Thanks to the continent’s unparalleled wildlife and unique cultures, Africa has become a popular vacation destination. This Africa Travel Web Guide points you to resources for everything you’d want to know about travel on this continent. The sites within offer an introduction to Africa’s history and the daily life of its people, discuss transportation and accommodation options, and provide advice and opinions from those who have traveled to Africa in the past.
Because of Africa's size, seeing the entire continent in a single trip is nearly impossible. It will help to have an idea of which countries and attractions you want to visit before you arrive, but that may not be easy to decide. Africa's multitude of cultures, religions, terrain, and wildlife warrant lifetimes of exploration. Use the sites below to start narrowing your search.
- When searching for information about Africa on the Internet, you'll frequently come across the domain name ".za." This is the domain name for South Africa, the most Internet-active country on the continent
- Safari means "travel" or "journey" in the Swahili language.
- Transportation is limited in some areas of Africa, making moving from place to place a bit complicated for travelers. If this is your first visit, consider limiting yourself to a few cities or countries.
For tourism resources and travel guides ...
is the place to go to learn about a trip to Africa. You can book flights and hotels here, but the site is particularly useful when it comes to suggestions about an Africa vacation; a section called "We Recommend" features malaria-free safari holidays in South Africa
, among other suggested journeys and travel tips. The site also recommends vacation itineraries, and provides great interactive maps. With all of the offerings, you could spend a lot of time here.
The Africa Guide
deserves a look from anyone traveling to Africa. Learn about any African country, and explore wildlife, living accommodations, safari and tour packages, African recipes, national anthems, and more. The site also touches upon diseases, and provides a list of charities working to improve the living conditions in various African countries. In addition, you'll find valuable travel insight here: consult links to Africa travelogues, and visit forums with plenty of first-hand travelers' responses.
Africa Travel Guide
is a part of the BootsnAll Travel Network, an online resource for independent travelers. The site provides a lot of practical and honest material for visitors. (Be advised that some material is missing because the site is still under development.) The best aspects of the current site are the personal stories and brutally honest tips. For example, you can read about travelers who bribed African officials, or about climbers scaling Mount Kilimanjaro. The site won't answer all of your questions, and its design is not the best, but you'll get a lot of interesting anecdotes and tidbits.
is a helpful travel guide focusing primarily on the southern African region, although information on all countries is provided. Once you click on a country from the drop-down menu, the site lists places to stay, things to do, travel blogs, holiday packages, and recommended travel agents, to name a few features.
is always a reliable source for travel guides. Learn about each country in Africa by clicking on its place on the map. You'll get historic facts, information about weather, people, government, transportation, money, and more. If there are any travel warnings, notifications are promptly displayed. Hover your mouse over the map and the country below your cursor is highlighted and named-this helps you identify the name and location of any country on the continent.
(African Travel & Tourism Association) is one of the best places to find reputable companies offering tours in Africa. Click the country and activities you want, and you'll get brief descriptions of companies, along with contact information.
For travel magazines ...
Travel Africa magazine
highlights all that is great (and not so great) about traveling to Africa. Plenty of articles and features on the site are accessible and free, even without a subscription. One interesting feature, the "Safari Planner,"
lets you plan an unforgettable safari, tailored to your specific interests.
For maps and regional information ...
based this interactive Web site on a four-part Africa series made for its TV channel. A unique feature is the inclusion of eco-related information on various regions. Browse by region to learn about traditions, folklore, recipes, and music, topics detailed in "The People" section of each location. A link for kids includes African crafts, stories, and songs, as well as photo albums created by African schoolchildren.
For a directory of Web sites ...
has an extensive guide to Web resources called "Africa south of the Sahara." Information is organized by country and topic, and suggested sites are listed in alphabetical order, with short descriptions of what each includes. This site is most helpful when you know what you're looking for-use it to look up specific countries or cultural customs, for example. Otherwise the myriad choices can be a bit overwhelming.
