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