Pirates, we've checked out the best three budget-friendly countries in Africa for your winter-sun holiday. In December, January and February, Africa sees sunny spells tempered with cooling rains that bring lush greenery and plenty of wildlife – a great time to visit!
Whether you're up for a safari adventure or some beach time, we'll show you where to go without breaking the bank. From well-known African destinations like Egypt and Cape Verde to the up-and-coming holiday destination Senegal, we've got deals to back it up that all include flights, luggage AND transfers, so you are sure to save.
With its pink lake, 350-mile coastline of white-sand beaches, year-round sunshine and the opportunity to go on safaris, you’d think that Senegal would be at the top of the list for holidaymakers; and yet, this West African country is not a very common choice for Brits looking for a beach holiday. However, we're here to tell you why we think it should make your holiday wish list this winter.
The advantages are quite clear. Senegal is a great winter destination with a guarantee of sun and that can be reached a lot faster than the Caribbean or South-East Asia (the total flight time from London is 6 hours). December is the warmest winter month, with highs of 28 degrees and little rain to no rain. January and February are close behind with highs of 26 degrees. There's only an hour time difference from the UK, so no jet lag while on holiday. Plus, the destination itself is very affordable, especially eating out, which means you can easily book a hotel without an all-inclusive basis to get an even cheaper holiday.
This seaside town is located on the Petite Côte coast in the west of Senegal, about 1.5 hours south of Dakar. Here, you'll find those picture-perfect beaches, high-end hotels and many French restaurants. While you'll find a lot of hotels and French influences, Saly is still heavily infused with African culture. Colourful fishing boats and clothing stalls insure the lively and bold flavours of Senegal's heritage are still represented amidst the hotels.
Those looking for all-inclusive beach holidays should set their sight on Pointe Sarene. Just two hours south of Dakar, this once-upon-a-time sleepy fishing village has, in the last decade, been turned into a luxury holiday destination, with a large collection of 5-star hotels and luxury villas being built along its six-mile-long beachfront.
Pirate Tip 🏴☠️: during your stay in Senegal, we recommend taking a day trip to Dekar, Senegal's lively capital city, which boasts everything from museums and galleries to nightclubs and open-air markets. You'll be able to learn all about Senegal's history.
For the most up-to-date entry requirement into Senegal, please click here.
With six national parks and several wildlife reserves, Senegal is a nature lover's dream. We suggest a visit to the Saloum Delta National Park, which is a nature reserve comprising 440,000 acres of the delta’s saltwater canals and forest-wrapped wetlands that are home to hundreds of species of birds, including flamingos, terns and spoonbills.
Safari seekers should visit the Bandia Animal Reserve, which is a short 20 minutes’ drive from La Somone. Here, you'll be able to spot various African wildlife such as giraffes, rhinos, crocodiles and monkeys. Read all about Senegal's other national parks here.
Last, but not least, take a trip to Lake Retba, Senegal's pink lake. Known to locals as Lac Rose, this lake gets its colour from the bacteria that grows due to the high salt content in the lake. The lake's pink colour is most visible during the dry season, which runs from November to June. The lake is still the country's main source of salt, and if you visit, you will most likely see locals collecting salt from the lake.
If you’re looking for a luxury beach holiday, then we suggest a stay at the brand-new 5-star Riu Baobab, located in Pointe Sarène. Plus, we've found that winter sun dates through TUI are cheaper than other 3-star packages. That's real value!
With year-round sun and temps that rarely fall below 20 degrees, Cape Verde is the poster-child for a winter sun destination. In six hours, you can fly directly to Cape Verde, making it a pretty easy to get to destination.
If a fly and flop holiday is what you’re after – which is what we are all about – then head to Sal or Boa Vista. Both of these islands offer long stretches of white-sand beaches, crystal clear water and lavish all-inclusive resorts.
The island of Sal
Cape Verde's most well-known island features extinct volcanoes, white-sand beaches and colourful towns. The city of Santa Maria in the south of the island is the tourist centre with its wide beaches and large hotel complexes. Sal is extremely popular with surfers and kite surfers due to the strong trade winds. Of course, the island's 8 km long beach also draws the crowds of beach goers and holidaymakers.
The island of Boa Vista
Located south of Sal, Boa Vista has also been developed for tourism, but has remained more original than the neighbouring island.
