Subcategories

Algeria

The best time to visit Algeria is from November to April to avoid the heat and cold (of your county) ! Hindered by Civil war previously it still isn't on the radar so there are some real gems for the adventurous tourist here.

Things to see in Algeria
The Casbah in Algiers.
The roman ruins of Djemila
The Sahara via the northern towns of MZab Valley.
Assekrem
Rock Art in Tassili N Ajjer's gallery.
Tipaza Port.

I personally love Khaled Aisha for example- which I came to learn from living in France its their most famous musical export. Try it out for some easy listening evocative tunes.

And now some more boring stuff... Algeria in French: Algérie is a country in North Africa. In terms of land area, it is the largest country on the Mediterranean Sea, the second largest on the African continent after Sudan, and the eleventh-largest country in the world., yes its big and is just opening up again after the civil war ended.in 2002 the government won and we wonder if the recent political turmoil of the regions neighbours will bring anypart of it back. We say Salaam Aleikum or peace be with you.

Algeria is bordered by Tunisia in the northeast, Libya in the east, Niger in the southeast, Mali and Mauritania in the southwest, a few kilometers of the Moroccan-controlled Western Sahara in the southwest, Morocco in the west and northwest, and the Mediterranean Sea in the north. Its size is almost 2,400,000 km2, and it has an estimated population of about 35,700,000 as of January 2010. The capital of Algeria is Algiers.

Algeria is a member of the United Nations, African Union, and OPEC. It also contributed towards the creation of the Maghreb Union.

random Algerian link http://casbah-algeria.blogspot.com/

Angola

Most Westerners might hear the travel advisory that "leisure travel isn't recommended" for travel to Angola. Too bad, because the country is rich in unique wildlife, as well as having a diverse natural landscape.

Nestled between the Atlantic Ocean (giving the country some 1650km of beachline), Zambia, Namibia, and the Congo; anyone coming to Angola will find it to be a hodge-podge of Portuguese architecture, museums, and little fishing villages with about 17 million residents.

There's even a good deal of nightlife going on, 'though mostly in its capital city of Luanda. This is about the only place in Angola where you'll find internet cafes to tell your loved ones that you're having a good time.

The best way to get around once you're here is by train, even if there aren't any sleeper cars or even air-conditioning, as driving can be a risky endeavour, and most airports are not maintained that well.

Does that mean you shouldn't go to Angola? No, it means to exercise some caution before going to see the Portuguese forts and lounging around the country's deserted beaches.

And if you don't go backpacking around Angola's 1.2 million square kilometers, you'll miss out eating local delicasies like Chicken Muomba made with palm oil, or Mufete de Cacuso, a fish dinner made with lemon and pepper.

One of the best places to go while you're here in Angola are the shops that make local handicrafts that make great gifts and won't break the bank.

You'll need to save your Euro, Dollars, or Kwanza (Angola's currency) because Angola's hotels tend to be a little more expensive than some other countries in the region. Whatever the cost, just let your embassy know you're here.

If you are a US, European, Canadian, or Australian you'll need a passport, visa, and a return ticket out of Angola. Also get your immunizations in order, including Hepatitus A & B, Typhoid, Yellow Fever, Tetanus, Polio booster, and Meningococcus.

When you've got all that squared away, you have to consider what you're going to pack. Keep in mind the weather, which in summer Angola is quite the tropical destination; while in winter it can get downright cold.

Considering this is Africa, a little cold weather sounds reason enough to visit.

Of Note:

Angolia is the second-largest diamond and petroleum producer miner in sub-Saharan Africa; however, its life expectancy and infant mortality rates are both among the worst ranked in the world.

Benin

Benin, officially the Republic of Benin, is a country in West Africa. It borders Togo to the west, Nigeria to the east and Burkina Faso and Niger to the north; its short coastline to the south leads to the Bight of Benin.

Its size is just over 110000 km2 with a population of almost 8,500,000. Its capital is the Yoruba founded city of Porto-Novo but the seat of government is the Fon city of Cotonou.

Botswana

Botswana what to do ?  Famous for its Okavango Delta Tours. these tours are often accomodation and mokoro paddling, mokoros are canoes traditionally made out of wood these days not.Head to  Maun as it is the main access point for these safari places.

Botswana actually the Republic of Botswana  is a landlocked country in Southern Africa.

The Kalahari Desert desert actually dries out the Okavango river , you can take canoe tours on the okavango. It is bordered by South Africa to the south and southeast, Namibia to the west and north, and Zimbabwe to the northeast. It meets Zambia at a single point.

Compared to other counties in Africa, Botswana is quite the politically stable nation making it one of the best places for an African Safari. The best part? Almost half of Botswana's 581,000 square kilometers is designated as a national park.

Botswana is where you'll find the Okavango Delta, the only delta of its kind anywhere on the planet, and where you'll see lagoons smattered with exotic animals like giraffe and zebra.

The Chobe National Park is where you'll want to go to see the elephants; while the Chobe River is filled with territorial hippos. Amazing how Botswana's two million residents live so close to Africa's wild game.

Traversing across Botswana's Kgalagadi National Park, Kalahari Game Reserve or Kharma Rhino Sanctuary (even Botswana's capital of Gaborone has its own game reserve) isn't the only way to see Africa's Big 5. In this country you can do everything from mountain biking to sport fishing, to a hot-air balloon ride.

Try not to fly too far, you don't want to land in one of Botswana's neighbors (South Africa, Namibia, and Zambia) just yet; since you haven't tried any local dishes or libations. Ask your guide to get you some Morogo, a wild spinach; and make sure you ask the folks at your safari lodge to recommend one of the local beers or wine, like Bojalwa--a beer that's got the flavor of apple cider.

Don't drink? Try the Bush Tea--and don't worry about it keeping you awak at night, it's caffeine free.

It doesn't pay to be awake at night anyway, since driving at night is really not a good idea. It's a safety factor considering all the animals, not for any other reason.

You will need to take precautions in Botswana in terms of making sure your vaccinations are in order. While not as severe as other places in Africa, you should make sure you're protected from Hepatitus A, Typhoid, and Malaria, and make sure you've had a Tetanus booster in the last 10 years.

If you're not feeling good, you're not able to shop. And Botswana has some wonderful items locally made, like handcrafted jewelry (look for the ones made with ostrich eggs), and especially their baskets. Bush Man artwork is extraordinary, and makes a lovely gift for someone back home.

Best time to visit Botswana

When's the best time to explore Botswana? Anytime is the right time, but if you like it hot and humid then Summer's your best bet. Winter runs from May to August; and often the weather can drop below freezing in the overnight hours. Wear layers, and you'll be fine.

Come to think of it, even if you didn't wear anything at all--you'd still be fine in Botswana.

Burkina Faso

Burkina Faso – also known by its short-form name Burkina – is a landlocked country in West Africa. It is surrounded by six countries: Mali to the north, Niger to the east, Benin to the south east, Togo and Ghana to the south, and Côte d'Ivoire to the southwest.

Its size is 274,000 km² with an estimated population of more than 15,757,000. Formerly called the Republic of Upper Volta, it was renamed on August 4, 1984, by President Thomas Sankara to mean "the land of upright people" in Moré and Dioula, the major native languages of the country. Literally, "Burkina" may be translated, "men of integrity," from the Moré language, and "Faso" means "father's house" in Dioula. The inhabitants of Burkina Faso are known as Burkinabè.

Burkina Faso's capital is Ouagadougou. After gaining independence from France in 1960, the country underwent many governmental changes until arriving at its current form, a semi-presidential republic. The president is Blaise Compaoré. The country occupies the sixth to last place on the Human Development Index.

Burundi

Burundi , officially the Republic of Burundi, is a small landlocked country in the Great Lakes region of Eastern Africa bordered by Rwanda to the north, Tanzania to the east and south, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the west. Its size is just under 28,000 km² with an estimated population of almost 8,700,000. Its capital is Bujumbura. Although the country is landlocked, much of the southwestern border is adjacent to Lake Tanganyika.

Burundi is one of the ten poorest countries in the world. It has the lowest per capita GDP of any nation in the world. Burundi has a low gross domestic product largely due to civil wars, corruption, poor access to education, and the effects of HIV/AIDS. Burundi is densely populated, with substantial emigration. Cobalt and copper are among Burundi's natural resources. Some of Burundi's main exports include coffee and sugar.

Cameroon

No where but Cameroon will you find every possible landscape and terrain in one place. Cameroon has everything from the peaks of volcanic mountains to tropical rainforests, and everything in between.

Located on the western coast of Africa, Cameroon lies along the Gulf of Guinea, bordering five countries (Chad, Central African Republic, Gabon, Nigeria, and the Congo); and has a population of just under 19 million residents spread out over almost a half-million square kilometers.

First things first. You're going to need not only a passport, but a visa and return ticket if you're to travel to Cameroon. And as with many African nations, you'll need to make sure you've got your immunizations against Hepatitus A, Yellow Fever, Tetanus, and Malaria are all in order.

Don't worry about not being able to speak the language, since both English and French are widely spoken. It's OK if you don't, food trancends any language barrier--so why not try some local cuisine like West African Peanut Soup served with some local Palm Wine.

If you're a vegetarian you might have a bit of a time finding something to eat, but you can't go wrong with all the fruit, veggies, and rice dishes. Shopping after lunch is always a fun activity, so set you sights on all the beautiful beadwork that Cameroon is known for. Or, buy yourself some brightly colored fabic that's popular.

Looking for something with more of an adrenaline kick? Cameroon delivers with exciting rock climbing, or the ultimate climb to Mt. Cameroon at 13,434ft. Hiking through the tropical rainforest (found around Cameroon's coastal region), or along Cameroon's volcanic peaks (with a bamboo forest, no less) is also for wonderful for anyone with an adventurous side.

Want a safari? You can do that too. The Benoue National Park is famous for its crocs, giraffes, lions, and hippos. The Waza National Park is great for bird watchers as they've got everything from eagles to pelicans, ducks to cranes. The elephants, antelope, and lions are an extra added bonus.

Like to know more about different cultures? Try visiting the region of the BaAka Pygmies, where you'll learn about their culture, hunting practices, and even their dancing. You can't do all this and not have a place to stay. There are a number of choices of accommodations in Cameroon, ranging from popular international chains to the most basic of hotels, and even camping.

There are choices for getting around in Cameroon. While the rail service isn't up to par as in some western countries, it is possible to travel by train. And you can pick up a number of cargo boats that'll bring you to Cameroon from other points in Africa. Flying is a good option with flights available to Yaoundé, Cameroon's capital city, on airlines like Air France.

Whatever way you've chosen to get to Cameroon, what activity you've chosen to do in Cameroon, and which region you've chosen to see in Cameroon--you'll love it.

Cape Verde

The Republic of Cape Verde is an island country, spanning an archipelago located in the Macaronesia ecoregion of the central Atlantic Ocean, off the western coast of Africa, opposite Mauritania and Senegal.

It is slightly more than 4,000 square kilometres (1,500 sq mi) in area with an estimated population of over 500,000. The capital of Cape Verde is Praia. The previously uninhabited islands were discovered and colonised by the Portuguese in the 15th century and attained independence from Portugal in 1975.

