Planning a Trip to Africa – What to See and Do

Africa is the perfect continent for travelling, it has everything but with so much to see and do, many travellers are faced with that same question: “What are the best things to see and do on vacation in Africa?”
There are plenty of interesting things to see and do in Africa for each type of traveler, from beach bum, safari enthusiast and mountain climber to archaeologist and history buff.

If you are planning an African safari be as prepared as possible. Travelers need to decide exactly what they want to see before taking their trip so they can book the appropriate safari. There are many animals to choose from, chimpanzees, gorillas, the “Big Five” (lions, rhino, buffalo, leopard, and elephant), crocodiles, and birds to name a few.

There are different types of safaris travelers can choose to take. There are safaris where you can hike, mountain bike, take a balloon trip, canoe, hunt, ride a horse, or even ride a camel. You will also need to decide on just how much luxury you will want on your trip. Traditional tented safaris are luxurious with camp set up for you, hot showers and gourmet food. Then there are guided safaris where you travel on four wheelers or trucks and a guide will stay with you wherever you go. Package safaris are like guided safaris except you will not travel with a group. Then for the more daring travelers there are independent safari where you rent your own vehicle and plan your own trip.

Africa’s top safari destinations include wildlife parks in Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Namibia and Gabon. If you’re looking for the best safari where you’re almost guaranteed to see the “Big Five” you can’t go wrong with these choices.

You must plan your African safari as far in advance as possible; several months at a minimum to ensure a better selection of camp availability. This is especially important if you are planning to travel during the Southern Africa safari “high season” months of July through October.

Rhinos in the Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park

Rhinos in the Hluhluwe–iMfolozi Park. Photo by Rob Schleiffert

If you’re looking for sun-kissed Africa beach holidays beneath a cloudless sky, then head to the east coast of Africa: to the Indian Ocean coast of Kenya, Tanzania and Mozambique and their tropical islands.

The Kenyan coast is lined with pristine white sand beaches fringing the warm inviting waters of the Indian Ocean. Here the wilderness meets the sea, and the ocean itself holds a world of spectacular coral reefs teeming with life and colour. The smooth white beach of Watamu, which slides gently into shallow, turquoise water, forms part of the Malindi Marine Reserve Park, a marine protected area. The snorkeling and diving around the offshore coral formations is said to be the best in East Africa. Located 30 km (19 mi) south of Mombasa, in the nearby Kwale County is Diani Beach, another major beach resort on the Indian Ocean coast of Kenya.

Tanzania has a number of idyllic, intimate beach hideaways with great style and atmosphere. Fine coral sands, great diving, palm-fringed elegance are order of the day on the charismatic swahili islands and the best mainland coastal retreats.

On Mozambique’s southern coast Tofo is legendary for its azure waters, sweeping white sands, rolling breakers and party atmosphere. It’s perfect for beach-lollers, sand-frolickers and further out to sea, divers and fishermen have good opportunities to express themselves too.

If you want a short beach holiday after a safari, then consider the fresh water beach holidays beside Lake Malawi. You’ll be surprised by the great snorkelling opportunities far from any ocean.

Tofo beach, Mozambique

Tofo beach, Mozambique. Photo by Meraj Chhaya

If you’re looking to soak up the continent’s breathtaking scenery, and have an eye for adventure, then there’s only one place to be: at the top. Africa offers wonderful hiking and trekking opportunities, the obvious targets for mountain lovers are Mount Kilimanjaro, Mount Kenya and the Atlas Mountains. If you don’t feel the urge to conquer a mountain top but love to walk, excellent hikes include Zambia’s famous walking safaris in South Luangwa National Park, and a multi-day hike along South Africa’s breathtaking Wild Coast.

Africa has many untold treasures to reveal, from the ancient temples, pyramids and tombs of Egypt, to the stunning natural wonders and wildlife in Uganda, Kenya, Botswana and Namibia, there are many great suggestions for must see places in Africa to include in your itinerary: The Great Pyramids at Giza (Egypt), Mount Kilimanjaro, The Sahara Desert (North Africa), Victoria Falls (Zambia & Zimbabwe), Sossusvlei Dunes (Namibia), Ngorongoro Crater (Tanzania), Table Mountain (South Africa) just to name a few.

In conclusion, make a plan of what you definitely want to see during your stay, but don’t make the schedule to tight and allow space for changes. The best experience on your trip could very well be something you didn’t plan for at all.

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