Africa offers up the chance to embark on some of the most unique river cruises you will find on the planet - be it the deserts and fascinating history to be found along the banks of the Nile, or the stunning wildlife that can be viewed on a river safari down the majestic Chobe in the south.
However it also offers ocean bound cruises with many of the main cruise lines circumvating this huge continent on longer cruise itineraries that start on the edges of Europe and head around the Cape of Good Hope into the Indian Ocean and beyond.
You could head for the West African Coast to discover the Cape Verde and its islands. Whether you choose to visit Brava and the Flowery Island, Fogo's vocano, Mindelo or San Nicolao, all have thier different personalities and cultures. Or visit the key ports of Cape Town and Durban before calling at Madagascar and the Seychelles.
Running 4,184 miles in length, through nine African nations from Lake Victoria in Uganda to the Mediterranean Sea near Alexandria in Egypt, The Nile is the heartbeat of many of these nations. Most famous in Egypt, it is possibly the best way to travel between this ancient land's unique cultural sites at a relatively leisurely pace and with plenty of time to relax on route. Itineraries tend to include Cairo, Luxor and Aswan along-side visits to the great temples at Abu Simbel and Karnak.
Despite past troubles in the rest of the country cruising The Nile through Egypt is still very popular with most mainstream tour operators and Egyptian specialists offering cruise extensions to tours and itineraries. Three, four or seven night cruise itineraries are common durations and the best time to travel is between October and April before temperatures start to soar.
Further south and flowing through the jungles of Namibia, Angola and Botswana, The Chobe is a fascinating river and is a segment of an intricate river system which runs through south-central Africa. Bird watching, tiger fishing and Mokoro (a type of dug-out canoe made from tree trunk) adventures into local villages to experience true African cultures can all be experienced on these adventurous cruises. Often too short for a holiday on its own a Chobe river cruise is often combined with a land based African safari adventure or visit to Victoria Falls. The Chobe National Park in north-west Botswana near the borders to Zambia, Zimbabwe and Namibia offers an ideal combination with its vast variety of wildlife.
Houseboat style vessles from the basic to the luxurious are available for one to four night itineraries. Travel year round but May to October is peak season for the best view of the wildlife.