Africa holidays

Africa holidays

Deals from £212 per person

South of the Med lies the second biggest continent, and possibly the most diverse. The most northern part of Africa was once part of the Roman Empire, with El Djem Amphitheatre in Tunisia probably being Africa’s most famous remaining Roman structure. At the opposite end a South Africa holiday will give you the opportunity to see animals that you may have seen in zoos, but in their natural environment. Don’t forget your binoculars! 

If it’s year-round warmth and sunny beaches you’re after, head for Egypt’s Red Sea, where there’s also opportunities for water sports enthusiasts. Sitting out in the Atlantic Cape Verde provides a tranquil island retreat, complete with sand dunes and sea turtles. While the Indian Ocean island of Mauritius boasts lush rainforests, hiking trails and stunning coral reefs.

With Africa extending from the northern to the southern hemispheres, there’s always somewhere warm and sunny whatever month it is. So if you’re celebrating a special birthday, anniversary or honeymoon you can choose a country to suit the month you want to travel, rather than finding your special date falls during the rainy season.

Things to do

If you like the hustle and bustle of a city, try navigating the medina in Marrakech or Sousse and haggling for a bargain in the souks. Morocco’s capital has the added benefit of stunning gardens and palaces to explore. Afterwards, head to Jemaa El Fna square and let your nose guide you to the street food trader who will best satisfy your appetite.

The wild Atlantic Coast is a surfer's dream, while the Sahara Desert provides opportunities to go camel trekking or to hop in a buggy for the ride of a lifetime over the sand dunes. South Africa has a renowned wine industry, so you may choose to explore the vineyards and taste the local vino. Or, if you prefer exploring natural wildlife, don’t miss the Bao Bolong Wetland Reserve along the River Gambia, home to 540 species of birds.

Places to stay

Coastal resorts in North Africa offer the All Inclusive experience that you may have experienced in Spain or Greece. Most dish up some local favourites but also serve some home comforts for those not keen on trying exotic cuisine.  Cities, such as Cape Town, offer everything from fairly basic city break hotels, to extravagant 5 stars like Taj Cape Town, located in a building that was once the headquarters of the South African Reserve Bank. 

If you’re heading to Morocco you may choose to stay in a riad, such as Riad Africa in Marrakech. These traditional style homes generally have multiple storeys and are built around an internal courtyard, sometimes with a garden. The owners may even give you the chance to try the local cuisine from the comfort of your own riad. 

Map of Africa

25 ℃
3.5-11.5 hours
Our Africa holidays fly into all major airports, with easy access to the region’s key resorts - check the guide for details on your chosen destination.

Africa is best for...

Beaches & Watersports: Egypt’s Red Sea coast provides diving and snorkelling opportunities. On the opposite side of Africa, Gambia offers palm-backed stretches of white sand making it an ideal choice for superb shoreline retreats.

Budget breaks: You may be able to get a cheaper holiday, by travelling a bit further to North Africa. The UNESCO World Heritage Sites of Marrakech and Sousse are both very friendly on the wallet.

Wildlife: Want the opportunity to see lions, zebras, leopards, rhinos, ostriches and elephants, all in their natural environment? Then don’t miss out on the chance to take a safari as part of your South Africa holiday.

Fast facts for Africa

Language: Lots of languages are spoken across Africa, including Arabic, English, French, Portuguese and Zulu. You may also hear local dialects that combine different languages.

Currency: Check our guide to your destination to find out what currency is used in the country you’re visiting. Some countries have ‘closed currencies’ preventing local bank notes being taken out of the country. This means you won’t be able to get your holiday money prior to travelling, and you’ll need to change back any unused currency before returning home.

Local time: Africa has many different time zones. These can be both ahead or behind UK time.

Fly to: All countries have their own airports; take a look at our individual guides for details.

Flight time from the UK: The flight time to Africa varies significantly. It takes around 3.5 hours to fly to Morocco or Tunisia. But if you’re heading for South Africa it can take 11.5 hours.

Tourist information: Every country has its own tourist information – you’ll find links on our individual Africa destination pages.

Getting around Africa

By bus: Almost everywhere you’re likely to visit within Africa will have some form of bus service. If there isn’t a scheduled service you may find there’s louages. These are effectively on-demand minibuses, which depart when they’re full, rather than running to a set timetable.

By car: Roads in Africa generally aren’t maintained to a high standard and accident rates are higher than in the UK. So if you’re driving, allow plenty of time for your journey. Places such as Cape Verde and South Africa do have relatively well maintained road networks. Take extra care in Cape Verde during the rainy season (from mid-August to mid-October), as some roads may get flooded.

By rail: Egypt, Morocco, Tunisia and South Africa all have rail systems. These tend to be much cheaper than UK rail services but also less reliable. Within Africa railways are a lot less likely to cross international borders than in continental Europe.

Events in Africa

Cape Town International Jazz Festival: The fourth largest event of its kind is held annually in February in South Africa’s oldest city. Previous headliners have included Youssou N'Dour, En Vogue, Lauryn Hill and Buena Vista Social Club. 

Cape Verde Carnival: This colourful festival is held annually on Shrove Tuesday in the town of Mindelo. The main parade features dance troops and spectacular floats, each competing for a prize. Plus, there’s parties and other events to keep the festivities going into the night.

The Sphinx Festival: El Gouna is the host for this annual festival celebrating Egyptian heritage. You’ll get to see ancient tribal dances, as well as getting to hear traditional instruments being played. The date is variable but will be between October and December.

Africa safety and security

Follow these links for the most up to date information about going on holiday to the Caribbean from the UK Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office:


Passport and Visas

Do I need a passport?

Whichever country you choose for your Africa holiday, you’ll need a valid passport. It may need to be valid for a minimum of three months from the day you arrive but that can vary depending on where you’re going. Make sure you check passport requirements for your Africa holiday destination well before you travel.

Do I need a visa?

Visa rules vary depending on the destination. So check visa requirements for your Africa holiday destination when you book to be sure. If you require a visa then ensure you still have blank pages in your passport. 

Should I get travel health insurance?

Before setting off on your Africa getaway ensure you have adequate travel insurance in place. If you or your kids become ill or are injured on your trip, you’ll have to pay for treatment yourself, which can leave you seriously out of pocket if you don’t have comprehensive travel insurance in place. Insurance could pay for emergency medical treatment or even cover the cost of flying you home.

Make sure your insurance covers everything (and everyone!) you need it to, including any particular activities you’re planning while you’re away. Policies vary, so it’s a good idea to check a few before you buy.

Africa weather

As Africa stretches from one side of the Equator to the other, the seasons and climate vary significantly depending on which country you’re visiting. Some countries, like Cape Verde and Gambia, have stormy seasons. If you’re heading to South Africa then remember that they have their summer, when we have our winter and vice versa. Winter in South Africa isn’t cold - with temperatures averaging around 20ºC but they do have quite a few rainy days.

Best hotels in Africa