Africa's top beaches and islands
Mediterranean Coast & the Rif
Bounded by the red crags of the Rif Mountains and the crashing waves of the Mediterranean, northern Morocco’s wildly beautiful coastline conceals attractions as diverse as the cosmopolitan hustle of Tangier, the Spanish enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla, the old colonial capital of Tetouan, and the superbly relaxing town of Chefchaouen.
Flick through the glossy tourist brochures and the clichés come thick and fast. Malawi is ‘the warm heart of Africa’, or ‘Africa for beginners’; and its lake ‘the lake of stars’. It all seems too good to be true, but, with stunning and varied scenery and supremely friendly locals, along with the relative ease of travel here, Malawi really does live up to the hype.
If you’re out to experience the ‘real’ Africa, Zambia is that diamond in the rough. The country boasts some of the continent’s best wildlife parks, and shares (with Zimbabwe) some of the region’s major highlights: Victoria Falls in Southwestern Zambia, Lake Kariba as well as Lower Zambezi National Park in Southeastern Zambia.
Labrynthine alleyways, snake charmers, ancient Berber cures and covered souqs.
Johannesburg, more commonly known as Jo’burg or Jozi, is a rapidly changing city and the vibrant heart of South Africa. The city is flourishing. Its centre is smartening up and new loft apartments and office developments are being constructed at a rapid pace. The cultural district of Newtown, with its theatres, restaurants, museums and jazz clubs, is livelier than ever.
Occupied by Israel from 1967 to 1982, and sharing more with Asia than Africa, Sinai is the most atypical part of Egypt. Settled by Bronze Age communities, attracted by Sinai’s copper and turquoise deposits, and later by Pharaonic mining parties, Sinai is most celebrated in history for the Exodus of Israelites towards the Promised Land.
With snow-capped Mt Kilimanjaro, the wildlife-packed Ngorongoro Crater and the vast plains of the Serengeti, northern Tanzania embodies what is for many quintessential Africa.
Ocean paradise of 115 lush islands surrounded by a topaz sea.
Unassuming Mpumalanga (Place of the Rising Sun) adheres to a quieter pace of life. This inland province, South Africa’s smallest, is where the plateaus of the highveld begin their spectacular tumble onto the lowveld plains at the dramatic Drakensberg Escarpment.
Durban, a cosmopolitan Queen, is sometimes unfairly passed over for her ‘cooler’ Capetonian cousin. But this isn’t fair; there’s a lot more to fun-loving Durbs (as she’s affectionately known) than meets the eye. In preparation for the World Cup in 2010 the city had a major makeover, with a sleek new stadium and a revamped beachfront.
A barren coastline of extraordinary beauty, the Sinai coast is the meeting spot of choice for the world’s political leaders, a booming package-tourism destination, and nirvana for the members of the international diving fraternity.
Most people only know Cape Verde through the haunting mornos (mournful songs) of Cesária Évora. To visit her homeland – a series of unlikely volcanic islands some 500km off the coast of Senegal – is to understand the strange, bittersweet amalgam of West African rhythms and mournful Portuguese melodies that shape her music.
Colourful tribal culture and Africa’s best wildlife. A safari-goer’s paradise.
Couched between the arid desert lands in Northern Senegal and lush tropical forests in the south, this country boasts a stunning array of sights, sounds and flavours. The capital Dakar alone hands you the country in a capsule. Perched on the tip of a beach-lined peninsula, this dizzying city is composed elegance and street hustle all rolled into one.