While the capital, Sal Rei, features colonial-style architecture and a relaxed pace of life, most of the hotels are located in the Curralinho district, just north of Santa Monica Beach. The 18-kilometre white-sand beach was named after the famous one in California, though the one in Boa Vista is a lot less crowded!
Pirate Tip 🏴☠️: There are a handful of beachfront RIU resorts – such as the Riu Palace Cabo Verde – which are 24 hour all-inclusive resorts that also include ALL activities, like water sports. You can often find deals under £600 per person for a week, which means you can get a lot of bang for your buck!
Of course, if this sounds like a boring holiday to you, there are more islands to explore. In fact, Cape Verde is made up of ten islands all together. Better yet, you can easily travel between the islands via plane or ferry if you want to experience the flavour of each island. Planes are the quicker and more reliable option, though more expensive.
Animal lovers should keep their eyes peeled on the ocean for dolphins, which can be spotted all year round. March and April are prime whale-watching season for humpbacks, who come closer to the shores to breed. While you can spot them from land, we recommend taking a cruise to get a better look.
Pirate Tip 🏴☠️: Although the summer months are the best travel time for a beach holiday on Cape Verde, the prices are significantly higher and the beaches are typically overcrowded. We recommend booking a holiday during the off-season, especially if you don't just want to sizzle on the beach, but prefer to explore the islands.
While you’re there, you shouldn’t miss out on the fresh seafood and fruit. More adventurous travellers should try their hand at windsurfing or scuba diving, which is on offer from many of the all-inclusive hotels or on one of the many beaches. If you’re staying on Sal, take a day trip to the centre of the island to Pedra de Lume, where they produce salt, thanks to the lakes here that have a high salt quantity, you can float on the water.
If you're a fan of beautiful beaches and historical cultural sights, chances are you've already had a holiday in Egypt.
Egypt's hot desert climate means that it is almost always sunny, and the water temperatures rarely drop below 21 °C. While it can get a little too hot (up to 40 °C) in the summer, winter temps are around 24 °C. And, because it's also one of the countries with the lowest rainfall on earth, Egypt is a great holiday destination for a bit of winter sun.
Pirate Tip 🏴☠️: When shopping in Egypt, bargain and compare prices before buying anything if you want a fair price. This also applies to tours or taxi rides (unless metered).
The Pyramids of Egypt and the Sphinx
If you haven't yet seen them up close, then a visit to The Pyramids of Giza are a must-see! Built between 2620 and 2500 BC on a limestone plateau, it is believed that they served as tombs for Egyptian rulers and are the last remaining of the ancient wonders of the world. The Sphinx of Giza, which stands next to the pyramids, is around 4,500 years old and is a sight in its own right.
Pirate Tip 🏴☠️: If an unobstructed view of the pyramids is what you're after, then we've got a tip for you! Stop into the KFC in Cairo for lunch, and you'll be rewarded with one of the best views in town. Read more about it here.
Located just off the coast of Hurghada, approximately 70 to 90 minutes by boat from Hurghada Port, you'll find the Giftun Islands. The islands are a very popular destination for divers and snorkellers, as you can swim in the crystal clear waters and experience the colourful and lively coral reef up close. In between dives, you can relax on the flat sandy beach.
Pirate Tip 🏴☠️: With a bit of luck, you can spot dolphins from the boat (or even while snorkelling).
Ras Mohammed National Park
The national park in Sinai is a real underwater paradise. Exotic fish, impressive and colourful coral reefs and several sunken ships make the park one of the most popular dive sites in the world. For the adventurous traveller, we recommend taking a mountain bike tour or hike through the rocky landscape of the park.
The Siwa Oasis is located in the middle of the desert, embedded in olive trees and date palms. While it doesn't get more remote than this oasis – the long, arduous journey by bus from Cairo is worth it. The freshwater and saltwater lakes are particularly unique and are said to have a healing effect on body and soul.
Both Hurghada and Sharm el Sheikh, are popular destinations with HolidayPirates users, and for good reason. While both feature their fair share of 4 and 5-star resorts, Hurghada is known for some of the world's most colourful coral reefs – perfect for divers and snorkellers, alike. Located on the Sinai Peninsula, Sharm el Sheikh has a lot to offer, including bustling bazaars, sands dunes perfect for 4 × 4 safaris, warm waters, beautiful beaches and a top-notch nightlife.
Pirate Tip 🏴☠️: Those planning a beach holiday in Egypt should equip themselves with water shoes, because the reef often begins on the shore, and it is easy to injure yourself on the pointed corals.