In the world of travel, you tend to hear about the same few “must-see” destinations over and over again: Paris, Maui, the Maldives, Dubai, Niagara Falls… the list of attractions is long, but predictable. But very rarely do we see Africa make the cut, and that is a travesty. 

Africa is a sprawling continent with extreme geographical and ethnic diversity, and spans six time zones. Despite being the second-largest and second most-populous continent in the world, Africa doesn’t get the credit it deserves. There are some parts of the continent that aren’t hospitable for travelers, but you hear a lot more about those few areas than the landmass’ beautiful majority. The media shows a very small sliver of the beauty that Africa has to offer travelers, so here are five excellent travel spots in Africa that you won’t see in magazines.

1) Mauritius

Meta: Island of Mauritius.
Source: Outlook India

Mauritius is a beautiful island nation off Africa’s east coast that is highly travel-friendly, particularly for families. As of January 2022, they are fully open post-pandemic and welcome vaccinated as well as unvaccinated travelers (though there are entry requirements for both groups to protect the health of the Mauritian people). The varied landscape gives you access to tropical beaches, jungle waterfalls, hiking, diving, whale-watching, and all the biryani you can eat.

2) Malawi

Meta: A kaleidoscope of fish swimming in Lake Malawi.
Source: Jonathan Ramael via Twitter

Malawi, dubbed “the warm heart of Africa,” is a landlocked country in southeast Africa. It is home to Lake Malawi, one of the most bountiful and bio-diverse freshwater lakes in the world. Malawi is a fairly under-developed country so you won’t find 5-star resorts here, but it’s an ideal travel spot for low-key adventurers who like to experience a place first-hand — among its people.

3) Luxor 

Meta: Ancient columns in Luxor, Egypt.
Source: Wandering Wheatleys

Luxor, Egypt is often called the world’s greatest open-air museum, and one look will tell you why. While the pyramids of Giza (roughly seven or so hours south of Luxor) are often cherished as a World Wonder, Luxor’s ancient architecture is nothing to sneeze at. It’s much less of a tourist trap than some of the other remaining ancient pyramid cities, and is highly kid-friendly. Luxor is a must-visit for ancient history fanatics of all ages.

4) Victoria Falls

Meta: Victoria Falls at sunset.
Source: Enchanting Travel

This incredible waterfall, located on the Zambezi River on the border of Zambia and Zimbabwe, is undoubtedly one of Africa’s most beautiful attractions. It spans over a kilometer in width and over 100 meters at the center, making it one of the world’s largest waterfalls. The sound of its rushing waves can be heard from miles away, and its spraying water can been seen from miles away as well — it’s why the area’s native people call the Falls, “the smoke that thunders.” Niagara Falls has nothing on this beauty.

5) Kenya

Meta: Elephants in Kenyan safari.
Source: CNN

If you want the traditional safari experience, Kenya is the place to go. There are giraffes, rhinos, zebras, flamingos, and dozens of other amazing animals for you to witness either via safari or on foot at an observatory. Kenya offers a mix of wildlife and city life for travelers, making it a popular location for families and nature-loving souls who are looking for unforgettable sights.

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