Finder is committed to editorial independence. While we receive compensation when you click links to partners, they do not influence our opinions or reviews. Learn how we make money.

Best Africa cruise lines

From Cairo to the Cape, cruise down the coast and waterways of Africa.

Updated

Sugarloaf of Antsiranana bay, northern Madagascar.

Flanked by the Atlantic and Indian Oceans, and topped off by the Mediterranean Sea, the African continent lends itself perfectly to a cruise.

Find ships cruising into ports in Namibia, South Africa, and Mozambique as well as sailings across to Madagascar and Seychelles, or sail down from Mediterranean Europe to some of North Africa’s jewels.

Best cruises to Africa

From serious voyages to short breaks, this multifaceted continent has a little something for everybody.

Best for beach hopping: MSC

MSC focuses most of its itineraries on Mauritius, an idyllic island that sits in the Indian Ocean, and the untouched coastline of Mozambique. Days can be spent sunbathing on Flic en Flac beach, swimming with the local pod of dolphins or hiking to spectacular waterfalls.
  • Room service included
  • No free alcohol
  • Food included
  • No price matching
  • Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Discover Card
Price ($-$$$):
Book now

Best for luxury: Silversea

With no more than 350 people onboard and a healthy 1:1 staff-to-guest ratio, there’s no denying that the Silverseas fleet are some of the most luxurious ships to sail the Indian Ocean. Opt to stay in the Oceanview suite which comes complete with a private veranda and butler service.
  • Room service included
  • No free alcohol
  • Food included
  • No price matching
  • Visa, Mastercard, American Express
Price ($-$$$):
Book now

Best for cruising down the Nile: Viking River Cruises

Awarded the “Best River Cruise Line” for 14 consecutive years by the people of Travel Weekly, you couldn’t be in better hands for a cruise into the heart of Egypt. Its small ships allow you to get even closer to those less-visited destinations along the Nile where you’ll discover the temples of Dendera and pyramids of Giza.
  • Room service included
  • No free alcohol
  • Food included
  • No price matching
  • Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Discover Card, Cheque
Price ($-$$$):
Book now

Best for world tours: Costa

Embrace life at sea with one of Costa’s five cruises that last upwards of 115 days and stop off at many of Africa’s key ports. Set sail from Europe, and spend a month exploring Africa’s islands out in the Indian Ocean and it’s southern countries, before continuing your adventure to South America.
  • Room service included
  • No free alcohol
  • Food included
  • No price matching
  • Visa, Mastercard, American Express
Price ($-$$$):
Book now

Best for off-the-beaten-track destinations: Azamara

Striving to provide a more port-heavy itinerary, with fewer days at sea, guests onboard one of Azamara’s high-end cruise liners will have time to explore coastal gems such as Port Elizabeth and East London, places that are seldom visited by other ships.
  • No free room service
  • No free alcohol
  • Food included
  • No price matching
Price ($-$$$):
Book now

Best for all-inclusive packages: Cruise & Maritime

Cruise and Maritime has recently rolled out a series of all-inclusive packages, so you can enjoy unlimited amounts of the things that you love. Packages include anything from gratuities and priority seating to a premium beverage package.
  • No free room service
  • No free alcohol
  • Food included
  • No price matching
  • Visa, Mastercard, American Express
Price ($-$$$):

How we picked the best cruises

Africa is vast, and choosing the best type of cruise for your personal wants and needs can be a tricky business. That’s why we’ve narrowed down the top cruise liners sailing to the continent and categorized them by what they can offer you.

Despite their differences, we made sure that each of the cruise liners on this list offers a well-rounded itinerary that allows passengers enough time to explore onshore and to relax onboard. We also considered facilities on the ships including staterooms, dining and daily entertainment and compared this to the price point to make sure you’re getting value for money.

When is the best time to go to Africa?

Africa is a huge continent and the climate varies from country to country. Cruising season generally starts from October and ends in May, with December and January considered to be the busiest months.

If you’re hopping on a cruise for two weeks or less, you’ll need to decide which part of the continent you want to see. Here are a few common itineraries and when’s best to cruise them.

  • Southeast Africa. The countries of Southeast Africa are best explored from November to April, though you’ll want to book during the shoulder seasons of October and May for quieter waterways and lower prices.
  • West Coast. Stops along the West Coast of Africa are usually part of repositioning cruises or longer world voyages, which can be found at different times throughout the year. If you’ve got your heart set on the islands of Cape Verde, it’s best to cruise between November and June when temperatures are idyllic and the chances of rain minimal.
  • Indian Ocean Islands. Seychelles, Mauritius and Madagascar are the most popular islands to visit during a cruise to Africa. While small-ship cruises are available to Seychelles all year-round, prime time sailing is April/May and October/November. Madagascar and Mauritius are both best visited from April through to December.
  • The Nile. Cruising down the Nile is ideal from October to April when temperatures are cooler, and you’ll be able to explore the temples of Aswan and Luxor without any trouble.
  • Chobe River. Cruises to the Chobe River are generally available all year round, but you’ll want to visit from August to October for prime wildlife viewing opportunities. Unfortunately, this is also the hottest time of the year. Avid bird watchers should consider visiting during the wet season — December to April — to enjoy the most active birdlife and cooler temperatures.

What are the must-do cruise excursions in Africa?

Africa’s huge variety of shore excursions give you plenty of opportunities to tick off some of those bucket-list items.

  • Cape Town, South Africa. Once you’re finished exploring the vibrant city center of one of South Africa’s capital cities, take a cable car ride to the top of Table Mountain for panoramic views of the city and beyond.
  • Nairobi, Kenya. You’ll want to plan for a couple of overnight stays when you visit Nairobi to experience the true beauty of Masai Mara National Park where elephants, lions, leopards, buffalo and rhinoceros roam freely.
  • Mahé, Seychelles. As one of the largest islands in Seychelles, Mahé offers visitors beautiful beaches, turquoise waters and only the freshest barbequed seafood.
  • Walvis Bay, Nambia. Hidden behind Walvis Bay is one of the world’s oldest coastal deserts, the vast Namib, which can be explored via quad bike or hot air balloon.

Bottom line

Full of wildlife, unique cultures and mesmerizing landscapes, a cruise to Africa is the place to let your intrepid urges run wild. Make sure to check out these cruise deals, to ensure you’re getting the best rates on your booking.

Frequently asked questions

Related Posts

Ask an Expert

You are about to post a question on finder.com:

  • Do not enter personal information (eg. surname, phone number, bank details) as your question will be made public
  • finder.com is a financial comparison and information service, not a bank or product provider
  • We cannot provide you with personal advice or recommendations
  • Your answer might already be waiting – check previous questions below to see if yours has already been asked

Finder.com provides guides and information on a range of products and services. Because our content is not financial advice, we suggest talking with a professional before you make any decision.

By submitting your comment or question, you agree to our Privacy and Cookies Policy and finder.com Terms of Use.

Questions and responses on finder.com are not provided, paid for or otherwise endorsed by any bank or brand. These banks and brands are not responsible for ensuring that comments are answered or accurate.
Go to site