Top 3 Destinations for First-Time Travelers to Africa

by Sandy Salle on September 18, 2012


First-time travelers to Africa often don’t know what they are interested in experiencing until they try it all! For example, we’ve had many first-time visitors to Africa who have wanted to focus their entire trip on wildlife, but then, after interacting with the locals and experiencing the various cultures of Africa, they realized that they would have preferred a heavier emphasis on culture throughout their trip.

Africa is something you truly have to experience before you know exactly what you want for your next trip. So, the best way to experience your first trip to Africa is to do a little bit of everything (without overwhelming yourself), and then choose which of those things you want to spend more focus on for the next time you take an African safari vacation.

Below are the top 3 countries to visit for first-time travelers to Africa:

South Africa: I definitely suggest including South Africa into a first-time visitors’ itinerary. This is because South Africa offers so many diverse elements, including remote game reserves and national parks, stunning beaches, rich culture, world-renowned golfing, fine dining experiences in Cape Town, and the opportunity to visit Cape Winelands, where some of South Africa’s award-winning wines are produced. Whether you love relaxation, adventure, exploration, or a little bit of each, an itinerary in South Africa can include it all.

cape winelands

Cape Winelands

Cape Winelands

Cape Winelands

Cape Town

Cape Town

cape town

Victoria & Alfred Waterfront in Cape Town

South Africa safari vacation

South Africa is also home to some of Africa’s finest hotels, lodges, and camps, so travelers have a wide variety of accommodations to choose from to fit their specific needs.

Some of the best destinations within South Africa for travelers to visit include: Kruger National Park, Cape Town, Cape Winelands, and The Garden Route.

Kenya: Kenya is another exceptional destination for first timers to Africa, not only for its diverse wildlife but also for the cultural experiences that travelers can participate in while visiting. The Masai Mara, in particular, allows visitors to experience a combination of relaxation, adventure, and exploration.

For visitors in Masai Mara, they can partake in hot-air balloon rides over the reserve, exceptional game drives, and local village visits to interact with the local Masai people (some of the world’s most fascinating and warm individuals you will ever meet!).


Masai woman and child



Wildebeest crossing

Some of the best destinations within South Africa for travelers to visit include: Amboseli National Park, Chyulu Hills (a great place for horseback riding!), Masai Mara, Samburu National Reserve, and Laikipia.

Mozambique: Home to some of the world’s most beautiful beaches, Mozambique is a great destination to add to a safari itinerary that is heavy on adventure and wildlife. Mozambique allows visitors to take a break from the bush and enjoy some relaxation on the beach, a dhow cruise, scuba diving / snorkeling, and fresh, locally caught seafood. Benguerra Island, in particular, is one of Mozambique’s most famed islands and is the perfect finale to any African safari vacation.


Benguerra Island


Dhow sunset cruise


Horseback riding on the beaches of Benguerra Island

mozambique vacation

Nothing like some freshly caught seafood!

Combining South Africa with Kenya and Mozambique is a great way to have a well-rounded look at Africa. And after experiencing it all, you can then cater your next trip to Africa to what interested you the most during your first visit. You could incorporate a special interest safari into your next itinerary such as a birding safari, photography safari, horseback riding safari, wine tasting holiday, etc. The possibilities are endless!

Are you looking to take your first trip to Africa? Contact us today for a complimentary 15-minute consultation.

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