Exploring the vast wilderness and fascinating cultural sites of Africa should be on every traveler’s bucket list. The world’s second-largest continent offers endless opportunities to discover its richness: from the wild West Coast to the untouched Indian Ocean islands and everything in between. Africa is a wonderland of stunning beaches, UNESCO World Heritage Sites, unforgettable cuisine, safaris, and so much more.
While it would take several lifetimes to experience everything Africa has to offer, our curated selection of destinations and experiences allow you to discover this fascinating place while sharing meaningful interactions with the land and its people.
Here are seven things to see and do in Africa.
1. Seek Wildlife on a Safari
Africa is famous for its “Big Five” animals: elephants, lions, African buffalo, leopards, and black rhinos. These iconic creatures are the stuff of legend, and nature lovers visiting Africa should dedicate some time to seeking them out while on the continent. At Pumba Private Game Reserve near Port Elizabeth, South Africa, there’s a good chance you’ll spot them from the seat of your open-air 4x4. You may also spot hyenas, cheetahs, hippos, giraffes, zebras, and more than 300 species of birds at this 15,000-acre protected habitat.
Want to really dive into a wildlife adventure and immerse yourself in Africa’s vast nature? Add an Azamara Ashore Land Experience to your journey, to be enjoyed before or after your African cruise. For example, the five-night Greater Kruger National Park Safari & Winelands Land Experience begins in Johannesburg or Cape Town and provides two full days in Kapama Game Reserve, home to more than 40 mammal species, including the Big Five. You’ll also spend time in Stellenbosch, South Africa’s famous wine region. There’s also the five-night Victoria Falls & Chobe Game Park Safari Land Experience. This journey takes you to South Africa, Botswana, and Zimbabwe, where you can see a Wonder of the World, Victoria Falls, and spot the Big Five on safari.
2. Feast on Fabulous Food
One of the easiest ways to dive into the culture of a new destination is through its cuisine. The food of Africa is some of the richest and most diverse on the planet. When you visit, it’s a must that you explore the fascinating flavors of local food. Azamara makes this easy, with shore excursions designed to allow you to experience fresh and local cuisine throughout Africa. In Banjul, Gambia, you can enjoy a taste of Gambian hospitality with an intimate dining experience at an authentic local compound. Taste a communal plate of local delicacies, and sip herbal tea called “mborr mborr”. Savor desserts and seasonal fruits while a storyteller narrates tales of local history and brave warriors. Hear traditional songs and learn dances that have been passed down for generations.
In Maputo, Mozambique, we offer a chef-accompanied tour of Feima Market, followed by a hands-on cooking class through our A Taste of Maputo: Cooking Class shore excursion. Discover the famously spicy peri-peri and return home with new cooking skills and an appreciation for African cuisine. If you’d prefer someone else to do the cooking on your visit to Maputo, book the Best of Maputo with Local Lunch shore excursion, which features a scrumptious buffet lunch of African delicacies.
3. Meet Some Gentle Giants
They say elephants never forget, and you can make your trip to Africa especially memorable by taking some time to commune with these gentle giants. Journey across the Swartkops River at Addo Elephant Park Safari in Port Elizabeth, South Africa, to visit this sanctuary that is home to more than 450 Addo elephants. This remarkable conservation effort successfully revived an elephant herd that was nearly wiped out by big game hunters in the 1920s. This sanctuary is a testimony to the resilience of these majestic creatures and the conservation efforts of locals. Beyond its famous elephant herd, you may also spot lions, cheetahs, zebras, kudus, wild dogs, and even the flightless dung beetle — an extremely rare insect. The largest remaining population of the beetle lives within Addo Elephant National Park. The Addo Elephant Park Safari shore excursion is available on many of our cruises to South Africa.
4. Bask on Legendary Beaches
With nearly 19,000 miles of coastline, Africa offers some of the world’s finest beaches. Don’t miss your chance to bask in the sunshine along the most legendary shores on the continent. When visiting Abidjan, Ivory Coast, “The Paris of West Africa,” spend a delightful day on the beach in Grand Bassam, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and historic beachside town that was once the colonial capital.
Near the port of East London, South Africa, you’ll find beautiful Gonubie Beach, one of the Sunshine Coast’s best-kept secrets and a place to spot dolphins, whales, surfers, and windsurfers. Stroll along the boardwalk, bask on the beach, or explore the tidepool. Gonubie is a Blue Flag Beach, which means it meets strict environmental, safety, and accessibility standards, so you can make a splash in comfort.
5. Go Beyond the Big Five
While the Big Five animals are rightfully famous for their significance in Africa’s animal kingdom, the continent is teeming with other fascinating creatures you can discover when you visit. In the calm waters of Walvis Bay, Namibia, you can take a scenic eco-adventure on our Dolphin & Seal Nature Cruise that will get you close to seal colonies and schools of dolphins, as well as exotic birds, including flamingos, pelicans, and cormorants. Sip a glass of sparkling wine or local beer and savor delicious snacks as you take in the awe-inspiring natural beauty.
If wild horses are more your speed, you can travel with us to the Namib Desert to view the famous feral horses of the region. These majestic beasts are said to be descendants of the Schutztruppe, German colonial forces of the late 19th century. Learn about how these fascinating animals have adapted to extreme weather conditions and keep an eye out for other wildlife, including gemsbok and ostriches.
In South Africa, board a local boat and cruise through Port Elizabeth Harbour on your way to discover the penguins of St. Croix Island. Roughly 20,000 African penguins inhabit “Penguin Island,” and you’ll enjoy a remarkably close look thanks to your expert captain. Marvel as you witness the world’s largest breeding colony of African Penguins. You might also spot bottlenose dolphins or humpback whales along the way, so keep your eyes peeled!
6. Fly High Above Africa
While it’s impossible to take in all of Africa on a single trip, you can take in a large amount of scenery all at once with a bird’s eye view! A trip to Africa offers several opportunities to take to the air to see the incredible vistas from above. In Walvis Bay, Namibia, the Sossusvlei Scenic Flight shore excursion offers a low-level flight over the breathtaking Namib Desert and its famous shifting sand dunes. You’ll also soar over three old diamond camps and see the coastline over Conception Bay, where you might spot colonies of Cape Fur Seals.
Helicopter tours are an exhilarating way to take in the beauty of South Africa from above. See the Twelve Apostles, the White Sands of Clifton, the wreck of Llandudno, and Seal Island on the Two Oceans Helicopter Flight. On the Scenic Helicopter Flight & Picnic Lunch in Durban, South Africa, you can experience an adrenaline-packed flight over the Umgeni River Valley and take in breathtaking views of the city, ocean, and Valley of a Thousand Hills. Enjoy a unique picnic with spectacular views from a mountain summit.
7. Discover the Many Charms of North Africa
On such a vast and diverse continent with so much to discover, it can be easy to forget about all the incredible experiences available in the north. Take in the history and magic of the North African land of Morocco with the 5-night Land Experience Marrakech, Fez & the Charms of Morocco. Treasure hunt for the perfect souvenir at the authentic Moroccan souqs (markets) of Fez and Marrakech. Explore the confluence of cultures in Casablanca, one of history’s most storied trading centers and a vital connection between Africa and Europe. Savor the unique flavors of one of the world’s greatest cuisines. Discover stunning natural beauty and wander through ancient cities. A trip to Morocco can help round out your understanding of the vast and magnificent continent of Africa.
Experience the Endless Wonders of Africa
Africa is filled with astonishing wildlife, fabulous cuisine, rich culture, and so much more. There’s no better way to take it all in than on an African cruise with Azamara. Explore our upcoming sailings to Africa today.