Africa in detail

Africa is known for

Beaches & Islands

The rigours of travelling in Africa mean that many visitors looking for a break from life on the road end up on a beach or island. And what beaches and islands!

Zanzibar The very name conjures up a spicy heaven of perfume plantations, endless white beaches and whispering palm trees.

Príncipe World-class beaches in a blissfully remote setting, including gorgeous Praia Banana and Baia das Agulhas.

Watamu Seven kilometres of unspoilt beach with a lovely fishing village nearby.

Pemba Lovely white-sand coves with plenty of space to spread your towel.

Lake Malawi Soft sand fringes the shore of this turquoise lake lined with reggae bars.

Tofo A long arc of white sand with azure waters, plus surfing and diving with manta rays.

Isla Corisco Beaches here are the stuff of dreams: pure white sands, swaying palms and azure sea.

Mayumba National Park Bodysurfing the waves while watching humpback whales breach in the distance.

Akwidaa & Cape Three Points Sweeping beaches; trips through plantations and mangroves; and, in season, turtles nesting in the sand.

Cap Skirring The coastal jewel of Casamance, with some of Senegal's loveliest beaches.


In Africa music is more than a way of life. It is a force. Get ready to feel it at these rhythmic destinations.

Dakar Get down to Senegal’s mbalax, a blend of Cuban sounds and traditional drumbeats.

Conakry One of West Africa's most important musical cities, with numerous live venues.

New Afrika Shrine Fela Kuti’s family keep his name alive at Lagos’ earthiest, funkiest club.

Harare Zimbabwe's capital has a rockin' music scene and the Harare International Festival of Arts.

Cape Town Groove at musical events from November through March, including an international jazz festival.

Stone Town Visit Zanzibar for its five-day Sauti za Busara Swahili Music Festival in February.

Essaouira Visit this laid-back Moroccan resort in June for its Gnaoua and World Music Festival.

Abidjan Hit the bars and dance floors and experience the crazy upbeat sound of coupé-décalé.

Saint-Louis This charming French-colonial settlement in Senegal hosts an international jazz festival in May.

Ouagadougu Jazz à Ouaga: Afrobeat, soul and blues influence jazz in the Burkinabé capital.

Markets & Bazaars

Mingle with locals in the continent's many colourful markets and bazaars. Hone your bargaining skills and do your bit to support local enterprises by buying food and souvenirs.

Fez The medina of this star Moroccan destination is the medieval market par excellance.

Marrakesh Architectural beauty and an indulgence for the senses in this peerless Moroccan labyrinth.

Addis Ababa The Merkato is possibly the largest open-air market on the continent, but watch out for shady characters.

Marché des Féticheurs This weird-and-wonderful place in Lomé will appeal if you need a monkey's skull.

Grand Marché de Dantokpa Cotonou's massive market is for those who get turned on by talismans.

Kumasi Kejetia market is the place to buy beautiful kente cloth and Ashanti crafts.

Port de Pêche Nouakchott's main fishing market is arguably West Africa's best.

Banjul Join the frenzy of buying, battering and bargaining at the mid-19th-century Albert Market.

World Heritage Sites

Among the 129 Unesco World Heritage Sites of Africa, well over half are cultural or mixed, representing both natural and cultural factors.

Pyramids of Giza The last remaining wonder of the ancient world.

Okavango Delta One of the most beautiful and biodiverse corners of the continent.

Lalibela A mind-blowing maze of Unesco World Heritage–listed rock-hewn churches.

Elmina Ghana's slave castles and one of the oldest European structures in sub-Saharan Africa.

Aksum Ponder the mysteries of the one-time home of the Queen of Sheba.

Medina of Fez One of the most magical urban spaces in Africa, with ancient, tangled lanes.

Namib Sand Sea The desert of childhood imaginings, with perfectly sculpted sand dunes.

Serengeti National Park One of the best places on the planet to watch wildlife.

Robben Island Nelson Mandela's former prison and cultural touchstone of a continent.

Adventure Activities

Many travellers are drawn to Africa by the lure of high-adrenaline thrills. If you're among them, you'll want to make a beeline for these locations.

Victoria Falls Adrenaline activities at both the Zambian and Zimbabwean sides of the 'smoke that thunders'.

Swakopmund World-famous for its sweaty and breathless opportunities, from sand-dune surfing to skydiving.

Jinja The source of the Nile, with white-water rafting, kayaking, mountain biking and quad bikes.

Dahab Chic-and-hippie Egyptian resort that's a prime base for Red Sea diving and snorkelling.

Orange River Canoe and white-water raft through spectacular canyons along the Nambia–South Africa border.

Semonkong Plunge 204m down Lesotho's Malesunyane Falls on the world's longest commercially operated single-drop abseil.

Great Usutu River White-water rafting in Swaziland including Grade IV rapids not for the faint-hearted.

