Africa Overview

One of the most fascinating travel destinations in the world is Africa. On an area of 30.3 million square kilometers, the continent offers an undreamt-of cultural diversity. There are numerous different languages, poor and rich regions and a unique diversity of nature and animals. Find out about sights, excursion destinations and specialties of Africa.


Africa is – after Asia – the second largest continent on earth. It is surrounded by the Mediterranean Sea to the north, the Indian Ocean and the Red Sea to the east, and the Atlantic Ocean to the west.

The coastline of the continent is quite short at almost 30,500 km, measured against the size of the area, which is 30.2 million km². There is the only land connection to Eurasia; it is located on the Sinai Peninsula. Compared to the other continents, Africa has the least division; the number of islands and peninsulas is the lowest.

Africa is characterized by the largest contiguous land pass in the tropics. The continent is home to the second largest rainforest area, the Congo Basin; Most of Central and West Africa are found in tropical rainforests.

In the north there is the Sahara desert, in the south the Namib and the dry savannah Kalahari. There are large savannah areas in the so-called Sahel zone in the south of the Sahara, as well as in the east of the continent.

The smallest state (mainland) is Gambia, the largest is Algeria. Madagascar is the largest island; it is in the Indian Ocean.

Regions and states of Africa

Africa is divided into the following regions:

  • North Africa, whose countries border the Mediterranean
  • Central Africa in the heart of Africa
  • East Africa, whose countries are on the Red Sea and Indian Ocean
  • South Africa

The following table gives you an overview of all states that are located on the African continent. Sources: Countryaah

Country Capital Population (2017) Area in km²
African Union Addis Ababa 1,256,268,025 29,797,500
Egypt Cairo 97,553,151 1,001,450
Algeria Algiers 41,318,142 2,381,741
Angola Luanda 29,784,193 1,246,700
Equatorial Guinea Malabo 1,267,689 28,051
Ethiopia Addis Ababa 104,957,438 1,133,380
Benin Porto Novo 11,175,692 112,622
Botswana Gaborone 2,291,661 581,730
Burkina Faso Ouagadougou 19,193,382 274,200
Burundi Bujumbura 10,864,245 27,834
Djibouti Djibouti city 956,985 23,200
Ivory Coast Yamoussoukro 24,294,750 322,463
Eritrea Asmara 5,068,831 121,144
Gabon Libreville 2,025,137 267,667
Gambia Banjul 2,100,568 11,295
Ghana Accra 28,833,629 238,537
Guinea Conakry 12,717,176 245,857
Guinea-Bissau Bissau 1,861,283 36,125
Cameroon Yaoundé 24,053,727 475,442
Cape Verde Praia 546,388 4,036
Kenya Nairobi 49,699,862 582,646
Comoros Moroni 813,912 1,862
Democratic Republic
Kinshasa 81,339,988 2,344,858
Congo, Republic Brazzaville 5,260,750 342,000
Lesotho Maseru 2,233,339 30,355
Liberia Monrovia 4,731,906 97,754
Libya Tripoli 6,374,616 1,775,500
Madagascar Antananarivo 25,570,895 587,041
Malawi Lilongwe 18,622,104 118,484
Mali Bamako 18,541,980 1,240,192
without Western Sahara
Rabat 35,739,580 458,730
Mauritania Nouakchott 4,420,184 1,030,700
Mauritius Port Louis 1,265,138 2,040
Mozambique Maputo 29,668,834 799,380
Namibia Windhoek 2,533,794 824,292
Niger Niamey 21,477,348 1,267,000
Nigeria Abuja 190,886,311 923,768
Rwanda Kigali 12,208,407 26,338
Zambia Lusaka 17,094,130 752,614
Sao Tome and Principe Sao Tome 204,327 1,001
Senegal Dakar 15,850,567 196,722
Seychelles Victoria 94,737 454
Sierra Leone Freetown 7,557,212 71,740
Zimbabwe Harare 16,529,904 390,757
with Somaliland
Mogadishu 14,742,523 637,657
South Africa Pretoria 56,717,156 1,220,813
Sudan Khartoum 40,533,330 1,840,687
South Sudan Juba 12,575,714 619,745
Swaziland Mbabane 1,367,254 17,364
Tanzania Dodoma 57,310,019 945,087
Togo Lomé 7,797,694 56,785
Chad N’Djamena 14,899,994 1,284,000
Tunisia Tunis 11,532,127 163,610
Uganda Kampala 42,862,958 241,548
Western Sahara El Aaiún 552,628 252,120
Central African
Bangui 4,659,080 622,984

A land of diversity and contrasts

A trip to Africa is the dream of many people, because nowhere in the world are opposites so close together as on this continent. The diversity of Africa is evident in the more than 2000 independent languages spoken on the continent.

