National Geographic Top Tours of a Lifetime: Africa

For the ninth straight year, National Geographic Traveler magazine has published its list of “50 Tours of a Lifetime.” For 2014, the continent of Africa has scored 10 of those tours, ranging from tracking lowland gorillas in the Congo to overlanding through the Sahara in Morocco, exploring voodoo culture in West Africa, and cruising from Zanzibar to wildlife-rich Madagascar on a 100-passenger vessel.

“Mystical West Africa” GeoEx 13 days, $5,550 If you thought voodoo originated in Haiti, discover its real roots in Benin, Togo and Ghana, and prepare to be amazed. “Ultimate Botswana Adventure” Audley Travel 10 days, $9,220 A child-friendly but adventurous African safari: perfect for older kids and multigenerational travelers. “Hyenas to Humpbacks” Oceanic Society 15 days, $6,280 “The classic safari, reinvented” combines wildlife viewing in Kenya with learning about local community conservation projects, for those who want to return with more than pictures. “Untouched Africa: Gorillas of the Congo Basin” Extraordinary Journeys 10 days, from $7,468 Baka Pygmies escort this trek through the rainforest to track lowland gorillas and silverbacks – how brag-worthy is that? “Namibia: Secrets Revealed” Africa Adventure Consultants 10 days, from $4,995 Namibia, one of the most photogenic countries in Africa, won’t remain a secret for long. “Mandela Landscapes” Red Savannah 7 Days, $4335 For admirers of the late South African president and freedom fighter, this tour weaves in Mandela’s life with South African history. “Beyond the Big Five: Uganda, Tanzania, & the Spice Island” Global Basecamps 17 days, $7,198 From Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable National Park to Zanzibar, if you have a taste for wild and exotic places, you’ll find them here, along with traditional safari wildlife viewings. “Voyage to Madagascar” Zegrahm Expeditions 19 days, $13,980 Visit Madagascar’s lemurs and birdlife by way of Zanzibar, Mauritius and the Indian Ocean – for small ship and wildlife lovers. “South Morocco Discovery” Dragoman 10 days, from $1,100 If you don’t have time to cross the entire Sahara, you can get a taste of it on this Moroccan desert sojourn, complete with camel ride. “Heart of African Civilization” Rothschild Safaris 16 days, $4,411 This journey hits many of the major historical and cultural landmarks in northern Ethiopia, including ancient rock churches and a bonus of spectacular mountain scenery.

Great for: Cultural aficionados and travelers who want to explore off the beaten path. Immerse yourself in a cultural exploration of ceremony and tradition of West Africa. Learn about the mystical traditions of voodoo ceremonies, mask dances, and bead making. Travel away from touristy areas towards Benin, Togo, then to Ghana along the landscapes of rain forest, swampland and coastline, and witness the region’s beautiful extremes.

Great for: Families, Wildlife enthusiasts, and Nature lovers.This award winning family tour gives you access to a private big game safari at a remote camp in the Okavango Delta. Witness hyenas, elephants, crocodiles, hippos, giraffes, and many more thriving in their natural habitats. Meet the native Bushmen and learn about their way of life, bike through the Makgadikgadi Pans, have delicious meals prepared for you over the fire, and sleep under the stars.

Kenya: From Hyenas To Humpbacks

from $6,280 for 15 days, 0 reviews

    Great for: Wildlife enthusiasts, Conservationists, and Nature lovers. This expedition takes you through National Parks in Nairobi and Kenya during migration season, and ends with a delightful twist as you snorkel and whale watch on the eastern coastline. Infused throughout the trip is an emphasis on wildlife conservation and education as you are led by a guide with a background in conservation research and who is has worked in the communities visited.

    Great for: Wildlife enthusiasts and nature lovers. Explore the Congo Basin where 16 gorilla families and 10 silverbacks reside. Visit the world's largest rainforests after those of Amazon and witness the awe-inspiring biodiversity: See western lowland gorillas, forest elephants, buffaloes, bongo antelopes, giant forest and red river hogs, leopards, African Grey parrots and many different monkey species.

    Namibia: Secrets revealed

    from $4,995 for 10 days, 0 reviews

      Great for: Wildlife enthusiasts, Archaeological buffs, and Nature lovers. Experience Namibia’s diversity of vistas, wildlife and activities while traveling with well-known naturalist guides. Learn about its ancient culture and gaze upon prehistoric rock art at the UNESCO World Heritage Site at Twyfelfontein. Visit the world renowned AfriCat Foundation and come face to face with Africa's largest cats. 

      Mandela Landscapes: South Africa

      from $4,335 for 7 days, 0 reviews

        Great for: History enthusiasts and Admirers of the late Nelson Mandela. Travel through the Transkei homeland and explore Mandela's birthplace. Enjoy a tour through the Mandela museum and see the famous sliding rocks that he played on as a boy. Visit the village where he was born, the church he was baptized in, and his family graveyard.