Rebuilt after a dramatic earthquake in 1960, Agadir is truly unlike anywhere else in Morocco, or indeed Africa. The port itself is often busy, but that adds plenty to its authentic charms.
Markets which sprawl for hundreds of metres, a gorgeous marina, and streets which hum with excitement are just a few of the mainstays of what is becoming Morocco’s most popular port town. It also helps that the township is more firmly rooted in a tradition for grand nightlife than ever, with a beachfront promenade imbued with a youthful population and neon-lit bars adding a western edge to a very exotic city.
Cape Town, South Africa
Known as the Mother City, Cape Town is an undisputed highlight of any African cruise itinerary. With the magnificent Table Mountain as a back drop, Cape Town has been capturing the hearts of travellers for decades – a beautiful natural landscape, coupled with the cosmopolitan edge of the city, makes for a killer combination that seems to draw visitors from all over the world.
From the brightly painted facades of the Bo-Kaap, to the chic range of restaurants that live at its very heart, Cape Town has a unique character which is defined by green spaces and elegant architecture. Make sure to visit the historic Company’s Gardens and Kirstenboch Botanical Gardens if you find yourself in the city.
Durban, South Africa
A major makeover during the 2010 Fifa World Cup blessed Durban with a brand new stadium, and a completely refurbished beachfront. However, the third-largest city in South Africa has always been a vibrant sporting capital, with swathes of golf courses, water parks and golden beaches making it a fantastic city for thrill-seekers.
Aside from adrenaline rushes, you’ll also find a grand selection of colonial architecture which melds Dutch and Afrikaans influences to tastefully bewildering effect. As if the city wasn’t unique enough, it also boasts a distinct Asian influence, due in no small part to having the largest concentration of Indian ex-pats to be found anywhere.
As such, the cuisine and the marketplaces are teeming with the sights and sounds of the Indian subcontinent, much to the delight of cruisers who find themselves wandering around the city.
Imagine teleporting a slice of southern France to an island,, and you would be partway to Reunion, a haven off the coast of Madagascar for French ex-patriots which also manages to blend Indian, Chinese and African influences into the melting pot which its architecture and landscape.
Within an hour of heading towards the suburbs and resort towns of Reunion proper, you’ll find yourself crossing a landscape criss-crossed with jagged peaks and lava fields, before you eventually reach a set of sprawling coastal cities.
Towns like St-Leu and Boucan Canot are glitzy, art deco locales which are the mirror image of cruise staples like Cannes and Monte Carlo, except in Reunion you’ll be waking up to a continental breakfast with an active volcano, Piton de la Fournaise, providing the backdrop. Palm-lined stretches of sand, a tropical climate, and some remarkable architecture make this one of the most unusual, yet enticing ports to be found anywhere near Africa.
The number-one beach destination in Madagascar might lack the bling and pomp of resorts elsewhere, but that’s all for the better – think of the quietest, most idyllic beaches to be found in Greece, and you’re most of the way.
As well as a lack of the seaweed that clogs up the shoreline of plenty of Eastern African beaches, the northern shore of Nosy Be is home to crystal waters, and pure, white sands. Best of all, the island of Madagascar is blessed with a sunny climate all year – that means 365 days of prime beach-combing weather, even if your native homeland is frosted over.