When it comes to Africa, there is a lot you should know before you go. Learn about the practical details of travel and the customs to be mindful of once you are there. These sites teach you about visas, passports, racism, religious persecution, and health concerns, for example. Because every nation is different, you'll have to focus on the specific country or countries you plan to visit: Egypt and South Africa are considerably different from Sudan and Somalia. Below are links that are must-reads before you make any trip.
- The U.S. Department of State does not have a section of its Web site for Africa in general, but it does cover individual countries. Link to the State Department, where you can search for visa policy or travel warnings in individual countries in Africa.
- Obtaining a visa can take considerable time. Give yourself at least one or two months before your trip to complete the application process.
- When exchanging money, it is recommended that you exchange a substantial amount. Banks may not always be open when you need cash, and banks in remote areas may not offer currency exchange.
- You'll need a visa specific to most African countries to enter-call the embassy of whatever country you plan to visit to learn about specific requirements.
For passport and visa information ...
is a great tool for finding your country's embassy in any of the African countries. Simply choose the embassy that you desire and the location you will be visiting for quick information about that embassy.
is a great Web site for the traveler who needs facts fast. There is no page specifically for Africa, but this site lists countries throughout the world alphabetically with a simple "yes" or "no" about whether a passport and visa are required for entry, depending on whether the trip is for business or tourism.
For currency conversion ...
provides currency conversions for you. This is a great site because you are not limited to standard forms of currency. For example, you can convert the value of U.S. dollars to Mozambique Meticals. If the currency you need isn't on the short list on this page, just click the "More currencies" link.
The Africa Guide
answers most questions regarding currency and exchanging money. The site offers some invaluable advice such as how much money to carry in traveler's checks, and where credit cards are accepted. You'll also find links on this page for ATM locations.
For health and safety information ...
The World Health Organization Regional Office for Africa
provides extensive information on the continent as a whole, as well as details of each country. The "Health Topics" section contains vast amounts of information on diseases like AIDS and malaria, healthcare systems, disease prevention, and poverty. The "Country Health Profiles" section has a fact sheet (in PDF format) for each country that includes life expectancy, demographic data, and socioeconomic statistics, accompanied by charts and graphs.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Web site is also a vital source to look over before you go. Click on the country you plan to visit for health updates, a description of the diseases you should know about, and the medications and vaccinations you should take in preparation for your visit.
The CIA World Factbook
provides additional information about history, customs, political issues, and dangers you may encounter in the African country you are going to. Select a country from the drop-down menu to get started.
For customs, traditions, and religions ...
African Cultural Center USA
lays out the languages and religions of the different African countries with an easy-to-read map. The Web page is good for a quick read-through, and provides a great overview of the continent.
The Living Africa
reveals some important details about customs and religious traditions of Africa's people. Use the interactive map to discover dominant religions and languages in each area. The section titled "ethnic groups"
is particularly helpful for general information about cultures throughout Africa, including passages devoted to individual ethnic groups, such as the Bantu, Fulani, and Manding.
is a comprehensive yet concise source for information on African religions. It covers religious traits of the continent as a whole, and touches upon specific traditions. Modern religious trends are also mentioned.
The Africa Guide
has a section on festivals, organized by country and region. Each distinctive celebration is detailed. For example, in Swaziland, Incwala, the "Festival of the First Fruits," is celebrated between December and January to honor ancestors and revel in the harvest.
published this article on homosexuality in Africa in 2006. According to the article, homophobia about same-sex relationships is rampant in Africa.
For a political and social history ...
The BBC World Service
brings you this superb Web site, the online edition of a radio station series titled, The Story of Africa. The site details the history of the continent from the origins of Homo sapiens to the present day, and is loaded with sound recordings, links, and pictures.
For news ...
is a site created by AllAfrica Global Media containing recent news stories related to the continent. Although there are a number of distracting advertisements, this site is one of the few news sources dedicated solely to Africa. The site boasts over 900,000 archived articles, more than 100 million monthly hits, and is available in both English and French.
