54 Reasons to Travel Africa

The world is filled with some absolutely amazing, incredible, and beautiful places to see. With so many options available, picking where to go and where to start is not easy. Climbing the Great Wall of China, visiting the Eiffel Tower, and touring a winery in Napa Valley all have an alluring appeal.

What happens to be some of the best countries to visit, however, are unfortunately only associated with mission trips and volunteer destinations.
That’s right, African countries, filled with vastly unique scenery, stunning beauty, and beaming with adventure offer some of the best travel spots on the planet.

So next time your friends want to drag you on another cruise to the Bahamas, remember that there are at least 54 reasons why you should consider going to Africa instead, including:

1. To Be Unique. Everyone goes to Europe and South America. But how many people do you know have been to Africa? Chances are, not a lot. So be different and go somewhere else.

2. Tell Good Stories. Want to tell an epic tale about the time you rode an ostrich? Or describe what it feels like to be underwater with a great white shark ramming its body against your diving cage? Then head to Africa where even a short trip will turn you into the ultimate storyteller.

3. Cultural Abundance. Traveling Africa is like opening the door to a thousand new cultures because the continent possesses a multitude of different ethnicities. Ethiopia alone has over 80 unique tribes and people groups. This creates a rich, fascinating, and ever changing atmosphere as you move around.

4. Safe. Times have changed, and most African countries are not as scary as you think. In fact, 19 African countries ranked higher than the United States on the 2012 Global Peace Index. It’s not surprising though when hard drugs, weapons, and acts of random violence seem to be less prevalent there than they are at home.

5.Eye-Opening. You’ve read about it, you’ve heard about it, but now you get to see what Africa is really like. Chances are it won’t be anything like you’ve seen on television.

6. Become Childlike. African countries will reawaken your inner child as you view your surroundings with intense curiosity. Everything becomes new and exciting again. From trying different foods, seeing weird bugs, or discovering beautiful flowers, you’ll constantly be asking “What’s that?” as you view your surroundings in awe.

7. Safaris. Want to see a lion, elephant, or the annual wildebeest migration in person? Africa has it all. Seeing animals in their natural habitat is much more magical and majestic than a zoo.

8. Hospitality. Generally speaking, most African countries are known for their extraordinary kindness and hospitality. Locals pride themselves in making foreigners feel welcome. Someone is always willing to guide you to the bus stop, buy you a cup of coffee, or invite you into their home for a traditional meal.

9. Cheap. For the most part, you can travel around on a pretty low budget especially compared to European countries. In some places, pitching a tent with a water front view can cost as little as $3 a night. Not to mention that a ride across a town in a local bus won’t usually cost more than 50 cents. That’s a lot better than a cab in NYC.

10. Pyramids. Who doesn’t want to see the pyramids? Climbing inside an ancient burial structure that has been around for centuries is possible in both Egypt and Sudan.

 

 

11. Be Outdoorsy. Getting your groove on outside isn’t hard to do when there are so many possibilities. Try snorkeling, sand surfing, fishing, or a walking safari for starters.

12. Street Food. African countries have amazingly cheap and delicious street food. Try chips mayai (french fry omelet) in Tanzania, a rollex (chapati and omelet) in Uganda, or a lentil samosa in Kenya.

See Also:  Instead of Traveling Europe, One Girl Backpacked Africa

13. Best Indian Food. Sure it might seem weird to go to Africa and eat Indian food but with large populations of Indians living in many African countries, you’ll be eating meals that taste like they’re straight from Deli. In fact, Durban, South Africa is rumored to have the highest population of Indians outside of India.

14. Climb a Volcano. African countries have some of the best volcanoes to see in the world. Visit the Erta Ale in Ethiopia or the Mount Nyamulagira in Democratic Republic of Congo.

15. Get Some R&R. That’s right. Africa is a great place to catch up on some much needed pampering. Some of the spas and resorts even rival Europe’s finest yet for half the cost.

16. Tastiest Fruit. Africa has an abundance of fresh and juicy fruit. Guavas, mangoes, passion fruit, jack fruit, and baobab fruit are just some of the tasty options.

