Tips & Tricks

Want to Visit Africa? Here's Where You Should Start...

Africa’s 54 countries are as diverse as they are rewarding. From the dunes of the Sahara to the Congo rainforest, this fascinating continent promises adventure, variety, and character in spades. No matter what kind of traveler you think you are, you'll find something to love about this intriguing continent. If you want to visit Africa, here’s where you should start.

I want... beautiful beaches

Seychelles Beach
To find the prettiest beaches in Africa, you need to look to its smallest nation: the Seychelles. This Indian Ocean archipelago boasts an impressive coastline and you don’t need to shell out for a wallet-busting hotel room to enjoy it. Those pristine strips of white sand framed by gently swaying coconut palms and oversized hunks of granite you saw in that glossy magazine? Yep – that’s the Seychelles. Catch a ferry to La Digue, the nation’s sleepy island getaway. Set off at dawn on your rented bicycle to watch the sun come up in style – but watch out for giant tortoises who have right of way on the island’s empty roads.

I want... to go on safari

African Safari
Safari-seekers are truly spoiled for choice. Tick off the Big Five on a self-drive through South Africa’s Kruger or watch elephants playing in the water of Chobe, Botswana in the company of an expert ranger. Hike through the steaming jungles of Uganda and Rwanda to view gorillas up close or track ring-tailed lemurs in Madagascar, land of the towering baobab trees. Marvel at the thrilling spectacle of the wildebeest migration as the herd moves from the Serengeti to the Masai Mara - a sight that you’ll remember your whole life. Be warned, though, game drives are addictive. Once you’ve done one, you’ll want to book another.

I want... an easy weekender

Marrakesh
When it comes to weekenders, Marrakesh and Cape Town take a lot of beating. Morocco’s most atmospheric city lies just a few hours’ flight from Europe and is an easy add-on to a European vacation. Dive into its dusty souks to try your hand at haggling before you retreat to sip a glass of mint tea on a rooftop terrace. After sundown, watch transfixed as water-sellers and acrobats tout their services in the famous Djemaa-el-Fna.

Alternatively, at the continent’s southern tip, Cape Town distills the very essence of Africa into one perfect city break. Ascend Table Mountain to watch cheeky dassies dart among the rocks, hop on a boat to follow the Mandela trail to Robben Island, and sip a sundowner in style at the hip bars of the V&A Waterfront.

I want... history and culture

Egypt Pyramids
Few civilizations capture our attention like the Ancient Egyptians and few African countries can compete with Egypt when it comes to satisfying the world’s history buffs. From the Pyramids of Giza to the Valley of the Kings in Luxor, there’s a wealth of treasures begging to be explored.

Alternatively, a visit to Africa's west coast offers other history-rich experiences. The West African slave trade makes for uncomfortable sightseeing, but a trip to Gorée in Senegal or Ghana’s Cape Coast is another essential pilgrimage. Mali’s mud mosques and masked dancers captivate the visitor, while further east, the rock-hewn churches at Lalibela in Ethiopia are as impressive a feat of engineering as they are architecturally distinctive.

I want... to get off the beaten track

Lesotho Mountains
Where to begin? Namibia’s remote Skeleton Coast, Lesotho’s dramatic mountain passes, Sierra Leone’s unspoiled beaches, Sudan’s great desert pyramids – Africa affords the intrepid traveler such variety. If you’re prepared to ride with the locals, rough it with your accommodation and don’t need WiFi to keep you happy, you’ll find that some of the best African experiences are to be had by getting off the beaten track.
Tempted? Where will your African adventure take you?

About the author: Julia Hammond | Travel Writer
Enthusiastic advocate for independent travel and passionate geographer, Julia considers herself privileged to earn a living doing something she loves. When not roaming the globe, you’ll find her windswept but smiling, chatting away to her two dogs as they wander the Essex marshes.

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