Travel-Hacking West Africa

Many travelers attempting to visit all the countries in the world feel some sort of trepidation for visiting parts of Africa. I know as I was one of them. Having visited North Africa in my younger days and taken a 7 months trip cycling overland from Nairobi to Cape Town. I didn’t really dare to dive into West Africa until I’ve visited over 150 countries.

In one way it’s good to gain experience to guard ourselves against the common bad rep of the region of coups, criminality and corruption. On the other hand the region has over 17 countries, some friendlier than others.

It would be a missed opportunity to speedrun through all the regional capitals. Some dangers are real, yet they can be overcome, to unlock many incredible highlights. That’s why I look forward to present to you the preparations, hacks and highlights of traveling to West, to prepare your own journey to be more meaningful and exciting!  I spent months in the region on multiple independent trips.



Jian was made in China and assembled in IKEA (Sweden) before getting upgraded in Silicon Valley (San Francisco). Nowadays he’s recovering tech worker, semi-deprecated in South East Asia (SEA) with Singapore as a base to explore FIRE activities (Financial Independence, Rethink Employment). Growing up across 2 continents with zero cultural overlap piqued his innate curiosity to explore and learn more about the world.

Jian has since his early days of being a backpacking noob (committing most of the mistakes in the book and then some, getting scammed in Cuba, robbed in Rio, suffering from fever on Everest Basecamp etc.), graduated to adventure-cycling across 3 continents in his 20s and completing all 195 UN countries in the aftermath of the pandemic in his mid-30s.

He has particularly fond recollections of nearly 500 days spent across 22 separate trips to Africa, including a 7-month journey overland from east to south Africa, immersed in mountains, deserts and savannahs. During visits to some of the poorest countries in the world in West & Central Africa, Jian still experienced incredible travel highlights and he hopes more people will visit these countries properly to do them justice.