Ask most people where they fancy taking a jaunt to next and the chances are they’ll reel off a whole list of the mundane, usual and generic: Thailand, India and South America have been go-to haunts of many a backpacker for the past two decades.
When young twenty-somethings head off to find themselves on a gap year or a thirty-something disillusioned worker fancies taking a break from the 9 – 5, the chances are they’ll find themselves in one of these exotic places.
There’s nothing wrong with these destinations, but sometimes it pays to venture off the beaten track a little.
One continent that escapes many travellers, is Africa. The land of savannahs, the Masai Mara, urban sprawls, cosmopolitan nightlife, gastronomic delights and wildlife is seen as a far-flung destination that doesn’t warrant exploration.
Delve a little deeper beneath the generic safari tours, and you’ll discover a variety of cultures that you can immerse yourself in, new people that you can meet and converse with and more experiences of a lifetime than you can shake a stick at.
Take a look at these awesome ideas that will inspire you to take a trip to the land of Africa.
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No article about Africa would be complete without a mention of the wildlife. From laid-back hippopotamus drinking at their watering hole to wildebeest migrating across the plains and from gorillas chilling in the jungles of Uganda to the rare black rhino meandering across the savannah, there is awe and wonder to be found on this continent.
Even if your not a wildlife lover, no one could deny the splendour of a safari. Heading out with local guides across the Masai Mara in Kenya tracking lion prides and witnessing giraffe feeding is a sight to behold.
For those of a more snap happy persuasion, there are plenty of opportunities to get those close up shots of elephants in their own environment.
Safari holidays have become a lot more sophisticated in recent years. Tapping into the luxury market, there’s now no need to make do with a tent under the stars and shared toilet facilities that consist of a hole in the ground.
Five-star safari resorts now make it a point of business to set up luxury tours for the more discerning traveller. Gourmet chefs are on hand to provide the highest quality regional cuisine every evening and the accommodation is second only to a five-star resort on the coast.
You don’t have to venture to Everest to climb a mountain. One of the most accessible and enjoyable treks to a summit can be found in Africa climbing the great Kilimanjaro.
Thousands of tourists each year attempt to scale the summit, usually beginning before dawn, so they have the chance to see the majestic sunrise.
If you feel like taking on more of a challenge, why not head to Namibia. This lesser explored region is home to less touristy mountain ranges.
Find some accommodation in Swakopmund and relax a little before you take a jaunt to Mount Brandburg. Known by its eerie nickname of Fire Mountain, this incredible piece of geographic and social history has hundreds of ancient rock paintings as clear as when they were first drawn for climbers to admire as they trek past.
If you don’t fancy a mountain, why not head higher. You could take a look at some of the adventure tours in South Africa that offer mind-blowing skydiving trips from 12,000 feet above the savannah strewn country.
Alternatively, you could try a bungee jump from Bloukrans Bridge; the highest of its kind in the world.
A trip to Africa isn’t complete without a foray into the culinary delights of the continent. Depending on which destinations you choose to visit, you could be chowing down on Moroccan tagine stews, the meaty street food morsels of Egypt or the moreish alloco plantain sweet treat from Cote d’Ivoire.
Morocco is a culinary haven that many Western backpackers enjoy visiting. As the sun goes down, there’s no better way to while away an evening than by heading to the street food markets and the souks to taste street food vendors delights.
Hot, spicy, sweet and sour bites are on offer to sample as you meander about the stalls. Many choose to eat where the locals go to partake in a truly authentic experience.
You don’t have to be an active fiend or an adrenaline junkie to enjoy what Africa has to offer. Venture to the crystal clear ocean shorelines of Zanzibar, South Africa or the Gambia and you could spend a fortnight relaxing on a secluded beach with white sand underfoot and a cocktail in your hand as you relax with a good book.
The ultimate destination for relaxation, you could stay in a beachside villa, enjoy a spot of five-star luxury and take a dip in the ocean and go snorkelling to see tropical fish of every colour as you escape the heat of the midday sun.
Forget climbing a mountain, tracking the most ferocious wildlife known to man or venturing out to source your food. If you fancy it, you could be waited on hand and foot as you enjoy a spot of R and R on some of the world’s finest coastline.
Africa is a land of extreme contrasts. With over fifty nations making up this vast continent, it’s no surprise that a single visit will not satisfy your hunger for sampling African delights.
Perfect for a romantic trip for loved up couples, the ideal family holiday or a single person’s jaunt, Africa caters for all.
Whether you want to see the Pyramids, head to a volunteer project in Lesotho or trek across the Ethiopian landscape, there is something for every sort of traveller.
The next time you’re planning your latest trip across the globe, why not forego the usual and stereotypical backpacker fare and head to Africa?
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Love Lucy x
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