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Africa has always been a continent of contrasts. With so many unique countries and different cultures in one area, it’s easy to see why it can be one of the most interesting places to visit for those looking for a bit of a challenge. If you haven’t explored any of Africa before, this handy guide to the top African nations to add to your must visit list will surely help you make some decisions regarding where you really want to visit and the challenges you may face there. It’s the ideal first timers guide to the African continent.
Egypt may have a bit of bad press in the media due to different problems that arise throughout the country, but don’t let that stop you from heading over there. The reality is that almost every incident is isolated, with increased security and crackdowns with regard to any potential issue that comes up. Egypt is one of the most unique places to visit, with the pyramids, Luxor, Aswan and Abu Simbel just waiting to be visited. For great coastal areas, check out Hurghada, Marsa Alam, or Dahab on the Red Sea coast off the Sinai if you want something a bit less resort-based.
Take a trip into the Western Desert to visit the likes of the Black and White Deserts near Bahariya, but if you a really unique experience, check out the small village of Siwa Oasis, toward the Libyan border. This small town is home to a natural spring that you can swim in which is purported to have been one of Queen Cleopatra’s favourite relaxation places. Additionally, the old village of Siwa, made of mud and built into a hillside, is home to an old Oracle palace which was often frequented by Alexander the Great. Sounds pretty cool, right?
Morocco is another northern Africa nation which is an absolute delight to visit. Morocco, located on the northwestern coast of Africa, just across the Strait of Gibraltar from Spain is a Muslim country that is quite similar to Egypt, but with slightly different influences given its time as both Spanish and French colonies. The Atlas Mountain range is a great place to do some hiking, and you will likely have to traverse it in order to access the Sahara out in towns like Merzouga where you can go on overnight Sahara tours with Berber tribespeople into the dunes and stay in a traditional Berber camp.
If you’re looking for an interesting experience though, why not consider stopping off in Marrakesh to visit the souks – a maze-like collection of covered shops and cafes that take twists and turns deep into the backstreets of the city, offering up almost anything you could possibly want to get your hands on. As an added bonus, you can stay in riads (guesthouses) within the souks themselves, making for the perfect place to stop off overnight. Try a traditional hammam (steam bath) with various types of scrubs if you want to experience the cleanest skin you will probably ever have. For those looking to experience the real life side to Morocco, head up to Fes to take a tour of the leather dyeing vats. Book yourself a cheap flight to Morocco and get ready for a fantastic experience.
Kenya has long been one of the most popular and developed of the African nations, meaning many people who are looking for the ultimate holiday experience often will think of Kenya well in advance as one of their potential stops. Chances are that Nairobi will be your first port of call and while some people may not think that it has much to offer, nothing could be further from the truth. With Nairobi National Park offering fantastic safari options, Kenyan Bomas (traditional tribal homes) on display in the Bomas Tourist Village and other nearby attractions including the Karuna forest, it’s easy to see why staying a night or two in Nairobi is a great idea.
If you’re looking for a great safari nation, Kenya is it. The Maasai Mara National Park in the south towards the border with Tanzania is a perfect area in which to explore the wildlife of the country. For the beach lovers, Mombasa on the coast is one of the most ideal places to head, with a whole variety of beautiful resorts and stretches of white beaches with lots of opportunity for watersports such as kitesurfing, windsurfing, diving and more.
So if you’ve been looking for a challenging but interesting trip, consider one of these awesome African destinations. There are so many to choose from, but these three are some of the best with some of the higher levels of tourist infrastructure in place. So book yourself a trip today – you’re in for the trip of a lifetime!