Chad

Chad, officially known as the Republic of Chad, is a landlocked country in central Africa. It is bordered by Libya to the north, Sudan to the east, the Central African Republic to the south, Cameroon and Nigeria to the southwest, and Niger to the west. Due to its distance from the sea and its largely desert climate, the country is sometimes referred to as the "Dead Heart of Africa".

Chad is divided into three major geographical regions: a desert zone in the north, an arid Sahelian belt in the centre and a more fertile Sudanese savanna zone in the south. Lake Chad, after which the country is named, is the largest wetland in Chad and the second largest in Africa. Chad's highest peak is the Emi Koussi in the Sahara, and N'Djamena, (formerly Fort-Lamy), the capital, is the largest city. Chad is home to over 200 different ethnic and linguistic groups. Arabic and French are the official languages. Islam and Christianity are the most widely practiced religions.

In 1960 Chad obtained independence under the leadership of François Tombalbaye. Resentment towards his policies in the Muslim north culminated in the eruption of a long-lasting civil war in 1965. In 1979 the rebels conquered the capital and put an end to the south's hegemony. However, the rebel commanders fought amongst themselves until Hissène Habré defeated his rivals. He was overthrown in 1990 by his general Idriss Déby. Recently, the Darfur crisis in Sudan has spilt over the border and destabilised the nation, with hundreds of thousands of Sudanese refugees living in and around camps in eastern Chad.

The country is one of the poorest and most corrupt countries in the world; most Chadians live in poverty as subsistence herders and farmers. Since 2003 crude oil has become the country's primary source of export earnings, superseding the traditional cotton industry.

Cote d Ivoire

It is easy to fall in love with the Republic of Côte d'Ivoire, often referred to as the Ivory Coast, as well as feel bad for this West African nation that borders Liberia and Guinea. Why feel bad? You see, almost 50 percent of the country's 21 million people are illiterate as school isn't required for its residents; and life expectancy isn't even 50 years old for men or women. Life can be hard in Côte d'Ivoire, but it can be an exciting place to visit so long as you've gotten a vaccination against Yellow Fever; and take precautions against Malaria and Tuberculosis.

Well, there's that--and making sure you've got at least six months left on your passport after your stay, and you've gotten your visa, as one isn't issued upon arrival for any reason.

Chances are you won't have arrived at Côte d'Ivoire's captial of Yamoussouko; as the city of Abidjan is the country's largest city. It's an economical powerhouse in Western Africa, as well as a popular seaside destination. One of the busiest beaches is Vridi, as well as Cocody, an area that's popular with more of the city's affluent. And with Abidjan's monsoon climate with average high temperatures in the 80s (F) and lows in the 70s--the beach is a welcome respite.

Côte d'Ivoire has four seasons, although not the typical Spring/Summer/Fall way of looking at it. Dry season runs December to April; Rainy season May to July, with a Short Dry Season July to October, and Short Rainy season October/November.

Whatever the weather, getting around Cote d'Ivorie isn't always easy. Sure, it's easy enough by taxi (just don't take a Gbaka) in cities like Abidjan--but what about places like Abobo? Simple--they're

connected by rail service to neighboring Burkina Faso.

It doesn't matter how you get here, so long as you're here for the annual Fetes des Masques, or Festival of the Masks in November, or the Fete du Dipri--where the women sneak around to ward off evil spirits totally naked. That's a lot to take in at one time, so maybe you'll appreciate a rugby or soccer game--as both sports are popular here. A throwback from the days when Cote d'Ivorie was a French colony from the late 19th century to the mid-20th. The food, however, is all local; using fresh ingredients like plantains, peanuts, shrimp, and sardines. Stews are popular dishes, but give the chilled avocado soup a chance.

Safety in Cote d'Ivoire

Don't, however, take any chances by traveling between cities after dark in Cote d'Ivorie. And don't buy counterfeit goods for any reason, either. A few simple common sense rules will go a long way here.

Maybe in time school will be compulsory for all citizens of Cote d'Ivorie--and life expectancy will rise so that every one in this incredibly beautiful country can enjoy it longer.

Democratic Republic of the Congo

The Democratic Republic of the Congo was known as Zaire formerly.

Djibouti

Djibouti , officially the Republic of Djibouti, is a country in the Horn of Africa. It is bordered by Eritrea in the north, Ethiopia in the west and south, and Somalia in the southeast. The remainder of the border is formed by the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden.

Djibouti History

The history of Djibouti is recorded in poetry, songs, and folklore of its nomadic people and goes back thousands of years to a time when Djiboutians traded hides and skins for the perfumes and spices of ancient Egypt, India, and China. Through close contacts with the Arabian peninsula for more than 1,000 years, the Somali and Afar ethnic groups in this region became among the first on the African continent to adopt Islam.

The Republic of Djibouti gained its independence from France on June 27, 1977. Djibouti is a Somali, Afar and Muslim country, which regularly takes part in Islamic affairs as well as Arab meetings.


Egypt

Egypt, officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Thereby, Egypt is a transcontinental country, and is considered to be a major power in North Africa, Mediterranean Region, African continent, Nile Basin, Islamic World and the Red Sea. Covering an area of about 1,010,000 square kilometers (390,000 sq mi), Egypt is bordered by the Mediterranean Sea to the north, the Gaza Strip and Israel to the northeast, the Red Sea to the east, Sudan to the south and Libya to the west.

Egypt is divided into four regions; the Nile Valley & Delta, the Western and Eastern Deserts, and the Sinai Peninsula. Throughout all of them you'll hear Arabic being spoken, as it is the official language, but if you're speaking German, English, French, Italian, or Spanish--you'll do just fine. Most of Egypt's 79 million residents live around the Nile Valley and Delta, the life-blood of the country. A perfect way to experience this is to take a Nile Cruise, with the choice being yours if you're looking for something super-luxurious or a little more economical.

One thing to consider when coming to Egypt is the weather. If you're into the whole hot summer thing--June to early-September isn't a good idea. Prefer it cooler? Then November to March is the best, while Apri/May and late-September/October are the most comfortable. All the better to be comfy for when you're out exploring around Old Cairo and its 3rd century Coptic Church known as the Hanging Church that was built over the Babylon Fortress.

You just better have your passport handy--or you don't get to see anything. Don't worry about a visa, you can get that upon arrival at any one of Egypt's 10 international airports, with Cairo being the most popular entry point. One of the most popular destinations in Egypt is Sharm El-Sheikh, a place that's popular with the sun & scuba crowd in the Sinai Peninsula. This resort destination has some of the best SCUBA diving locations, as well as other watersports. Add in the spa/wellness activities, and you've got a beach vacation that rivals anything in the Caribbean.

Egypt's not all history books and beach bunnies; its food is outstanding. Try the Dawood Basha, which are like Egyptian meatballs served over rice; and the Taameya might look familair, even if its name isn't. Everywhere else in the region its called falafel. Wash it all down with Karkadeh, a local drink made from hibiscus flowers.

Once you're well fed, head to Old Cairo to see its 3rd century Hanging Church, built over the Babylon Fortress some time in the 3rd century. It is one of the oldest churches in Egypt, and filled with marble and 8th century art. See, it isn't all Ancient Mummy curses here, ya know; although the Pharoh period lasted some 3000 years (3100BC-300BC). Come see the Saladin Fortress, the fjords, the old castles, or try doing a Sand Safari. Even with a history this long (spanning some 5000 years), there isn't any set "Egyptian Culture", but they're quite pround of their art, music, folk dancing, and theater. Football (that's soccer for the U.S. crowd) is big here too. Heading off to Egypt is one of those vacations that needs to top everyone's Bucket List. And since the internet is readily available thoughout Egypt, you can send everyone back home an email saying that you're never coming back. Like, who wouldn't want to live in a desert oasis or in the shadow of an ancient obelisk?

Things to do in Egypt: The southern city of Luxor and the Karnak Temple. Hike up Mount Sinai, Safari by any means you can imagine, visit oasis in the Western Desert. Scuba Diving in the red sea of course a NILE CRUISE the pyramids and sphinx , on a cruise you can take in the Temple of Karnak,the West Bank's Valley of the Kings, home to the Tomb of Tutankhamun and Ramses II, Colossi of Memnon and Hatshepsut's Temple. Then there is Giza pyramid complex and its Great Sphinx. contains numerous ancient artifacts, and the Valley of the Kings.

Egypt
, officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia.

Equatorial Guinea

Equatorial Guinea, officially the Republic of Equatorial Guinea is a country located in Central Africa. With an area of 28,000 km2 it is one of the smallest countries in continental Africa. It is also the most prosperous, with gross per capita income on the level of some EU countries, ahead even of Libya and South Africa, traditionally two of the more developed African countries; this prosperity is recent, though. It has a population of 1,015,000. It comprises two parts: a Continental Region (Río Muni), including several small offshore islands like Corisco, Elobey Grande and Elobey Chico; and an insular region containing Annobón island and Bioko island (formerly Fernando Po) where the capital Malabo is situated.

Annobón is the southernmost island of Equatorial Guinea and is situated just south of the equator. Bioko island is the northernmost point of Equatorial Guinea. Between the two islands and to the east is the mainland region. Equatorial Guinea is bordered by Cameroon on the north, Gabon on the south and east, and the Gulf of Guinea on the west, where the island nation of São Tomé and Príncipe is located between Bioko and Annobón. Formerly the colony of Spanish Guinea, its post-independence name is suggestive of its location near both the equator and the Gulf of Guinea. It is one of the few territories in mainland Africa where Spanish is an official language, besides the Spanish exclaves of Ceuta and Melilla.

Equatorial Guinea is the third smallest country in continental Africa in terms of population. It is also the second smallest United Nations (UN) member from continental Africa. The discovery of sizeable petroleum reserves in recent years is altering the economic and political status of the country.

Eritrea

The East African nation of Eritrea lies along the Red Sea, just across from the Middle Eastern countries of Yemen and Saudi Arabia, giving it some 1200 kilomters of coastline. It also borders the African countries of Sudan, Ethiopia, and Djibouti.

It has been said that Eritrea isn't one of the best places to backpack on the planet, but that's your call if you want to go. Human rights issues have been reported--amazing since the government has total control of the media but add to that the new social media sites like facebook and twitter and you can see where total control is now unrealalistic.

Eritrea is a small country, just about 117,000 square kilometers (around 45,000 square miles including its 350 islands) with a population of just about 6 million people. It was once part Ancient Egypt, dating to around 2500BC, lying along the East African Rift.

In the eastern part of the country you'll find it nothing but desert; whereas in the west it is a fertile land--and even has highlands, that can get downright chilly. It's OK if you get a bit cold, just find one of Eritrea's hot springs. If you speak Arabic, Italian, or English you'll get by quite nicely--although some health precautions are recommended since malaria and tuberculosis can be common.

Yes, Italian is widely spoken as the country used to be an Italian colony up until 1941. Italian influence is seen in the capital city of Asmara with its architecture and its small cafes that serve up Italian drinks and specialites. The only way to get into Eritrea by land is via Sudan; so long as you've got a passport (with at least 6 months on it) and a return ticket. You can get a visa upon arrival for US, United Kingdom, Canadian, South African, and New Zealand citizens.

