It may only be the second week of the year, but I bet some of us are already in need of a holiday. If you're in need of some winter sun, look no further than Africa. So many cities from the continent have made into the lists of must-visit destinations for this year - and not just the usual ones. We've selected a few that we think are the most interesting - and we're pretty sure you won't be disappointed!
Ghana's bustling capital is full of both old and new. The city added to is footballing credentials by hosting the Confederation of African Football (CAF) Awards on January 4th. But there's still a lot to discover if you're not a fan of the beautiful game. Accra is home to the majestic Kwame Nkrumah Memorial Park, made to honour the country's first prime minister and president. You can take a walk in these historic gardens, and stand in the shadow of Nkrumah's magnificent mausoleum, a towering structure surrounded by a moat with fountains. When you're done, don't forget to pop over to Makola Market for a real taste of Ghanaian culture in one of Accra's busiest and most popular shopping destinations.
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Ethiopia has always been home to a rich spiritual history. Not only have pivotal moments in Jewish, Christian, and Islamic history taken place here, but its last king, Emperor Haile Selassie, inspired the Rastafarian religion. Take a city tour to take in Addis Ababa's major sites. Don't forget to pay a visit to the Masoleum of Menelik II, who successfully resisted Italian attempts to colonise his country. Tributes to Ethiopia's former royal house are everywhere, and the dynasty traces its line back thousands of years to the biblical prophet Solomon and the Queen of Sheba. A visit to Addis Ababa will not be forgotten in a hurry.
Okay, so it's not the city that is pictured here, but the region around Iringa is full of some astonishing natural beauty! Ruaha National Park is one highlight, home to a wide variety of African wildlife, from elephants, to giraffes, and lions. Why not take a sunset stroll and watch the elephants enjoying themselves? Enjoy being immersed in wildlife as you walk through grasslands, brush past baobab trees, and inhale the scent of pure, unadulterated nature.
If you're looking for more, check out the Isimilia Stone Age Site, to see the famous stone pillars and canyons. Pop into the on-site museum to learn more about the site, and what our ancient human ancestors were doing there thousands of years ago.
Port Louis, Mauritius
This little pair of islands in the Indian Ocean has long been a way to escape the trials of life and the harsh winter to grab some sun. Port Louis, the capital of this island idyll, is a curious mix of cultures, a combination than can come from being near the crossroads of two continents. If horses are your thing, check out one of the oldest racecourses in the world, The Crown Lodge, on your trip to Port Louis. If you'd rather relax and catch some rays, the beaches at Mont Choisy are just a 30 minute drive away. Why not check out the vibrant Le Caudan Waterfront in Port Louis for some great food and shopping?
Cape Town, South Africa
Nestling in the shadow of Table Mountain, resting right on South Africa's Atlantic coast, Cape Town is of course a must visit. You could climb to the top of Table Mountain using the cable cars to see the whole city from above. If you want something a bit more earthbound however, you could visit the historical Victoria and Albert Waterfront, explore some of the many beaches, and check out the City Bowl Market on Hope Street for a taste of authentic South Africa.
There are just a few of the African cities that are ripe for visiting this year. Is there anywhere you'd like to add? Let us know by commenting below!