Africa deserves your attention – that’s a fact. Back in 2015, John Oliver lamented that US students learn ‘virtually nothing about Africa’, which is alarming given its size and influence on the world. It’s likely things have changed since 2015, though it still goes under the radar, with many often-mistaking Africa for a country.
The fact of the matter is Africa is not a country – it’s a continent of some 54 sovereign states, with each offering something distinct. To say the likes of Egypt, Zambia and Sao Tome and Principe are exactly the same is incredibly lazy to say the least.
But what are 5 absolute must-visit destinations within this vast and diverse continent? Well, we’ve narrowed it down as best as we can, which has proved hugely challenging, but this is by no means an exhaustive list.
1. Maputo, Mozambique
The capital of one of Africa’s six lusophone nations (Portuguese speaking), Maputo is well worth starting your African adventure – from Tunduru Botanical Gardens to the Museu de Historia Natural (we’ll let you work out the translation), there’s plenty to explore before you take a cruise up the coast on board a Silversea Cloud…
2. Zanzibar, Tanzania
As well as taking in the Mozambique, Madagascar and Tanzania coastlines, you can end this Silversea Cloud cruise in the birthplace of Freddie Mercury! The islands are just off the coast of the mainland, and offer some of the most stunning stretches of coastline on the planet – palm trees and cocktails aplenty. You won’t want to break free…
3. Marrakech, Morocco
For something a little different from the rest of Africa, and a little cheaper from Europe flight-wise, Marrakech could be exactly what you’re looking for. It’s a world away from Europe, however, with snake charmers, fortune tellers and winding streets dominating the city. You’ll be enchanted, though perhaps ever so slightly confused. Once you’ve adapted to your surroundings, however, it will be hard to leave.
4. Nairobi, Kenya
The capital city of Kenya offers plenty, blending urban and rural with consummate ease. There are nods to its pre-colonial and post-colonial heritage all around, with plenty of magnificent African wildlife to see on safari. The nightlife is absolutely bursting with life, but if that’s not your thing, then there’s plenty of history to be found all around. This is before we even mention the marvellous Karura Forest, or the Ngong Hills.
5. Lake Malawi, Malawi
One of the deepest lakes in the world is also one of the most stunning to visit. An under appreciated gem in the southern part of the continent, Malawi is often touted as the ‘warm heart of Africa’, and with good reason. Locals are said to be among the friendliest in the continent. With its blend of beaches, plateaus, forests and cities, it has something to offer any kind of traveller.
Before you embark on your trip to Africa, it’s worth emphasising that this list is in no way exhaustive, with some absolute gems missing out on the cut. Africa is a continent on the up, with plenty more to offer than meets the eye, which is why you’d be crazy to pass up the opportunity to visit one of its many gems.