Flights from Europe, Egypt, and other countries make it easy to at least get to fly into the country. Getting around in Eritrea isn't easy, as fuel is quite expensive so renting a car isn't a very good option. Trains make the best economical option. Besides, you don't need to drive--since you'll most likely be glued to the beaches that line the Red Sea. Keep a lookout for dolphins, sea turtles, and if you're a diver--the coral reefs are extraordinary. Another must-do in Eritrea is to see the local wildlife. There are some 530+ species of birds, as well as elephants, leopards, and lions.

Spiritual and history lovers will no doubt love the old churches and monasteries. While party-goers will appreciate the annual Film Festival and other events; even if some are religious events. Gourmands will love the Breakfast Houses, alled Bet Qursii in Asmara; and you'll always find the right accommodations since the city is filled with guest houses and hotels. Whatever you choose to do (or eat) please remember to respect local customs like not showing the soles of your shoes, or reaching for food with your left hand, and try to dress conservatively. Most importantly to know, homosexuality is illegal, subject to imprisonment if convicted. If you heed a few warnings, use some common sense, and don't mind not having access to private new media--you'll definitely enjoy your stay in Eritrea.

Ethiopia

Traveling to Ethiopia is a delight that you might not expect. This northeast African country, bordered by Kenya, Somalia, Eritrea, and Sudan, has more UNEScO sites than any other place on the continent. Pretty impressive, especially when you add in all of Ethiopia's natural beauty and more-activities-you-can-count.

Traveling to Ethiopia in the Great Rift Valley is easier than you think. The capital of Addis Ababa is serviced by many international airlines, including Ethiopian Airways--which also flights to some 40 destinations within the country alone.

Addis Ababa, by the way, lies at a high altitude--around 8,000 feet above sea level.

You can arrive to Ethiopia by train if you're coming from Djibouti; land crossing is only if you're coming from Kenya.

Before you run off to see all 437,000 square miles (1.13 square kilometers), safety first. While there's no real risk of malaria in the capital, it is, however, very common everywhere else. Make sure you've gotten a Diphtheria and Yellow Fever vaccination before arriving. Food safety is another issue. Be sure to cook all fresh veg, peel fruit, and eat meat that's well-cooked. Also boil any water before brushing your teeth or making ice. Also, never swim in fresh water.

The exception to this is if you're at one of the spas at Lake Langano or Lake Tana (and its 37 islands). The resorts at these two lakes are extraordinary--and where the decor manages to bring the outside in. But, if you're gonna be outside--best to try windsurfing or water skiing. That's in addition to all the rafting, mountain biking, camping, fishing, and sailing. Don't worry if you don't speak Arabic on one of these activities, or Amharic for that matter--which is the official language, since English, Italian, and French are widely spoken by the country's 65 million residents.

It doesn't matter since you'll be speechless once you've see the Blue Nile Falls, called the "water that smokes". That's from the force of the water over the gorge, by the way, and it makes the most beautiful of rainbows. Hard as it is to leave, there's more to do. Shopping is a good idea as any, so stock up on gold or silver jewelry and handmade carpets. Practice your haggling skills before heading off to the markets--but it isn't necessary for city shops since their prices are fixed. No bargaining over price when you're on an Ethiopian safari though the Simien Mountains National Park; and Ethiopia is home to some 850 (and counting) species of birds.

Whatever you've chosen to do you're gonna need money--the best currency is travelers cheques (credit card acceptance is limited) in US currency; although you'd get a better exchange rate with British Pounds to Ethiopian Birr (12 to 1 vs. 8 to 1 in USD). Good idea to use your Birr to buy Kaitaka, a grain alcohol of sorts. If you want something not as strong try some locally made wines--delicious. All that's necessary to try all this is a valid passport by British, Australian, Canadian, and US citizens--as well as return ticket. A visa is required, but you can always get that when you get there. Its all worth it just to see the granite obelisks in Axum, once a Royal Capital city; spending a few days visiting Ethiopia's nine National Parks, or shopping for religious prayer scrolls--fitting since you'll find many churches and monasteries scattered throughout the country--and its been a Christian country for more than 1800 years. When you're looking to backpack across a country that offers everything from stunning scenery to spectacular shopping and super sports--think of nothing else but Ethiopia.

Gabon

Gabon  is a country in west central Africa sharing borders with the Gulf of Guinea to the west, Equatorial Guinea to the northwest, and Cameroon to the north, with the Republic of the Congo curving around the east and south. Its size is almost 270,000 km² with an estimated population of 1,500,000. The capital and largest city is Libreville.

Since its independence from France on August 17, 1960, the Republic has been ruled by three presidents. In the early 1990s, Gabon introduced a multi-party system and a new democratic constitution that allowed for a more transparent electoral process and reformed many governmental institutions. The small population density together with abundant natural resources and foreign private investment have helped make Gabon one of the most prosperous countries in the region, with the highest HDI in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Gambia

The Gambia (officially the Republic of The Gambia) which is commonly known as Gambia by its residents is a country in Western Africa. The Gambia is the smallest country on mainland Africa, bordered to the north, east, and south by Senegal, with a small coast on the Atlantic Ocean in the west.

Its borders roughly correspond to the path of the Gambia River, the nation's namesake, which flows through the country's center and empties into the Atlantic Ocean. Its size is almost 10,500 km² with an estimated population of 1,700,000.

On 18 February 1965, Gambia was granted independence from the United Kingdom and joined The Commonwealth. Banjul is Gambia's capital, but the largest conurbation is Serekunda.

The Gambia shares historical roots with many other west African nations in the slave trade, which was key to the establishment of a colony on the Gambia river, first by the Portuguese and later by the British. Since gaining independence in 1965, The Gambia has enjoyed relative stability, with the exception of a brief period of military rule in 1994.

An agriculturally rich country, its economy is dominated by farming, fishing, and tourism. About a third of the population live below the international poverty line of US$1.25 a day.

Ghana

Its amazing how many languages are spoken by the 24 million people in the West African country of Ghana. Seventy-nine to be exact, although English is the offical one. Must be because of its days as an English colony--and explains why its judicial system is based on the British.

Hopefully you won't have a need for Ghana's court system. Wouldn't you rather go see its Elmina Castle, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and the first of its kind in Africa?

Elmina isn't the only castle in Ghana, some 29 others were constructed by the Brits, Dutch, Portuguese, and Spaniards during its colonial heyday. Today Ghana is its own republic--although these throwbacks to the age are still around to see.

Great Britain isn't the only Kingdom to have ruled over the area. Ghana was once part of the Ashanti Kingdom. In the city of Kumasi you can visit the Ashanti Culture Centre to learn more about it by its exhibits.

However, the capital of Ghana is Accra. It's a vibrant city with two marketplaces that serve up the best street food, and where you can buy all sorts of creative gifts to bring back home--like Kente Cloth with its bright colors and striking patterns. The Arts Centre is one of the largest craft markets, where artists bring their beadwork and carving wares. Accra is also a beach resort destination, filled with bars and nightclubs. Getting to Accra, or Ghana for that matter, is easy enough via the national airline, Ghana Airways, or other European and US carriers to its international airport.

Getting around in Ghana can be a little more difficult, as its train system is small--going around on a 1000km circle loop. Too bad neither class on the trains offer air-conditioning. And it gets quite hot here, since Ghana lies just to the north of the Equator. If you're looking for luxury, you'll find deluxe hotels in Accra only. You'll have to scale it down a bit outside the captial city. A mid-range hotel in Ghana can cost about $15-$30 a night, but generally if you want hot water you'll have to pay more for it. There are a few things to remember if you're traveling around anywhere in Ghana. One is to make sure you've gotten a Yellow Fever vaccination; and be aware there is a risk of Cholera, Typhoid, and Malaria.

Secondly, pay attention to what you eat. Avoid dairy products, and make sure all meat is cooked to well-done. And please peel or cook all fresh fruit and veg. Lastly, don't drink tap water outside any major city. Don't let any of this stop you from eating--street food tastes delicious--and there isn't a fast food burger joint in these parts. ATMs are only available in major towns, so carry travelers cheques for when you need to change money. You also need to remember that busesgenerally run on schedule, and the internet is widely available in most urban places. It isn't, however, in the Mole National Park, Ghana's largest wildlife refuge. You'll see hippos and elephants, monkeys and crocs, even eagles. The biggest threat to the park isn't tourism, its poaching.

All you need to see the 92,000 square miles of Ghana is a passport and visa, which you have to get before arriving. A small price to pay to listen to local music with instruments like the koloko lute or talking drums. Listen to it while enjoying a local beer, much of which is quite inexpensive. Drinking too much isn't a good idea for anyone, but women traveling alone shouldn't have too much of an issue. Just be assertive and stand up for yourself if anyone gets too friendly. Wait, isn't Ghana a friendly nation to begin with? Yes, it is--they're some of the most friendly in the entire region. It seems that Ghanaians don't let the rainy season get them down, which runs from March to November in the north and April to November in the south. Don't you let a few raindrops stop you from coming to this remarkably friendly African nation.

Guinea

Guinea, officially the Republic of Guinea French: République de Guinée), is a country in West Africa. Formerly known as French Guinea (Guinée française), it is today sometimes called Guinea-Conakry to distinguish it from its neighbor Guinea-Bissau. Conakry is the capital, the seat of the national government, and the largest city.

Guinea has almost 246,000 square kilometres (94,981 sq mi). It forms a crescent by curving from its western border on the Atlantic Ocean toward the east and the south. Guinea shares its northern border with Guinea-Bissau, Senegal, and Mali. Guinea shares its southern border with Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Côte d'Ivoire. The Niger River arises in Guinea and runs eastward.

Guinea is home to twenty-four ethnic groups. The most prominent groups are the Fula, Mandinka, and Susu.

Guinea-Bissau

The Republic of Guinea-Bissau is located in West Africa. It is bordered by Senegal to the north, and Guinea to the south and east, with the Atlantic Ocean to its west.

It covers nearly 37,000 square kilometres (14,000 sq mi) with an estimated population of 1,600,000. Formerly the Portuguese colony of Portuguese Guinea, upon independence, the name of its capital, Bissau, was added to the country's name to prevent confusion with the Republic of Guinea. The country's per-capita gross domestic product is one of the lowest in the world.

Kenya

What to do in Kenya ? You can take a hot air balloon over the Maasai Mara, or take a safari.

Kenya in Easy Africa well known as a destination for Safaris.

The country is named after Mount Kenya second highest mountain peak in Africa at 17,001 feet and snowy on top..Curious, considering as you come down in elevation from a mountain tour you'll find yourself in savannah grassland, then on to a hot & humid climate along the Indian Ocean coast. Thankfully not all of Kenya's 580,000 square kilometers are hot and humid.

The capital city is Nairobi.

It's a well developed region for Safaris.  

Mombassa is one of the best oceanside cities, boating a port for ships and an international airport making it easy enough to get to. This is a city of 24-hour entertainment, as well as mountain biking, watersports (a primo SCUBA diving site at its Marine Park, and international cuisine. Don't worry too much about crowds, there are 310 miles of beach along Kenya's coast--you'll find a spot to yourself if you look.

