5 ideas for holidays in Africa

Need to get off the beaten track? Take to the skies for a journey full of promise on a trip to Africa.

Africa. This word alone is enough to send the imagination sailing towards fascinating lands with well-kept secrets. There’s so much to discover on this continent that every moment is synonymous with discovery. It’s rich in cultural diversity, varied landscapes and unique experiences.

From the African savannah to tropical beaches, mountains, rivers and historic towns, it offers a wide range of options for every type of traveler. Whether you’re a lover of adventure and raw nature, a sun and seaside enthusiast or a lover of old stones, this destination has something for everyone. If you’re not sure where to begin your stay in Africa, here are a few ideas for out-of-the-ordinary experiences to put you on African time.

Safari in the national parks

Immersion in wildlife paradise
safari avec des gorgones sauvages, réserve de Masai mara au Kenya, en Afrique

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  • 👍 We love: seeing unique wildlife frolic in complete freedom

Africa is the ultimate safari destination. Its vast wild plains are home to some of the planet’s most impressive animals: zebras, giraffes, wildebeests, gazelles, warthogs and more. But the Holy Grail for all adventurers remains an encounter with the « Big Five », a quintet made up of lion, elephant, buffalo, black rhino and leopard.

The Masai Mara National Reserve in south-western Kenya is the place to watch theBigFive roam free. This kingdom, ruled by wild animals, takes you into an unspoilt wilderness of acacia-studded savannahs, rolling hills and meandering rivers. Every year, between July and October, it plays host to the world’s largest animal migration. Nearly 2 million wildebeest – followed by zebra, gazelle and other hoofed animals – leave Tanzania’s Serengeti National Park for its green pastures.

You’ll also have a front-row seat for wildlife in Kruger National Park, nestled in the northeast ofSouth Africa. Its vast landscapes are criss-crossed by plains, mountains, canyons, streams and thousand-year-old baobabs. Safaris here can be enjoyed in many different ways: on foot, by 4×4, by helicopter or even in a hot-air balloon. That’s right! Things are much more beautiful from above, aren’t they?

Adventure on the rivers of East Africa

A change of scenery on the river

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  • 👍 We love: thrills, communion with nature

Is there anything you love more than a rush of adrenaline on a rushing river? You’ll find just what you’re looking for on a trip to East Africa! First stop: Jinja, a town in south-eastern Uganda. It’s nicknamed « the adventure capital of East Africa », and rightly so. Its location at the source of the Nile makes it an ideal meeting point for kayaking and white-water rafting. Brace yourselves: the river features class 2, 3 and even 5 rapids for the most intrepid.

Kenya’s Sagana (or Tana) River is also a mecca for water sports. It is the longest river in the country. It rises in the highlands of the Aberdare mountain range, zigzagging its way through almost 700 km of different regions before ending its course in the Indian Ocean. The best place to enjoy its tumultuous waves is in the town of the same name, 100 km north of Nairobi. The rapids range from class 3 to 5, offering delicious thrills on a course bordered by lush vegetation.

Finally, the Rufiji River in Tanzania also has sections with rapids. But perhaps this time you’re looking for a more leisurely ride along the water’s edge? Just the thing, as it flows through the Selous Game Reserve (or Nyerer National Park). The route is dotted with small lakes and swamps where you can spot crocodiles, hippos and water birds such as pink-backed pelicans, warbling eagles and kingfishers. Other pleasant surprises include the Big Five and Africa’s last wild dogs.

Cultural experience in historic cities

An escapade in cities bursting with culture

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  • 👍 We like: the meeting of several cultures

Vary the pleasures of your stay in Africa and start your cultural escape in Marrakech, located at the foot of the Atlas Mountains in Morocco. Its emblematic buildings, such as the 19th-century Bahia Palace and the 12th-century Koutoubia Mosque, are sure to fill you with wonder. Or stroll through the red-walled medina, with its narrow streets lined with souks and irresistible spicy aromas. Or stroll through Djemaa El Fna square, where you’ll find a delightful chaos of storytellers, acrobats, street vendors and fortune-tellers.

