Africa, although a continent with its fair share of troubles, offers many hidden jewels with great lakes, crystal blue beaches with pearly white sands, jaw-dropping flora and majestic wildlife and mountains within its borders. In this article we will look at top travel destinations in Africa. According to the 2014 UN World Tourism Organization report, Africa achieved a 2% increase in tourism in 2014 reaching an estimated $36 billion in revenue from $1 billion the previous year. International tourist arrivals in the African region were highest in sub-Saharan Africa with an average 3% increase from the previous year.
So which are the best tourist destinations for someone looking to tour Africa?
Morocco has been described as a distinctly African country on the outskirts of Europe. It has a majestic and medieval feel to it, filled with lots of North African culture. No visit to Morocco is complete without visiting Djemma el Fna in Marrakech, which comes to life from 10am with street theatres, henna tattoo artists and snake charmers and peaks in the evening with the arrival of an array of chefs and food masters.
Ait Benhaddou, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is a must-visit to get a taste of traditional pre-Saharan life. Here you’ll see houses that are built together within the defensive walls, which are reinforced by corner towers, which will give you insight into how ancient civilisations lived before skyscrapers were built.
All nationals, excluding nationals from the European Union, Switzerland and Canada, need a visa before entering the country. Visit the Moroccan embassy in your country for visa applications.
Zanzibar is a popular travel destinations in Africa among many travelers. Zanzibar Ocean Panorama Hotel is a popular hotel on the beach, with rooms ranging from $35 to $50, with dormitory rooms costing $20 dollars. A visa is required for all visitors entering the country, which can be acquired at any Tanzanian consulate or on arrival at the country designated entry points at the cost of $50 dollars.
The island portrays the idyllic African village, with traditionally-designed square mud houses with thatch roof, ox-drawn carts stacked high with a variety of fruit, villagers who speak mainly Swahili and a small population of 350,000 people. Main attractions include the island’s main town of Chake Chake, Vumawimbi beach and Makoba beach.
East Africa’s mountainous paradise, Rwanda, is a haven for travellers that are avid wildlife lovers. The country has earned the nickname ‘land of a thousand hills’ due its mountainous landscape and its renowned Volcanoes National Park, which is home to mountain gorillas and golden monkeys. The park is the most visited park in the country, which is no surprise as it is home to 3 extinct and 6 active volcanoes, and you will experience the best tracking safari to see mountain gorillas. The shores of Lake Kivu can enjoyed with beach sports, kayaking, fishing or boat tours.
Rwanda is also a haven for coffee and tea as it is the country’s biggest export. Tea leaves create a beautiful contrast with blue skies and never-ending sunshine as they adorn mountain tops. Tea plantation tours can be enjoyed in a variety of locations across Rwanda, including at Sorwathe Guesthouse and Tea Tours
São Tomé and Principe
São Tomé and Principe is Africa’s smallest state situated in the gulf of Guinea in western Africa. This is a perfect beach holiday for a couple or for a group of friends wanting to get away from the hustle and bustle of crowded beaches. The island is blessed with beautiful and serene beaches where you can enjoy fishing and go diving with the island’s main diving agency Club Maxel. The best sites for diving are Ilheu das Rolas, which is situated south of the Sao Tome Island, and Ilha da Santana.
Kenya is an East African paradise filled with abundant wildlife, mountains, flora, fauna and islands. It’s one of the ideal travel destinations in Africa for family holidays, and the best time to visit is between October and March. Enjoy the tranquil island of Lamu, where you can enjoy rolling dunes, endless beaches and narrow bustling streets where no vehicles are present. Tucked away behind the dunes of the island are yoga wellness retreats where you can go individually or join a group yoga retreat to reconnect with yourself, nature and the universe. The island is rich with friendly people nestled among coconut and mango plantations, with dhow ferries being a truly island paradise method of transportation upon arrival from Manda Island.
Malindi and Watamu are just as breath-taking with best of tropical beaches, pearly white sands and relaxing hideaways. The islands boast with spectacular coral reefs and diversity of marine life, as well as the historic Gede Ruins in Watamu for a touch of the island’s history. For the traveller who is wild at heart, immerse yourself in bird watchers’ paradise of Lake Nakuru and enjoy the wildlife sights at the courtyard of Mount Kilimanjaro, the Amboseli National Park.
The 115-island country with the smallest population of any African state, the Republic of Seychelles, is a hidden gem located in the Indian Ocean and is perfect for a romantic getaway. The Outer Islands of Seychelles are the less visited of the island-country, offering pristine beaches, lonely rock outcrops and untouched habitats for many species of wildlife. The Outer Island groups, namely Alphonse and Desroches, currently offer luxurious lodges for accommodation, as well as idyllic and untouched spots for fishing, sailing and diving.