Africa is often a region that is portrayed as being unified around poverty, disease and despair. Africa is far from being a homogenized continent. It has more than 50 countries, each with unique culture, landscape and tradition.
Africa's diversity is apparent to anyone who travels to the continent, and for simplification purposes, we have split Africa into 6 regions - Northern Africa, Central Africa, Southern Africa, Eastern Africa, Western Africa, and the Indian Ocean. In the north, you have countries like Morocco, Algeria and Egypt, which have a long tradition of welcoming visitors. Further south there is Kenya and Tanzania, both renowned for their wildlife and for Africa's tallest peak, Mt. Kilimanjaro. On the southern tip of the continent is South Africa, the region's economic and political superpower which in itself lies many fascinating cultures. In between is a wealth of other countries waiting to be explored, but there are also the trouble spots like Congo and Sudan, which are almost all but avoided by travelers.
Below are some highlights for each region to get you started on your trip planning. If you're planning a longer, round the world type trip and want to add Africa into your route, register for a free account on Indie to build a fully customizable route.
Trying to narrow down where to go in massive continent like Africa can be challenging, so we've chosen a handful of highlights, or pillars, for each region.Northern Africa
- The most popular destination in northern Africa, and perhaps the entire continent, is the Pyramids of Giza, the only original, standing wonder of the world. Cairo, and all of Egypt, can be crazy and chaotic, but it's worth it for a glimpse of the man-made structure made thousands of years ago.
- Algeria as a whole has been gaining steam as a popular travel destination for the last few years, and with good reason - the largest country on the Mediterranean Sea offers travelers a cheaper beach alternative than its European counterparts, and it is also home to ancient ruins, great colonial architecture, and desert.
- Morocco has been on the tourist trail for a while now, with highlights being Casablanca, Marrakech, Fes, and Chefchaouen.
- Tunisia is popular on the resort-travel-crowd circuit, but if you go independently (which is easier than it sounds), you may feel like you're the only tourist around.
- If you're looking for some outdoor adventure, look no further than Tanzania. Climb the highest peak on the continent, go on safari in the Serengeti, then go chill on the beaches of Zanzibar.
- Malawi is another one of those destinations that is quickly gaining popularity amongst indie travelers. Come introduce yourself to Africa in one of the easier countries to travel in and visit what some say are the most hospitable people in the world.
- If you're looking to get off the beaten path, then this is the region to do it in. There are many countries in the region suffering from political instability, so always keep an eye on the news and stay up to date with current events, but if you head to Western Africa, you should find yourself in the middle of a cultural exchange like no other.
- South Africa is the most popular country in the region, and with good reason. Cape Town and Johannesburg provide the home bases for travel within the country, where you can see Africa's top wildlife, visit tropical beaches, and an unmatched culture.
- Looking for an adventure? Then Mozambique is your place! Safaris, amazing beaches, stunning dive spots, and magical offshore islands are just a few highlights of an up and coming travel destination.
- A high percentage of travelers come to Africa for game-viewing, and Botswana has an extremely high concentration of game. Visit places like Moremi National Park in the Okavango Delta, Chobe National Park, and the Central Kalahari Game Reserve.
- Madagascar offers rolling highlands, sub-tropical rainforest, baobab dotted deserts, rock forests, and white, sandy beaches - all in a landmass the size of Texas. It's also a great destination for rock climbing and trekking if you're into that sort of thing
- Be welcomed by some of the warmest and most relaxed people you'll find in the island paradise of Mauritius. Though being a beach bum during the entirety of your stay is tempting, there's a lot more to this little island than soaking in the rays. There are historical sites galore, tons of activities, and a diverse and fascinating culture to keep you busy when you're not laying on the beach.
Travel in Africa can be rough. It can also be a great joy. If you have patience, a willingness to maintain an open mind, a desire to explore, and the ability to laugh at the absurd, your African travels will change your life.
There are many entry points to Africa. Your best bet in terms of cheap airfare is to fly into one of the bigger cities like Johannesburg or Nairobi. Depending on where you are starting from flights to Africa can be either quite cheap or outrageously expensive. As is true nearly everywhere, flying into the biggest cities is usually your best bet for a cheap ticket.Or look into adding Africa into a longer, round the world trip with Indie, BootsnAll's multi-stop flight finder. Get an immediate price, bookable price on itineraries up to 25 legs.
Many people who travel to Africa prefer to do so in a group or through an organized adventure trip. This is especially the case with safari trips. BootsnAll has some of the best African adventure trips and safaris in the world. We work closely with local tour providers to offer you many options at very affordable rates.
If you are looking for a place to stay check out hostels in Africa for those on a tighter budget.
Still want more? You can learn from those who have been to Africa by sharing ideas and thoughts on our Africa community message board.Photo credits: tommorphy, Fruggo, Romeodesign