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Africa: Best travel destinations for beginners

Africa has experiences for every traveler. But which countries should you choose? Get inspired here.
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Africa: Best travel destinations for beginners is written by Well Mammen Nielsen.

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Get Africa under the skin

"The country that all children know is about to go to disease and death. Africa, Africa. It is getting better day by day. ”

This is how a number of well-known Danes sang back in 1985. The song describes many people's perceptions of it Africa. But that is a misleading picture.

Africa is not one country, but 54 independent nations, each of which has a lot to offer. Here are both desert, jungle, mountains, wildlife, white sandy beaches, a forward-thinking music, poetry and film industry, a culinary exciting cuisine and lots of smiles and warmth.

Africa is not to be missed on the world map. The colonial era has left clear traces on the stringy boundaries, but the fascinating cultures are well preserved and nature is about to faint. If you are looking for magnificent cultural and nature experiences, then Africa is the place to go.

There is a big difference between the countries north and south Sahara and from east to west. Common to them all is that the time difference from Europe is minimal, the travel time is affordable and it is affordable for the magnificent nature experiences.

But where are you going in Africa? Here are the editors' suggestions on where to go if you are new to the African continent.

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Morocco - Agadir -paradise-valley

North Africa: Hookahs, camel backs and pyramids

The North African countries Morocco, Egypt og Tunisia are popular destinations for Europeans and the short travel time makes it attractive to travel there. Here, the countries have more in common with the Middle East than the countries south of the Sahara, and the gateway to Europe is not far away.

Tangier, Casablanca, Marrakesh - the names bring to mind 1001 Night's Adventures and down small streets with sacks of spices, colorful rugs and Indiana Jones on adventures.

Morocco has everything the senses please, spiced with historic buildings, the Atlas Mountains and is quite close to Gibraltar in Spain. Agadir on the Atlantichavets coast is an obvious place to start, as it is more peaceful than many of the other Moroccan cities.

I Tunisia it almost feels like being in Rome, as the steep rows of spectators ascend the impressive Roman Colosseum in El-Jem. In the charming streets of the medina you can explore among vendors and hookah bars, and in Kairouan the magnificent mosques and Islam can be studied closely.

There are plenty of peaceful beach spots that are an obvious base for exploring the little country in the north.

Egypt can not get around its big draw; the pyramids in Giza. Ancient history is still fascinating. Like hectic Cairo, trips on camelback in the sandy desert, sailing trips down the Nile and diving in the Rødehavet in Sharm el-Sheikh. The ancient city of Luxor with the Valley of the Kings is a good starting point.

North Africa is ideal to travel to if you want to clear skies and do not want to spend too much time on transportation. Here you can get sun, stimulate the senses and explore a different and breathtaking culture, and although there may be intense places and chaotic cities, there are also always more peaceful alternatives.

If you are new to North Africa, Morocco, Tunisia and Egypt are all three good deals for beginner countries.

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west Africa: Afrobeat, colonial history and pang colors

If this is the first time you are going to sub-Saharan Africa, West Africa is a really good place to start. Here you can both dive into the history of the colonial and slave times, laze on the beautiful beaches, experience the warm-hearted population, and then you even get far with English in several countries. If you know French, it's even easier.

You can not help but add ears to the tones of earrings afrobeatsthat flows out of any speaker wherever you move. Some of the most popular artists in Africa come from West Africa, and whether you like music or not, it will undoubtedly add sound to your stay.

Ghana is the most obvious and popular country to visit. the country attracts many volunteers and with good reason. It is easy and safe to travel around, English is spoken, and it is both possible to dive into the Danish colonial history - for example at the fort Christiansborg - go on safari in the jungle and surf the waves by the coast.

Simon Spies really got the small country Gambia on the charter card in the 1970s. European winter tourists are taken advantage of here. In addition to beautiful beaches and resorts along the Atlantic coast, a multitude of bird species live here along the Gambia River, and the ruins from the slave era still remain.

If you have an appetite for more experiences, it is also worth crossing the border to the neighboring country Senegal, which encircles Gambia almost all the way around.

About 500 kilometers from the coast of Senegal lies the archipelago Cape Verde. Attracting visitors with hiking boots, swimwear and binoculars, the nine volcanic islands combine European, Creole and African culture in the finest way.

Several travel companies have direct flights to the charter islands of Sal and Boa Vista, where there is guaranteed sun and where it is possible to relax in the sand that has been flown there havet completely off Sahara. If you want more experiences then go out on the smaller islands.

Do you have the courage to go more in depth with West Africa, then is Sierra Leone an exciting destination. The country is best known for civil war, the Ebola virus and the movie Blood Diamond with Leonardo DiCaprio.

But it's a pity, because here you will meet a charming and welcoming population, the most beautiful beaches - which were used in the advertisements for the chocolate bar Bounty in the 1980s - Banana Islands and a reserve for chimpanzees.

If you are new to West Africa, Ghana and Cape Verde are obvious places to start.

