Top Vacation Destinations To Explore On The Continent
Thinking of visiting Africa? Here are top destinations to include in your travel plans.
The western world tend to think of Africa as a country, not a continent. But with fifty four (54) countries calling it home, Africa’s topography, landscape, and activities vary drastically from region to region. The continent may not always register on the average traveler's radar, but those who visit have the chance to experience the perfect blend of ancient and modern, of wild and urban, of East and West, of adventure and trill amongst other unforgettable experiences.
Africa is one of the best travel destinations in the world. Here, you can enjoy crystal blue beaches, majestic wildlife, and a wealth of culture and history. This article will look at the top countries to include in your vacation plans across the continent.
According to the UN world tourism organisation report of 2014, the tourism in Africa increased by 2%. It reached an estimated $36 billion in revenue from $1 billion in 2013. Sub - Saharan Africa saw the most arrivals from international tourists. International arrivals increased by 3% from 2013. The top reason for visitors coming to various destinations across the continent was leisure. Global locations where most visitors came from included North America, Asia, and Europe. North Africa saw a small increase of 1% in international arrivals. Geopolitical conflict and the outbreak of the Ebola virus were to blame for low visitor turnout. Tourism contributed 8.5% to the continent’s GDP, according to the World Travel and Tourism Council report. The contribution was an estimated $177.8 billion. The tourism industry also made a contribution of 2.9% to employment. Professionals received jobs in the airline and aviation industry, transportation services, hotels, restaurants and travel agencies.
From city excursions to safaris and beach getaways, Africa accommodates any traveler. Below are travel destinations across the continent that are a must visit for any avid African traveler.
Lesotho is the perfect destination for a nature retreat. You can immerse yourself in the majestic Maloti Mountains, and see the best wildlife. Adventure lovers can enjoy a ski trip during the country’s winter season. The main attractions to visit are the parks and reserves. You can explore a variety of bird life at the Sehlabathebe National Park. You can also visit the Sani Pass, which is a world heritage site. The pass sits on the Drakensberg escarpment between Lesotho and South Africa. It is 2,874 meters above sea level. The Ts’enhlanyane National Park is a scenic park that has an array of wildlife, birds, and flora. Its location is at the foot of the Holomo Pass at the Maloti Mountains. The Bokong Nature Reserve overlooks the magnificent Lepaqoa Waterfall and Valley. It is the perfect place for a wellness retreat and hiking.
If you’re looking for a great safari getaway, Botswana is the perfect destination to visit. Bordered by South Africa, Namibia, and Zimbabwe, Botswana is home to the Okavango Delta. The delta is one of the most sought after wilderness destinations in the world. Its location is in the Kalahari Basin. Here you can experience an array of wildlife and vegetation. If you love culture and heritage, you can explore San history at the Tsodilo Hills. You can visit the villages of the San people, and see rock paintings that have existed for thousands of years.
Travelers describe Morocco as a country that has an African and European feel to it. It has a mixture of North African and European culture because of its proximity to Europe. To experience authentic Moroccan culture, you must visit the Djemma el Fna market. It's location is in Marrakesh’s Medina quarter. Djemma el Fna is a shopper’s paradise where you can purchase anything from fashion to artworks. You can also enjoy authentic Moroccan cuisine sold at the food stalls. You can learn about Berber culture and history from the variety of available tours. The Berber tour is a camel and desert tour that you can do to learn about Morocco’s nomadic populations. You can choose from single day trips to 16 day excursions.
You’ll love learning about traditional pre - Saharan life when visiting Ait Benhaddou. It is a fortified village located along a former caravan route close to Marrakech. You’ll be able to see how ancient architects constructed houses within defensive walls. And to mention the village is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. If you’re a music lover, you’ll enjoy the Fes Festival of World Sacred Music. Artists from around the world gather to celebrate Africa’s cultural beauty and diversity. The festival is a 10 - day celebration that takes place between May and June.
Kenya is an ideal destination for family holidays, safaris, and beach holidays. The best time to visit is between October and March. Lamu is a beautiful place to visit if you’re looking for a wellness retreat. Here, you can enjoy yoga retreats, stunning beaches, and a relaxed atmosphere. You can get to the island in a dhow ferry from Manda Island. At Malindi and Watamu, you can explore the diversity of marine life nestled in coral reefs. You can also enjoy bird watching at Lake Nakuru. Amboseli National Park is a fantastic place to visit if you love wildlife. You can also enjoy the stunning view of Mount Kilimanjaro. If you’re a culture and history enthusiast, the Gede Ruins in Watamu will give you much insight about the island’s heritage. Knowing how to speak some Swahili, which is Kenya’s official language, is very helpful. You’ll find it easier to connect with locals.
