From the shores of the Mediterranean to the snows of Kilimanjaro; from mountain gorillas to whale sharks, and from rafting to pony trekking, we've sifted the highlights of this extraordinarily rich and diverse continent to bring you the best of the best.
And if that wasn't enough of a challenge, we've also graded them, from No. 50 to No. 1. Controversial? We hope so. Part of the magic of Africa is that it stirs such strong emotions – so let us know what your No. 1 is. Are we way off the mark? What's on your African dream list?
Here follows the Top 20-11
20. Take a helicopter flight into the rift
The Great Rift Valley, the world's largest fault, is 800m deep, 30 kilometres wide and a staggering 2500 kilometres long. It is home to some of East Africa's most remote and inhospitable terrain, some of which is accessible only to hardy native tribesmen and a few privileged westerners with helicopters.
One such pilot and helicopter operator, Humphrey Carter, has made the remote northern Rift Valley of Kenya his home. Each day, at dawn, he departs from the Laikipia plateau, delving into the Rift through the spectacular Mukutan Gorge.
Continuing north along the course of the Baragoi River and into the Suguta Valley, there are opportunities to touch down next to lakes teeming with hundreds of thousands of flamingos or to visit the remote lands of the Samburu and Turkana tribes.
This expedition is a wonderful opportunity to fly with the birds and walk with the nomads. It offers a unique insight into one of the most incredible geological features on the planet and the people and wildlife who make it their home. - Steve Turner.
19. Ride on the back of an Elephant
From the back of an elephant you can see more of Africa. You can feel its spine dip and flex, smell its tangy bovine scent and run your fingers across the wrinkled maze of its skin. You can hear the vacuum rush of air in its probing trunk, the deep resonating rumble of its cavernous stomach and the rhythmic grinding of fist-sized molars.
They say this is the ultimate safari – roaming the African bush on elephant back; gliding through the tree tops, regal as a maharaja, exploring game trails and lagoons where even the most determined 4x4 vehicle would flounder.
The elephants walk at a slow, but ground-swallowing gait, 'pacing along as if they had an appointment at the end of the world,' as Karen Blixen once put it. Their spongy soles deaden the sound of each gargantuan footfall – if desired, a herd can move in virtual silence. - William Gray.
18. Forage with Bushmen
Go walking with Bushmen in the Kalahari: their amazing bush skills surpass those of the most famous safari guides. They’re born in the bush and grow up with it. It's their nursery and classroom; no wonder they know so much. I set off with Kgao and Nqeisi briskly walking ahead, a little apart, as they chatted in the melodious clicks of the Ju/'honasi language.
Berries were collected and eaten, and exploding seed heads found for entertainment, before Kgao spotted a small, green shoot at thirty paces. Minutes later he’d dug up a water-filled tuber the size of a basketball.
Shortly Nqeisi found a spring hare's hole and eventually fished the unlucky creature out with a long, flexible pole. Occasionally I stopped to ask about plants, only to be told more than I could possibly remember. If you want to find Africa's best guides, look no further. - Chris Mcintyre.
17. Take a classic mobile Safari
Nothing beats the sense of freedom you get from a traditional mobile safari. Waking to the dawn chorus and the sound of hot water being poured by unseen hands into the canvas wash stand on the verandah of your tent. Steaming mugs of coffee round the fire, which has kicked back into life from the previous night’s embers.
The fresh smell of dawn in the bush. Out in the vehicle for a day full of adventures and wildlife encounters; exploring new areas. At the end of the journey, arriving to find camp set up in a new location, welcoming staff waiting (with your whisky already prepared) to show you to your tent.
Water being emptied into a bush shower suspended from the branch of a tree and the exotic thrill of showering under a starlit African sky. Eating dinner in good company, beside the flickering light of the campfire. And later lying in bed, listening to the chorus of crickets and frogs and a lion roaring in the distance. - John Warburton-Lee.