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Central Africa: Exotic islands, jungle and wildlife

Central Africa has a rather tarnished reputation. The many years of conflicts in The Central African Republic, Sudan og DR Congo has left its mark on the region and causes few tourists to choose to travel there. This, in turn, means that in DR Congo is less rift about getting close to the mountain gorillas - which can also be experienced in more peaceful surroundings in Uganda og Rwanda.

Central Africa also has peaceful destinations where it is safe to go.

This applies, among other things, to Africa's smallest country São Tomé og Príncipe. The archipelago is idyllically located in the Gulf of Guinea and is especially known for its tasty coffee and cocoa. The many sugar plantations and buildings from the colonial era bear witness to a bygone era.

Here you can both explore and spend the night in beautiful old mansions, let yourself be seduced by the turquoise blue water, the rolling hills, the jagged cliffs, the lush rainforest and the relaxed and friendly people. If you're into a Creole island vibe, this is the place to go.

Are you more to stay on the mainland, can the neighboring country Gabon is recommended. It is one of the richest and most stable countries in Africa and the perfect place to go to relax and explore the unspoilt beaches and wildlife.

The national parks focus on eco-tourism, and in the jungle you can meet elephants, leopards, gorillas, hippos and pythons.    

If you are new to Central Africa, São Tomé og Príncipe and Gabon obvious countries.

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East Africa: Safari, beach and smack on the spices

East Africa is much more than that safari. The high-rise buildings are soaring, and development is racing with the animals in the Great Rift Valley, which have created impressive cracks in the ground.

In the heart of the region lies Lake Victoria, the world's third largest lake that gives life to the White Nile, which meets the Blue Nile from Ethiopia and jointly runs all the way to Egypt. It is generally safe to travel in the countries and the locals are friendly and helpful. It is not without reason that East Africa is often the first part of Africa that one visits as a traveler.

Tanzania is a really good place to start in East Africa and the country has everything you can dream of of nature experiences. Most people light up with a smile when they hear about Denmark, which for many years has carried out development projects in the country.

The main language is Swahili, and you go a long way with the familiar phrases from the Lion King: “Jambo”, “hakuna matata”, “asante sana” and so on. In northern Tanzania you can follow in the footsteps of the author Jakob Ejersbo and let yourself be captivated by the mountain Kilimanjaro - either at a distance, from the top or in a bottle like a cold beer.

Walk around the sandstone pillars of Isimila and go on safari in one of the national parks with a guarantee to experience the wildlife up close. There are many agencies to choose from and they are on the move to provide the best service. End the trip with an exotic island atmosphere on the spice and paradise island Zanzibar and swim with whale sharks.

As the Kenyan marathon runners are accustomed to, nature can in Kenya take the breath away from most. The country borders Tanzania, and it is obvious to combine a trip to both countries. In the national park Masai Mara you can both meet the Samburu tribe and experience the annual migration of wildebeest and zebras.

At Lake Nakuru, the pink color flickers before your eyes at the sight of thousands of flamingos, and on the outskirts of the capital Nairobi you can drive around among wildlife with the city's high-rises in the background and walk around Karen Blixen's African farm.

Nairobi is neither the most peaceful nor the coziest city, but as an entrance to the safari parks it works fine. Complete the experiences with the ancient railway from Nairobi to the port city of Mombasa and let life take its course on the island of Lamu in it Indian Ocean.

If you go for the ultimate exotic vibe, then Creole Seychelles not to get around. The island state stretches over 115 islands in total and is among the most paradisiacal islands in it Indian Ocean.

European tourists in particular are attracted to the islands, which has caused prices to skyrocket in many places. And then there is not far to magic Reunion Island, which is an overlooked natural paradise with a distinct French touch.

Are you more into adventures in nature, then it is Uganda, you have to make your way past. Here you can stand on the Equator, experience the source of the Nile and take on river rafting on the river.

In Bwindi National Park you can meet the mountain gorillas, which can also be experienced in DR Congo and Rwanda. Visit the Gaddafi Mosque in Kampala and move around the hilly capital with a 'rolex' in hand - rolex is the Ugandan version of a durum scroll. In Uganda there are many who speak really good English and the weather is usually good travel weather.

Rwanda is definitely also worth a visit. The small country has a good infrastructure that makes it easy to get around the lush landscape. The civil war in the 1990s has left its mark, as the many museums and memorials bear witness to.

But Rwanda today is very safe to travel around as it is a very well organized country. Here you can also experience primates of almost all sizes.

Ethiopia is also a good bet for an African starting country. The country is no longer equal to famine and children with distended stomachs, but offers magnificent experiences in the mountains and valleys - and tourism is on the rise. From peaceful rock churches and Christian monasteries in the north to wild tribes in the south, which are mostly for the adventurous.

Coffee, which comes from Ethiopia, tastes heavenly. It is an experience to eat the soft 'injera bread' in authentic surroundings and to visit some of the small Rastafarian communities. Africa's largest airline Ethiopian Airlines belongs here, so there are really good flight connections around the country as well.

