There are 54 countries in across the continent, so deciding where to go in Africa for a holiday can be a bit overwhelming.
Acacia Africa’s has compiled predictions from over 20 expert sources including bloggers, travel publications and online media, to discover the best destinations to visit in Southern and East Africa…
South Africa has been busting the bucket lists recently, perhaps due to the Rainbow Nation landing a much coveted spot on Lonely Planet’s top 10 Best Countries To Visit In 2018.
Its diverse landscape and favourable exchange rate are just some of the reasons to go, with the Nelson Mandela Centenary 2018 being a big appeal with Be the Legacy, a programme of events aimed at honouring the legendary leader.
In 2018 the Otter Trail will celebrate its 50th year. The complete route is a serious five day trek, but you can experience a taster of South Africa’s oldest hiking spot in a single afternoon on a visit to Tsitsikamma.
Cape Town and the Kruger National Park are popular, along with Robben Island (where Mandela served 18 years of his 27 year sentence) and the Big 5 safari.
The UK currently tops the list of international arrivals to Kenya. The world-renowned Masai Mara National Reserve and the chance to book front row seats to the Annual Migration of animals from one hemisphere to another is a major drawcard for first time safari-goers.
The game reserve is clearly still a top contender in the insta-stakes, and combined with Diani Beach – with journeys to Kenya’s coastline made even easier by the new Standard Gauge Railway – Kenya secured the number two spot on Acacia’s “best of” list.
Sources Barack Obama might be planning a June trip, his proposed itinerary including a visit to the African Heritage House, the Pan-African art museum home to American designer and architect, Alan Donovan. It was once described as “the most photographed house in Africa”.
This country has got green travel going on, and with 2018 being tipped as the year sustainable travel goes big, the Gem of Africa will be a stellar safari choice.
The Okavango Delta and Chobe National Park took coveted hotspots, and since the now engaged Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are firm fans of Africa’s last wetland wilderness, a possible honeymoon could see the delta’s popularity sky rocket.
Want to visit places where time stands still? Then you’re one of the world’s new timeless travellers. Yes, going to places where you can feel the absence of progress is now a thing. Namibia has vast expanses of stunning, untouched landscapes like no other African country.
Sossusvlei is an Insta-hit with climbing dunes that are amongst the highest in the world. Etosha National Park came a close second with eight whole months of wildlife viewing.
The ninth largest in the world, Lake Malawi is a diver’s paradise, but the time to go is December. If you’re looking for crowd free beaches its golden sands won’t stay that way for long – the popular Lake of Stars festival celebrating its 15th birthday in 2018.
It is also home to an array of wildlife, all of which can be seen at Liwonde National Park, Nyika National Park, Lake Malawi National Park, Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve and Kasunga National Park.
Iconic Africa: the Serengeti is home to the Greatest Wildlife Show on Earth. Tanzania’s premier national park plays host to the migratory herds in the early part of the year.
Skip Africa’s dry season and catch the wildebeests in the Serengeti from January through March. In calving season the chance of witnessing a wildebeest birth is high and you can be assured of plenty of predator interaction.
Mount Kilimanjaro was hugely popular on the Instagram and with talk of extreme travel trending in 2018, you can expect plenty more activity from the Roof of Africa online.
Take on Mount Kilimanjaro and trek the Marangu, Machame or Rongai route.
Zimbabwe secured seventh place, but in the post Mugabe era, many believe it could well climb even further up the popularity polls.
Hwange National Park is home to an estimated 50,000 elephants, many of which are in breeding herds as large as 300. Add in 100 different kinds of mammals (including the endangered wild dog) and around 500 bird species, plus little competition for vantage points, and it’s a no brainer for some natural beauty.
Obviously, no trip here would be complete without seeing the largest falling curtain of water in the world, Victoria Falls.
If you want to feel the full force of Victoria Falls from Zambia, known as The Smoke That Thunders, travel in May and June. In the Instagram poll, however, the natural wonder was pipped at the post by South Luangwa, the Zambian national park said to be the birthplace of the original walking safari.
With more remote places expected to be on the radar in 2018, the park will be one to watc. Its 9,050 square kilometres renowned for amazing wildlife sightings, from the hippos that crowd the river to its rare Thornicroft giraffes and leopards.
With “Secrets In The Mist” – a three part documentary charting conservationist Dian Fossey’s life, work and mysterious murder over 30 years ago – now airing globally in 171 countries on the National Geographic Channel, gorilla permits could well be in short supply.
You need to book early as places for this activity are limited for reasons of conservation, and even earlier if you’re considering travel to Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable National Park – permits for Uganda currently half the price of those in neighbouring Rwanda.
Mozambique is home to some of Africa’s best dive locations with Tofo beach’s hippy, laid-back ambience appealing to the backpacker crowd and Instagrammers.
The Island of Mozambique sits off Mozambique’s north coast. It’s connected to the mainland by a bridge. Portuguese colonial structures in Stone Town, the northern half of the island, include the Chapel of Nossa Senhora de Baluarte.
The Quirimbas Archipelago is in the Indian Ocean, just off the northern coast of Mozambique. Many of its islands are part of Quirimbas National Park, which is known for coral reefs and waters inhabited by dolphins, whales and endangered dugongs (sea cows).