How do you capture the essence of Africa on paper without using up every cliché in the book? No other continent comes close to it for scale, variety and pure, raw impact. Africa offers a travel experience a thousand kilometres from the well-backpacked, air-conditioned tourist trails of Southeast Asia or the cash-cow theme parks of Australia or Europe.
Africa’s natural history alone would make a dozen visits worthwhile – where else on earth can you fall asleep to the sound of lions roaring, or watch a million flamingos take off from the waters of a remote soda lake? Parts of Africa boast scenery so spectacular they’ll damn near blow your mind, but the essence of this incredible continent isn’t in any desert, mountain or lake. It’s the spirit of the people – pushing, shoving, sweating, dancing, singing and laughing – that infects so many visitors with a travel bug so powerful they’ll never stop coming back, sometimes against all sense or reason.
Debate with venerable merchants among the cool, narrow streets of an Arabic medina, dance to the thumping reggae beats coming from a West African market stall, or shoot the breeze with fishermen under Indian Ocean palm trees, and you’ll be struck more than anything else by the honesty, warm-heartedness and vitality of the African people.
Africa’s not always an easy place to travel in. It can be frustrating and challenging at times. Hardships and logistical disasters can happen. But don’t believe everything you see on TV: Africa’s not a hell hole full of civil war, plague, famine and violent crime. It’s a fantastic, enlightening, surprising and intriguing continent. Try it once, and we guarantee you’ll dream about coming back for the rest of your life.
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Best places to stay in Africa
Africa travel guide
Something special about Africa touches the soul; it is a continent of 54 immensely diverse countries that is both deeply troubled and profoundly uplifting.
In addition to its many other attractions, Africa offers incredible linguistic diversity. Most African languages belong to one of the following four language families: Afro- Asiatic, Nilo-Saharan, Niger-Congo (with the Bantu languages as the major...
Ask the experts: where to go in February
February might be the shortest month, but if you live in the Northern Hemisphere in the tightening grip of winter, it can feel like it goes on forever. Or perhaps you're one of the lucky ones and your world is currently bathed in sun. Either way, February offers a snowy - or sunny - smorgasbord of possibilities for travellers...
Africa's best wildlife parks
Tanzania Wildlife Adventure
A sample of East African wildlife in the Ngorongoro Crater, Tarangire National Park and at Lake Manyara.
East Africa travel guide
Gentle gorillas, stampeding wildebeest, snow-capped peaks, paradisiacal beaches and an amazing array of tribal cultures - all this and more await you in East Africa, one of Africa's most enticing corners.
Historic Cities of Morocco
A snapshot of the main historical cities of Morocco
Africa's World Heritage sites
Highlands of Ethiopia
Combine a trek in the wild and stunning Simien Mountains with Ethiopia's historic sites
Africa's top landscapes
Moroccan Desert Adventure
Marrakech—whisper it and instantly your mind goes to a place of seduction and spices. Experience it for yourself. This intense 1-week journey reveals the secrets of Morocco and is crammed with all the activities and energy you crave. In the company of other young travellers, dance beside a campfire in the Sahara, go rock climbing in Todra and hang with the hippies in Essaouira.
Kilimanjaro - Rongai Route
Summit Africa's highest mountain via the Rongai Route
Mauritius, Reunion & Seychelles travel guide
You're going to like this: dreamy beaches, surreal landscapes, top-notch hotels, delicious cui-sine and a wealth of cultural experiences. Mauritius, Réunion and Seychelles offer a unique combination of nature, culture and pleasure.
Africa's top beaches and islands
Madagascar travel guide
"Lemurs, baobabs, rainforest, beaches, desert, trekking and diving, Madagascar is a dream destination for nature and outdoor lovers - and half the fun is getting to all these incredible attractions." Emilie Filou - Lonely Planet Author
Africa's top ancient sites and early civilisations
Perhaps no other people in the world say ‘Welcome’ so frequently – and mean it every time.
Egypt travel guide
Pyramids, ancient temples, camels: everything you’ve seen on the postcards is true. But the full picture of Egypt includes beautiful beaches, the megacity of Cairo – and the Egyptian people themselves.
Cape Town unleashes its inner 'design diva'
At the start of the year Cape Town became the first African city to assume the mantle of World Design Capital (www.wdccapetown2014.com), an accolade previously held by Turin, Seoul and Helsinki...
Kruger, Coast and Cape
A quality accommodated tour through South Africa, visiting Swaziland, Zululand, Drakensberg Mountains and the Garden Route
Cape Town & the Garden Route city guide
The Mother City, home to soaring Table Mountain, golden beaches and bountiful vineyards, is an old pro at capturing people’s hearts.
Every country in the world displays some diversity, but South Africa, stretching from the hippos in the Limpopo River to the penguins waddling on the Cape, takes some beating.
Morocco is an exotic gateway to Africa; its mountains, desert and coast are populated by Berbers and nomads, and its ancient medina lanes lead to souqs and riads.
Morocco travel guide
Morocco exudes Maghrebi mystique, with medina lanes leading to souqs and riads, camels disappearing into the Sahara and Berber villages perched in the High Atlas. Grab a mint tea and enjoy the show.
Tanzania travel guide
“Wildlife galore, idyllic beaches, snow-capped Kilimanjaro, moss-covered ruins, friendly people, fascinating cultures – Tanzania has all this and more wrapped up in one adventurous and welcoming package.” Mary Fitzpatrick, Lonely Planet author
South Africa, Lesotho & Swaziland travel guide
Africa’s southernmost trio offers adventure, beach-bumming and everything in between, with lions roaring in the bushveld, vineyards climbing mountainsides, diverse African cultures and open roads through sublime scenery.
Ethiopia, Djibouti & Somaliland travel guide
Travelling around Ethiopia, Djibouti and Somaliland is a life-altering experience. Together, these three countries offer a heady mix of otherworldly landscapes, captivating cultures, historical wonders and sensational outdoor activities.
Kenya travel guide
Kenya is the Africa you always dreamed of. This is a land of vast savannahs, immense herds of wildlife and peoples with proud traditions on the soil where the human race was born.
Southern Africa travel guide
Southern Africa rings with legend: the Okavango Delta, the Kalahari, Fish River Canyon, Kruger, Victoria Falls, Cape Town - these are just a few of the iconic destinations that unfurl African dreams.
Africa: Healthy Travel Guide
This guide to healthy travel covers immunisation, medical kits, how to stay healthy and what to do if problems arise. It's like having a mini-medic in your pocket.