Zanzibar is one of Africa’s island paradises. You’ll enjoy crystal clear waters and great food on the island. There are tons of other islands around the archipelago that you can explore. Pemba Island is Tanzania’s hidden gem located about 100 kilometers from Zanzibar. It receives fewer visitors than Zanzibar, which makes it an excellent option for a relaxing getaway. Pemba is still a major spice producer on the Zanzibar archipelago. It depends on agriculture for income more than tourism. You can chat with locals to learn more about the island’s agriculture sector. They can also tell you more about the abundant fruit and spice trees. A holiday on the island will not be complete without a dive in its waters. You’ll enjoy the sights of healthy coral reefs and diverse species of marine life. For a relaxed afternoon, you can take a walk on the white sandy shores and enjoy a swim in the warm Indian Ocean. The island has earned the nickname “The Green Island” because of its lush beauty. Pemba has a small population of about 350,000 people. You can explore the culture and heritage of the island by visiting the main town, Chake Chake. People there are friendly and more than happy to interact. You can strike up a conversation with locals to learn more about their culture and heritage. Make sure to learn some Swahili as that’s the primary language of the island. When you walk around, you’ll see the unique architecture of houses. The island consists of square mud houses with thatch roofs. You’ll also enjoy the tastes of the island as villagers sell a variety of fruits from ox - drawn carts.
Rwanda has earned the nickname “Land of a Thousand Hills” for its stunning scenery. Its mountainous landscape is breathtaking, and it’s home to six active volcanoes. A visit to the East African nation isn’t complete without exploring the Volcanoes National Park. Here, you’ll see the park’s famous attraction, mountain gorillas and golden monkeys. You’ll also enjoy a variety of flora. You can enjoy great water activities at Lake Kivu. It is Rwanda’s largest lake and the sixth largest lake in Africa. Boat tours, kayaking, and fishing are available at the lake. If you’re a tea or coffee lover, Rwanda is the place to enjoy these hot beverages. Explore tea farms and learn more about this industry by going on a tea plantation tour. You can book these tours through travel agents or Rwanda Tourism.
South Africa accommodates all types of travelers. From city getaways to safaris and beach holidays, the country is an ideal destination. You can enjoy the natural beauty of the iSimangaliso Wetlands Park in Kwazulu - Natal. An interesting fact is that the park is home to Africa’s most extensive estuarine system. You’ll walk on old coastal dunes and beaches that stretch to the Kosi Bay on the Mozambican border. The park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The uKhahlamba Drakensberg Park in the Wild Coast is home to South Africa’s highest mountain range. It is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Western Cape has an array of activities to do. You can enjoy the beautiful Garden Route that boasts a variety of vegetation. You can discover many other gems in the route, including authentic South African culture and cuisine. Cape Town is an excellent cosmopolitan destination if you feel like immersing yourself in city life. You can enjoy the sights of Cape Town with the Red Bus Tour. You can also visit Robben Island to learn more about South Africa’s political history.
And lastly but not all..
If you’re planning a romantic getaway or a wellness retreat, be sure to head to Seychelles. The island - nation consists of 115 islands located in the Indian Ocean. The outer islands of Seychelles offer beautiful beaches and an array of wildlife. The main ones are Alphonse and Desroches. If you want to immerse yourself in nature and total relaxation, the island is a must visit. You can dive and explore untouched coral reefs, and see a diversity of marine life. You can enjoy fishing and sailing activities. Best of all, you can swim in the island’s crystal blue waters. Seychelles has a rich culture consisting of a diverse population. The Seychellois came from Africa, Asia, and Europe. They brought with them unique traditions, languages, and cuisines. Creole, French, and English are the dominant languages spoken on the island. Local cuisine is delicious, consisting of fish, spices, and tropical fruit.
There you have it, destinations in our very OWN Africa where Europeans and Africans can visit for vacation, relaxation, business amongst other activities, and most importantly learn about African culture and diversity.