Of the 2,000 languages, around 50 are major languages, each spoken by over a million people. This also includes the colonial languages such as

  • English
  • French
  • Portuguese
  • German
  • Spanish
  • Italian and
  • Dutch,

which are still widespread and are still actively spoken today. The large number of national parks is typical of Africa. The African UNESCO World Heritage is just as diverse.

Experience Africa traditionally

This variety of languages often does not make it easy for travelers, but in most cases English, French and German make it easy to get around, especially in tourist areas. However, language barriers can also be easily overcome, since the African population is very open and very hospitable and tries hard to make communication possible.

In the big cities of Africa in particular, the gap between rich and poor is very clear, and a settlement of corrugated iron huts often borders a residential area. For western minds, this sight is often shocking and fascinating at the same time.

In rural areas you can often still find the original villages of small mud huts with thatched roofs and poor infrastructure. But especially this original Africa attracts vacationers from all over the world. The vastness of the country with the variety of animals that can be discovered on a safari tour, small villages with their traditional people, the centuries-old culture live daily, all that is Africa.

Many rituals are rather difficult to understand, especially for Europeans, and so the typical medicine men and dances that are regularly held for the African gods are often a bizarre sight. Anyone who visits Africa and really wants to understand a piece of this freedom and culture should put aside all prejudices and surrender to the country and its people, because only if you get involved in African life you have a chance to understand the African soul and thus experiencing the wonder of Africa, which seems to be deeply cultural and religious – and the closeness to nature of the African peoples does the rest.

53 states belong to the continent Africa and these states could not be more different. From Egypt to Somalia, from Mauritius to Nigeria, the cultures of the individual countries are often very far from each other and so the impressions that holidaymakers collect in individual countries are not necessarily typical of Africa. The economic situation also looks very different in the individual countries, and so do the social differences.

Worthwhile excursion destinations and sights

Africa has a unique landscape and special destinations. Many of them are part of the UNESCO World Heritage. In the following, we try to give you a few tips on places to visit.

The diversity of the individual continents

It would hardly be possible to name all the highlights and sights of Africa. Each of the continents shines with different highlights; We have summarized below what you can expect in the countries there.

North Africa

  • In Egypt you can find pyramids, beaches, ancient cultures, but also package tourism
  • Libya awaits with historical cities, national parks and dunes
  • In Morocco, the royal cities and the Atlas Mountains are worth seeing
  • Tunisia is known for package holidays, ancient sites, beaches and cultural assets

Central Africa

There are numerous national parks in Central Africa, so safaris are particularly popular here. Are worthwhile goals

  • Botswana
  • Kenya
  • Zimbabwe and
  • Tanzania.

South Africa

A popular destination in South Africa is primarily Namibia with its national park, deserts and the capital Windhoek, which is well worth seeing. Read here what else there is to discover in this region.

Also worthwhile…:

Safaris through the national parks

Safaris through Africa are popular; these are particularly common in South Africa. Here you can follow in the footsteps of the ” Big Five ” and spend the night in unusual accommodations such as lodges. Read here what to expect on a safari through Africa.

The numerous national parks in Africa and also the most popular destinations for a safari in Africa include:

  • the Serengeti National Park
  • the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
  • the Chobe National Park
  • the Kalahari Gemsbok National Park
  • the Makgadikgadi Pans National Park
  • the Jozani National Park
  • that is the Okavango Delta
  • the Kruger National Park


A paradisiacal archipelago in the middle of the Indian Ocean are the Seychelles, which are located northeast of Madagascar. The greatest attraction of the Seychelles is its dreamy white sandy beaches. But divers also get their money’s worth there.

In addition, Mahe, the largest island in the Seychelles, has several nature reserves and national parks with a huge variety of species. So there are among other things

  • Giant tortoises
  • Geckos
  • Chameleons or
  • Orchids.

The average temperatures on the islands are between 26 and 28 degrees Celsius all year round, while the water temperatures are between 23 and 28 degrees.


Another dream island in the Indian Ocean is Mauritius. They can be found about 870 kilometers east of Madagascar.

