Africa. The mere mention of the name conjures up images of majestic landscapes, unparalleled wildlife, and enduring cultures older than we can wrap our minds around. Glamorous and utterly dazzling, Africa is both epic and eternal. There’s simply no other place like it.

Retaining a magnetism that has drawn travelers for centuries, Africa’s coastlines, waterways, and ports-of-call continue to offer a unique perspective of this mesmerizing continent, whether you’re cruising your way around the Cape of Good Hope, preparing for your first safari, or journeying the far reaches of the iconic Nile River.

To help you decide how to experience the best of Africa, here are some ocean and river cruise getaways that are certain to delight the explorer in everyone.

Oceania Cruises - South Africa Spotlight - 12 days - Nautica

Your adventure starts and ends in vibrant Cape Town, home to Table Mountain, the South African Museum and Planetarium, and the culturally significant St. George’s Cathedral. Heading north through the Atlantic, you’ll first stop at Walvis Bay, Namibia. Although rimmed by the inhospitable Namib Desert, Walvis Bay boasts a huge natural lagoon that attracts hundreds of thousands of birds, including flamingos, pelicans, and migratory species.

Next, you’ll cruise back south to Port Elizabeth, South Africa's third-largest port, and then on to Durban, South Africa and with its gorgeous Golden Mile beach. Before returning to Cape Town, you’ll enjoy stops in Richards Bay and Mossel Bay, South Africa. In Richards Bay guests can take an excursion to one of the nearby game reserves or simply gaze over the surrounding waters where you might get a glimpse of dolphins, whales, and kite-surfers. Mosel Bay relishes in having the second mildest climate in the world and offers walks along the beautiful beaches, horseback riding, and whale and dolphin watching.

Sleek and elegantly charming, Nautica is truly resplendent and features four unique, open-seating restaurants, the Aquamar Spa + Vitality Center, eight lounges and bars, a casino, and 342 lavish suites and luxurious staterooms, nearly 70% of which feature private verandas.

Silversea - Cape Town to Zanzibar Expedition Cruise - 18 days - Silver Explorer

Calling on 16 ports in five countries, Silversea’s voyage from Cape Town to Zanzibar packs in more African life than you could ever imagine. Guests can join game drives to spot the fabled Big 5, get up close to Xhose and Zulu cultures, and have the chance to witness miles of white sandy beaches and kaleidoscopic underwater life. Leaving South Africa’s famous landscape, guests will sail up the continent’s east coast via Madagascar and experience a beautiful tapestry of land and sea — from mountains and grasslands to mangroves and fringing coral reefs. Three days in Aldabra, a global diversity hotspot and UNESCO Marine World Heritage Site, make this trip a life-changing vacation.

Silversea’s purpose-built luxury Silver Explorer expedition cruise ship has been designed specifically for navigating waters in some of the world’s most remote destinations, including both of earth’s polar regions. A strengthened hull with a Lloyd’s Register ice-class notation (1A) for passenger's vessels enables the Silver Explorer Expedition Cruise Ship to safely push through ice floes with ease. A fleet of 12 Zodiac boats allows Silversea Expedition guests to visit even the most off-the-beaten-path locations and an expert Expedition Team provides insight and understanding to each unforgettable Silver Explorer luxury cruise adventure.

AmaWaterways - Golden Trails of Africa - 17 days - Zambezi Queen

On AmaWaterways’ Golden Trails of Africa tour, guests will be treated to four unforgettable countries in Africa – Botswana, South Africa, Tanzania, and Zimbabwe.

Your journey begins with an overnight stay in Johannesburg (or with an option to start with 3 nights in Cape Town). Next, you’ll fly to Kasane, Botswana and board the Zambezi Queen, your wildlife river cruise vessel on the Chobe River for the next 4 nights. After two nights at breathtaking Victoria Falls, one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World, you’ll fly to Johannesburg for two nights at an intimate, all-suite hotel. You’ll then depart for Nairobi where a connecting flight brings you to your Tanzania safari. Enjoy two nights at three of the four luxury Tanzanian lodges: Tarangire Treetops, The Manor at Ngorongoro, and the luxury-tented Serengeti Migration Camp or Serengeti Pioneer Camp.

Designed specifically for wildlife viewing on the legendary Chobe River, the intimate 28-passenger Zambezi Queen affords once-in-a-lifetime up-close game experiences. Additionally, to ensure no harm to the environment, the eco-friendly ship uses a water jet propulsion system, fuel-efficient and low-emission generators, and a solar heating system. An enclosed, air-conditioned dining room, lounge and bar grace the top deck, as well as an open-air Sun Deck complete with a plunge pool. Suites feature private balconies with unobstructed views of the river and African landscape.

Uniworld Boutique River Cruises - Splendors of Egypt - 12 days - S.S. Sphinx 

Get ready to cruise the Nile in a manner once reserved for queens and pharaohs! For 12 adventure-filled days, Uniworld’s Spendors of Egypt itinerary will introduce travelers to Egypt and the Nile’s most wondrous sites in style and luxury. This captivating trip begins and ends in Cairo, where you’ll visit the famous Egyptian Museum and its stupendous and unrivaled collection of pharaonic artifacts, including treasures recovered from the tomb of King Tutankhamun. You’ll also journey to Giza to gaze upon the mighty ancient Pyramids and the timeworn, enigmatic Sphinx.

Along the way, you’ll wander amongst the towering ruins of the Temple of Karnak, the world’s largest ancient religious complex, and the entrancing Temple of Luxor. Visit temples dedicated to Hathor, Horus, and other mythological figures, and pay homage to the country’s first female ruler at the Temple of Hatshepsut. You’ll follow in the footsteps of renowned scholars and explorers as you venture forth into the Valley of the Kings, the ancient burial grounds of Egyptian royalty. You’ll even have the chance to take an exhilarating ride in a felucca, a traditional Nile River sailboat.

As you floating hotel, the S.S. Sphinx offers two gourmet dining venues, a swimming pool, a massage room, and 42 gorgeously appointed suites with decor by local artisans.

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