Nothing, however, is more famous in Kenya than its safaris, which means journey in Swahili (but just so you know, English is the official language). Much of Kenya is totally devoted to its wildlife--and is a wonderful country to see the Big 5--being lions, leopards, buffalo, rhino, and elephant.

The Maasi Mara park is famous for its wildebeest migration, going over a million strong of these massive mammals every year. Thre other famous safari parks are the Tsavo National Park, the Nakuru National Park, and the Aberdare National Park that's home to the Treetops Hotel, where you can watch game safely from above. By the way, a young Princess Elizabeth of England was here in this park when she officially became Queen Elizabeth II in the 1950s. About a decade later Kenya won its independence from the UK.

Whatever park you've chosen to see, or whatever type of accommodation you've chosen to stay (there's everything from luxury tents to lodges to villas that'll make you feel like royalty), keep in mind rainy season runs March/Apri May/Jun, while the coldest months to visit are July and August. You are, after all, south of the Equator so winter comes during the northern hemisphere's summer.

If Kenya is your kind of place, all you need is a passport along with a return ticket (or one at least leaving Kenya), and a visa which you must get before arriving. It isn't necessary to get a Yellow Fever vaccination for travel to Kenya, although it is recommended; as well as a Hepititis A & B, Polio booster, Tenanus, and Rabies shot as well.

Whatever steps are necessary to get to Kenya are worth it--as one look at Lake Victoria makes it all worth while. Nevermind that its the second largest tropical lake in the world--that just adds to all of Kenya's charm.

Lesotho

What to do in Lesotho ? You can take ponies trekking no experience necessary from where you get to ride through villages at altitudes that are just about right.

Lesotho
officially the Kingdom of Lesotho, is a landlocked country and enclaveentirely surrounded by the Republic of South Africa. It is just over 30,000 km2 (11,583 sq mi) in size with an estimated population of almost 1,800,000. Its capital and largest city is Maseru. Lesotho is the southernmost landlocked country in the world. It is a member of the Commonwealth of Nations. The name "Lesotho" translates roughly into "the land of the people who speak Sesotho". About 40% of the population live below the international poverty line of US$1.25 a day.

Liberia

Liberia, officially the Republic of Liberia, is a country on the west coast of Africa, bordered by Sierra Leone, Guinea, Côte d'Ivoire, and the Atlantic Ocean. As of the 2008 Census, the nation is home to 3,476,608 people and covers 111,369 square kilometres (43,000 sq mi).

Liberia's capital is Monrovia. Liberia has a hot equatorial climate with most rainfall arriving in summer with harsh harmattan winds in the dry season. Liberia's populated Pepper Coast is composed of mostly mangrove forests while the sparsely populated inland is forested, later opening to a plateau of drier grasslands.

The history of Liberia is unique among African nations because of its relationship with the United States. It is one of the few countries in Africa, and the only country in West Africa, without roots in the European Scramble for Africa. It was founded and colonized by freed American slaves with the help of a private organization called the American Colonization Society in 1821-1822, on the premise former American slaves would have greater freedom and equality there.

Slaves freed from slave ships also were sent there instead of being repatriated to their countries of origin. These colonists formed an elite group in Liberian society, and, in 1847, they founded the Republic of Liberia, establishing a government modeled on that of the United States, naming Monrovia, their capital city, after James Monroe, the fifth president of the United States and a prominent supporter of the colonization.

A military-led coup in 1980 overthrew then-president William R. Tolbert, which marked the beginning of a period of instability that eventually led to a civil war that left hundreds of thousands of people dead and devastated the country's economy. Today, Liberia is recovering from the lingering effects of the civil war and related economic dislocation.

Libya

Libya,is a country located in North Africa.

Not too many countries in the world are as foreign and mysterious as the 1.7 million square kilometers of Libya. For more than 40 years the country was ruled by Muammar Gaddafi, who pretty much cut off the country to many would-be visitors.

In 2011, an uprising gave Libya a new start--and they country is now working on a new government. Hopefully one that'll let you come see some of the most amazing ancient sites imaginable.

To get here can be a long process, as there are no direct flights from the US, often having to connect in Europe (Germany, Austria, and England mostly) or Egypt, often both. You do need a visa before you arrive; and if you're a US citizen you must advise the US Embassy in the region that you're coming.

You just better bring cash with you, as this truly is a cash-only country where just a few hotels and restaurants take plastic.

You also need a Yellow Fever vaccination before you get here; and its recommended that you get a Tetanus and MMR booster, as well as being protected against Hepititis A & B and Typhoid.

With your health concerns out of the way, it's time to be off to see Leptis Magna. At least that's what it was called when the Roman Empire lorded over the area (before them it was the Phoenicians). Today it's near Khoms (about 80 miles from the capital city of Tripoli)--and has some of the best Ancient Roman ruins anywhere. The ARch of Septimius Severus (who was born here) is just stunning.

Cyrene, or Shahhat as its called today, could give it a run for the money with its Temple of Zeus. The area, a Greek colony that's been around since 630BC, is now a UNESCO site.

Getting to all of Libya's sites can be a bit of an issue. There are no trains in the country (but they're working on that), there's no public bus service, and if you're going to drive around you're gonna need a Desert Pass. Yes, you'll need one since 90-percent of the country is desert. In some places it doesn't rain for years--decades actually.

Found in the desert are places like the Atiq Mosque, the oldest of its kind in the Sahara; the rock paintings at Wadi Mathendous that are more than two millennia old.

After a day of sightseeing, don't think you'll relax at your hotel with a cold beer--sorry, alcohol is illegal in Libya (it is a mostly Muslim country). There's a whole culture that revolves around tea, the drink of choice. You won't find bars and nightclubs, but you will find plenty of coffee and tea houses.

They're a nice place to stop after shopping for gold, silver, spices, and Ghandames slippers--a bargain for your Dinars, the official currency of Libya.

Don't forget to work on some phrases in Arabic, as that's the official language spoken throughout the country. Maybe this way Libya won't seem so mysterious--it'll just be exotic and super wonderful.

Madagascar

Meet Madagascar.

Madagascar's diversity is truly its crowning glory, perhaps this is why Eco-tourism has really taken off. And if you're going to rough it in Madagascar, you better pay attention to the weather. Thanks to the southwest trade winds, Madagascar can pretty gosh darn hot in the rainy season that runs from November to April, and tropical cyclones are known to hit the island. It is much cooler in the dry season from May to October, with no real threat of a hurricane.

While many a nature lover comes to Madagascar today, it was once famous for its pirates. So much in fact, that you'll find a Pirate Cemetery over at Ile Sainte-Marie. Argh, Matey!

Today there's no need to steal your bounty, you can buy all kinds of goodies in Madagascar as its a wonderful place to buy semi-precious stones. Diamonds might be a girl's best friend, but a topaz sure makes a wonderful acquaintance. Still too rich for your blood? How about something embroidered instead?

Sorry, you can't take home any of the Ravenola, known as the Travelers Palm--that really isn't a palm at all, it's a Bird of Paradise. You can't take home any ring-tailed lemurs, either.

Getting to and around Madagascar is quite simple, as many international flights arrive to its airport in the capital of Antananarivo. Once you're here you can get yourself a motorbike (but go easy, many roads aren't very passable when rainy season comes), take a taxi, or rickshaw. While there isn't much rail service, Madagascar makes up for it with boats--so try taking a boat safari while you're here. This is Africa after all--so who wouldn't enjoy a safari of any kind.

Malawi

The landlocked southeast Africa nation of Malawi, that used to be called Nyasaland, is 45,000 square miles of contradiction. On the one hand you've got a country where life expectancy isn't even 50 years old; while on the other you've got a country that offers everything from a mountain vacation to lounging leisurely along the shores of Lake Malawi.

Found in the Great Rift Valley, Malawi might not have one of the best infrastructures, but it is trying. Start at the capital city of Lilongwe where you'll find a wonderful crafts market--just remember that it can get mighty hot & humid during its rainy season (November-April).

It might be OK to complain about the weather, you should be aware that a lot of speech is censored here--and human rights issues are common, right down to imprisonment for perceived homosexuality.

You should also be aware that you'll need a vaccination for Yellow Fever, but one against Hepititis A & B, Typhoid, MMR (measles, mumps, rubella), and Tetanus are also a good idea. With your health concerns out of the way you're free to enjoy all the activities found along the shores of Lake Malawi, that runs almost the entire eastern border of the country.

Many locals come to the lake for the Christmas holidays, but you're welcome anytime at the many resorts to snorkel, SCUBA dive, waterski, or sail. Fishing enthusiasts will certainly appreciate the 1000 species of chichlids, as well as catfish, snails, and other fishes.

History and culture lovers will appreciate the Lake Malawi National Park, that's a UNESCO site; as is the Chongoni Rock Art Area.

If its museums you want, then head to Blantyre to the Chichiri Museum--a history & culture museum. A stop to the 19th century St. Michael & All Angels Church is a must too. True nature lovers will no doubt fall for the Viphya Forest, a man-made forest that's wonderful for bird watching. Nyika National Park is another stunning nature area that's also perfect for hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding.

All the wonderful sites of Malawi are easily accessible by train from neighboring Mozambique, as well as flights from many international destinations to its airport in Lilongwe. And getting around is relatively simple with buses in all major cities, although taxis are limited. True backpackers will take Malawi's rail system, albeit a very slow and crowded way to travel.

Don't worry about any language barrier, English is the official language--a throwback to the days when Malawi belonged to the British.

When you're ready to go back home make sure you take home some locally made basketry or mask carvings--plus all the memories of your time in a country that's known as tyhe Warm Heart of Africa.

Mali

Bienvenue to Mali, a landlocked West African country that borders seven other countries (Algeria, Burkina Faso, Niger, Senegal, Cote d'Ivorie, Guinea, and Mauritania). The modern day country of Mali didn't exist until 1960 when it gained its indpendence from France, where it was known as French Sudan.

This is but a small snipet of Mali's history, a place that once a stop on the trans-Saharan trade route. Still, another small snipet of history--as its believed that Mali has been inhabited for more than 150,000 years.

One thing that's remained pretty constant in Mali is its weather. The country is hot & humid year round, especially its capital city of Bamako where average daytime temps are constantly in the 90s, and only cooling off into the 70s. But with all the museums, like the National Museum, Archaeology & Anthropology Museum, National Library, and Grand Mosque--you'll be too busy to notice the heat.

Mali is also home to the famous city of Timbuktu, a UNESCO site that's famous for its crafts made from iron or copper (think daggars and swords). From November to February it's a tad cooler here--as temps easily soar to 3-digits other times of the year. It doesn't stop people from coming here--as Timbuktu has a few guesthouses and small hotels.

With elevation comes some cooler weather, so head to Hombori where you'll just love rock climbing--or tackling Mt. Hombori, whose peak reaches to 1153 meters above sea level.

Getting around Mali is a lesson in patience. If you're driving in Mali, remember to stick to the main roads or drive in a convoy. Extra caution is necessary if you're driving at night.

It might be easier to take a less expensive collective taxi, as even rail service isn't all its cracked up to be. Train service can be a tad erratic (and only running between Bamako and Damar), but does offer 1st and 2nd class accommodations.