East Africa has a lot to offer, and if you are a beginner, Tanzania and Uganda are some obvious countries to start with on the mainland, and the Seychelles and Réunion obvious island destinations.

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The south Africa: Desert, waterfalls and rare animals

Southern Africa, like East Africa, is an eminent safari destination. The Kalahari Desert has added sand to countless nature programs and stretches across Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia og South Africa. And on Madagascar live a completely unique wildlife that is only found here.

Namibia has been elected Africa's best travel country and is a really good place to start your journey in southern Africa. It is safe to travel around alone, there are quite a few people and there are unimaginable experiences waiting in the various deserts both by car, on foot and in hot air balloon. From here it is easy to travel on to neighboring Botswana and South Africa.

I South Africa you can both enjoy the view and a glass of tasty wine on Table Mountain, hit the perfect wave on one of the unspoilt beaches, spot a lion in the national park Kruger, which has the largest diversity of animals in all of Africa, visit the Diamond Mine in Kimberley and visit the Cape of Good Hope, one of the southernmost points in Africa. The 'Rainbow Nation' South Africa is the whole world in a single country.

In the heart of South Africa lies the small mountain kingdom and kingdom of Lesotho, and further north tiny eSwatini, still better known as Swaziland. Both countries are rich in culture and nature and easy to travel in - especially Swaziland.

If you are traveling to South Africa, do yourself a favor and make your way past the waterfall Victoria Falls. Both in Zimbabwe og Zambia you can be impressed by the huge amounts of water. The waterfall stretches over 1,6 kilometers in width and has a drop of up to 128 meters. An impressive sight that is fascinating to experience from both countries, but came in the rainy season where there is most water.

Have a wild experience bungee jumping from the spectacular railway bridge that also serves as the land border, and quench your thirst with one sundowner on the Zambezi River with views of hippos, elephants, crocodiles and rare bird species.

In southern Africa, it is almost impossible to get around the island country Madagascar. Whether you are into nature, lemurs or exquisite sandy beaches, you have the opportunity to experience it all here. The isolated location in The Indian Ocean means that the country has a unique flora and fauna.

Experience 100-meter-high limestone mountains, explore the rainforest, be impressed by the majestic baobab trees or head out on the beautiful beaches of Nosy Be.

If you are a beginner in Southern Africa, Namibia, South Africa and Swaziland are obvious countries to start with.

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Main journeytips for you who are a beginner in Africa

  • Vaccinations: Make sure you have updated your vaccination card before departure. Many countries, for example, require a yellow fever stamp upon entry. And check to see if there is malaria in the area you are traveling to
  • Beer and wine: There are good and bad relics from the colonial era. One of the good ones is the breweries. In most countries, own brands are brewed - Star, Tusker, Kilimanjaro, Castle - and they are extremely tasty. IN Malawi Carlsberg has even built a large brewery, and the South African red wines taste great
  • SIM card: It is cheap and easy to call home with local talk time cards that can be bought and refueled at the airport, the small shops and at the street vendors
  • Languages: In most African countries, you can go a long way with English, Portuguese or French. But also take the trouble to learn some of the local phrases. It is an advantage when it comes to haggling over the price on the market and in the taxi, and it opens the doors to the people
  • Water: Be aware that the screw cap is sealed on your bottle when you buy water. In some places the contents are not the same as on the bottle
  • Food: 'Jollof rice', 'kelewele', 'ugali' and 'kuku na wali'. Do not be fooled by amazing spicy, sweet and sour flavors. Put your teeth into the fresh fruit that tastes heavenly and something completely different from the imported fruit at home. It is obvious to eat freshly caught fish on the coast, but avoid it deep inland
  • 'African time': Time passes quietly in Africa, so do not be surprised if you have to wait two extra hours for your bus or tour guide. In Tanzania, the population even runs its own time system, Swahili time, which starts at dawn. That is, our seven o'clock in the morning is one o'clock in the morning Tanzania. This is also the case in Ethiopia, where the calendar has 13 months…

Here are the best travel destinations in Africa for new travelers

  • North Africa: Morocco, Tunisia and Egypt
  • West Africa: Ghana and Cape Verde
  • Central Africa: São Tomé & Príncipe and Gabon
  • East Africa: Tanzania, Uganda, Seychelles and Réunion
  • Southern Africa: Namibia, South Africa and Swaziland

Africa has a lot to offer, so if you have not been there before, do not hesitate to pack your suitcase or backpack and get going. You will not regret it.

Really good trip to Africa.

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About the author

Well Mammen Nielsen

Naja has travel blood in her veins and has a penchant for islands. She has traveled on five continents and has a great knowledge of the African continent, where she has traveled in 11 countries. In addition to countless trips to the region, she has started a development project for former girl soldiers in Sierra Leone, worked two years in Tanzania, been on island hopping in Cape Verde, crossed Zambia and Zimbabwe by train and moved in the footsteps of genocide in Rwanda.

The destinations are carefully planned on their own, targeted at the locals, the less touristy places and the preferred means of transport is by train and bus.

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