Australia vs Africa: Where should I go?
Whilst Australia and Africa may initially seem like polar opposites, they actually have a surprising amount of things in common.
The Outback mirrors the African bush, whilst both regions offer world-class wine regions.
From discovering eco-retreats in Kigali to taking in majestic Uluru, we’ve tried our hardest to answer the question: ‘Australia vs Africa: where should I go?’ so that you don’t have to.
The Outback vs The African Bush
The Australian Outback is far more than a vast, arid expanse of land that spans the inner regions of the land down under. A place filled with stories, myths and legends, this slice of Australia is as much about the people as it is about the wildlife. Golden sunsets illuminate rivers that course through extremely dry land, and the incredible landscape is punctuated with national parks and a mesmerising spiritual energy.
No landmark is as recognisable as Uluru, a towering red stone in the heart of the desert. Australia’s Outback is the perfect place for adventurous yet spiritual exploration; hike through the bush, discover cave paintings and gain an insight into the cultural significance of this vivid landscape.
The African Bush
Stretching across the entire continent, the African bush is a feast for the senses. From the sprawling savannahs of southern Africa’s Kalahari desert to Kenya’s infamous Maasai Mara, no two areas of African bushland are the same. In The Kalahari, annual rains produce blooming plains and grazing flora across Botswana, Namibia and South Africa. This arid escape from reality is perfect for those looking to get off the tourist trail, and offers the perfect harmony between nature and silence.
For the heart of the action, head to Kenya’s Maasai Mara, which sees millions of wildebeest cross its plains in the annual Great Migration. At some point between July and October, thousands of these majestic animals pour into the Maasai Mara from Tanzania’s neighbouring Serengeti National Park – a truly mesmerising spectacle. The Maasai Mara is also great for wildlife spotting year-round, with one of the highest concentrations of the Big Five across Africa. Picturing the warmth of the setting sun on your skin as you come up close to any number of incredible animals, it’s clear why a safari through the African bush is often hailed as a ‘once in a lifetime experience.’
Sydney vs. Cape Town
A harbour city on the east coast of Australia, Sydney is as idyllic as it sounds. Filled with a rich and intriguing history, world-class beaches and iconic landmarks, Australia’s largest city offers plenty to travellers. Although the cityscape of today seems undoubtedly modern, the city is also steeped in a fascinating history. The Harbour city can trace its origins back to 1788, but initial Aboriginal occupation dates back an astounding 30,000 years. As a result, the Sydney of today is a juxtaposition of Victorian architecture and Aboriginal culture against modern silhouettes of structures like the Sydney Opera House. Perfect for culture vultures, outdoorsy travellers and beach bums alike, Sydney is one of Australia’s most diverse cities.
South Africa’s Cape Town offers much the same as Sydney, so when it comes to these two cities it really is a matter of personal preference. In Cape Town, the horizon is dominated by the iconic Table Mountain, whilst the foreground of the city is a hubbub of sandy beaches and picturesque suburbs all lined with the crisp waters of the cape. As the oldest city in South Africa, Cape Town is filled with age-old buildings and its verdant surroundings make it one of the most peaceful places to be. From early morning hikes to lazy afternoons in the winelands, South Africa’s capital city is perfect for people of all ages.
Melbourne vs. Kigali
Australia’s Melbourne is undoubtedly the country’s most cultural city, and is perfect for those wanting to peruse museums, galleries and an innovative arts scene. Cosmopolitan Melbourne sits at the end of Port Phillip Bay and is one of the most densely-populated regions in Australia, giving rise to an incredibly diverse creative scene. The city is also known for its collective obsession with coffee, with aromas of roasting beans filling the air between the city’s green parks and Victorian-era architecture. From exploring the city’s many museums and galleries to venturing further afield along the Great Ocean Road, Melbourne is the perfect spot for a bit of cultural discovery.
In Rwanda, up-and-coming Kigali is putting itself on the map as a standalone destination. As one of Africa’s cleanest and safest cities, Kigali is perfectly positioned to take travellers beyond wildlife. From local women’s cooperatives making incredible jewellery to weaving in and out of iconic milk bars, Kigali offers an unrivalled insight into Rwanda’s local African heritage. It’s a great place to be a responsible traveller too, with properties such as The Retreat offering eco-friendly credentials and responsible community excursions.
Barossa Valley vs The Cape Winelands
In the heart of South Australia, the Barossa Valley has been a world-renowned wine region ever since German settlers brought grapes over to harvest in the perfect climate. Today, lush green valleys and bountiful vineyards send guests into a pastoral dreamscape. A haven for oenophiles, boutique wineries and old cellars provide tastings in one of Australia’s oldest wine-producing regions. For foodies, artisanal cheese farmers, organic produce and fruit orchards are a wonderful accompaniment to the region’s many vineyards.
Just a 30-minute drive from Cape Town lies Groot Constantia (popularly known as The Winelands) – South Africa’s oldest wine region. Once famous for exporting 30 bottles a month to Napoleon when he was exiled in St Helena, The Winelands of today are famous for winning international awards. From delicious Pinot Noir from the Hemel & Aarde Valley to the bold reds found in many boutique wineries in Stellenbosch, there’s a wine to suit everyone here. Like the Barossa Valley, an impressive culinary scene has developed amongst The Winelands’ impressive countryside. Spend your time here on a wine safari, learning the art of sabrage or checking out one of the area’s many culinary hotspots.
Feeling inspired? Our expert travel designers are always on hand to help you choose between a vacation to Africa or Australia.