During rainy season (June-December) boats can take you between Bamako to Gao (via Timbuktu)--just remember service can be interrupted during Mali's dry season. For shorter jaunts, for hire river boats could also work.

Gao, by the way, is located along the Niger River; and famous for its Gao Mosque and Tomb of Askia (a 15th century Emperor) that's also a UNESCO site.

Before you leave to backpack Mali, you're going to need a Yellow Fever vaccination; and its recommended that you get one for Hepititis A & B, Typhoid, Polio, and MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) as well. If you're traveling during dry season, its best to get one for meningitis.

Don't let a few vaccinations stop you from enjoying Mali's rich intellectual history, its friendly people, and its Malian music--it'll have you singing Mali's praises.

Mauritania

The official name of Mauritania is the Islamic Republic of Mauritania, found along the Atlantic Ocean in Western Africa. Mauritania is found amongst good company, bordering Algeria and the Western Sahara.

Mauritania's capital city is Nouakchott, which just so happens to be its largest city in a country that's more than one million square kilometers. Almost all of Mauritania's 3 million citizens are Muslim, so you won't find an abundance of nightclubs and discos, but most hotel bars will serve up a few libations.

Arab Tea is the drink of choice, ususally served with mint; and camel's milk is also popular.

Here in the capital, you'll find an eclectic blend of Moroccan, Chinese, and French cuisine served mainly with lamb or goat with rice.

Interestingly enough, one of Mauritania's most stunning sites is best seen from space. The Richat Structure, or more commonly known as the Eye of the Sahara, is a 40km wide rock formation in the middle of the Desert. The eye of the Eye is actually three kilometers wide.

You can reach the Guelber Richat, another name for the Saharan Eye, from the UNESCO city of Ouadane. With a guide, of course.

Just make sure you've got your papers in order before coming to Mauritania; a passport and visa are required for citizens of the European Union, USA, and Canada.

Vaccinations are also recommended against Hepatitus A, Malaria, Typhoid, and Yellow Fever. A precaution that's a small price to pay to try sand dune skiing, marveling at centuries old cave paintings, sightseeing around a fortress that once belonged to the French Foreign Legion in the city of Chinguetti, shopping for locally made handicrafts (the Silver Market is fantastic for this), or visiting local museums. That's all in addition to swimming and surfing til your heart's content along Mauritania's 800km of beach. The beach is just the thing in Mauritania since average highs can soar to a whopping 30s-C during the summer. Not much respite in the winter when lows average 18-24C. Mauritania might be hot, and quite old considering it has a history dating back to the days before the Roman Empire, but if you're looking to backpack around a place that hasn't yet seen an influx of tourists--then you've found it.

Mauritius

Created by volcanic activity thousands of years ago, the African country of Mauritius has only been inhabited by people only for the last 500 years or so. And what a history in this short time has it had.

Mauritius has seen its fair share of Dutch, French, and English explorers, pirates, and slave traders. Today it sees its fair share of visitors looking for the best diving and beaches in the Indian Ocean.

Located some 1240 miles off the African coast, Mauritius has over 200 miles of pristine coastline, as well as offering all sorts of watersports from kitesurfing, SCUBA diving, snorkeling, and even deep sea fishing.

If you're a land lubber, Mauritius accommodates. No where else will you find stores filled with tax-free luxury (and bargain) items, and some of the most spectacular landscape.

The Black River Gorges National Park is one of the best places to see the natural side of Mauritius; and the Casela Bird Park boasts 140 species of these flying creatures. The Colored Earths is another must-see, a natural terrain created by volcanoes. Walk a little further and you'll find a romantic waterfall. The 360-degree view from atop Le Pouce at 2,664 feet is another romantic spot--most definitely worth the 2-hour walk up and 2-hour walk down.

It isn't all walking in Mauritius, there's an extensive network of roads around the island, and you'll find plenty of taxis (you don't have to tip the driver, but they'll certainly appreciate it). A good way to see the island is by motorbike or bicycle, but if you want to leave the driving to someone else--just hop on the bus, where you'll probably hear all sorts of languages being spoken, although mostly Creole, French, and English.

A ferry is needed if you want to go to Rodrigues Island, also created by a volcano. The almost empty beaches are a true getaway from your getaway.

This paradise does come at a price; while pretty much sunny all year long it can get hot & humid during the Summer Rainy Season from November to April, and the most likely time for a cyclone to hit is January to March.

You'll also need to keep in mind that you should take precautions against Dysentery, Typhoid, Hepititis A & B, and Meningitis (usually for stays December-June). Don't worry about Yellow Fever vaccinations unless you've come from an infected area, but Dengue Fever, while uncommon), can happen. If you're out in the water, be careful as stone fish stings can occur. Plus it's a good idea to have your veggies cooked, fruit peeled, and boil water or used bottled.

Yes, it's a lot to take in--but all the activities, natural wonders, and history are more than worth it.

Morocco

Morocco Things to do :

Shopping Check out the typical souks in Fes for some authentic buys. This medina is a UNESCO world heritage site.

Trekking The atlas mountains provide the highest point in North Africa the Jebel Toubkal  is the highest at 4167m. Tours for trekking up this giant start from  the Berber village of Imlil, right in the foot of the mountain.
The Atlas mountains also allow white water rafting experiences.

Try a Camel Trek in the Sahara Desert or Mountain Biking through this beautiful land.

Watersports include Surfing and Swimming places to check out include Essaouira, Agadir, Oualidia and El Jadida.

But no place is probably more famous than Casablanca, an eternal city thanks to Rick from the 1940s movie of the same name.

Casablanca might be an Art Deco city with lots of Moorish architecture, but Morocco is so much more, and very Westernized.

Marrakesh is unique as well, where you'll find eclectic nightlife including casinos (you'll find these in Tangier and Agadir too), but also the Djemaa el Fna full of acrobats, snake charmers, and street performers. One must in this city is a trip to the Jardin Majorelle, its stunning Botanical Garden. Keep your haggling skills sharp, you'll need it at Marrakesh's Souq.

Tangier is more of a Bohemian kind of place, while Fez is believed to be the longest inhabited medieval city in the Islamic World--thus earning it a UNESCO designation.

It isn't all history in Morocco, adventure seekers couldn't ask for a more wonderful destination. True adrenaline junkies try to tackle Jebel Toubkal, the highest peak in Morocco along the Altas Mountains at 13,667 feet.

If you'd rather stay closer to sea level, there's no place better than the beaches along the Altanic Coast at Agadir. There's more water to be found at the Cascades d'Ouzoud, located between the cities of Fez and Marrakesh.

Don't worry about getting around from one city to another--except if you're driving through the mountains during winter when many roads are impassable. In many towns there are many buses and taxis to get you where you want to go.

One good choice for long distances is Morocco's rail service. It's quite affordable offering service from Casablanca to Tangier, Fez, Marrakesh, and the capital city of Rabat.

You will have to pay a bit more for an air-conditioned coach, which may be needed mainly in the summer months from November to March. It can get quite chilly during the winter, and if you're up in the mountain regions. Mostly you'll find the southwest Trade Winds give much of Morocco's 710,000 square kilometers a true Mediterranean feel.

You will need to pay attention to some precautions here. Drink bottled water, make sure your meat & fish are fully cooked, and cook or peel your fruits & veg. Also vaccinations against Hepititis A & B, Typhoid, Diptheria, and Tuberculosis are recommended.

It's hard to pin down this North African country that's got everything from sandy beaches to jagged mountain peaks--the only thing you can do is come here to experience it for yourself.

Mozambique

Mozambique is in the southeast of Africa.

dhow mozambique

If you come from a Western country you don't come to Africa expecting all the creature comforts you left back home. You come for the exotic, the smells, the adventures, the experiences if you will. And countries like Mozambique offer it all, and then some. Often surprising you with its hidden gems.

One word of caution if you've decided that this is where you want to be--landmines. But don't let these buggers turn you off to what could be the trip of a lifetime. Just bear in mind that traveling off the beaten path isn't a good idea, nor is driving anywhere at night. It is best to hire a car & driver, or stick to public transportation (buses, taxis) in major towns such as the captial city of Maputo.

There isn't all that much rail service in Mozamabique, mainly from Beira to Tete, and Maputo to Goba. Trains do arrive into Mozambique from neighboring Zimbabwe (just one of six countries bordering it). All trains offer 3 classes, none of which include sleeper or dining car, or air-conditioning.

You won't need to go far, however, if you've decided to just lounge along the 1550 miles of beaches, however. Mozambique's lagoons and coral reefs make a beachside vacation that you won't soon forget--especially if you're diving or snorkeling in this part of the Indian Ocean.

Inhaca Island is a good place to see coral reefs, and you'll find a Marine Biology Museum and lighthouse too. The Bazaruto Archipelago is the best with five tropical islands, coral reefs, pristine beaches, and is home to manatees (called dugong here).

Mozambique also offers safaris if you're so inclined to see buffalo, hippos, elephants, and zebras. The Maputo Elephant Park is a good place to see crocs, flamingos, and antelope too. Birdwatchers will appreciate the famous Gorongosa National Park, as will anyone looking for a true spectacular safari.

The best time to do a safari in Mozambique is from April to October when the region is just warm and dry. From October to March Mozambique is hot & wet thanks to its rainy season. If its too hot you can always head inland where the weather is a tad cooler--but the higher you go the more it rains.

Shopping is also an adventure. Here in Mozambique you'll find all sorts of local handicrafts like beadwork, wood carving, textiles, masks, and leather goods.

Eating can be exciting as well--try Piri piri, a dish of Zambesi chicken served with a chile sauce, or Matapa made with ground peanuts and cassava leaves served with rice.

Another word of caution--it is best that all meat & fish be fully cooked, try to avoid dairy products, cook and peel veg & fruit, and make sure all your water is boiled or bottled--even to brush your teeth.

You should also make sure you've taken precautions against Yellow Fever (if arriving from any infected area), Typhoid, Tetanus, Hepititis A & B, Tuberculosis, and Malaria.

You'll also need a visa before arrival, a passport, and return ticket. No, authorities won't let you stay here forever--even if you beg in Portuguese, the country's official language.

Oh well, you'll just have to enjoy Mozambique for all its worth while you can.

Niger

Bordering some seven African nations, Niger, a former French colony, is one of the least developed nations. That's not to say you won't find it an exciting place to backpack for the well-seasoned traveler.

Niger lies along the Niger River, encompassing some 1.26 million square kilometers with a population of just under 13 million people; 95 percent of whom are Muslim. It's a good idea right from the start to say that women travelers should avoid wearing clothing that's too revealing. And despite being a Muslim country, you'll find alcholic beverages available, although with some restriction.

Restrictions apply to driving around Niger, as roads are closed to tourists without special permission. If you're outside the capital city of Niamey you're required to hire a chauffeur.

Niamey has some wonderful sites, including the National Museum that's also a Botanical Garden and Zoo, the Great Mosque, and horse & camel races. Shoppers will fall in love with the long named Centre de Metiers d'Art de Niger--where you can buy all sorts of bargain leather goods, silver jewelry, and swords.

Bush taxis are another option when heading out of Niamey, albeit quite a slow one. No one ever said life moves fast in Africa. Consider a healthy change from the frantic, fast-paced goings on in the Western World.

