Tailored Trips


Sure, many of Africa's cities are dirty, daunting and best rushed through, but if you've got the time and the energy, others are living, pulsing testaments to the continent's cultural diversity. In Senegal's Dakar (p477) a feverishly energetic scene boasts some of the best nightclubs, live-music venues and arts festivals in Africa. Ghana's Accra (p335) is the birthplace of some of the region's most popular music - jump into your glad rags, hit the club scene and make partying an adventure sport. If you like things a bit more laid back, head to Maputo (p939) in Mozambique to drink caipirinhas with the beautiful people, dance the salsa in late-night jazz clubs, feast on gigantic prawns and sip espressos in elegant pavement cafes.

For sheer beauty, it's hard to beat South Africa's Cape Town (p993) with an iconic mountain slap-bang in its centre and a necklace of beautiful beaches around its rim. Its multi-ethnic people have come together to create one of Africa's richest cultural scenes. Another must-see isMarrakesh(pl78) in Morocco where musicians, merchants, storytellers and the odd lunatic wander through the bewitching hubbub of mind-scrambling medinas and fragrant souqs. In Ethiopia's Addis Ababa (p656) past and present meet on the city's wide boulevards as priests in medieval-looking robes shuffle past style-queens with mobile phones and the odd herd of goats.


If you're the type who spent their childhood glued to the TV watching BBC nature documentaries, it's time to make your wildest dreams come true. In Tanzania the Serengeti National Park (p770) is the venue for the great wildebeest migration, to the delight of the giant crocs that wait for them. If you can make it down to Uganda and have the cash for a trekking permit, you can pay a visit to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest (p804) and pick up the trail of the giant, gentle gorillas. Drop down to Botswana and take a sunset river cruise in the Chobe National Park (p856) to see hundreds of elephants drinking and romping in the water within metres of your boat.

Cut across to Madagascar (p878) and get up early to hear the eerie shriek of the indri (which looks like a giant teddy bear) or watch creamy white sifakas leap sideways across the ground like competitors in a sack race. If you prefer a scuba tank to a pair ofbinoculars try RasMohammed (pl02) near Sharm el Sheikh, Egypt, where you can dive with thresher sharks and scalloped hammerheads.


If you like trekking, Africa provides enough trails to wear out many, many pairs of hiking boots. But why use your own feet when you can ride a camel through the Sahara's burning sands towards the blue rocks of the Aïr Mountains (p448) in Niger? Or perhaps you'd prefer ice to fire, undertaking the arduous but rewarding climb to the snowy peak of Tanzania's Mount Kilimanjaro (p774) to be rewarded with an unforgettable view of the Serengeti at sunrise? For gentler pleasures wander through the magical milkwood forests of South Africa's Otter Trail (pl003), a track that fords rushing rivers on the way to wild and windy beaches.

Some of West Africa's best trekking opportunities are found in Mali's Dogon Country (p410), which combines stunning landscapes with the complex and elaborate culture, art forms and unique houses of the friendly Dogon people. In Morocco's Atlas Mountains (pi 85) you can climb steep paths past flat-roofed, earthen Berber villages and irrigated, terraced gardens and walnut groves. Ethiopia's challenging Simien Mountains (p666) are simply breathtaking - and not just because of the punishing gradients and high altitude. And finally, if you like your wildlife up close and personal, many of Africa's game reserves and national parks, including South Africa's Kruger (pl026), offer walking safaris, where you can find yourself eye-to-eye with a lion or an elephant.


Treks, wildlife and urban parties are the stuff that African travels are made of, but they can also be a bit, well...tiring. At some point on your travels you're going to need to hit a hammock, close your eyes and drift away to the sounds of lapping water.

Most East African travellers choose to do their R'n'R in Tanzania's Zanzibar (p757), a spicy heaven of perfume plantations, endless white beaches and whispering palm trees. But if you fancy somewhere even quieter, head to Kenya's Lamu (p705), where donkeys replace cars and the hardest decision you'll make all day is when to take the next nap. Southern Africa's best-loved beach hangout is the shore of turquoise Lake Malawi (p927) with its fresh waters, laid-back locals and reggae bars. Further south, the Bazaruto (p945) and Quirimbas (p949) islands of Mozambique offer the chance to float for days on a lazy wooden sailing boat. At the other end of the continent the Red Sea resorts of Egypt's Sinai (p98) region are a haven for snorkellers and swimmers as well as sunbathers. Out west the little-known country of Sâo Tomé & Principe (p598) has miles and miles of perfect white sand and blue waters frequented by sea turtles and unknown to tourists. Alternatively, try the grilled seafood and chilled vibe of Cameroon's Kribi (p293).

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