Inspiring Landscapes

Africa has few peers when it comes to natural beauty, encompassing everything from the shifting dunes of the Sahara to the steamy rainforests of the Congo.

Masai Mara National Reserve Backed by the spectacular Siria Escarpment and breathtaking year-round.

Fish River Canyon This epic tear in Africa's fabric is often called ' Africa's Grand Canyon'.

Sani Pass This 2865m road pass affords spectacular views across the southern Drakensberg.

Mt Kilimanjaro Hiking up the continent's highest peak is an experience never forgotten.

Okavango Delta Take in the lush, watery scenery from a mokoro, a traditional dugout canoe.

Ngorongoro Conservation Area Perfectly formed crater, lost world of wildlife and exceptionally beautiful landforms.

Danakil Depression Unique in the world, the sub-sea-level volcanic landscape here is eerily beautiful

Simien Mountains National Park Huge cliffs, oddly formed mountains and unusual Afro-alpine habitat.

Parc National d'Odzala Astonishing wilderness with elephants and gorillas deep in the Congo rainforest.

Urban Adventures

Africans are leaving the countryside and flocking to cities in their legion. Sample the dynamic urban vibe in these booming metropolises.

Cape Town Arguably Africa's most beautiful city and South Africa's cultural heartbeat.

Harare Join a meet-the-sculptors tour; enjoy top arts festivals and a lively music scene.

Johannesburg South Africa's corporate capital, with a thriving black middle class as well as the famous township of Soweto.

Lagos The pluses of Africa's largest city include a superb live-music scene and West Africa's most inimitable street life.

Nairobi Kenya's capital is a dynamic and cosmopolitan city with a superb national park close by.

Maputo Easily one of the continent's most attractive capitals, this waterside city features Mediterranean-style architecture.

Antananarivo Climb cobbled streets up rocky hills past houses with painted shutters and soaring church spires.

Trekking & Mountains

As befitting a continent where humankind first walked out of the jungle, there are world-class hiking trails all across Africa, plus mountains so high they are capped by glaciers.

Mt Meru In Arusha National Park, this peak offers some lovely hiking.

Mt Kenya Africa's second-highest mountain crowns some wonderful hiking country and provides superb views.

Rwenzori Mountains National Park Uganda's fabled Mountains of the Moon feature snow and glaciers and a lack of other climbers.

High Atlas Tread steep paths past flat-roofed, earthen Berber villages, terraced gardens and walnut groves in this beautiful part of Morocco.

Simien Mountains National Park This very popular park holds some of the most stunning mountain scenery in Africa and trekking is easily organised.

Chimanimani Mountains Get to know local Mozambique culture while hiking through lush, seldom-visited forest areas.

Drakensberg From day hikes to weeklong treks, South Africa's dramatic Drakensberg creates happy hikers.

Fish River Canyon The best way to get a feel for this massive gash in the earth is to embark on a five-day hike along the valley floor.

Waterberg Plateau Park Four-day guided and unguided trails are available through some pristine wilderness landscape.

Overland Travel

It's the journey that matters in Africa – they are always memorable, be they on a rattling train or gliding down rivers or across lakes.

Cape Town to Jo'burg Cross the Karoo on the overnight Shosholoza Meyl trains.

Nampula to Cuamba A southern African classic train journey through northern Mozambique.

Esna (for Luxor) and Aswan Hop aboard one of the armada of cruise boats that travel the Nile; alternatively, sail in a felucca upriver from Luxor to Banana Island.

Kigoma and Mpulungu The venerable MV Liemba, a former WWI German battleship turned ferry, crosses Lake Tanganyika connecting Tanzania and Zambia.

Wadif Halfa to Dongola Hundreds of historic sites plus striking desert and river scenery line this 400km stretch of the Nile in Sudan.

Central Kalahari Game Reserve Cross the Kalahari from north to south in your own 4WD – an epic journey.

Watching Wildlife

Some of the best wildlife viewing on the continent – nay, on the planet! – is at your fingertips. Unique opportunities abound while on safari.

Masai Mara National Reserve Arguably the best place to spot all three cats and much more, especially from July to October.

Serengeti National Park Even if you're not here for the migration, the Seronera River is big-cat central.

Chobe Riverfront Africa’s largest elephants draw near to the water’s edge with predators prowling nearby.

Etosha National Park Incredible wildlife viewing with animals crowding around easily seen waterholes.

Kruger National Park South Africa’s famous park has 5000 rhinos alone, and landscapes from woodland to mopane-veld.

Mana Pools National Park For the wild at heart – you’re almost guaranteed to see lions; unguided walks allowed.

South Luangwa National Park Abundant wildlife, wonderful scenery and walking safaris.

Bale Mountains National Park You’re almost guaranteed to see Ethiopian wolves here, as well as other signature species.

Parc National Andasibe Mantadia Madagascar’s largest lemur, the indri, is easily seen – and heard! – here.

Loango National Park Elephants on the beach, surfing hippos and habituated gorillas – what a place!