6 African destinations for your travel wish list

There's no such thing as a typical African vacation. The truth is that this vast continent offers diverse travel opportunities like no other. From gorgeous beaches to faraway little towns, remote islands to the wilds of the frontier: here are six places to travel in Africa
Sunset in the famous Avenida de Baobab near Morondava in Madagascar
Sunset in the famous Avenida de Baobab near Morondava in Madagascar. Photo: Shutterstock

Sunset in the famous Avenida de Baobab near Morondava, Madagascar. Photo: Shutterstock

1. Madagascar 

This bit of African paradise has no shortage of extraordinary magnetism. Madagascar is a diverse, multifaceted destination with plenty on offer for curious travellers. The local wildlife, for starters, is off the charts (its most famous resident being the too-cute, wide-eyed lemurs). Get your fill of exotic butterflies and rare fauna at one of the island's remarkable national parks on Insight Guides' Wild Madagascar holiday.

In addition to the unparalleled wildlife sightings, visitors can also expect pockets of lush rainforest, along with some of the most dazzling beaches in all of Africa. You'll find the most magnificent ones along the western coast and off on the surrounding islands. Wherever your trip to Madagascar takes you (and with Insight Guides it will be to the island's highlights), just be sure not to leave without catching a glimpse of its famous baobab trees. Locals regard the national icons as sacred.

2. Botswana

North of South Africa is the majestic country of Botswana, a frozen-in-time destination brimming with some of the continent's most exotic wildlife. Its wildlife population is so massive, in fact, that fierce conservation efforts have understandably taken centre stage in recent years. Botswana has converted almost a third of its land to either protected park or game reserve. The result? A positively spectacular destination to go on safari.

Wild elephants, wandering impalas, lazing hippos bathing in nearby watering holes; Botswana is a treasure trove for lovers of the great outdoors. It's rather thinly populated where humans are concerned, but don't expect to be roughing it — the country's safari-based tourism has a reputation for being up-market. 

Ready to get lost in the wilds of Botswana? Insight Guides' local experts can plan your holiday from start to finish.

3. Malawi

Despite the fact that it isn't actually located on the coast, Malawi entices us all with brilliant beaches — thanks to the enormous (and spectacular) Lake Malawi. The grand, sparkling body of water makes this country a stunner in our book.

Aptly nicknamed "The Warm Heart of Africa", Malawi is also known for its welcoming locals. It's a dream destination for travellers seeking some down time and serenity. The vibe is relaxed, the beaches are dreamy, the people are warm. In other words, Malawi makes for a perfect pit stop to break up a safari vacation. Insight Guides can take you there on your own private trip.

Makua women, with traditional white face mask, welcome a group of tourists in Pangane, Mozambique. Photo: ShutterstockMakua women, with traditional white face mask, welcome a group of tourists in Pangane, Mozambique. Photo: Shutterstock

4. Mozambique

Mozambique is one of Africa's hidden travel secrets; a tucked-away gem on the eastern coast that doesn't properly get all the buzz it deserves. Mozambique is all glittery coastlines and untouched beaches: virtually undisturbed sprawls of sun and sand against the sparkling blue water of the Indian Ocean. If it's booming beach parties and buzzing nightlife you're after, you'd be wise to leave this one off your list. Instead, Mozambique is paradise for travellers out for a slow-paced lesson in relaxation.

Marvelous beaches aside, capital Maputo is worth a visit. Here, colourful  markets and vibrant cafés offer a bit of rich local culture to the novice traveller. Insight Guides is waiting to whisk you away on an unforgettable trip to Mozambique. What are you waiting for?

5. Zimbabwe

Perhaps Zimbabwe's most alluring travel hotspot is also one of Africa's most treasured claims to fame — the heart-pounding Victoria Falls. This epic natural wonder creates a natural border between Zimbabwe and Zambia. In these parts, it's known as Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park. The name roughly translates to "the smoke that thunders". And thunder it does. Experience first-hand its mighty, roaring presence on Insight Guides' South Africa: Cape Peninsula to Victoria Falls holiday.

Of course, there's more to Zimbabwe than Victoria Falls. Zambezi, located in Mana Pools National Park, is ideal for families, offering up canoe safaris perfect for wildlife-watching. Meanwhile, Hwange National Park reigns supreme when it comes to safaris and wild trekking in the countryside.

6. Zambia

Southern Africa, on the whole, is ripe with untouched wilderness. Breathtaking Zambia is no exception, attracting visitors with its unrivalled assortment of natural wonder. It's also wonderfully remote, a far-flung destination that boasts sparse crowds and raw beauty. Walking safaris are a big draw in Zambia, along with the country's abundance of jaw-dropping waterfalls — and that's not counting the other side of the awe-inspiring Victoria Falls.

This African gem is also a prime locale for adventure sports. Rafting along rushing rapids on a white-water adventure is one of the most popular things to do in Zambia. True adrenaline-chasers can also tack bungee jumping over Victoria Falls onto their travel itinerary. Insight Guides can help round out the experience by coordinating your next luxury trip to Zambia.

The Victoria falls, the largest curtain of water in the world. Photo: ShutterstockThe Victoria falls, the largest curtain of water in the world. Photo: Shutterstock

What are you waiting for? Book your next dream vacation with Insight Guides now:

Browse suggested itineraries online or submit a trip request to create your holiday from scratch.

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