One change from the West is that it's illegal in Niger to take a different route than the one you're allowed to travel. No turning off to take a "scenic route". You'll often find that many roads aren't passable during the Rainy Season that runs from November to April; and you must report your whereabouts to the local police in any place you spend the night.

Flying isn't an easy option either, as the country has no national carrier for international or domestic flights. There are charter flights available if you're interested.

All of these "obstacles" are well worth the efforts to see Niger, a country that's famous for its "W" National Park where buffalo, lion, baboons, and jackals all play--maybe not all that nicely, but affording you the chance to see these incredible animals in their natural habitat.

What's even more amazing is you'll find some of the continent's most exotic animals like giraffes and lions high in the Air Mountains.

The city of Agadez is wonderful to see too. From the mosque's minaret you'll have an eagle eye view of a caravan trade city. And in Zinder, Niger's former capital city, is the Sultan's Palace and Mosque.

All you need to do before you see all this is a passport and visa (no visa required if you're from Denmark and Finland), a return ticket, and make sure you're vaccinated for Yellow Fever, Typhoid, Tetanus, Malaria, Hepititis A & B, Tuberculosis, Cholera, and Diphtheria.

Once you're here you should avoid dairy products, avoid swimming in fresh water, make sure your meat and veg is well-cooked, your fruits are peeled, and you use bottled or boiled water to brush your teeth or make ice.

Despite being what's called a Third-World country, Niger's a wonderful place to get out of your comfort zone, giving you a chance to experience the true African bush and more.

Nigeria

Travel to Nigeria, like much of Africa, isn't for the novice traveler. No, you'll need some travel seasoning under your belt to make your way around the exotic, and often misunderstood, country.

First off, there's a travel advisory regarding travel to Nigeria (doesn't mean you can't go, just be extra cautious). Hidden within some disputed borders are rainforests, national parks with big game, and remnants of Nigeria's British colonial days. Add the hundreds of miles of coastline along the Gulf of Guinea--and you've sure picked one of Africa's most remarkable countries.

It certainly is one of the most populated, some 170 million people. Almost half the country is Muslim, and the official language is English but there are more than 400 other languages being spoken by a myriad of local tribes.

One of the best ways to get around in Nigeria is via Bush Taxis or buses, which run between big towns. Daily rail service (with sleeper cars and 3-classes of service) runs on two rail routes. While often cheaper than the bus, it is a slower mode of transportation.

Whether bus or train, you must see Nigeria's Lagos Island with its National Museum at the Onikan Craft Center, or, the waterfalls at Akure. The Gashaka Game Reserve is a must if you're looking for endangered animals, while the Cross River National Park is both a rainforest conservation area and full of chimps, gorillas, baboons, elephant and buffalo.

Keep a look out for the Drill Monkey, found only in Nigeria and parts of Cameroon.

The Yoruba Empire isn't about the animals, it's about colonial architecture and the Oshun Festivl, a fertility festival at the end of August. You need special permission to visit the Oba Palace, but thankfully not the Benin art at the National Museum.

You will need special precautions from your doctor before coming. Vaccinations for Yellow Fever, Hepititis A & B, Meningitis, Tuberculosis, Diptheria, Tetanus, and Typhoid are necessary.

Make sure you've gotten your visa before arriving too. Otherwise you'll miss out on shopping for ceramic masks and other locally made good at Nigeria's markets. Worse, you'll miss out on the medieval city and Emir's Palace in the town of Kano.

Republic of the Congo

The Republic of the Congo, also known as Congo-Brazzaville, Little Congo, or simply the Congo, is a country in Central Africa. It is bordered by Gabon, Cameroon, the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (formerly known as Zaire), the Angolan exclave province of Cabinda, and the Gulf of Guinea.

The region was dominated by Bantu tribes, who built trade links leading into the Congo River basin. The republic is a former French colony. Upon independence in 1960, the former French region of Middle Congo became the Republic of the Congo. The People's Republic of the Congo was a Marxist-Leninist single-party state from 1970 to 1991. Multiparty elections have been held since 1992, although a democratically elected government was ousted in a 1997 civil war.

Rwanda

The Republic of Rwanda known affectionately as the Land of a Thousand Hills, is a landlocked country located in the Great Lakes region of eastern-central Africa, bordered by Uganda, Burundi, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Tanzania.

Although close to the equator, the country has a cool temperate climate due to its high elevation. The terrain consists mostly of grassy uplands and gently rolling hills. Abundant wildlife, including rare mountain gorillas, have resulted in tourism becoming one of the biggest sectors of the country's economy.

Rwanda has received considerable international attention due to its 1994 genocide, in which an estimated 800,000 people were killed. Since then the country has made a recovery and is now considered as a model for developing countries. In 2009 a CNN report labeled Rwanda as Africa's biggest success story, having achieved stability, economic growth (average income has tripled in the past ten years) and international integration. The government is widely seen as one of the more efficient and honest ones in Africa. In 2007 Fortune magazine published an article titled "Why CEOs Love Rwanda." The capital, Kigali, is the first city in Africa to awarded the Habitat Scroll of Honor Award in the recognition of its "cleanliness, security and urban conservation model." In 2008, Rwanda became the first country to elect a national legislature in which a majority of members were women. Rwanda joined the Commonwealth of Nations on 29 November 2009 as its fifty-fourth member, making the country one of only two in the Commonwealth without a British colonial past.

Senegal

Thins to do in Senegal: Dakar has an amazing nightlife. Visit Siné-Saloum delta , a region of mangrove swamps, dunes and lagoons. Meander with a trip in a pirogue(traditional African boat) passing in the Parc National du Delta du Saloum, out to the delta's myriad small islands. Scuba Diving in Senegal is also popular and there are many beaches that are great to get a tan, just make sure the water is safe to swim in.

Senegal Famous People:
Youssou N'Dour, Akon, El Hadji Diouf..

Please help us to add to this section with travel tips on senegal or interesting websites.

Famous or not, you'll love Senegal for its exciting and diverse history and culture. Located in West Africa, Senegal didn't gain its independence from France until 1960, and was once an old slave station.

On Goree Island you'll see the remnants of Senegal's slave trade past, where you can tour the old Slaves' House. In the city of St. Louis, once the country's capital, you'll see the old colonial houses from its French colony days.

French influence isn't limited to architecture, it found its way to Senegal's food. You'll need sustanence to keep you going with everything else to do, so eat up. Try avocado stuffed with shrimp, or Dem a la St. Louis, a stuffed mullet dish; or Chicken au yassa that's a barbeque chicken dish served with lemon & onion sauce.

Senegal even has some wonderful drinks to wash all that down. Toufam is a yogurt made with sugar water, mint tea, and a coffee pimento concoction. Alcoholic beverages are available even though Senegal is a Muslim country, so try the palm wine.

A good drink is just what you need while sprawled out at one of Senegal's many beaches. Casamance is famous for its beaches; and divers take not that February to April is the best time of year to do. This region of Senegal is great if you're into the whole eco-tourism thing--it's a nice way of being kind to the environment.

You should check with local authorities before heading to Casamance as its been a region of unrest. It's also good to make sure you've gotten vaccinations for Yellow Fever, Typhoid, Tetanus, Malaria, Hepititis A & B, Tuberculosis, Diptheria, and Meningitis.

Also never swim in fresh water (chlorinated pools are exempt), nor should you eat anything dairy or isn't fully cooked (including veggies) or peeled. It is best to use boiled or bottled water to make ice or brush your teeth. Nothing too much to worry about, just a couple of things to pay attention to.

You'll want to pay attention to the weather too. Dry season in Senegal is from December to April with cool, refreshing Trade Winds, while monsoon winds bring on the hot & humid rainy season from May to November.

Once you've gotten the sights and sounds of Senegal into your head, it won't matter much. Shopping is quite exciting with markets bursting with color. Great gifts to bring home include embroidered items, pottery, and wood carvings.

Dakar's nightlife is just as colorful as its market, with live music, nightclubs, and concerts. Senegal's Grand Mosque is a quieter affair--too bad its closed to the public, but you can see the outside from Dakar's bustling Medina.

If you've decided to drive on your own from Dakar, it is best to do it in the daytime--and police checkpoints are common. You'll also need an international or French drivers license. Best to take a metered taxi or Bush Taxi instead. You'll save a few Francs if you hail one on the street instead of calling ahead.

Consider taking the train for long distances as Senegal has some 761 miles of track. You can even get to Dakar from Bamako in Mali--and kids (ages 3-9) get a discounted rate.

A more expensive option are the Sea Shuttles, and there's ferry service to/from Dakar to Zinguinchor--a trip that can take some 20 hours. Just consider it another adventure in Senegal.

Seychelles

It isn't possible to do all 115 islands of the Seychelles in one visit. Not that it's a bad thing, consider it an excuse to come back year after year.

Just make sure you've got your passport and return ticket with you--otherwise you're not getting in. No worries about getting a visa, you don't need it. What you do need is proof that you've got sufficient funds for your stay.

Located 1500km off the eastern coast of Africa, this island paradise is a birdwatchers nirvana. You'll find so many tropical species throughout its mere 455 square miles--making it almost look easy to spot all of them; especially in April and May, the best time of year to do it.

To see some other stunning wildlife head to Aldabra, the world's largest atoll. This UNESCO site of 13 islands shows off giant land tortoises.

Deep sea fishing is big in the Seychelles, where many a fisherman comes to tackle the Marlins every year from October to December.

That's not the only fish you'll find around here, many make their way onto your plate. A seafood lovers paradise, the Seychelles' African, Chinese, English, French, Creole, and Indian influences make the lobsters and octopus dishes taste scrumptious. Wash it down with a Seybrew, a local beer that's kind of like a lager from Germany.

Don't worry a bit about eating or drinking in this area of Africa; water's safe, dairy's safe, and so is just about everything else.

Nothing to stand in your way of waterskiing, windsurfing, snorkeling, sailing, or SCUBA diving. Throughout the islands of the Seychelles, divers are delighted by all sorts of caves, tunnels, and sea cliffs.

Over at La Digue you've got land lubber sites, like the Botanical Gardens and old mansions, as well as plantations and the National Museum.

The only thing you really need to pay attention to (other than the landscape) is the weather. While technically out of the "cyclone belt", monsoon rains hit between November and April. From May to October the Trade Winds bring on some cooler weather.

All the better to hit up the markets to buy some pottery, textiles, and jewellery. Better buy some alcohol when you can, as its OK to drink the stuff anytime of day--it isn't legal to sell it anytime of day. Just don't let the authorities see you drinking the stuff in public; and never while you're driving.

But with the Seychelles' kilometer after kilometer of beaches, there's really no need to drive anywhere. Except maybe to catch a charter boat to another one of its 115 islands.

Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone , officially the Republic of Sierra Leone, is a country in West Africa. It is bordered by Guinea in the north, Liberia in the southeast, and the Atlantic Ocean in the southwest. Sierra Leone covers a total area of 71,740 km2 (27,699 sq mi) and has a population estimated at 6.4 million. The country is a constitutional republic comprising three provinces and the Western Area, which are further divided into fourteen districts.

