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Africa Travel Guide: experience Africa's natural beauty

Explore Africa with this helpful Africa Travel Guide and fall in love with its free-roaming wildlife, diverse landscapes, magical African sunsets, and amazing warm-hearted people.

11
AFRICAN COUNTRIES VISITED
13
AFRICAN UNESCO SITES
38

AFRICAN NATIONAL PARKS

countless

AFRICAN WILDLIFE SPOTTED

11
AFRICAN COUNTRIES VISITED
13
AFRICAN UNESCO SITES
38
AFRICAN NATIONAL PARKS

countless

AFRICAN WILDLIFE SPOTTED

Africa Travel Guide

Africa is the world's second-largest continent. It will touch your heart and after your first visit, you will never be the same. It’s one of the most beautiful continents in the world and I can think of a million reasons to visit Africa. It has the most varied wildlife and bird species in the world, magical African sunsets, magnificent diverse landscapes, rich culture, and strong traditions with eleven different languages and tons of tribes. Africa will make you feel more grounded, connected to nature, the people, and yourself.

Africa is not just a place, it's a feeling! ~ Kevin Fraser

With 54 countries and 145 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, it can be hard to choose your (next) African travel destination. To make it easier for you, I’ve highlighted the most popular countries to visit in Africa by region and I also featured some popular African destinations I've visited. Scroll down for things to know before you travel to Africa and the best time to visit Africa. Also, learn more about the best things to do in Africa and unique places to visit.

Featured African Destinations

   Visit Madagascar
   Visit Uganda

Popular countries to visit in Africa by region

Northern Africa

The most popular travel destinations in Northern Africa are Egypt, Morocco, and Tunisia. The most popular places to visit in Northern Africa are national wonders like the Sahara Desert, Nile River, Piramides, Atlas Mountains, and the Red Sea. Other reasons to visit this region are historical and cultural aspects, from beautiful mosques and ruins to colorful markets and good food.

Eastern Africa

East Africa offers the most varied wildlife opportunities. Kenya and Tanzania are the two most visited countries with the Maasai Mara and the Serengeti as popular 'Big Five' safari destinations, including the annual Great Migration. Together with the surrounding countries, East Africa has a lot of exclusive experiences to offer. You can, for example, choose to go on a mountain gorilla trekking in Rwanda and Uganda or visit the famous ‘lemur country’ of Madagascar.

Southern Africa

Southern Africa has many popular travel destinations, like South Africa, Namibia, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. Some of the best places to visit in Southern Africa are Victoria Falls, Etosha National Park, Sossusvlei, Cape Town, Kruger Park, Shamwari Private Game Reserve, South Luangwa National Park and many more. From bustling cities to wildlife and from nature to adventure and spectacular coastlines. Southern Africa has it all!

Central Africa

Tourism in central African is very low because of political instability. Levels of violent crime are high and the security situation, especially in border areas, can be dangerous. Central Africa consists of countries like Cameroon, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, and Equatorial Guinea. Most of them have little or no tourism infrastructure. I haven't visited any countries in Central Africa yet, but despite of the crime level and security situation, I would love to explore this area in the future and share my experiences.

Western Africa

Most tourists travel to Western Africa when they book a package holiday, to for example an all-inclusive resort in Gambia or Ghana. Other popular tourist destinations are Senegal and Cape Verde. Tourism is not very high in Western Africa. Most of people still travel to Africa for its wildlife and the countries in this area cannot offer the amount of wildlife like other parts.

Best time to visit Africa

With 54 countries, Africa is an enormous continent that offers variations of climates and weather in different areas and/or countries. You can visit all African countries all year round and the best time to visit depends on which factors you find most important: wildlife opportunities, forecast of temperatures and rainfalls, level of tourism, and/or the costs of a safari trip.

In general, Africa has two seasons, the wet and the dry season. During the wet season, tourism is very low and there's a chance that lodges are closed. Some regions have two wet seasons: one in spring with long rains and one in autumn with often short rains. Con's: roads are muddy and sometimes unreachable, viewing wildlife can be harder. Pro's: green landscapes and no massive tourism.

The dry season is the most popular (high) season. The dry season is generally the best time to go on safari: the water is scarce and animals are forced to gather around the (few) water pools. When it’s too dry, animals can migrate to other places looking for water. Temperatures are high and the landscapes are dry too. 

I've experienced Africa in both seasons and in different months. Every period of the year has its own beauty. It just depends on what's important for you. To help you on your way, I shared the best time to visit Africa by region in an article. 

Things to know before you travel to Africa

Most African tourism destinations are safe to visit

Always use your common sense; don’t go to remote areas alone, don’t walk around at night and respect the African culture. Be careful for pickpockets and cautious with cash money. Nowadays, many African countries are well developed and safe for tourism. Some have travel restrictions and warnings against travel to places like border areas or places with a high level of terrorism. Check this travel advice before you plan your trip.

