The African continent is staggeringly vast, covering more than a fifth of the planet’s total land area. It is the only continent that stretches from the southern temperate zone to the northern temperate zone, encompassing numerous different climates along the way.
This ensures an unmatched diversity of geology, flora and fauna – and enough jaw-dropping sights to keep the curious visitor busy for a lifetime. As the majority of us are confined to two weeks’ holiday at the most, here’s a shortlist.
Great Pyramid of Giza
The Great Pyramid of Giza is the only surviving member of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. It is both the oldest and the largest of the three pyramids in the Giza Necropolis, measuring 756 feet long on each side and 450 high. Visitors can reach the pyramid’s site by minibus, bus and taxi from Cairo.The Egyptian capital is one of the best starting destinations for those searching for cheap flights to Africa.
As one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World, Victoria Falls should be high on any African traveller’s itinerary. The falls are the largest in the world, measuring one mile across and 360 feet in height.
Straddling the border between Zimbabwe and Zambia, Victoria Falls can be accessed through either country. The falls were given their name by Dr David Livingstone, though they are more properly known locally as Mosi-oa-Tunya, which means ‘smoke that thunders’.
Red Sea Reef
Stretching for more than 1,240 miles along the coasts of Eritrea, Sudan, and Egypt, the Red Sea Reef is home to over 1,200 fish species, with 10% only being found in this particular area. The reef is between 5,000 and 7,000 years old and mostly formed of porites and stony acropora corals.
The structure of the reef is such that it forms platforms, lagoons, cylinders and atolls. The reef’s unique biodiversity, combined with the calm, clear and warm water, has helped establish the area as one of the world’s foremost diving and snorkelling destinations.
Despite its apparent barrenness, the Sahara has a kind of forbidden romance that is intoxicating to those who brave its expanses. As the world's largest hot desert and third largest desert, the Sahara covers most of Northern Africa and has sand dunes reach up to 180m high.
Most travellers visit the Sahara through organised group excursions from Morocco. If possible try to join one that uses camels – the dust created by four-wheel-drive vehicles impedes cloud formation and can have dire effects on places as far away as Spain.