa. National park fees are also much cheaper than Africa. Fuel is also whole cheaper than Africa with it dropping to 3p a litre in Venezuela. Crikey!
CRIME AND STABILITY
Politically much more stable than Africa but no one loves a protest in the form of a road block more than Latin American countries. Major cities can obviously be dangerous at night but no more than many other around the world if you stray into the wrong areas. 6/10
TOTAL Scores are out of ten... Ten being the most desirable. 43/60
Carnet de passage.
A carnet de passage allows travellers to temporarily import their vehicle into a country without having to a pay a cash deposit at every border. It is in essence, a guarantee for payment of taxes and duties if that vehicle is not removed. A large deposit, insurance policy or bank guarantee is left with the issuing body. An expensive business.
An asado is a social event of cooking meat. Very similar to a South African Braii, and a million miles away from a crappy British BBQ. A way of life in Argentina and also very popular in Chile, Uruguay, Paraguay and Southern Brazil. A range of choice cut meats cooked lovingly on an open fire.
In Swahili, Safari means “Journey”. In English, the word has been narrowed down to refer to an expedition in search of wild game. Widely available in Africa but super expensive.
Iguazu falls in Argentina/Brazil are the largest waterfalls in the world while Angel falls are the tallest. Victoria Falls in Africa boast being the widest curtain of water in the world, being four times the width of Niagra.