The beaches are not overcrowded and the temperatures are pleasant. Tamarin Beach in the west of the island is particularly attractive for surfers. Fantastic conditions can also be found on the beaches of Trou aux Biches and Pointe aux Piments.

Special features to consider when traveling there

To get to know Africa, you normally need a longer round trip, but whether a round trip or a single travel destination, Africa is not entirely safe in some regions and so you should inform yourself about travel warnings beforehand.

Certain areas should be bypassed as far as possible, as conditions are sometimes similar to war. Other areas are very safe travel destinations and can be easily traveled without taking any precautions.

Tips for travel planning

Africa is considered an exotic and interesting travel destination. However, such a trip is also associated with certain dangers, which is why appropriate precautionary measures should be taken. But what tips for travel prevention will help ensure that a vacation in Africa does not pose a risk to your own health?

Hygiene measures

Preparing for a trip before going on holiday in Africa begins with the fact that you have to be aware of the possible dangers that result from the poor hygienic conditions in many areas. On the one hand, it is taboo to directly consume tap water as such.

In this context, as a holidaymaker, one should be aware that this does not just exclude the direct drinking of tap water. Instead, you can only brush your teeth and prepare meals with boiled water.

The same applies to African milk, which should also be boiled first. Fruit and vegetables, on the other hand, should always be peeled and washed well before they are eaten.

Foreign health insurance, vaccinations and possible illnesses

Furthermore, it is advisable to always take out a foreign health insurance before a flight to Africa as part of the travel provisions. In Africa there are a large number of diseases that the European immune system is not prepared for, which is why many infections occur.

For this reason, however, it does not only make sense to take out international health insurance. Instead, you should get vaccinated in good time and carry medication against the most common diseases with you.

The most important vaccinations, which are even required before entering some African countries, are vaccinations against

  • tetanus
  • Hepatitis A
  • Polio and

In addition, there are a number of other classic diseases that you should be prepared for and possibly prepared for.

  • These include diseases caused by food, such as worm infectionsand gastrointestinal infections.
  • On the other hand, malaria, yellow fever, denguen fever and sleeping sickness are often transmitted by insects.
  • In the case of sexual contact, infection with hepatitis, HIV and fungi is also possible, which is why it is recommended to bring condoms with you.
  • Stray animals, on the other hand, pose a risk of rabies, whereas direct skin contact can lead to further infections such as worm infections or sand fleas.

In order to minimize the sources of risk mentioned, on the one hand, a considered and adapted behavior is essential. In addition, safety instructions from the Federal Foreign Office should be observed. Information is published here on a regular basis that helps protect holidaymakers.

Typical food and drinks

The African cuisine can be divided into several culinary regions:

  • North African cuisine
  • Ethiopian cuisine
  • Black African cuisine
  • South African cuisine

North African cuisine

The cuisine of North Africa is characterized by

  • Seafoodand fish
  • Lamb and sheep meat
  • Almonds
  • Dates and olives
  • Chickpeas as well
  • various fruitsand vegetables.

Salads are among the popular starter prices; in the main course area you will find stews in particular. Couscous is the most famous dish.

Strongly spicy dishes are typical; Spices and herbs that are commonly used are

  • nutmeg
  • cinnamon
  • cumin
  • saffron
  • Coriander and
  • mint

Flatbreads are eaten with the main course, sweet desserts with lots of honey as dessert. Water and fruit juice are drunk while eating; Tea is mainly served with desserts.

Ethiopian cuisine

A special sourdough flatbread is typical of Ethiopian cuisine. There are also various vegetable or meat-based sauces. If meat is affordable, lamb is the main one.

Vegetable stews are also popular. The spice is often very hot, especially the Berbere spice. Drinks are enough

  • Tej honey wine
  • Coffee as well
  • Tella, a simple millet beer.

Black African cuisine

The basis of this cuisine is often based on a porridge made from pounded crushed grain or roots. This is consumed instead of side dishes or bread.

Even millet, cassava and maize are used. There are also sauces and stews, often made from vegetables and rarely from meat. Cayenne pepper and salt are two of the most important spices.

South African cuisine

When it comes to South African cuisine, it can be said that there can be differences depending on the province. The different ingredients in the dishes include:

  • Lamb
  • poultry
  • Vegetables as a side dish
  • some spices and herbs such as cardamom, coriander, cinnamon, cloves, chilli and ginger

When it comes to drinks, the alcoholic forms include wine, especially white wine, and beer. Rooibos tea is also popular.

South African cuisine