Travel Focus: 4 of the Most Exciting African Travel Destinations of 2023
In 2023, many experienced travelers’ bucket lists feature African nations, which offer cultural complexity, stunning sunsets, and an assortment of the world’s most iconic safari destinations. Ease of travel can be a deterrent for travelers considering venturing far from home. However, with a significant increase in nonstop flights from the United States and Europe to African nations, the continent is getting more convenient to reach.
Both United Airlines and Delta have added nonstop flights to Cape Town and Johannesburg in recent years. Ethiopian Airline flies to Addis Ababa from the United States, using Loam in Togo as an interim stopping point. Air Senegal has also added flights to Washington DC and New York, while Kenya Airways flies nonstop from Nairobi to New York JFK.
With more than 50 countries and the obvious accompanying array of cuisines, languages, and cultures, Africa allows visitors to experience a blend of urban and wild, modern and ancient, and East and West. From the expansive game reserves of the inner continent to the coastal beauty of Zanzibar, here are four of the African continent’s most alluring tourist destinations.
1. Serengeti National Park — Tanzania
For those who dream of observing giraffes, elephants, wildebeests, and zebras in their natural habitat, try a safari tour through Serengeti National Park in Tanzania. This park covers some 5,700 square miles of north Tanzania in East Africa and offers some of the best game viewing conditions on the planet. The most magical sight visitors can behold here is the Great Migration, during which a sea of over a million wildebeest, gazelles, and zebras traversing the Serengeti in search of greener pastures.
2. Lower Zambezi National Park — Zambia
The vast wetland South of the Zambezi River is referred to as the cradle of mankind by scientists, sustaining our ancestors for almost 70,000 years. International visitors arriving by air are treated to breathtaking views once over the Zambezi escarpment as the plane begins its descent.
The magic of the mighty Zambezi River valley unfolds before them. Here, pods of hippos dot the water, and herds of buffalos and elephants travel the plains
From fishing and boating to walking safaris, a variety of activities are available, presenting opportunities to watch kingfishers and African skimmers fly above the water. The region is also home to colonies of crimson bee-eaters. prides of lions and spotted leopards.
3. Etosha National Park — Namibia
Etosha National Park, Namibia’s top reserve, is dominated by the vast, saltpan it’s named after. Dry for much of the year, the pan is surrounded by a series of perennial waterholes that attract large herds of giraffes, antelopes, and other grazing species during the dry season.
Etosha is one of Africa’s most reliable national parks for observing black rhinos, which are often seen here alongside elephants, leopards, and lions. In addition to the Big Five, rare and unusual species can be viewed here, including Hartmann’s mountain zebras, black-faced impalas, and tiny Damara dik-diks, the smallest antelope in the world.
Geared towards self-drive safaris, Etosha National Park is best visited in the dry season from April to October. Spanning more than 8,600 square miles, Etosha National Park consists largely of grassy plans surrounding a huge salt pan, which is transformed into a vast lake during the wet season, drawing large flocks of flamingo.
4. Zanzibar — Tanzania
Zanzibar is a semi-autonomous archipelago with a unique history of Swahili, Arab, Indian, and Portuguese influences. Zanzibar is one of Africa’s most popular vacation destinations. Its mere mention inspires images of both a tropical paradise and an archetypical desert island with white sandy beaches and shimmering blue water. Nevertheless, there is much more to Zanzibar than its stunning coastlines and romantic sunsets.
Each island is a unique blend of sights, aromas, tastes, and other sensory experiences. Still relatively undeveloped, Zanzibar’s rich history and heritage is apparent in historic Stone Town’s old quarter. The UNESCO World Heritage Site’s cobbled alleyways, houses, and mosques offer a diverse, captivating, and enthralling array of different architectural styles.