For advice about when to go ...
explains when you should go to certain African locations, and why. Click the "Destination Guides"
to choose a country; you'll get tips on how to prepare for your trip, climate descriptions, and recommendations on the best time to visit each country. Some descriptions are longer than others-for example, information regarding when to go on safaris tends to be extensive.
Getting to Africa may not be the most pleasant experience if you are traveling from the United States. You can get a direct flight, or stop-over in Europe, but it won't be cheap either way. From Europe, the trip is considerably easier, as there are more flights at lower rates. The following sites can help you find a reasonably priced flight no matter where you depart from.
- The first rule for traveling to Africa: plan in advance (about two months). You can make things less stressful for yourself by booking your flight early, and you may find lower rates by booking far ahead.
- For entry requirements and restrictions, consult the sites in the previous section, "What should I know before I go to Africa?"
- Fly into regional hubs-South Africa, Ethiopia, Kenya, Ghana, Morocco, and Egypt-as flights into these destinations are most affordable and available.
- A roundtrip flight is going to be expensive if you are flying from the United States to Africa (probably over $2,000).
For flight tips ...
The New York Times
has this extremely helpful article about finding the best deals when flying to Africa. It was written on March 18, 2007, and claims that the prices to Africa have gotten more expensive recently, meaning that travelers need to utilize the full spectrum of options to save money on airfare.
To search for flights to Africa ...
is an independent travel retailer. Because it is usually cheaper to fly from the United States to Europe, and then to Africa, this site lets you book all of your flights at once. This service is also as useful if you live in Europe, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, or South Africa.
is an extensive independent travel network, and has wisely tapped into real travelers' knowledge and experience as a basis for its recommendations. The site offers a flight search tool, which finds the best fares from big-name search engines like Travelocity and Booking Buddy. Browse the "Community" page for insightful blogs and discussion forums with first-hand advice for booking a trip to Africa.
excels at showing you what your options are. Like BootsnAll, this site searches multiple flight search engines. Not only does it display some of the best results from the standard Orbitz and Expedia services, but this service also seeks out great deals from frequently overlooked sources, like AirGorilla and Vayama.
is another huge travel agent with similar services to those previously mentioned. The site's simple interface makes searching easy. You'll find extensive route coverage, low prices, and a convenient "flexible date" option to help you find the lowest prices. There are detailed descriptions of hotel amenities, rooms, dining facilities, and policies, accompanied by user reviews, ratings, and photos. The substantial "Deals by Destination" section
is also worth a look.
specializes in finding trips to Africa. The process is easy; enter your dates of travel and departure and destination locations, and the site displays options from various airlines. Depending on your destination, you'll get both direct and indirect flight options. There is no drop-down menu of cities or airports, so it helps to know which city you plan to fly into before you visit this site.
Africa has a wide spectrum of places to stay. Stay on a guest farm, at a youth hostel, or in a five-star hotel-all types of accommodations are available to you and each provides a unique experience. Use these sites to figure out what you're looking for, and to arrange your stay in advance.
- To learn more about booking a place to stay on the Web, view the findingDulcinea Travel Web Guide.
- When going to Africa, try to arrange all of your accommodations well in advance. Don't leave anything to the last minute, or expect to find places to stay once you arrive. It's best to have everything in order before you set off on your journey.
- In case you were wondering, a guest farm is essentially what the name implies: a farm that typically has a guesthouse. Note that these locations can be down-to-earth or quite luxurious.
- Be sure to visit blogs and forums to get first-hand user reviews. While user-generated sources are not guaranteed, they can be a good place to learn about destinations and accommodations worth researching further.
For general accommodation listings ...