17. Gorillas. There are less than a thousand mountain gorillas left on the planet and they can only be found in three countries (Rwanda, Uganda, and Democratic Republic of Congo) which are all located in Africa.

 

baby gorilla in Uganda

 

18. Less Touristy. Prague, Paris, and London are all overcrowded with tourists. While some African cities are visited frequently by the international community, you can still capture a great photo opt in most places without a bunch of other picture snapping foreigners in the background.

19. Go Off the Grid. While African cities often surprise newcomers with their modern skyscrapers, huge malls, and fancy restaurants, going off the grid is possible too. Get off beaten path and unplug from the rest of the world for a while.

20. Go Surfing. Head to the shores of South Africa and experience a surfers paradise.

21. Visit the Newest Country in the World. As of 2011, South Sudan is the newest country in the world. Why not check it out?

22. Visit the Highest Country in the World. The only country in the world whose elevation is completely above 1000 meters is Lesotho making it the highest country in the world.

23. Discover What’s Most Important. While the middle and upper class is growing in most African countries, poverty still exists. Yet it is not uncommon to see that some of the poorest individuals with ragged clothing are also some of the happiest. Find out what life is really all about and learn how to be truly happy.

24. Practice Your French. Who needs Paris? Africa has more French speakers than any other continent in the world with over 20 countries speaking a dialect. Tell your friend ‘bon voyage’ and head to the beaches of Seychelles. Or if you’re more interested in learning Portuguese, visit Mozambique, Cape Verde, Angola, or Guinea-Bissau.

25. See Goats Climb Trees. In Morocco, you might just look up and see goats instead of birds in a tree. Don’t believe me? Check out this video.

 

 

26. Beautiful beaches. Get sun kissed on one of the many beautiful beaches abundant throughout the continent.

27. Fall in Love. Talk to anyone who has traveled Africa, and they will tell you they loved it. Ernest Hemingway said he woke up happy everyday he was in Africa and Will Smith refers to it as the place God lives. There is just something about Africa that gets into a person’s system and makes you long for it for the rest of your life.

28. Unique Neighboring Countries. Not only does a country’s own regions tend to vary, but so do all the surrounding countries. From religion, to ethnic groups, to who it was colonized by, crossing the border brings on a completely new atmosphere. That’s why African countries offer more bang for their buck because you can see a lot of things in one trip.

See Also:  Baby Elephant, "Hercules" Fights Off 14 Lions | Travel Motivation

29. Diving. African countries offer some incredible scuba diving experiences. This includes Mozambique and Tanzania where if you’re lucky enough you might just see a whale shark. You can also get certified in these countries for much cheaper than you could in many other places around the world.

30. Adrenaline junkies. Want to feed a hyena out of your mouth? Go white water rafting on the Nile? Or plunge off the the highest commercial natural bungee jump in the world? These are just a few of the blood pumping, adrenaline hijacked activities available. Watch Adventures in Africa to learn more.

 

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31. Hikers Unite! There are tons of beautiful places to hike in Africa. This makes staying fit and having fun easy to do at the same time.

32. Amazing Coffee. Some of the world’s best coffee is grown in African countries. Which makes sense since coffee was first discovered in Ethiopia. Go there and a local is sure to invite you in to experience the famous Ethiopian traditional coffee ceremony.

33. Feel the laughter. Wherever you go, you’re likely to find a bunch of smiling happy people who manage to find the humor in everything. It’s not unusual to see strangers bust out laughing for some reason or another on the bus.

34. See the Southern Hemisphere Stars. There’s nothing better than lying in the grass in Drakensburg, South Africa and doing some star gazing on constellations you can’t see from your Northern Hemisphere home.

35. Meet Cool People. Besides the amazing locals, travelers from all over the world come to the continent each year. You’ll become friends with people of all different nationalities. (If you want to read real quotes from backpackers who have already traveled, check out What are People Saying?)

36. Funny Signs. Africa is full of plenty of signs that make you stop, cock your head, and let out a giggle.

 

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37. Follow Your Money. Chances are, in some way or another your money goes to support projects or aid given to Africa. Even if you don’t deliberately donate, your taxes are likely being used to support foreign aid in some capacity. Might as well go see how your funds are being used and study whether or not they’re being put to good use.