The country has a tropical climate, with a diverse environment ranging from savannah to rainforests. Freetown is the capital, largest city and economic center. English is the official language, spoken at schools, government administration and by the media. However, the Krio language (a language derived from English and several African languages and native to the Sierra Leone Krio people) is the most widely spoken language in virtually all parts of the country. The Krio language is spoken by 97% of the country's population and unites all the different ethnic groups, especially in their trade and interaction with each other. Despite its common use throughout the country, the Krio language has no official status. In December 2002, Sierra Leone’s President Ahmad Tejan Kabbah named Bengali as an "official language" in recognition of the work of 5,300 troops from Bangladesh in the peace-keeping force.

The Sierra Leone government officially recognizes fifteen ethnic groups, each with its own language and customs. The two largest and most influential are the Mende and Temne peoples, with each comprising 30% of the population.

Sierra Leone is very rich in minerals and has relied on mining, especially diamonds, for its economic base. The country is among the top 10 diamond producing nations in the world, and mineral exports remain the main foreign currency earner. Sierra Leone also claims to be home to the third largest natural harbour in the world, the Queen Elizabeth II Quay (also known as the QE II Quay and locally as the Deep Water Quay or Government Wharf).

Somalia

Somalia today makes headlines, not for its incredible beaches and coral reefs, but for its politics. The United States and United Kingdom have both issued travel warnings for its citizens not to travel to Somalia or Somalialand--but one day travelers may be able to come to the capital city of Mogadishu and beyond. In a perfect world everyone would get to enjoy Somalia's pristine beaches on the shores of the Indian Ocean and Gulf of Aden. Diving along the coral reefs, that extend all the way to Kenya, is a SCUBA dream dive.

History lovers (or land lubbers) might prefer visiting Las Geel, a UNESCO site of Neolithic cave paintings. Wouldn't that be prehistoric lovers? Animal lovers will fall in love with all the game at Kismayu National Park; and even more rarer species of animals are found at Hargeisa National Park. There are a number of restrictions to see all this in Somalia. One thing to know is the visa you need before arrival in Somalia isn't valid in Somalialand. Get a visa for both if you're going to travel between the northern and southern parts of the country.

Somalia experiences two rainy seasons, the first from March to JUne, the other from September to December. August's dry monsoon winds don't bring rain, only dust clouds. And from January to March the weather is exceptionally hot.

Water is a must, but make sure its either boiled or bottled. Don't swim in fresh water for any reason, unless it's a chlorinated pool. Make sure all your meat and veg are cooked, and all fruit is peeled.

As Somalia is a Muslim country, alcohol is illegal--making the drink of choice, not wine or a cold beer, but Chai or black tea. This also means there are no nightclubs in the traditional sense, but a number of places have live bands. No drinking necessary if you're going to shop. Some of the best Somali bargains include wood carvings, silver jewelery, and basketry.

Getting around can be rougher than haggling for a bargain. Roads can be difficult to navigate outside the capital city, but there are two airlines that offer flights between all major places in the country. Ferry service exists, but so does the chance of pirates. Best to take a minibus or shared taxi to get from place to place. Then again, in a perfect world, all modes of travel would be easy. If anything, travel to Somalia will teach you a lesson in patience--something definitely needed in a perfect world.

South Africa

Thanks to the Discovery Channel's Shark Week, so many more people know about South Africa's breaching Great Whites than ever before. Not only is this a reason for scientists to come to this vibrant country, but for you as well.

Don't worry, you're not coming to be shark food. No, you're coming to experience the wonders of penguins, the charm and grace of "Victorian" Cape Town, or to take the ultimate safari in Kruger National Park.

This isn't even the half of it in South Africa. There are vineyards (south Africa makes some great vino) along the famous Route 62, mountain trails in Drakensburg, and even golf.

It's easy to start your trip to South Africa in Johannesburg, a city that's home to the Apartheid Museum. The story of the museum tells the tales of a divided South Africa, and your ticket tells you from which entrance you're "allowed" to enter.

Graceful Cape Town, and South Africa's capital city, is famous for its Victoria & Albert Waterfront that's framed by a craft market, shops, and even an aquarium.

From here you can visit the world-famous Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens, visit Table Mountain, or see the penguins along Boulder Beach. Watch out if you're driving, these black & white buggers don't make for easy maneuvering.

As with much of wild animals, you don't know what they're gonna do--but, thankfully, you'll know where they are. Kruger National P{ark is one of the most famous places for a safari to see zebra, giraffe, and lions.

You'll have to head to Durban if you want to see animals under the water. From here you can go reef diving, see turtles, or do a shark dive. If you're here in the winter, usually June to September, you can see whales making their annual migration.

Winter can be cool here in South Africa, while summer (November-March) temps can be scorching. Many find it to be too hot for game drives during the Christmas season--and crowded as well, since many South Africans are often on holiday. It's also not unheard of for many a tropical rain to hit the country during the summer months.

The weather doesn't stop South Africans from enjoy some other activities, like rugby or soccer. Cape Town is great for jazz concerts and events, while restaurants and bars are found all over.

What you won't find all over is the super luxurious train that runs from Cape Town to Pretoria. Regular trains will also take you long distances from Cape Town to Port Elizabeth, Durban, and Johannesburg. Going around local? Keep in mind, taxis can be a tad on the expensive side. Best to save your money for buying locally made goods like sandstone sculpture or beadwork.

Or, you could save it to do another shark dive--in a cage, of course. You don't want to be shark food before you've seen the rest of South Africa.

Sudan

Sudan is a country in northeastern Africa. It is the largest country in Africa, and the Arab World, and tenth largest in the world by area. It is bordered by Egypt to the north, the Red Sea to the northeast, Eritrea and Ethiopia to the east, Kenya and Uganda to the southeast, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Central African Republic to the southwest, Chad to the west and Libya to the northwest. The world's longest river, the Nile, divides the country between east and west sides.

A member of the United Nations, Sudan also maintains membership with the AU, LAS, OIC and NAM, as well as serving as an observer in WTO. Its capital is Khartoum, which serves as the political, cultural and commercial center of the nation, while Omdurman remains the largest city. Among Sudan's population of 42 million people, Sunni Islam is the official and largest religion, while Arabic and English are the official languages.

Swaziland

The Kingdom of Swaziland (Umbuso weSwatini), sometimes called Ngwane, is a landlocked country in Southern Africa, bordered to the north, south and west by South Africa, and to the east by Mozambique. The nation, as well as its people, are named after the 19th century king Mswati II.

Swaziland is a small country, no more than 200 km north to south and 130 km east to west. The western half is mountainous, descending to a lowveld region to the east. The eastern border with Mozambique and South Africa is dominated by the escarpment of the Lebombo Mountains. The climate is temperate in the west, but may reach 40 degrees in summer in the lowveld. Rainfall occurs mainly in the summer and may reach 2 m in the west.

Tanzania

Only in Tanzania can you go from the savannah of the Serengeti to the highest peak in Africa of Mt. Kilimanjaro. Not to mention, just about everything in between.

While technically the home country to the uber-exotic Zanzibar, they're more autonomous--so for now, only think about the mainland Tanzania, which in itself has some 503 miles of coastline. Great beaches on top of it all.

The beach isn't why most people flock to Tanzania. No, it's to take game drives or a safari in places like the UNESCO Ngorongoro Crater, Selous Game Reserve, or Arusha National Park. A hot air balloon ride while a couple million wildebeest make their annual migration (November-March) is a sight to behold; and one you won't soon forget.

A game drive at the Tarangire National Park is the stuff of dreams. The elephants, zebras, and baobab trees are even wonderful than anything you've seen on the Discovery Channel.

Big game isn't regulated to just the savannah. Big game fishing is also done in Tanzania, so here's your chance to catch Marlin or Barracuda.

Bull fighting is also done here, but thankfully the animal is allowed to live at the end.

Best to take maybe a spice plantation tour if bull fighting isn't for you. Perhaps a trip to see the chimps at Lake Tanganyika.

Better yet, the Serengeti National Park that's got lions, gazelles, leopards, elephants, cheetah, and the rare white rhino. This is ultimate in a safari adventure.

Balloon Tour Serengethi

Getting around Tanzania is easy enough as there is a decent network of roads. Just avoid driving at night because of the animals--and remember to drive on the left.

Taxis are available at rail & bus stations, as well as airports. Train travel isn't the best option since cancellations due to equipment failure is frequent. A hydrofoil runs from Zanzibar to Dar es Salaam; and it'll only take about an hour & half.

Don't even think about being quick if you're gonna tackle Mt. Kilimanjaro. This massive snow capped mountain stands 19,341, and altitude sickness can kick in at a mere 3,000ft. Go slow to acclimate yourself, and once sickness has started--the only cure is to come right back down.

If you've made it all the way to the top, you'll be really far from Tanzania's markets selling African drums and wood carvings. The Maasi often sell beaded jewelry and sarongs, beautifully made gifts and souvenirs.

As if your memories of the exotic Tanzania weren't enough.

Togo

Togo (officially the Togolese Republic) is a country in West Africa bordered by Ghana to the west, Benin to the east and Burkina Faso to the north. It extends south to the Gulf of Guinea, on which the capital Lomé is located. Togo covers an area of approximately 57,000 square kilometres (22,000 sq mi) with a population of approximately 6.7 million.

Togo is a tropical, sub-Saharan nation, highly dependent on agriculture, with a climate that provides good growing seasons. The official language is French; however, there are many other languages spoken in Togo. Approximately one half of the population lives below the international poverty line of US$1.25 a day.

Togo gained its independence from France in 1960. In 1967, Gnassingbé Eyadéma led a successful military coup, after which he became president. At the time of his death in 2005, Eyadéma was the longest-serving leader in modern African history, after having been president for 38 years. In 2005, his son Faure Gnassingbé was elected president.

Tunisia

**Travel Alert : due to the terrorist acts in the very heart of travel in 2015 Tunisia tourism lies in the very balance and may not recover for years.** 
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Tunisia is a country that'll astound and bewitch you. This is a place where the shores of the Mediterranean beckon, the Sahara desert enchants, Roman ruins wisk you away to a time of gladiators and emperors, and where you're transported to the far away galaxy of Star Wars.

What's even better is Tunisia is a very modern country, and a very Westernized Muslim country where the wine flows freely and women's rights are the norm. Amazing how they manage to have it all in just 163,000 square kilometers.

Located just 100 miles south of the island of Sardinia, Tunisia borders Algeria and Libya, while the southern part of the country meets up with the Sahara Desert. Perhaps this is why the food is a blend of French (it was once a French colony), Mediterranean, Arab, and Middle Eastern influences. Try the couscous with some mint tea or Ahwa arbi (Turkish coffee). Delicious doesn't quite cover it.

Once you're well-fed, you'll find it easy to get around the country with an excellent network of roads if you're adventurous enough to drive on your own, although it can be an expensive option.

Good thing the rail system is much more affordable. Just remember to book early during the summer high season, especially if you're traveling first-class (just one of three classes of service).

FYI--the restored early 20th century train from Metlaoui to Redeyef is a trip in itself. A chance to turn back to a more genteel time, if you will.

The train means nothing if you don't know where you're going. Start off in the capital city of Tunis, whose Bardo Museum is said to be the best of its kind in the country--detailing a few thousand years of history. Tunis' Medina is exceptional (start practicing your haggling skills before you leave), and the city is bustling with cafes and cinemas. Who cares if they're mainly in Arabic or French, the country's official languages.

