Africa is the land of safaris, wild landscapes, and The Big Five. This is where people come to catch a glimpse of elephants, hippos, leopards, rhino, and lions – not to mention the gorillas, chimpanzees, and herds of buffalo. As famous as the animals are the landscapes such as the dunes of the Namib Desert, the savannah of the Serengeti, and the natural beauty of the deserts of Egypt. When you have finished taking safari across Tanzania, Zimbabwe, and Kenya be sure to visit Egypt to see the epic pyramids, the stoic Sphinx, and the markets of Morocco.

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A land rich in the wonders of the world and stories of civilisations before us, Egypt is a remarkable place that will intrigue all travellers. Home to the iconic Pyramids of Giza, the last surviving of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, which were built as tombs for the Pharaohs and are watched over by the iconic Sphinx. There are ruins, ancient cities, and tombs across the country with the Luxor’s Karnak Temple and the Valley of the Kings, the biggest open air museum with enough tombs (including Tutankhamun), temples, and wall art to keep you enthralled for a few days.

As far as cities go, Alexandria is rich with a romantic and turbulent history having been founded by Alexander the Great and home to Cleopatra, as well as Caesar and Marc Anthony at times. Travel through the desert by camel, and explore one of the strangest spots in Egypt – the White Desert. Strange chalk mountains stand still in the centre of an arid landscape looking almost like snow. Eqypt is also a land full of religious sites such as St. Catherine’s at the foot of Mount Sinai, where Moses is said to have received the Ten Commandments, as well as the site of the burning bush and a museum full of religious iconography, art, and manuscripts. And while many think of desert landscapes when they picture Egypt, it is also home to the Nile with its villages, cities and communities perched along this iconic river.

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Kenya is a land of extreme landscapes, impressive wildlife and a strong connection to its traditional people and culture. Home to the Maasai Mara National Reserve, here you will find wildebeest and zebras migrating in their millions, black rhinos in their protected habitats, as well as hippos and crocodiles basking in the waters of the Mara River.

You will even catch glimpses of lions, cheetahs, and leopards. The epic Mount Kilimanjaro can be found in Amboseli National Reserve which is one of the best parks in Africa to view herds of elephants up close. You will also be lucky to spot lions, cheetahs, giraffes, impala, eland, waterbuck, gazelles, and more than 600 species of birds. The cities of Nairobi and Mombasa each have their own charm with historic landmarks and echoes of the trading history of the original buildings. Other massive wildlife parks offer even more animal action such as flamingos on the banks of Lake Nakuru, and Hell’s Gate National Park is one of the few parks in Kenya that allows camping and is home to leopards, baboons, hartebeest, eland, ostriches, gazelles and more than 100 species of birds.

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It’s the country of cities that have inspired countless books, films, music and travellers. Morocco dishes up poetic landscapes, colourful handicrafts, historic cities and a story reminiscent of a fairytale. At the heart of Marrakesh is the medina in the old city which has served the locals for everything with stalls of food and wares, traditional musicians, snake charmers, and performers. The other major cities of Casablanca and Fes have their own distinct beauty and magnetism, and here you will find weavers, tanners, handcrafters and artisans selling their creations in weaving labyrinthine streets. Out of the cities and into the wonderful landscape and you will find Ait Ben Haddou, a golden-stoned kasbah (fortress), that has acted as a set for many Hollywood films. One of the most laidback and tranquil seaside towns is Essaouira with colourful fishing boats, shore-side forts, and a food scene worth travelling for.

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The scenery of Namibia is only challenged by the majesty of the wildlife with big cats, elephants, black rhinos and plains game in abundance with Etosha National Park an elite destination. Another exclusive wildlife park is Damaraland which is home to elephants and lions, as well as Africa’s largest population of rhinos. Mountains, rivers, plains and wetlands can be found throughout the country with the most dramatic landscape found at Skeleton Coast with shipwrecks, reefs perfect for snorkeling, and beaches worthy of staying a while.

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Rwanda is a country with wildlife that has inspired many conservation efforts and the top attraction is gorilla watching at Volcanoes National Park where you will find 18 mountain gorilla families that were featured in the film Gorillas in the Mist. Nyungwe Forest National Park is home to a community of chimpanzees, as well as 322 species of birds, and 75 types of mammals. If you are hoping to catch the Big Five, plan a trip to Akagera National Park which has made a recovery from near decimation after the Rwandan genocide. It is home to the Big Five and is the largest protected wetlands in all of Africa. Amid Rwanda’s beautiful landscape is a sad history which is covered at the Kigali Genocide Memorial where visitors can learn about the genocide which saw more than 800,000 people dead in just 100 days. Another museum worth visiting is the King’s Palace Museum which is home to the sacred cows and the traditional singers who lull the cows into a mellow state by performing songs.

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South Africa

The glittering star of South Africa is Cape Town which is nestled between the mountains and the sea. Climb to the top of Table Mountain and take in the breathtaking scenery before travelling further to one of the world’s most famous safari parks, Kruger National Park. The park is a drive from Johannesburg and is famous for the Big Five that call it home – lion, leopard, buffalo, elephant, and rhino, along with many other animals. Cities such as Durban and Johannesburg offer an abundance of tourist attractions, and Stellenbosch is rich with history with lots of opportunities to explore its mosaic of farms, and white-washed Cape Dutch dwellings, leftover from the era of the Dutch East India Company. More wildlife spotting can be done at Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens where you can see whales, penguins, and more diverse wildlife. For thrill seekers there is always cage diving with great white sharks.

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From the highest peak in Africa to the vast Serengeti, Tanzania delivers some of the most iconic sites in Africa. Mount Kilimanjaro stands tall with its snow-capped tip and offers trekkers a chance to climb to the summit. The Serengeti National Park is a vast treeless plain famous for the annual wildebeest migration, as well as the Big Five and 500 species of birds. Just outside of the Serengeti is the Ngorongoro Conservation Area which boasts a permanent supply of water, which draws thousands of animals such as lions, elephants, rhinos, Thomson’s gazelles, buffaloes, wildebeests and zebras. The famous island of Zanzibar attracts tourists all year round and has some of the best beaches in the world. Another island which offers opportunities for wildlife spotting is Mafia Island, loved by divers and snorkelers as they explore the marine park. Gombe National Park is famous for the work of Jane Goodall and her research into the wild chimpanzees with regular tours offering an insight into these fascinating primates.

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There is much to explore in Zimbabwe with its pristine safari parks, laidback towns, thriving cities, and natural wonders. One of the most famous locations and one of the wonders of the natural world is Victoria Falls, a kilometre-long stretch of water cascading into the Zambezi River. Part of the Victoria Falls National Park you may also spot baboons in the jungle; while in the legendary Matobo National Park you will discover relics of man’s pre-history in caves and and carved into stone. The park is also home to sable antelope and wildebeest, baboon packs and leopards.

The Mana Pools National Park is one of the most pristine nature areas in Zimbabwe and recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage Site thanks to its population of elephant, buffalo, leopard and cheetah. The Mana Pools are also a haven for water-based wildlife, with large populations of hippo and Nile crocodile. One of the most popular cities to explore is Bulawayo with its colonial frontispieces that boast art deco and Victorian regal styles. Stroll the tree-lined avenues and spend time getting to know the best places to shop and dine. Another historic monument that should be on any Zimbabwe itinerary is the Great Zimbabwe National Monument, (UNESCO World Heritage Site), which protects the stone ruins of Great Zimbabwe which was built between the 11th and 15th centuries and was once home to kings and chiefs.

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