Hitching for rides is common practice in Africa, though you may be expected to pay the driver.
Road safety in Africa leaves a lot to be desired, and seatbelts are not always fitted. Being stranded in remote areas could be a problem. Speaking English and French is an advantage as well as Portuguese in some countries. However, learning the basic of African languages will make your trip much more pleasant. Some languages are understood in very large parts, such as Wolof, Fulfulde and Bambara in West Africa or Swahili and Arabic in Eastern Africa.
For Europeans and Americans visas in Africa are relatively hard compared to other continents. For most countries it's a good idea to plan ahead.
Malaria is common in most parts of Africa. Inform yourself and take precautions. Some forms of malaria are particularly deadly. The fact that local populations don't take any malaria prophelactics should definitely not stop you from taking any: locals are much more resistant to malaria.
The United Nations Statistics Division defines Africa as following:
- United Republic of Tanzania
- Central African Republic
- Republic of the Congo
- Democratic Republic of the Congo
- Equatorial Guinea
- Sao Tome and Principe
- Burkina Faso
- Cape Verde
- Cote d'Ivoire
- Sierra Leone