And Timbuktu, a thousand-year-old city at the gateway to Mali’s Sahara desert. It was an obligatory passage on the salt route, as well as an important Muslim intellectual center in the 16th century. In the land of the Tuareg, testimonies of its past splendors remain, such as the great mosques (Djingarey Ber, Sidi Yahiya and Sankoré) and the mausoleums of the saints. The Ahmed Baba Center preserves up to 100,000 rare manuscripts – the oldest dating back to the 13th century.

Last stop on your trip: Stone Town, on theZanzibar archipelago in Tanzania. Founded in the 19th century, it owes its name to its astonishing houses built of coral stone. They are a blend of Swahili, Arab, Portuguese and British influences, as evidenced by their baraza benches, carved doors and wooden balconies. Your stroll through the narrow streets will take you to the Darajani market, a traditional bazaar renowned for its spices. You’ll also see the old 18th-century fort and Forodhani Gardens on the waterfront, where you can sample urujo soup.

Farniente in the tropical islands

A sunny interlude on secluded beaches
La belle île de Nosy Komba Madagascar

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  • 👍 We like: discreet beaches, a feeling of being at the end of the world

A stay in Africa also means seaside pleasures. The continent’s string of islands in the Indian Ocean, where time seems to stand still. The Seychelles islands immerse you in a picture-postcard setting, with their various beaches rivalling in charm. You can set down your towel at Petite Anse, a powdery-sand bay surrounded by lush forest and granite cliffs on Mahé. You can also get away from it all at West Beach on Bird Island. So secluded is this white-sand setting that sea turtles come here freely to lay their eggs. What’s more, it’s protected by a coral reef, inviting you to scuba dive in its translucent waters.

Head for Madagascar, the Red Island, with its coastline hemmed with sandy beaches. Come to Nosy Iranja, two islets forming part of the Nosy Be archipelago – in the north-west of the country. These little corners of paradise are linked by a 2 km sandy ribbon that you can cross at low tide. You’ll love snuggling up on the warm sands of the beaches overlooking turquoise lagoons, or taking a dip in the water to meet the sea turtles.

The idleness continues in Anakao, a fishing village 50 km from Tuléar – in the south-west of the island. The huts are followed by a vast expanse of dazzling sand dotted with shrubs, inviting you to contemplate in the shade. The area lends itself to a wide range of water sports, including fishing, surfing and snorkeling.

Expedition to West Africa

Discreet destinations worth the detour
Pagaie en canoë traditionnel en bois, Ghana, Afrique

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  • 👍 We love: exploring places that travellers never see

West Africa is known for its popular destinations such as Senegal, Mali and Cape Verde. But it also has secret gems that deserve a closer look. Ghana has plenty to offer, with its 5-star natural environment, idyllic beaches and numerous forts and castles lining the Atlantic Ocean. It’s even ideal for a safari, as its north-western region is home to the Mole National Park. In this haven, you’ll have the opportunity to observe elephants, buffalo, warthogs, lions and even roan antelopes.

Guinea is also a place to dream about, with its many facets – unjustly overlooked. It offers a kaleidoscope of buzzing cities, dense forests, forgotten beaches and majestic monuments. Do you particularly enjoy trekking? Put on your hiking boots and explore the natural region of Fouta Djallon, located on the high plateaus and offering a succession of valleys, peaks and gorges.

The most intrepid will attempt to climb Mount Nimba, which rises to 1,752 m above sea level. Once at the summit, high above the clouds, you’ll have a front-row seat to the verdant landscapes of not only Guinea, but also Liberia and Côte d’Ivoire.

Africa is a fascinating continent offering a multitude of unique discoveries. Whether you’re looking for safaris, adventures, culture or natural landscapes, you’re sure to find what you’re looking for for your stay in Africa. Don’t hesitate to share your impressions with us!