Environmental and Geographic ChallengesEdit
As mentioned earlier, Africa features a wide variety of environments and geographies.
Much of the north of Africa is made up of the Sahara Desert, an inhospitable place even
for the nomads who live their. Water is an absolutely necessary commodity. A positive feature about the Sahara is that it is very spasely populated so you will likely be almost devoid of zombies. You are more likely to encounter a band of brigands than the undead. If you have the experience and ability to survive in the desert, it would make a perfect destination to head for. Due to the almost total lack of humidity and bacteria, zombies will take far longer to decay than in other areas, but the small numbers one is likely to encounter here makes up for the fact that they may be around for several years. Deserts also offer the survivor a major advantage in that a well sited stronghold allows a 360 degree for many miles. A well trained sniper will easily be able to pick off the odd wandering zombie or small group of bandits long before they pose a threat. If you are inexperienced in desert conditions, do NOT try to seek refuge in a desert. Doing this will certainly lead to death.
There are several rain forest areas in Africa, the largest of which is in the Congo Basin, towards the Atlantic Ocean. Rain forests may have no shoprtage of water and food, but they can be just as dangerous, if not even more dangerous, than deserts. Not only will survivours have to deal with zombies, but they will need to battle the elements of high humidity, almost constant dampness, tropical diseases such as Malaria, Typhoid and Cholera, dangerous animals, venomous snakes, and insects as well as an indigenous population of forest dwellers and pygmies who will likely be extremely beligerant and dangerous if approached. Equipment and clothing will rot quickly, and physical health will deteriorate in short order if the survivor doesn't look after themselves.
The plains of Africa are iconic of the continent. National Geographic and Discovery Channel are full of images of the rolling plains of the Serengeti and the Masaai-Mara. We're all familiar with rivers full of Crocodiles, Wildebeest, and Zebra. At first glance it would appear that the Savannah would be an ideal place to seek refuge from the undead. Unfortunately, while the savannah is a reasonable choice, there are several issues that need to be adressed.
The Savannah (or "veld" in Afrikaans) is divided into two distinct types:
This is the Savannah that occurs on plateau areas, generally above an altitude of 1500m (4500 ft) above sea level. These areas tend to be drier, with a moderate climate, and as a result, are often more highly populated, for example the Highveld region in South Africa that is home to around 20 million people. Malaria and the other tropical diseases are extremely rare at this altitude, and there is realtively little in the way of dangerous animals to contend with. Water is an issue due to a very short wet season and shortage of large rivers, but springs and small rivers are plentiful, and survival is a matter of common sense and should be easily possible.
The dry climate will likely delay the decomposition of zombies. A well thought out refuge in the highveld, if far enough away from other people, and well sited, could be ideal for survival during the apocalypse.
All savannah that lies below the highveld is known as lowveld. Lowveld is generally hot year-round, and most have two distinct wet seasons during the year. During the wet seasons it might be impossible to travel by mechanised transport. Lowveld tends to be highly populated by wild animals.
There is some disagreement over whether zombies seek out animal flesh or avoid it. If you are absolutely sure that zombies avoid animal flesh, then the lowveld is a superb choice of area to make your stand. Not only will the animals provide a phyisical barrier for zombies to get through (they would be slow moving and easy to grab prey for all manner of scavengers and predators such as African Wild Dogs, vultures, hyaenas, marabou storks etc) but the grazing and browsing animals of the savannah will provide an early warning system when zombies approach. In this scenario, a well sited refuge in the lowveld, surrounded by wild animals will be an excellent choice. If however, zombies seek out animal flesh as well as human, surrounding yourself with wild animals would be a horrible idea.
In World War Z, the first publicly recorded zombie attacks occurred in the slums of Cape Town, South Africa. The virus actually originated in China and was only spread to South Africa (and many other countries) by Chinese refugees. The fact that the first outbreak occurred in South Africa, however, led to the virus being dubbed "African Rabies" by the media. In turn, not unlike the AIDS epidemic before it, in the early days of the plague many people shrugged it of as an "Africa" problem, or only something "those other people" get, which could never happen to "normal" middle-class white Americans. This left much of the Western world disastrously apathetic to the real threat of the disaster unfolding around them.
South Africa's Great Panic came a few weeks before the one in the United States, and it was South Africa which actually came up with the war plan that eventually turned the tide against the zombies: the infamous "Redeker Plan". It was adapted from an old Apartheid-era government contingency plan developed by the white minority government to deal with a general insurrection by the majority black population. The plan's architect, Paul Redeker, updated it to take into account all aspects of the zombie threat.
The plan consisted of two factors: 1 - With the outbreak too far gone, the remaining military had to retreat back to a concentrated defensive perimeter defined by natural barriers such as mountains, islands, and rivers (like a standard military retreat), and more importantly 2 - Not everyone could be saved; allowing all survivors into the Safe Zone would not only strain resources but lure zombies towards the new defensive perimeter. Therefore, survivor enclaves would be intentionally set up outside of the real Safe Zone as "human bait", to distract the zombie hordes and lure them away from the main Safe Zone, even though these enclaves were considered expendable. South Africa enacted the Redeker Plan, after which countries around the world began to copy and employ it.