The Africa Guide
lists African countries on its homepage-click the link to any region for hotel prices and descriptions. The site tells you how many hotels are listed next to each country's name.
is a superb place to book a hotel. As mentioned earlier in this guide, the site is particularly good at recommending only the lodging options that it feels are top quality. Enter a location, and the site provides a list of hotels in a particular region of the country in which you need accommodations. A description for each lodging and a map showing where the hotel is located are provided.
finds the ideal accommodation for your visit to Africa. There are many search options, such as safari lodges, game reserves, hotels, bed and breakfasts, villas, and guest farms, each of which has been rated from zero to five stars. Switch the settings to see prices in dollars; the site's default setting is in South African currency-the rand.
has extensive information on African hotels. Each accommodation has a description, sometimes fairly lengthy. The site only has listings for Egypt, Ghana, Kenya, Mauritius, Seychelles, Tanzania, Uganda, South Africa, and Ethiopia. Sign up for the free bimonthly newsletter for updates on deals and discounts.
For budget accommodation ...
caters to the independent traveler on a budget. Enter your accommodation requirements, and you'll be presented with sortable options. If you prefer hotel accommodations, this site also has a hotel finder
lists and describes thousands of hostels worldwide. Most listings include user ratings, in addition to booking options and contact information. There is also a user review section that lets you see what others have said about their stays in various places. A page also exists for hostels in Africa
. Visit the "New To Hosteling"
section if you have never stayed at a hostel before and aren't sure what to expect.
Africa is a huge continent and the infrastructure throughout its many countries is often inconsistent. While countries like South Africa may have superb systems of roads and rails, most of the continent does not. These sites help you navigate Africa's terrain, by land or air.
- Web sites for traveling throughout Africa are scarce. Your best bet is to consult a specific guide for each African country you plan to visit. Also, embassies and tourist centers are invaluable.
For flights ...
has a directory of airlines in Africa. The countries in which the airline operates are listed underneath the name of the airline.
is a travel agent specializing in Africa. Located in Nairobi, Kenya, the company has offices throughout the continent. Africa Point services trips to Kenya, South Africa, Egypt, Tanzania, Seychelles, Zimbabwe, Uganda, and Ghana. This one-stop booking site can also help you find a flight, hotel, and car.
For trains ...
is one of the few sources on the Web with a substantial number of railroad listings for Africa as a whole. There is a link for each rail service company, both intra- and inter-country, with one-line descriptions of the routes covered for a quick review, or more detailed descriptions if you click on the railway name.
The Man in Seat Sixty-One
is a unique site created by a man who loves travel and trains. He provides valuable first-hand information about getting around by train and ship. Although the site is not well organized or well designed, there are good tips and essential facts to be found here. Click any African country on the left side of the page to learn about available train travel.
is a train designed to provide guests with a uniquely luxurious experience. The trains, which take passengers on a few different routes throughout southern Africa, offer sightseeing and expeditions. The site also describes safaris and golf trips available through this service, which focuses on the pleasure of the excursion rather than on transportation.
mainly traverses southern Africa, making stops in Namibia, South Africa, Lesotho, Swaziland, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Zambia, and Tanzania. Like Rovos Rail, the Shongolo Express Web site shows how luxury train travel can be combined with the beauty of Africa.
For budget travel and biking ...
Coast to Coast
is a helpful Web site for budget travelers in southern Africa, with especially great resources for backpackers. This section of the site focuses on finding inexpensive ways to go from coast to coast in southern Africa. There are plenty of tips for traveling by car, bus, train, and plane, on the cheap.
The International Bicycle Fund
has a guide to biking through Africa. Although the site isn't pretty, it's one of the only places to get information on bicycling through Africa. You'll find explanations of biking possibilities for each country, including routes and other pertinent resources, such as bike safety for children. IBF stresses that biking through Africa is not as dangerous as it is often made out to be.
For South Africa ...
South African Tourism
has a section with information to help you get around the country. Content is succinct, offering just the essentials for each form of transportation. Although the site promotes tourism, it offers blunt advice and honest critiques. Scroll down for a list of safety and security precautions on the bottom of the page. Links to additional transportation sites-like airports and bus stations-are also provided.
For advice on traveling through Africa ...
Most Recent Guides