Travelling around much of Africa often requires time, patience and stamina. African public transport sometimes leaves and arrives roughly on time (off-the-beaten-track transport is more unreliable), but there are few interesting places that you cannot reach without your own car, even if you have to wait for a few days. If you can fly, this will save you considerable time and hardship on roads. However, flights can also be subject to delays, cancellations and bureaucratic pantomimes. It’s also worth remembering that some of your most memorable and enjoyable travel experiences will take place en route between places – in Africa, the journey is the destination.
Safety Country Coverage
Eleven countries out of the 50 African nations covered in this guide have shorter chapters covering only the basics and background information; this approach has been adopted either because of security issues relating to travel in the territory or because the country is not on the general travel radar. Things change fast in Africa places we list as dangerous might become safe and vice versa. Keep yourself up to date with what’s happening on the ground by checking out reliable news websites such as bbc.co.uk.
Many visitors looking for a break from life on the African road end up on a beach or island. And what beaches and islands!
1. Lake – Malawi Soft sand fringes the shore of this turquoise lake, where you can swim in fresh water and mingle with laid-back locals in reggae bars.
2. Limbe – Blissful beach destination surrounded by banana plantations in the shade of Mt Cameroon.
3. Jerba – This Tunisian island has an intoxicating mix of soft sandy beaches and idiosyncratic architecture. (Click here)
In Africa music is more than a way of life. It is a force. Get ready to feel it at these rhythmic destinations.
1. Harare – Zimbabwe’s capital has a rocking music scene including major festivals such as the Harare International Festival of Arts.
2. Cape Town Music is the lifeblood of the Mother City; groove at scores of musical events from November through March, including an international jazz festival.
3. Stone Town – Hit the spice island of Zanzibar for its five-day Sauti za Busara Swahili Music Festival in February.
4. Essaouira – Visit this laid-back Moroccan seaside resort in June for its Gnaoua and World Music Festival.
5. Abidjan – Hit the bars and dance floors of Côte d’Ivoire’s principal city and experience the crazy upbeat sound of coupé-décalé .
6. Saint-Louis – This charming French colonial settlement in northern Senegal hosts an international jazz festival in May.
World Heritage Sites
Among the 129 Unesco-designated World Heritage Sites of Africa, well over half are cultural or mixed, representing both natural and cultural factors.
1. Pyramids of Giza So iconic as to defy description, this trio of mausoleums plus a Sphinx are the last remaining wonder of the ancient world.
2. Lalibela – A mind-blowing maze of rock-hewn churches: one of nine World Heritage Sites in Ethiopia, the most in a single African country.
3. Elmina – The 15th-century St George’s Castle in this Ghanaian coastal town is one of the oldest European structures in sub-Saharan Africa.
4. Aksum – Ponder the mysteries of the stelae in an Ethiopian town that may have been home to the Queen of Sheba.
5. Leptis – Magma One of the best-preserved Roman cities in the Mediterranean includes the ornately carved Arch of Septimius Severus.