38. Prove stereotypes wrong. For the most part, all you hear about Africa is that it’s poor, dangerous, and corrupt. Why not go explore and see what it is really like for yourself?

39. Cultural Fusion. Cultures collide in Africa providing an extremely fascinating cultural fusion. For example, Madagascar has a strong Asian influence. Durban, South Africa is mini-India, and Zanzibar and Lamu are two islands that feel more Arabic than African.

40. Reggae and Rastafarians. Nothing like listening to some Bob Marley with a bunch of peace loving, dreadlock wearing Rastafarians. While Rastafarianism has its roots in Ethiopia, the continent boasts many of these reggae loving individuals.

41.Impress the Immigrants. African refugees have made new homes all throughout the world. Chances are there are some not living not too far away from you. What a cool experience to see their country up close and personal. It’s also a great way to connect and bond with them when you come back.

42. Helpful Locals. You don’t need to be scared about figuring out how to get around or where to go. Most locals will be happy to show you and become your unofficial tour guide for the day.

See Also:  "It's a Traveling Experience That Will Creep Under Your Skin": Bloggers Describe Africa

 

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43. Great Camping. For the outdoor lovers, African countries offer plenty of great camping sites that cost next to nothing. Pop your tent up in some places and you might even hear a hippo or elephant walk by at night.

44. International Music Festivals. If you love music or the arts, you’re in luck because African countries host a variety of different festivals throughout the year. Harare International Festival of the Arts (HIFA) is just one of the many world class events you can experience.

45. Amazing Wine. Give your taste buds a treat by attending a wine tasting in Stellenbosch or try the new Rift Valley wine out of Ethiopia.

46. Good shopping. New designers and products are springing up everyday. You can buy amazing clothes, fabulous home decor, and interesting souvenirs for pennies compared to what you might find elsewhere.

47. Climb Mount Kilimanjaro. At 19,000 feet, Mount Kilimanjaro is the highest mountain in Africa. It offers a beautiful peak and one that can be taken at a pace of your choice.

48. Check out the Latest Innovation. In order to help solve the many complex challenges faces by African countries, a wave of new innovation and young entrepreneurs is popping up everywhere. It is endlessly fascinating to study and see these ideas implemented in real life.

49. Animals Galore. While Africa is so much more than a bunch of cool animals, there are a lot of places that let you get up close and personal. Hold a monkey, pet a baby lion, kiss a giraffe, feed a hyena, play soccer with a baby elephant, or go swimming with turtles are just a few of the options.

 

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50. The Future is Africa. African countries are growing by leaps and bounds. International companies have a chance like no other to partner and do business with those in the continent. Your travels could prove to be very financially profitable in the future.

51. Something for Everyone. Africa offers an wide array of things to do. Want to go on a safari?Go to Africa. Want to climb a mountain? Africa has plenty. Want to lay on a beach and get tan? Africa. Want to meet the most friendly warm locals? They’re in Africa. Want to go on an adventure? Again, Africa. There is literally something that appeals to every single person.

52. Get Outside Your Comfort Zone. That’s where life begins right? Or so they say at least. Either way, for most people Africa is way outside their normal comfort bubble which is all the more reason to give it a go.

53. Offers What Other Continents Lack. Africa has an appeal that is hard to beat. It’s something different than what all your friends do in Europe. It’s cheaper than Australia. More diverse than South America. And less talked about than Asia.

54. Because it’s Africa. You’ve heard about it your whole entire life, and you’re going to continue to hearing about it for the rest. Besides, Africa has been calling your name ever since you first watched the Lion King. Why don’t you just finally go?

As you can see, there are plenty of reasons to consider Africa as your next destination. So what’s stopping you?

The time is now.

Like this list? Share it with all your friends and family. Or comment below to tell us what else you think should be added.

Val Bowden
Val Bowden took off on the adventure of a lifetime in 2013 when she backpacked from Cape Town to Cairo solo using only public transportation. Since then her love of the African continent has continued to grow. She currently lives in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and is the author of Backpacking Africa for Beginners E-book.

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