The origin of all human life as well as one of the largest and most fertile land masses in the world, Africa is on many people’s must-see lists. However, with few ports on the continent capable of supporting a sizeable cruise ship, most cruise itineraries that include Africa will also visit other countries, unless on a Nile River cruise. Many people will choose to visit ports in North Africa (Cairo, Safaga) as part of a wider Africa and Middle East cruise, giving them the chance to experience an even wider range of cultures in a short period of time.
The most popular part of Africa for cruising is without a doubt Egypt and whether you stick to the coast line to see great cities like Cairo or head up the Nile to the ancient Valley of the Kings there are a great many show stopping experiences to be had on a North African cruise. The Suez Canal can also be used for easy access to the Middle East with countries like Jordan and the Emirates a natural extension on many African cruises.
On the other hand, a Nile cruise gives you the opportunity to sample all of the ancient architecture that has made Egypt great. From its earliest beginnings the entire country has relied on the waters of the River Nile, meaning that about 80% of its people live within it and almost all of ancient civilization was located near to its banks. The obvious benefit of that for cruise lovers is that you can see all of the most significant parts of the country by boat.
Other popular cruise regions in Africa include the ports around Cape Town in South Africa as well as a cluster of cruise ports in French West Africa, understandably more popular amongst French-speaking tourists. Of all of the cities of Africa, Cape Town is one of the most culturally and socially diverse as well as being one of the more European-influenced cities. The city skyline is dominated by the world-famous Table Mountain, part of Table Mountain National Park. Tourists can hike or take a cable car to the top which commands some of the most majestic views in the history of tourist snapshots – the entirety of the city below, the sea and a range of other sister mountains are visible from there. The town is also well known for its white sand beaches and, of course, the African sunshine.
Other ports near Cape Town include Durban. Durban is the busiest port town in South Africa and when you see the vast stretches of golden beaches you won’t need to wonder why. The stretch of sand that passes through the city is known as the Golden Mile and is flanked by a promenade lined with glitzy hotels and restaurants. Gambling lovers will appreciate the Suncoast Casino located on the Golden Mile itself and offering high-end gaming from slots to card tables with everything in between.
As the country continues to develop you can expect more and more ports to begin to open up as well as an increasing number of operators offering itineraries in the area. For now, the most popular cruise options will, without a doubt, remain in Northern Africa with exciting forays into the Middle East.