Despite its large landmass, Africa is a continent which for many people is still unexplored. What they do know about it often relates to a few countries, chiefly South Africa. This is something of a shame, as there are more than fifty countries on this continent, and each of them has its own unique points of interest.
If your only input on Africa comes from watching the news, of course, you may not immediately see it as a holiday destination. Then again, the same could be said of many parts of the world. It would be a shame to avoid Europe, for example, because of the recent tribulations of Ukraine. It would be wrong to dismiss South America because of unrest in Venezuela.
Due to its wide range of nations, it is fair to say that Africa has something to offer just about every different type of traveler. Choosing a destination may prove difficult. So let’s look to the four corners – North, South, East And West – and pick one country in each. And let’s leave South Africa out of it. Not because it’s not a great place to holiday, but because it’s one place people already know a lot about.
Northern Africa: Morocco
For some holidaymakers, the North of Africa is the most immediately accessible because there is a European influence. Indeed, it is possible to cross by ferry from Spain to Morocco in just over half an hour. That’s not to say that Morocco isn’t definitively African. It has an identity all of its own, and its tourist jewel is definitely Marrakech.
Any trip to Marrakech should start at the town’s central market, Jemaa el-Fnaa. A bustling hive of activity, it will set the tone for a great visit. You’ll find it is like a music festival, with all sorts of side attractions and delicious street food. Follow this up with trips to the Majorelle Garden and Bahia Palace – it’s a great chance to get a feel for a place with history and modernity to spare.
Travel out a bit further, and you can see a country with a lot to offer – and even voyage into the Sahara Desert. You can read more about that and other attractions online.
Southern Africa: Namibia
Sharing a border with South Africa, Namibia is a country that has much in common with its neighbour while still retaining its own identity. Your trip can start in the capital Windhoek, but it is when you get outside the cities that the country comes into its own.
The Etosha National Park is an unmissable part of any holiday to Namibia. It is one of the best wildlife destinations in all of Africa and a perfect place to take a safari trip – you’ll see giraffes, lions and rhino.
Other must-see destinations include the eerie Kolmanskop Ghost Town. Once a thriving diamond town, it is now almost entirely reclaimed by the desert. Abandoned since 1954, it is now accessible only by tours – but they are well worth taking.
East Africa: Kenya
It’s fair to say that Kenya is one of Africa’s best-known countries in its own right, and there is good reason for that. Its capital, Nairobi, is a thriving city with lots to see and do, and some of the best restaurants on the entire continent.
Nightlife really comes into its own on Friday, but during the week you won’t lack for things to do. Shopping in one of the city’s many malls, or visiting the Nairobi National Park, for example. The latter is the world’s only nature reserve found inside a major city.
Of course, if nature reserves are what you’re after, then Kenya has what many view as the ultimate destination. The Masai Mara is rightly prized for its breathtaking wildlife. Visit in July and you may see the Great Migration. During this time, wildebeest, gazelles and zebras all pour into the Masai Mara from the Serengeti in Tanzania. In October, they head back. Either way, it is some sight.
West Africa: Ghana
Ghana’s capital, Accra, is found on the coast. This makes it simultaneously the nation’s most important city and one of its most spectacular destinations. Cape Coast Castle is one of Ghana’s most famous historical locations and an essential place to visit.
In the city center, restaurants serve local and pan-African cuisine. Then, if you fancy something more relaxing, head out to Busua. This exclusive coastal town features secluded beaches and luxury apartments. It is fast becoming a popular honeymoon destination, and if you visit you’re sure to understand why.
Of course, with so many countries to choose from, this could easily have been written about another four African nations. You’ll find that after one visit, you will want to go again anyway!