Google Street View in Africa
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Google Street View in Africa

Out of curiosity, what would a Google street view of cities in Africa reveal? Well, this is Africa and anything is possible. There would be some havoc of course, that is typical of any city street in the world. More people than vehicles, motorbikes and bicycles and oh yes, animals! Every specific compass direction in Africa will have its unique charm. To the North, there will be the Pyramids, the amazing Sahara, and maybe you can catch the snake charmers in Marrakech at work. Any spiraling smoke indicates industry. Central Africa will give you a heavy canopy of green. That is where Africa’s rain forests are concentrated. Maybe you will catch a glimpse of gorillas in Virunga.

Africa is indeed one funny place. Let me paint you a picture of what a typical street view of African countries would look like.

Cairo, Egypt

Johannesburg, South Africa

The first thing you would see would be the masses of people boiling from every corner of the city. Then there are the tuktuks, you know, the famous tricycles. However, you will also see some sanity there, especially in Central Johannesburg, as it is not so congested. Expect to see color everywhere and you will definitely catch a glimpse of Toyota cars. You cannot miss that. Busy as it is, Johannesburg streets are a bit orderly. In some streets though, unless there is a procession or something big going down, there will be turmoil, usually people jostling for space.

Nairobi, Kenya

If you watch a Google street view of Nairobi, what you see will depend on the time. For example, in the evenings and mornings, there will be cars everywhere, and most of them are white! During rush hours, the traffic is heavy, crawling actually. Occasionally you might catch a train driving through the city, but there will be many vehicles. Be sure that 99% of those are of Japanese origin. River Road is the busiest road in the city, where hoards of people walk together brushing shoulders but most interesting will be the numbers of vehicles everywhere you turn.

Cairo, Egypt

Egypt has so many vehicles, and driving in the streets of Cairo is similar to courting death. There are so many people, and there are so many vehicles at the same time. It is a wonder that with so many cars, very few accidents happen. Did you know that Egypt is one of the largest importers of cars from Japan, with more than 100,000 vehicles sold every year? With a population of about ten million people, maybe more, there is little space. I doubt a Google street view over Cairo would let you see the tarmac. Cars, people, boats on the Nile, bicycles, along with more cars, more people and buildings, Egypt is a concrete jungle.

Lagos, Nigeria

An overview of a city in Nigeria, say, Lagos, would leave you wondering whether people really breathe in that place. It will be overcrowded, with people and cars, trucks and buses everywhere you turn. As one of the most populous countries in Africa, there are people everywhere you turn and there are many cars too. If you look closely, you will see hawkers selling their wares by the roads.

Marrakech, Morocco

To the North of Africa, the most outstanding street view would be in Morocco, Marrakech to be precise. It is simply mindboggling. There are so many cars, camels, people, goats and other animals. Remember, Morocco has assemblage plants for vehicles and it seems as if a good share of what they put together stays there. If you look closely, you might catch a glimpse of the snake charmers, there, by the gate! You may also catch a few celebrities in town, for example, if Brad Pitt is shooting a movie in Casablanca.

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