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Pyramids in Cairo

6 African countries you'd be crazy not to visit

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postedApril 2, 2020
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With Egypt in the north and South Africa at the lower tip, Africa is a fascinating continent with endless ways for visitors to connect with its diverse destinations. The natural beauty and cultural riches are on display as travelers explore the different regions of the continent. Here is a look at six African nations and the NTA members who specialize in these intriguing countries:
Great Sphinx of Giza
Great Sphinx of Giza (Photo by Egyptian Educational Travel)

Egypt

In-country partner: Egyptian Educational Travel (EET)

Company overview: Egypt is a place that is steeped in the religious traditions of three Abrahamic faiths—Christianity, Judaism, and Islam—and EET offers faith-based tours highlighting each. The company also covers the country’s renowned cultural and historical sites.

Sample tour: As part of the company’s Pyramids and Pharaohs itinerary, travelers spend 12 days exploring Cairo, the Great Pyramids, Luxor, Karnak, and the Valley of the Kings. A four-night luxury cruise on the Nile is included.

Country fun fact: In addition to its ancient sites, Egypt is a hotbed for snorkeling. The Red Sea, along the country’s east coast, is home to a number of top diving spots, including ones near the town of Sharm El Sheikh.

To learn more, email Romani Gaballa or go to egyptianedutravel.com.


Manuscript at the Monastery of Na’akueto La’ab near Lalibela
Manuscript at the Monastery of Na’akueto La’ab near Lalibela (Photo by CC Flickr/A.Davey: bit.ly/2SiTabr)

Ethiopia

In-country partner: Ghion Travel and Tours

Company overview: Through the company’s religious, adventure, cultural, and educational tours, travelers can discover Ethiopia’s riches. Special-event packages include tours based on the Meskel Festival in Addis Ababa (late September) and Christmas and Easter celebrations at Lalibela.

Sample tour: The nine-day Northern Historic Route Tour of Ethiopia takes participants to the country’s renowned monuments, edifices, and churches that date back centuries. Featured stops are the 11 rock churches of Lalibela, UNESCO-recognized Gonder Castle, Lake Tana, the Blue Nile Gorge, and Addis Ababa.

Country fun fact: Coffee is a staple of Ethiopian life, and visitors can take part in a traditional coffee ceremony—an important ritual signifying friendship. And, yeh, they get to sample the local Joe.

To learn more, email Yoseph Getnet Teshale or go to tourghion.com.


Cheetahs in the wild
Cheetahs in the wild (Photo by Globetrotters Travel & Tours)

Kenya

In-country partner: Globetrotters Travel and Tour

Company overview: Globetrotters provides land arrangements for groups touring Africa, Europe, and Australasia, with a focus on religious pilgrimages, special-interest tours, and unique experiences. Peter Craddick is based in Mombasa, and he coordinates the company’s African programs.

Sample tour: The Kenyan wildlife and coast are combined on a six-day tour. The bulk of the time is spent at four different game reserves: Maasai Mara National Reserve, Hells Gate National Park, Amboseli National Park, and Taita Hills. The program concludes with a relaxing day alongside the Indian Ocean at Mombasa’s Diani Beach.

Country fun fact: Speaking of Diani Beach, that area is a great place for kitesurfing. Adventurers can take advantage of the consistent, reliable winds and soar above the clear blue lagoon, reef, and nearby forests.

To learn more, email Peter Craddick or go to gttnt.com.


African penguins at Boulders Beach
African penguins at Boulders Beach (Photo by Pat Henderson)

South Africa

In-country partner: Embrace South Africa Tours

Company overview: The company takes travelers on behind-the-scenes, deep-dive experiences throughout South Africa. Tours connect visitors with locals and help them discover the country’s natural beauty, historical sites, faith traditions, culinary scenes, and the story of Mandela.

Sample tour: South Africa–A Beautiful Mix is a 12-day sampler that covers a lot of ground. Time is split between the Cape Town and the Johannesburg areas, and highlights include visits to Table Mountain, Robben Island, the Cape Winelands, the Johannesburg Apartheid Museum, and Soweto. The package also includes a two-day safari near Pretoria.

Country fun fact: In addition to being home to the Big Five safari animals, South Africa is one of only a few nations with a large penguin population. Boulders Beach, located just south of Cape Town, is home to a colony of African penguins.

To learn more, email Deon Kitching or go to embracesouthafricatours.com.


Safari at Ngorongoro Crater
Safari at Ngorongoro Crater (Photo by Pat Henderson)

Tanzania

In-country partner: Pongo Safaris & Tours Limited

Company overview: Pongo Safaris & Tours has 38 years of experience organizing tours in Tanzania and other African nations. The company specializes in personalized safari packages throughout Tanzania that cover the country’s many national parks and game reserves.

Sample tour: Those seeking a big-game experience can choose from Pongo’s popular tours in the northern and southern parts of Tanzania. Northern itineraries often combine the Serengeti, Ngorongoro Crater, and the Kilimanjaro area, and southern packages feature Mikumi National Park, Selous Game Reserve, and Udzungwa National Park.

Freddie Mercury house in Zanzibar's Stone Town
Courier's Pat Henderson at the Freddie Mercury House

Country fun fact: Stone Town on the island of Zanzibar is known for its interesting architecture and Swahili-style doors that feature brass studs and intricate carvings. The historical town also was the birthplace of Queen singer Freddie Mercury, and visitors can go to his namesake house museum.

To learn more, email Scholastica Ponera or go to pongosafaris.com.


Victoria Falls
Victoria Falls (Photo by CC Flickr/flowcomm: bit.ly/2SCkctd)

Zambia

In-country partner: Zamag Tours & Safaris

Company overview: For the past 30 years, Daphne Lindsay has been involved in planning and leading safari and agricultural tours in Africa. She and her husband, Ian, founded Zambia-based Zamag Tours & Safaris, and they offer itineraries that cover Zambia, Zimbabwe, and Botswana.

Sample tour: Safari packages in Zambia showcase hippos, zebras, elephants, and leopards, as well as some of the nation’s signature outdoor attractions: Kafue National Park, Victoria Falls, and South Luangwa National Park.

Country fun fact: Lindsay says there are more than 70 different languages spoken in Zambia, and each tribe also has its own cultures and ceremonies. “Our clients might visit a local village and learn about traditional customs and daily living, or they might visit a school and meet the children and teachers.”

To learn more, email Daphne Lindsay or go to zamagsafaris.com.

Top photo:  Giza pyramid complex near Cairo, Egypt
Photo by CC Flickr/Hungarian Snow: bit.ly/38QACoQ