A vast continent of possibilities, find every sort of holiday you can imagine and many you wouldn’t expect in the richly-distinct cultures, climates, landscapes, urban environments and natural wonders of its disparate nations.
For sun and sand holidays with a difference, look no further than Arabian- flavoured Morocco and Tunisia, the beaches and jungles of The Gambia and Senegal, the remote Cape Verde islands, Kenya and Tanzania for their beach and wildlife combinations or South Africa with its myriad of other delights.
Adventure seekers can fulfil their passions on safari holidays in the Serengeti and Maasai Mara plains, in the game parks and reserves of South Africa, Namibia, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Botswana or on mountain gorilla treks in Uganda and Rwanda.
You can also discover an abundance of history and heritage, in countries such as Ethiopia and Zimbabwe, and witness some of the world’s greatest spectacles, among them Victoria Falls, Mount Kilimanjaro and the Great Rift Valley.
MOROCCO & TUNISIA
Africa’s closest countries to Europe, Morocco and Tunisia are popular for short breaks and longer holidays thanks to guaranteed sun coupled with experiences that make for memorable stays.
Morocco’s heady mix of exotic sights, sounds, smells and tastes intoxicate the senses. Wander the colourful, cacophonous souks of ancient medinas in its imperial cities – Marrakech, Fez, Meknes and Rabat. Immerse yourself in age-old traditions such as its evocative Gnawa music, timeless Berber mountain villages and the snake charmers, acrobats and street food stalls of the Jemaa el Fna square in Marrakech. Relax in five-star spa hotels alongside wide beaches, live like locals in historic city-centre riads and even stay in forest-swathed mountains where winter brings snow.
Tunisia’s good value, year-round sun and cultural and cuisine flavours have made it a firm favourite, particularly for holidays in all-inclusive hotels. Beautiful beaches, water sports, spas, desert adventures and history dating back to Roman times all add to its appeal.
KENYA & TANZANIA
One of nature’s most spectacular migrations takes place between these East African neighbours. Each year, more than 1.5 million wildebeest, along with hundreds of thousands of zebras, gazelles and other animals follow the rains to cross between Tanzania’s Serengeti and Ngonongoro protected areas and Kenya’s Maasai Mara reserve. Experience the remarkable event and enjoy other wildlife encounters in safari camps and lodges, with the chance to see the Big 5 and many other species in other reserves in both countries.
Kenya even has a game reserve on the outskirts of capital Nairobi and also offers wildlife viewing in the Great Rift Valley. Wash the dust out of your hair with a beach stay in Mombasa and other resorts.
Africa’s highest mountain, Kilimanjaro, rises 5,895 metres (19,340 feet) in north-east Tanzania. The country offers its own beach stays, notably on the history- filled island of Zanzibar – birthplace of Queen frontman Freddie Mercury.
SOUTH AFRICA & NAMIBIA
Rainbow nation South Africa spans the whole spectrum of holiday offerings. Head to cosmopolitan Cape Town and take the cable car to the top of Table Mountain. Use the city as a base to visit the continent’s most southerly location, Cape Point, as well as visiting Robben Island, where Nelson Mandela spent 18
years in prison, the penguin colony at Boulders Beach and the Winelands’ many wine estates where you can enjoy tastings and picnic lunches.
Go whale watching in Hermanus before driving the stunning 200km (125-mile) coastal Garden Route. Explore pulsating Durban and its expansive beaches, discovering Zulu culture and Boer War battlefields in the heartland of KwaZulu-Natal. The country offers many game reserves include Kruger national Park. For gaming of a different sort, have a flutter on the tables of casino resort Sun City.
Among Namibia’s key attractions are its thriving cheetah population and other wildlife, German colonial-era heritage buildings and the desolate Skeleton Coast, graveyard of many ships.
ZAMBIA, ZIMBABWE & BOTSWANA
These wildlife wonderlands offer a host of safari lodges, camps and a variety of viewing opportunities from game drives, walking safaris, and floating safaris to hot-air balloon trips. Take a boat trip on the Zambezi River in Zambia, Zimbabwe’s Lake Kariba and the Okovango Delta in Botswana for close-up views of animals from the water.
The mighty Victoria Falls was named by explorer David Livingstone but is known by locals as Mosi-oa-Tunya, “the smoke that thunders”, for the billowing clouds of spray when it is in full flood. It can be viewed from Zambia and Zimbabwe, which both border it.
One of Africa’s most significant archaeological sites is Great Zimbabwe, a ruined walled city that flourished for four centuries until the 1500s in what is now Zimbabwe.