Top Picks for Alternative Adventures in Africa

Like any African city, the number of children in Accra is astounding, on the streets and everywhere.
Like any African city, the number of children in Accra is astounding, on the streets and everywhere.

By Nicole Rosenleaf Ritter

Whether you want an active journey, a volunteer vacation, or a cultural expedition, you can find a trip to suit you in the enormous and varied continent of Africa. Search GoNOMAD’s many listings, find the experience of a lifetime, and go! Here are some of the most intriguing picks, from bicycling in Kenya to living among the Zulu.

Save Wildlife

If you’re a student taking some time off — or just someone with more than the average two-week vacation to travel — and are interested in African wildlife and hands-on conservation experience, this organization could be perfect for you!

The U.K.-based African Conservation Experience arranges volunteer placements of four to 12 weeks at Game Reserves throughout southern Africa. While those with experience or strong interest in veterinary science, botany, biology, zoology, or medicine are particularly welcome, a strong interest in conservation is all that is really required

Explore Another Land

Focusing only on Tanzania, Uganda, and Zanzibar, Another Land is a unique tour operator that really knows East Africa. They offer a variety of small group and custom expeditions with activities that range from gorilla watching to blacksmithing, all in places that most tourists could never find on their own.

  • Bike AfricaOne of the granddaddies of educational, active travel, Bicycle Africa offers programs in almost all countries of Africa because they believe that “no one place or country epitomizes Africa.” From a beginning in non-profit bike donations to African villagers, their trips are small group (six to 10 people) and focus on learning about Africa on a person-to-person level. A unique alternative to more “formal” bike trips. Cyclists of all ages and ability levels are welcome.
  • Volunteer in KenyaThe Minnesota-based Global Citizens Network offers three-week volunteer vacations to Kenya on two different projects. Both focus on building local health centers in isolated villages to increase medical care services for the local population. All trip-related costs are U.S. tax deductible.
  • Volunteer in GhanaUS-based Cross-Cultural Solutions offers three-week volunteer vacations in Ghana that focus on cultural activities. You may teach English in a village school, work in a local clinic or help villagers with projects. Opportunities to interact with locals and learn about the unique culture of Ghana are included. crossculturalsolutions.orgPrime Care Network, a grassroots, Ghana-based development NGO offers volunteers the opportunity to work alongside local teachers, doctors, nurses, midwives and agricultural experts throughout Ghana while living with a local family. Volunteers might spend 2-3 hours, 3-4 days per week teaching in local schools, working with street children, assisting midwives, doctors and nurses in local hospitals and clinics, or educating women on self-defense. The remainder of the time is free for travel and exploration. Costs are only $170/month, and you can stay as long as you like.
  • Zulu photo Safari namibia-africaNoted wildlife photographer Robb Edgecomb leads a photo safari into a Zulu village for individuals and small groups. His expeditions include presentations on Zulu history, traditions, and customs. The standard trip is designed to be three days long but can be customized to fit individual and small group needs.
  • Live on a Communal FarmIn the hills of Swaziland, travelers have the opportunity to experience community life at the Liphupho Lami (“My Dream”) Holiday Camp on the Community Farm of Kapahunga in the company of local EarthFoot host, Mxolisi Mdluli. Visit markets, nearby villages and scenic sights, participate in daily life and even teach English in the local school!
  • Share a Home with Local FarmersEarthFoot hosts Evan and Liz Davies offer travelers the opportunity to spend several days with them on their sustainable, ecologically-aware farm in the Klein Karoo region. Learn about solar power, small-scale agriculture and, if you’re so inclined, ride through the bush on Arabian horses.
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