Africa

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The biggest skies and the most magnificent wildlife… Africa gets under the skin

Vast and unknowable yet amiable and engaging with a complex history yet a simple way of life. The thronging cities vie for your attention among the enormous wildernesses, the natural bounty and the wildlife. Elephant in South AfricaHere, you find unmissable, unmatched opportunities to get eye to eye with creatures large and small in their natural habitat. Yet beyond the safaris and sun-downers there's a wealth of other enriching experiences to behold. Enjoy the music in Senegal, the mountain trekking in Ethiopia, the tribal experiences just about everywhere, and indulge in the sophisticated foodie culture in South Africa. Come and be dazzled by the wildlife - then put the binoculars to one side and be amazed at the potential of this enigmatic continent.

The highlights of Africa

Desert landscapes

Namibia sand dunesVast red dunes soar towards bright blue skies, hiding ancient salt flats with sun-scorched fossilised trees in Namibia. Soar over them in a hot air balloon, or scale their sandy slopes for breathtaking views to the Skeleton Coast. All is not as barren as it seems - keep your eyes peeled for elegant gemsbok, special desert-adapted zebras and flamboyant ostriches. The Karoo and Klein Karoo deserts of South Africa are also hidden gems, with bohemian towns, ostrich farms, stunning plant-life and other-worldly rock formations.

Superb safari

Wildebeest Great Migration Kenya TanzaniaWitness the Great Migration as it grazes the vast plains of Tanzania’s Serengeti then plunges across the treacherous Mara River into Kenya. See cheetahs in their element as they course after prey on the empty landscapes of Namibia, hear the rumbles of elephants as they materialise out of the bush, and trek up forested volcanoes to spot gorillas and chimpanzees in their natural environment. The coastline is home to seasonally migrating whales so time your visit to spot the magnificent beasts leaping from the waters. You simply can’t beat Africa for epic wildlife experiences.

Fascinating cultures

Ethiopian womenFrom the ancient churches carved out of the cliffs in Lalibela to Stone Age paintings in Namibia and South Africa, the continent is bursting with history and culture. Aside from the architecture and the art, tribes across Africa continue traditions that have been passed down for centuries and a select few are willing to share their knowledge and skills with visitors from foreign shores.

Blissful beaches

Madagascar beachThe African coastline is hard to beat. Blissful white beaches can be found all over, from Madagascar to Zanzibar, and from Kenya’s Lamu Archipelago to the wilder shores of South Africa. The golden sands of Ghana are lesser known but no less special, with spectacular wildlife opportunities a stone’s throw away. Whether you like to sunbathe, whale watch, stroll or windsurf, there’s a shore calling to you out here.

When to go

Often warm and sunny, most of Africa is appealing all year round. The very best time to go depends on what you plan to do on your trip. The ideal season to hit the beach may not be the best period for wildlife - depending on your destination - so put some thought into your priorities. Generalising and simplifying an entire continent’s climatic situation is never going to give an accurate picture of local conditions, but if you wish to cover more than one country on your African adventure and ensure you catch some wildlife along the way, June to October are the safest bets. This is the dry season, and temperatures are cooler on the whole. Wildlife watching is most reliable towards the end of the dry season when vegetation is thinner and animals are forced by the rising temperatures and drying land to congregate at watering holes. If there is a specific natural spectacle you wish to witness, for example the wildebeest migration, or the Namaqualand blooms, you are tied more closely to a timeslot. In short, there is no shortage of drama in Africa all year round.
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