Currency in Africa varies per country

Check the local currency of the African country you're planning to visit. To most accepted foreign currencies are the US Dollar and the Euro. I would always recommend taking a credit card and cash money. You will meet people who will try to exchange your money. Don't exchange money through locals on the street. It’s illegal and risky. I would recommend withdrawing cash money at an ATM machine upon arrival or exchange your own currency at an exchange office.

Tipping in Africa is common, but not required

For most safari guides, drivers, porters, and trackers, a tip is an important ratio of their salary. Also, cleaners, waiters, waitresses, and guards don’t receive a high salary and they are grateful for every tip. Apart from the heights of their salary, they are often far from home, working hard and long days. In some African countries, it’s more appreciated to tip in the local currency. I love the smiles on their faces when they receive a tip!

Contribute to (Wildlife) Conservation in Africa

Conservation is a very important aspect to protect Africa's wildlife and ecosystem. Africa is home to an enormous number of wildlife, including critically endangered species like the mountain gorillas and rhinos. Due to conservation, ecosystems will be preserved and future wildlife generations can have a healthy life and enjoy their beautiful intact natural habitat. Examples of conservation efforts are anti-poaching initiatives to stop the slaughter of wildlife, programs to preserve wetlands, plant trees, and many more. Please consider participating in conservation programs to increase awareness and to maintain a healthy and functional ecosystem of our beloved Africa.

Vaccinations for your Africa travels

Required vaccinations depend on the African country you travel to. Most travelers to Africa require Hepatitis A and Yellow Fever. If you’re traveling in malaria risk areas it’s good to consider anti-malarial tablets. My best advice is to plan a consult with a medical travel clinic to know exactly what’s needed for your trip. Plan your consult as early as possible, but at least 4-6 weeks before departure. Some vaccinations are given multiple doses over a couple of days/weeks and others may need some time to build up immunity.

Check Visa requirements before traveling to Africa

Check the visa requirements of your African travel destination(s) and make sure if you need a visa, what kind of visa, and how to apply for a visa of the African country (or countries) of your choice. Sometimes you need to apply online, in advance, while other African countries ask you to pay cash at arrival.

Things to do in Africa to cross off your Africa bucket list

Unforgettable Masai Mara safari trip in Kenya

Maasai Mara National Reserve is one of the most popular travel destinations for spotting wildlife, located in South-west Kenya, bordered adjacent to Serengeti National Park in Tanzania. The reserve is located in primarily open grassland in the Great Rift Valley. The Maasai Mara is characterized by different kinds of landscapes. I really love the open (savannah) plains, but the Mara also offers sandy soil, small bushes, lush grasslands, and woodlands around the Mara River. The Maasai Mara holds a special place in my heart and offers an abundance of wildlife all-year-round.

Safari of a lifetime in Serengeti National Park, Tanzania

Serengeti National Park is one of the most famous and popular Safari destinations in Africa. This Unesco World Heritage is located in Tanzania and it's the oldest park in the country. The Serengeti offers a high amount of wildlife viewing all over the year. Best known for the world's greatest annual migration of wildebeests, zebras, and gazelles. It’s home to the entire Big Five, however, rhinos are more difficult to spot due to poaching in all of Africa. Only black rhinos live in the Serengeti National Park.

Gorilla trekking in Uganda

Bwindi Impenetrable Forest is home to roughly half of the world’s remaining population of the critically endangered mountain gorillas. This ancient rain forest is located in south-western Uganda and is a declared UNESCO World Heritage Site due to its ecological uniqueness and natural beauty. You can do a gorilla trekking in Bwindi all year round. Trekking into their natural environment is the only way to see the Mountain gorillas. There are several starting points and different gorilla families to track and you have to do it with guidance. In a group of max. eight people, you are allowed to observe the gorillas for one hour, by strict rules.

A Mountain gorilla trekking is an adventure that should be on every traveller's bucket list.

Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe/Zambia

Victoria Falls or Mosi-oa-Tunya ("the smoke that thunders") is one of the most spectacular waterfalls in the world on the Zambezi River and borders Zimbabwe and Zambia. Victoria Falls is the largest curtain of falling water in the world and the only one with a length of more than a kilometer and 100+ meters high. The falls are a UNESCO World Heritage Site and part of the Zambezi National Park and Victoria Falls National Park in Zimbabwe as well as the Mosi-oa-tunya National Park in Zambia. The spray from the falls can be seen from miles away. Victoria Falls showcases beautiful rainbows on sunny days, you can have a peek over the edge of the falls at 'Devil's Pool' and you can jump off the 111 meters high Victoria Falls Bridge. Learn more about these activities by clicking on the yellow button below.

Sossusvlei & Deadvlei in Namibia

Sossusvlei is part of the Namib Desert and is located in the Namib-Naukluft National Park of Namibia. the Namib desert is famous for its high red sand dunes, which are some of the tallest sand dunes in the world and popular landmarks like Dune 45, Big Daddy, and Deadvlei. Deadvlei or Dode Vlei is a neighboring clay-pan with dead acacia trees on a dry white salty floor surrounded by orange-red dunes. Because of these contrasts, it's a popular photography spot among both amateur and professional photographers. A must-visit when traveling to Namibia.
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