Considered by many the birthplace of humanity, the enormous continent of Africa contains an immense number of fascinating cultures and remarkable natural surroundings. The northern third of the continent long ago succumbed to the Sahara Desert, one of the largest and most picturesque deserts in the world. Despite the inhospitable climate, tourism soars in north Africa, particularly in Egypt, Morocco and Tunisia. Directly south of the barren Sahara sits the exact opposite ecosystem, lush rainforest. Countries such as Congo, Gabon, and Cameroon occupy the heart of the jungle, though many of the other countries do feature-heavy forestation such Uganda, one of the best places to see gorillas in the world. Additionally, Africa famously contains the savannah. Safaris across the savannah in search of zebra, lion, or elephant have become very popular and play a critical role in Africa’s tourism industry. Countries like Kenya and Botswana have thrived as ecotourism destinations in the past few centuries.

South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Mozambique, and Zimbabwe make up the southern tip of the continent. This area tends to be slightly wealthier than much of the rest of Africa, and as a result, has better-developed tourist amenities. A key city to visit in the region would be Johannesburg, the world’s largest city not situated near a body of water. The city’s history centres on its association with the gold and diamond trades, though today a variety of industries congregate in Johannesburg.

Off the eastern coast of Africa lies Madagascar, a popular ecotourism destination. The island primarily receives travellers interested in the island’s incredible plant and animal life. Furthermore, the island has yet to develop the opulent hotels and lavish tourist attractions that often invade other beautiful places. If you’re looking for a nature-centric journey that’s just slightly off the beaten path, Madagascar is no doubt one of the best options.