The backpacker tours you can do on your gap year in Africa are almost as diverse as the continent itself. Africa in general is often simplified as one place in the world's press (and certain charity singles) and the whole continent has something of a bad reputation, but as anyone who has travelled there will tell you, the situation is far more complex than we're sometimes led to believe.
Many African backpacker tours are focussed on the extraordinary diversity of wildlife, which includes the classic Big 5 - elephant, rhino, leopard, lion and buffalo - and then some. You can also join more culturally focused tours, which take you into the heart of traditional tribes and communities, like the Masai Mara in Kenya.
While some countries, like Mali, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Liberia, are currently off limits, most countries are perfectly safe and have been for years. These include places like South Africa, Tanzania, Ghana and Morocco.
Wander medinas and Roman ruins, camel ride in the Sahara, spend a night in a desert tent and a mountain gîte, enjoy Moroccan fare at a local home, shop in Essaouira and see blue Chefchaouen.
Hang in Casablanca before a homestay in Moulay Idriss, see lots of cool old stuff in Fes, ride to Todra Gorge, visit Dades Valley and Ait Benhaddou. Finish with the high Atlas and Marrakech.
Encounter exotic wildlife in Kruger National Park, get off the mainstream tourist trail while spending a night in the community of Shalati, witness a traditional dance, do it all in just four days.
Escape to Madagascar – the magical island which is home to some of the world’s most spectacular and least explored dive sites, all the while you can work on a conservation project.
From Ottoman Istanbul, the battlefields of Gallipoli, Roman ruins, the Aegean Coast and the mineral pools of Pamukkale to the Pyramids, the Valley of the Kings and sailing in Egypt.
Roam the Serengeti National Park, nearly 15,000km2 of rolling savanna that shelters an astounding array of animals from miniature dik-dik antelopes to lions and the noble African elephant.
This short but exciting trip combines three of southern Africa’s most phenomenal sites: Hwange and Kruger national parks and the breathtaking Victoria Falls.
Experience the culture of Cape Town, spot wildlife in Etosha National Park, cruise the Okavango Delta in a dug-out canoe, meet the San Bushmen, marvel at Fish River Canyon and Victoria Falls.
The ultimate African adventure tour. See chimps in Kenya’s Kibale Forest, elephants in Uganda and go on a gorilla safari in Rwanda. This tour is unforgettable.
The slave trade may have been abolished centuries ago, but evidence of the slave trade remains. Join this tour to see the sites which once held slaves, destined for a life on another continent.