Africa is a huge continent - and it is almost always overlooked as somewhere to travel to. Most people head there for their gap year with a tour company or never leave the hotel compound.
This is sad because many countries in Africa are home to some of the most enriching life experiences and most interesting history in the world. We in the west just don't know it yet.
After travelling for years to Africa, I thought I would write down a few of the best places to visit. It is better you get advice from somebody who has travelled there, right?
So, let me walk through the best places to visit in Africa- that are inexpensive and will showcase the very best of what the continent has to offer.
The Serengeti & Ngorongoro Crater National Parks, Tanzania
Without a doubt, if there is any other more quintessential African adventure than a Safari tour then I'll eat my safari hat. It is why I recommend travelling to Northern Tanzania, and seeing the world-famous safari wildlife with your own eyes.
Millions of people travel to the country every year and experience the stunning landscapes, to meet the local tribes and see the lion in its natural habitat.
if there is any place in Africa that you should prioritise visiting - it is Northern Tanzania.
Stonetown & Zanzibar
Zanzibar is a tropical paradise of crystal clear blue water and white sandy beaches - and a world heritage site that has extreme human importance.
Zanzibar is an arpeggio of islands that sit of the main shore of Tanzania. The capital, Stone Town, is culturally significant as a trade port and colonial base of operations - for many thousands of years and under the rule of many leaders. It was fundamental in the development of East Africa's relationship to the rest of the world and was the main trading port of spices, silks and slaves in the region.
Whether you would like an idyllic break by the sea, or to explore the history and eccentricity of Stone Town, then making your way to the
Victoria Falls, Zambia & Zimbabwe
You should really avoid most places in the rainy season, but not Victoria Falls.
Victoria Falls is a UNESCO World Heritage site and is where the Zambezi River meets a 300ft drop of rock and air on the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe.
The waterfall itself is over 1.7km long and is surrounded in stunning forest lands where it is possible to trail walk (especially on the Zimbabwean side of the water. On the Zambian side, you can find the 'Devil's Pool' which sits at the top of the falls and where you can look down over the billions of litres of cascading water.
The falls a usually very busy but what they offer is unforgettable - so join the queue.
Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda
Africa is mostly known (at least in the west) for its wildlife population - particularly its population of Silverback Gorillas.
Hidden about 2 hours from Rwanda's (exceptional) capital city, Kigali, is the Virunga Mountains which is home to more than half of the world's remaining population of wildlife - particularly the elusive and endangered Gorilla.
It is possible to trek through the Volcanoes NAtional park with a guide and you must apply for a permit to make the trip. It is a bit of a fuss, a very tiring hot hike, but worth it in the end.
Other than visiting Kigali (the cleanest city in Africa, and a fantastic night out), it is also worth seeing the museums and learning more about Rwanda's complex history - an amazing country to visit.
Cape Town, South Africa
By far my favourite place to visit in South Africa is Cape Town. While Jo'burg has vibrancy, museums and culture, Cape Town just suits me much better.
The city is one of SA's three capital cities and is home to the parliament buildings. There is also something for everybody in the city - from the picturesque port (very touristy but nice) to swimming with sharks, amazing restaurants and bars, a hike up and along tabletop mountain (& Lions Head) and wine tours which may take you further into the eastern cape.
Cape Town is potentially my favourite big city that I have visited in Africa and a place you should surely go.
The Giza Pyramids, Egypt.
There is plenty of evidence to suggest that when the Pyramids of Giza were built, Egypt was the centre of the earth; and it is very possible that those who built them were much more advanced than we've previously thought.
The Pyramids are situated very close to Cairo and is the most visited tourist attraction in the country, so you'll not struggle to find a tour guide or company,
Other than just enjoying their majesty, you are able to step inside the 'Great Pyramid of Khufu and spend as long as you wish in the surrounding museums which go into great detail. The significance fo Egyptian history can still be seen today in our own world.
This is surely one of the best places to visit in Africa.
The small island off the coast of Madagascar is part of the 'well-beaten track' of Africa. Generations of tourists have travelled here to enjoy a little bit of everything.
If you wish to enjoy a little bit of beach time, explore the layered colonial history and architecture or sip a delightful cup of tea (or rum, if you're into something stronger) then Mauritius may be the place for you.
The island is extremely popular with honeymooners and is a great place to spend some time relaxing. It isn't the most adventurous place to go, but it is bloody beautiful.