Kairouan started as a 7th century medieval town, now its Medina is a great place to find sculpture made from olive wood, pottery, and copper and brassware.

A desert safari is quite exciting, and the choice is yours if you want to do it on a camel or 4x4. Tunisia's desert is where the iconic film Star Wars was filmed at Matmata, where the Berber caves are more than a millennia old. You can spend a night at the Hotel Sidi Driss, a hotel that acted as the movie's "cantina".

Over at El Jem, the UNESCO Collosseum once held more than 30,000 spectators who cheered for their favorite Roman Gladiators. The Bulla Regia Roman Ruins is another locale for seeing the architectural genius of Ancient Rome--the awesome part is to see what they built underground.

Prefer to be above ground? The Chott El Jerid is a good place to be. These lakes run all the way to Algeria, and flood during the winter months; which coincides with the country's rainy season. Don't worry, winters are quite mild, while summer can be quite hot.

If you're soaking yourself in one of Tunisia's Hot Springs, that've been therapeutic since Roman times, you won't care one bit about the weather--as every care or worry seems to float away. Isn't that the point of a vacation?

Uganda

Things to do in Uganda : Did you know that you can go fishing in the waters and there are  seven lakes around Kisoro, which also offer duck shooting. There is a great opportunity for sport fishing at Murchison Falls National Park.
Trekking, there are some great opportunities from arid and wet lands alike popular hikes are to Karamoja, Central Circuit trail and the Sasa River Trail on Mount Elgon.



From Fort Portal, explore the Ruwenzori Mountains, the hot springs at Bundibugyo and the Semluke Wildlife Reserve
Adrenaline Junkie ?
>> White-water rafting along the rapids of the White Nile

Of course Uganda is a popular Year Round Safari Destination.

Thanks to some high altitude, the country of Uganda experiences much cooler temperatures than its other Equatorial contemporaries, like the Sudan and Kenya.It makes it all the better to experience the wonder of it all.

The highest point in Uganda is Mt. Elgon, which happens to see some snow all year round. The wintery capped peaks don't stop Uganda from having beautiful botanical gardens, like the National Botanical Gardens in Entebbe. It must be Entebbe's tropical rainforest climate that helps grows these beauties.

The former capital city lies along famous Lake Victoria (with a lakeside beach, no less, just 23 miles from Uganda's new capital of Kampala. It's all about the history and culture here, with everything from churches to mosques, Kabaka Tombs and the Uganda Museum.

As with much of Africa, no trip is ever done without a safari of some sort. The Budongo Forest Resever, the Kasyoha Forest, and Murschison Falls National Park are the best to see many of the country's local wildlife. With 10 wildlife reserves and some seven sanctuaries, there's always a way to see the animals.

One original way to hit the rapids along the White Nile is also another way to see the hippos and crocs. And close to Jinja is the source of the eternal Nile River, which makes its way northward to Egypt.

Other exciting adventures await you here, try mountain trekking, fishing, shopping, and eating. Yes, eating can be an adventure, especially when fried crickets and Waragi (an alcoholic drink made from millet) are on the menu.

Shopping is another sport, so to speak. Get your bartering skills sharp to get the best deals on woven goods, pottery, and wood carvings.

All you need now is your passport, a visa, and a return ticket home. You'll also need an umbrella if you're going to be here during heavy rainy season between March and May, October and November.

Wet is wet, no matter language you speak. But, good thing English is the official language--so making your way around can be relatively easy. That is if you remember not to take any long-distance, overnight buses.

Other than that, getting around can be done by ferry, that'll take you to the Ssese Islands; or, grab a black & white taxi in most major towns.

Remember to take some bottled water with you, as local tap isn't safe to drink. Be sure you've gotten all your vaccinations before leaving home. Don't let anything stop you from experiencing the uber-fabulous Uganda.

Western Sahara

Western Sahara is a largely Moroccan-controlled territory in North Africa, bordered by Morocco to the north, Algeria to the northeast, Mauritania to the east and south, and the Atlantic Ocean to the west. Its surface area amounts to 266,000 square kilometres (103,000 sq mi). It is one of the most sparsely populated territories in the world, mainly consisting of desert flatlands. The largest city is Laâyoune, which is home to over half of the population of the territory, in total estimated at just more than 500,000.

Zambia

Sometimes the best things about traveling to another country isn't what you can see, but what you can eat or drink. Isn't it even better when you've got them both all in the same place? Welcome to Zambia, a place where you've got everything from safaris to Rhino lager.

Nestled along the Zambezi River, the country of Zambia is 752,000 square kilometers of nightlife, wildlife, and good food & drink to share with friends.

Getting around Zambia is easy enough, with a good network of roads and frequent bus serivce. A 2-class rail system will bring you from the capital city of Lusaka to Livingstone--where you can bungee jump a whopping 111 meters over the Zambezi.

Bordering neighboring Zimbabwe, Victoria Falls plunges more than three times that distance at a staggering 345 feet. From the Zambia side you can go right up to the falls for the best views.

The Zambezi River isn't just for bungee jumping, mind you. Canoeing along this epic African river is a treat all its own. A great way to see some local wildlife.

A walking safari is too, Some of the country's National Parks offer everything from antelope that are unique to the area, as well as everything from buffalo and 350 species of bird at the North Luangwa National Park; and hippos, lions, and zebra in the South Luangwa Park.

The Kasanka National Park has some eight lakes and four rivers, so you'll always be surprised at what you'll find here.

There's nothing like talking over the sights and sounds of your safari, so share some local Baobob White (it's made from the Baobob tree) or Rhino lager while noshing on some salmon or Nile Perch.

Once you're well-fed, you're ready to tackle many of Zambia's outdoor markets. You can buy everything from pottery to beadwork, copperware to ornate carvings.

Of course, if you're in the mood to gamble, look no further than the casinos in Livingstone--which also has some happening nightlife.

All you need to enjoy Zambia is a passport, visa (some countries are upon arrival, but best to check with the consulate beforehand), and return ticket. And don't forget to get vaccinations against TB, Malaria, Yellow Fever, Typhoid, and Hepititis A & B.

A good way to stay healthy is to drink bottled or boiled water, make sure your veg and meat are well cooked, and your fruits peeled.

Make sure the weather is going to suit you too. There are three seasons in Zambia where its cool & dry from May to September; hot & dry October and November; and hotter & rainy from December to April.

Some would think, Who would want to take a walking safari in the rain? Here in Zambia you'd be crazy not to.

Zanzibar

Zanzibar is a part of Tanzania, East Africa.

If Zanzibar had an autograph book it would list an amazing list of a "who's who" that have been here before you. This is a land of Marco Polo (the totally famous explorer) and Freddie Mercury (the totally iconic singer of Queen).

The only difference? Marco Polo came here for the country's rich spices for trade, Freddie Mercury was actually born here.

You too can follow in Mr. Polo's and Mercury's footsteps once you've arrived on this slice of island heaven in the Indian Ocean. Technically, it belongs to Tanzania but has been semi-autonomous for quite some time.

They do have their own visa and vaccination requirements--and it's best to check with the consulate for the most uptodate information. You will, of course, need a passport--but some citizens are able to get visas before departing some other African airports like Dar es Salaam.

Marco might've come for the spices, but many of folks coming to Zanzibar today are here for the most exquisite diving sites in the world. As if that's not enough, you can do just about anything and every in or around the water that's humanly possible. Make sure you've given yourself plenty of time to try kayaking, deep sea fishing, windsurfing, and waterskiing.

Snorkeling is also on the activity menu, and Prison Island is said to be one of the best places to do it. The coral reefs and marine national parks around the archipelago of Zanzibar really are legendary.

Pembra is also great for diving, a nature area that's less touristy. Great if you want the beach and water all to yourself. With Zanzibar's weather averaging year-round in the 80s, the water's perfect for just about everyone.

And as this is the former haunt of Marco Polo, Zanzibar is quite historical. Stone Town is a UNESCO site of winding alleys and bazaars. A total labyrinth leading from shops to mosques.

FYI--Zanzibarians are way too polite not to shoo you away from any of the island's 51 mosques. Etiquette on the island is not to visit any of them if you aren't Muslim.

Take the time instead to look for all 560 carved doors, a long gone tradition of a family's status by way of its ornately carved entryways.

Another no-no is no collecting shells while you're out diving. The balance of the eco-system is delicate, so what you pull off could endanger the life of the reef for those who come after you.

What is plucked from the sea by professionals often winds up on your plate. Zanzibar is one of the best places for the freshest seafood, and where chefs make the most of the plentiful lobsters, crab, and prawns.

Food and festivals go hand-in-hand. One of the biggest festivals is the Zanzibar Culture Festival at the end of July. There's everything from canoe races to bull fighting, music, dance, and stunning arts & crafts.

In early November Zanibar hosts the International Triathlon and Marathon, where some of Europe and Africa's best athletes compete.

After all this activity sometimes its just best to relax. Take a sunset cruise, or just chill out at your rented cottage or at the 5-star luxury resorts on the island.

With any luck you'll run into someone famous, getting them to sign your autograph book.

Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe is without a doubt the best African safari country on the continent. More than 10 percent of its 390,000 square kilometers is set aside as either a national park or wildlife reserve. Not to mention, the weather is pretty temperate thanks to its location in a higher altitude.

The excellent roads make it easy to get around, making game viewing quite simple. As if seeing elephant and rhino is an everyday occurance to most of the world.

An exciting way to see Zimbabwe is to take a 3 to 10 day canoeing safari. The best time is from April to November, when the weather isn't too hot or rainy. Just so you know, hot & dry season runs August to October, rainy season from November to March.

As much as trying to see the 40,000 elephants in the Hwange National Park is one of the best experiences of your life, so is trying some game meat like crocodile tail, warthog, or ostrich.

C'mon, be adventurous--you can always wash it down with most maize beer called Whawha. Shopping is big here, mostly for copper, wood carvings, and pottery. Outside the big cities you won't find much nightlife, mostly a few nightclubs and theaters.

Bigger than nightlife in Zimbabwe is golf. There are 40 golf clubs throughout the country--so practice your swing. And speaking of big, there's nothing much bigger than the ever fabulous Victoria Falls, which borders Zambia.

There are some smaller waterfalls in the Nyanga National Park, which is great for fishing. The fishing is good at Lake Kariba and along the Zambezi River too.

If history is what you're after, the city of Bulawayo is it. This city is home to the National Museum, Khami ruins, and ancient rock paintings.

When Zimbabwe is what you're after, make sure you've secured your passport and visa. For folks arriving from the USA and Australia (and a handful of other countries) can receive their visa upon arrival. Otherwise, check with the consulate before departing.

A few vaccinations are necessary, mostly for Tyhphoid, Hepititis A & B, and Tuberculosis. A Yellow Fever vaccination is only necessary if you're arriving from an infected area.

To stay safe during your stay, drink or brush your teeth with boiled or bottled water; and avoid swimming in any fresh water. Chlorinated pools are the exception to this.

Then again, with Zimbabwe's temperate weather--you might not have to cool off. All the better to do more game drives, or eat more warthog.