When to go – October to May
Africa is a huge region packed with over 50 countries – making it ideal for exploring on a cruise holiday. Boasting a diverse range of stunning landscapes, colourful cultures, natural wonders and modern cities – there is plenty to impress even the most well-travelled visitors in this exotic continent.
Popular cruise destinations include Cape Town in South Africa, where you can take a cable car all the way to the top of the iconic Table Mountain for some spectacular views. And of course, no cruise would be complete without going on a safari, to get up close and personal with some of Africa’s biggest and most beautiful wild animals in their natural habitat.
Other popular destinations include the romantic Casablanca, Mombasa with its palm-fringed beaches, the Great Pyramids of Egypt, the imperial city of Rabat or a cruise through the 101 mile-long Suez Canal.
Start your cruise from diverse and beautiful ports such as Mombasa in Kenya or Durban in South Africa, or even take a cruise from Cape Town all the way to back to Southampton. Wherever you decide to go, an African cruise is an unforgettable holiday and one of the best ways to experience the best this vibrant continent has to offer.
As for the best time to cruise around Africa, the high season generally runs from October or November to May, while December and January are typically the busiest months.
For natural and urban charms,Cape Town has it all: beautiful craggy mountains spilling into the Atlantic Ocean, pristine sandy beaches, mountain forests and gently flowing streams. Wildlife is all around – spy zebras and wildebeest grazing on Table Mountain or watch whales breaching in False Bay. No visit is complete without a day exploring some of Cape Town’s surrounding vineyards and sampling their award-winning wines.
Beaches too are well worth coming for – Clifton offers four beautiful, white sandy beaches which are popular places to soak up the sun on the sands or aboard a yacht.
The city itself offers a distinct cosmopolitan edge. Home to some of Africa’s most innovative artists, it boasts a great range of art galleries, world-class restaurants and vegetarian eateries, trendy bars and designer shops, as well as a very well-respected jazz culture.
Dubbed “the new Bahamas” and “Portugal’s answer to the Canaries”, the islands which lie off the west coast of Africa gained independence from Portugal over thirty years ago, yet retain a certain Portuguese charm. The country positively dazzles with wide, white beaches equal to many in the Bahamas.
Cape Verde is wonderfully warm and sunny all year round. So if you don’t have anything in particular on your wish list, you’re likely to love the archipelago at any time of year.
If you have something more definite in mind – perhaps you’re an avid hiker, marlin fisherman or a windsurfer – then timing your trip right will only add to your enjoyment.
Dusty, sultry Mombasa lies at the gateway to Kenya’s glittering Indian Ocean coast. Packed onto a peninsula connected to the mainland by bridges and a ferry, this tropical city is steeped in history: Its historic fort, buildings and cosmopolitan vibe reflect the city’s age-long pedigree as a top trading centre: Swahili, Indian, African, Omani, Chinese and British traders have struck deals here since the 12th century, and dhows (traditional triangular sailed boats) still sail by.
Mombasa’s appeal lies both in its compactness and its diversity: snow-white beaches, kayas (forests), dhows, dolphins, turtles, elephants and some of the best diving and kite surfing in Africa are all within easy reach.
This coast feels wildly different from the rest of Kenya mainly thanks to Mombasa’s Swahili people who have created a unique society. Their focus on maritime trade has long connected them with distant shores, bringing an element of romance you’re unlikely to experience anywhere else in Kenya.