Air fares to Africa can be very expensive, but there are ways to save. The best way to get great airfare to the continent is fly directly to an African country from its former colonial rulers. For example, it can easily cost hundreds of euros/dollars more to fly from London to a former French colony, or conversely from Paris to a former British colony. About the only exceptions are Egypt, which has plentiful, cheap connections with the Middle East & Europe and a handful of West African destinations (e.g. Cape Verde, Morocco) popular with British tourists and accessible with cheap holiday flights.
Airline consolidators can also be used for discounted air fares. If you have additional travel time, check to see how your total fare quote to Africa compares with a round-the-world fare. Don’t forget to add in the extra costs of additional visas, departure taxes, ground transportation, etc. for all those places outside of Africa.
See your destination’s article for more specific information on flights. Bear in mind that many African countries only offer a few international flights each day, or in some cases, each week. While it isn’t hard to reach South Africa or Egypt, getting to Malawi or Togo can be quite a challenge.
There are more flights to Africa from Europe than from any other continent. Popular holiday destinations such as Egypt, Morocco, Cape Verde, & South Africa are well-served from Europe’s major cities, even with discount and charter airlines. Royal Air Maroc, Afriqyah Airlines, Jet4you & EgyptAir have a good selection of European destinations and Ethiopian, Kenyan, South African, & Arik Air serve a couple of major cities (London, Paris, etc.). The cheapest flights to African cities are often through the African country’s former colonial power. Cities with large immigrant populations such as London, Marseilles, & Paris have a good number of flights to Africa.
Chief among European airlines flying to Africa are:
- Air France is the best (although not cheapest) carrier serving French-speaking Africa, with service to most major cities of West, Central, & North Africa along with service to Johannesburg, Cairo, Tripoli, Madagascar, Mauritius, Reunion, & Djibouti.
- British Airways is the best (although not particularly cheap) way to fly to former British colonies, they have service to Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, South Africa, Ghana, Nigeria, & Egypt along with Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, Mauritius, & Angola.
- Brussels Airlines flies from Brussels to most francophone countries in West and Central Africa along with Entebbe (Uganda), Nairobi, & Luanda.
- Lufthansa flies to major cities in North Africa, Ghana, Nigeria, South Africa, Angola, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Ethiopia, & Eritrea.
- TAP Portugal flies to former Portuguese colonies (Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau, Sao Tome & Principe, Mozambique, Angola) and South Africa, Algeria, Morocco, & Senegal.
Many European discount airlines serve major tourist destination in Africa (especially Morocco, Cape Verde, Tunisia, Egypt, & the Gambia), including Jetairfly, EasyJet, & Corsairfly.