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Why Visit Africa?

Africa, the world’s second-largest continent, spans 30.2 million square kilometers, showcasing diverse geography and cultures. Vast, sandy deserts and wildlife-rich savannas contrast with stunningly lush rainforests and bustling cities as old as time. Over 1.3 billion people and some of the world’s most incredible (and dangerous) wildlife call Africa home.

Known as the “Cradle of Humankind” where man first evolved, Africa’s role in history is significant. From the pyramids of Egypt and the Great Sphinx to ancient mosques and rock-hewn churches, the Mother Continent is a fascinating place to visit.

By air
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How to Reach Africa by Air

Flying is the easiest and most popular way to get to Africa. There are 46+ international airports to choose from. Hundreds of major cities worldwide offer direct flights to popular destinations in Africa.

  • From North America and Europe: Direct and connecting flights to tourism hotspots in Africa like Johannesburg, Cairo, and Lagos are widely available from North America and Europe. Flights to Africa depart from cities like New York City, Atlanta, London, and Paris with airlines like Delta, United, British Airways, and South African Airways flying African routes. Average direct flight times to Africa range from 10-15 hours with longer durations for connecting flights.
  • From Europe: Europe offers excellent air connectivity to African destinations from major cities like London, Paris, Amsterdam, and Frankfurt. You’ll find lots of direct and connecting flights from Europe offered by airlines like British Airways, Air France, KLM, and Lufthansa. Average European flight times to Africa range from 7-11 hours.
  • From Asia: Travelers from Asia can catch frequent direct flights to Africa from cities like Mumbai, Dubai, or Beijing. Airlines like Emirates, Qatar Airways, and Ethiopian Airlines fly direct or connecting flights to popular African destinations. The average flight time varies based on your departure airport and route, but most flights to Africa from Asia take 8-12 hours.
  • From South America: Your best option when flying to Africa from South America is hopping on a connecting flight with a layover in Europe or North America. Direct flights to Africa from South America are limited. With layovers adding to the flight duration, you can expect average flight times over 20 hours from South America.
  • Within Africa: Africa has an extensive network of domestic airlines for traveling within the continent. Major hubs in cities like Addis Ababa, Nairobi, and Johannesburg make it easy to move around Africa by plane. Flight durations vary depending on your route but are relatively short for intra-Africa travel.
How Long Is the Flight to Africa?

The average flight time to Africa can vary significantly depending on the departure city. Here are approximate flight times from some of the most common origins:

  • Sydney, Australia: Approximately 18 hours​
  • New York, USA: About 12 hours and 50 minutes​
  • London, UK: Around 7 hours and 4 minutes​
  • Paris, France: Approximately 6 hours and 39 minutes​
  • Beijing, China: About 15 hours and 2 minutes​
  • São Paulo, Brazil: Around 9 hours and 45 minutes​
  • Los Angeles, USA: Approximately 21 hours and 14 minutes​

These durations are estimates and may vary based on specific routes, airlines, and other factors such as wind speeds.

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By road
How to Reach Africa by Road

Traveling to Africa by road can be complex because the continent is so massive and road conditions can be hit or miss. Seasonal rains can wash out dirt roads or make them impassable for months at a time.

We don’t recommend road travel for long-distance travel, but you can explore the following options for shorter distances:

  • Within Africa: Public and private transportation (buses, minibuses, and taxis) can shuttle you between major cities with ease. Some regions have well-maintained road networks, but others have more challenging road conditions. Research and planning are essential if you’ll be traveling via roads between cities.
  • Cross-Border Travel: If you plan to travel between African countries by road, you should check the visa and border requirements, road conditions, and safety advisories for each country you intend to visit. Some borders are hotspots for conflict and crime.
By water
How to Reach Africa by Water

Traveling to Africa by water is much less common than air or road travel, but it can be a unique and leisurely experience in some circumstances.

  • Cruises: Cruises to Africa are becoming more popular. Many cruise lines offer itineraries that include stops in major African ports like Cape Town, Durban, and Dakar. You can find cruises to Africa departing from Europe, North and South America, and Asia. Your cruise may focus on exploring Africa’s coastal beauty, stopping at historical sites, or offering a floating tour of the continent’s vibrant cultures.
  • Ferries: Africa’s neighboring islands, like the Canary Islands and Madagascar, run ferries to several African coastal cities. If you want to take an island-hopping adventure or travel from islands to the mainland, ferries can be a great option.
  • Private Yachts: If you have access to a private yacht, you can explore Africa’s coastal areas in luxury and comfort. You’ll find that many African ports and marinas accommodate private yachts with a range of facilities and services available at each.
  • Cargo Ships: It’s uncommon, but some cargo ships offer passenger accommodations on journeys to Africa. Traveling on cargo ships won’t be a luxurious trip, but it’s sure to be memorable! These voyages typically require a little more planning and flexibility in your travel schedule.
AI Disclaimer Disclaimer: This page was created with help from AI | Reviewed by: Andrew Helling, Editor-in-Chief