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Africa is one of the fastest-growing tourism destinations in the world and now is the best time to explore this rugged continent. Africa is home to dramatic and diverse landscapes, and it is a paradise for witnessing incredible masses of wildlife. Being able to walk alongside Africa’s Big 5: elephants, lions, leopards, rhinoceros, and african buffalo is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. It’s no wonder that safari trips have become the most popular tourism activity here.
But, Africa has many other amazing gems to share with its adventurers. Enjoy a safari, then learn about the local tribes and ancient cultures. Or navigate your way through historic spice markets, under caves, and down scenic rivers. With so many great holiday destinations in Africa, each place offers its own special gems and range of activities. Here is a brief introduction to some of the great destinations in Africa, listed in no particular order.
South Africa is well-known as a top Africa vacation spot to enjoy a variety of hallmark experiences. Unforgettable rugged coastline, jagged mountain peaks, and pristine beaches contrast with wild desert terrain. Whether you are in search of wild animals or wildflowers, your senses are sure to be delighted. With a landscape so varied, sightseeing and adventuring activities are endless, making this one of the most thrilling places to visit in Africa.
- Where to go: Cape Town, Kruger National Park, Johannesburg, Boulders Beach, Cape Winelands, Garden Route National Park
- What to do: Safaris, hiking, mountain biking, mountain-climbing, aerial tram, fishing, surfing, scuba-diving, hang-gliding, hot-air ballooning, wine-tasting
- What to see: Africa’s Big 5, African Penguins; Table Mountain, Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens, Cape of Good Hope trail
- Best time to visit: June through September for optimal wildlife viewing, or January and February for coastal holidays
One of the best places to visit in Africa, Kenya remains one of the top choices for safari adventures. With numerous protected parks teeming with wildlife, wide range views of open savanna and snow-capped mountains, and opportunities to learn about local cultures, this is one destination you don’t want to miss on your African vacation. After your safari adventure, extend your trip to the Kenyan coastline to enjoy the crystal clear waters of the stunning Indian Ocean.
- Where to go: Amboseli National Park, David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, Tsavo East National Park, Nairobi National Park, Masai Mara National Reserve, Diani Beach, Malindi
- What to do: Safari tours, cultural tours with local tribes, hiking, rock-climbing, mountain-biking, hot-air ballooning, rafting, sky-diving, snorkeling, windsurfing
- What to see: Africa’s Big 5, zebras and wildebeests; views of Mount Kilimanjaro, Mt. Kenya
- Best time to visit: June through October, January and February
Famed for its epic national parks, volcanic regions, and some of the best beaches in the world, Tanzania has built a solid reputation as one of best places to travel in Africa. Across the terrain, a range of wildlife habitats exist and the region is home to some of the dreamiest islands sporting exceptional coral reef.
- Where to go: Serengeti National Park, Katavi National Park, Mount Kilimanjaro National Park, Ngorongoro Conservation Area, Arusha National Park, Lake Natron, Zanzibar, Chumbe Island
- What to do: Safaris, camping, mountain-climbing in Mount Kilimanjaro, volcano trekking, hiking, bird-watching, sport-fishing, boating, snorkeling
- What to see: Africa’s Big 5, hippopotamus, wildebeest, chimpanzees, flamingos, dolphins, giant turtles; Olduvai Gorge, Chumbe Reef, Pemba Channel, Stone Town, Prison Island
- Best time to visit: June to October
Botswana is perhaps one of the most inspiring destinations in Africa and is highly regarded as one of the top places to go in Africa for wildlife safaris. Here, the remote wilderness spans across the desert, through river deltas, and across grasslands to provide the optimal habitat for Africa’s animals to roam free in impressive numbers. The Botswana safari experience is simply incomparable and the views are top-notch.
- Where to go: Okavango Delta, Kalahari Desert, Moremi Gave Reserve, Chobe National Park, Mokolodi Game Reserve, Makgadikgadi Pans National Park
- What to do: Safaris, camping, hiking, fishing, canoeing, river cruises, bird-watching, mountain-biking, horse-back riding, caving
- What to see: Africa’s Big 5, giraffes, cheetahs, hyenas, baobab trees, sand dunes; Okavango River, Tsodilo Hills, Makgadikgadi Salt Pan, Kubu Island, Gcwihaba Caverns, Lake Ngami
- Best time to visit: May to September
The dramatic landscapes of Zimbabwe make a spectacular base for exploring sub-Saharan Africa. Monumental waterfalls, archeological ruins, and underground cave systems here are some of the most unique tourist attractions in Africa. Plus, the region hosts a good share of national parks and preservations for wildlife adventures.
- Where to go: Victoria Falls National Park, Mana Pools National Park, Great Zimbabwe, Matobo National Park, Harare, Livingstone
- What to do: Safaris, hiking, zip-lining, rafting, river cruises, lake-fishing, swimming, caving, diving
- What to see: Africa’s Big 5, crocodiles, eagles; Victoria Falls, Victoria Falls Bridge, Great Zimbabwe National Monument, Chinhoyi Caves
- Best time to visit: May to October
Seeking adrenaline-pumping holidays in Africa? Uganda has just what you need. Hiking through the biodiverse mountain ranges to spot the rare mountain gorillas is only one of the unique offerings of the region. Thrill-seekers visiting Uganda will find other unmatched adventuring opportunities in many iconic Africa tourist spots. If you dare, raft the Nile, the world’s longest river, or trek the Rwenzori Mountains, Africa’s tallest mountain range.
- Where to go: Kibale Forest National Park, Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Jinja, Lake Bunyonyi, Rwenzori Mountains
- What to do: Gorilla safaris, trekking, rafting, river cruises, fishing, bird-watching, paragliding
- What to see: Africa’s Big 5, mountain gorillas, chimpanzees, hippopotamus; the Nile river, Murchison Falls, Kazinga Channel
- Best time to visit: June to August, December to February
Undoubtedly, Africa is a continent of endless delights not found anywhere else in the world. With so many epic holiday destinations in Africa, you’re sure to make wild memories that will last a lifetime. If you haven’t already planned a trip here, you definitely should!
Chat with a local travel specialist who can help organize your trip.
Julie Ives Travel Expert in Botswana & Namibia
Thea Gillingham Travel Expert in Kenya & Tanzania
Leonie Taylor Travel Expert in Kenya & Tanzania