Photograph by Patrick J. Endres, AlaskaPhotoGraphics/Corbis

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A giraffe grazes in Serengeti National Park, Tanzania.

Photograph by Patrick J. Endres, AlaskaPhotoGraphics/Corbis

Best Tours in Africa 2015

From Traveler Magazine's 2015 Tours of a Lifetime

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Namibia: Pedal Power

Cycling along the Swakop River and in Skeleton Coast National Park are just two options on this Namib biking itinerary. Highlights include seeing the sun rise over the Sossusvlei sand dunes and visiting a Himba village. H&I Adventures: “Mountain Biking Safari in Namibia,” 12 days; $3,910 (plus $544 for bike rental);

Malawi: Giving Forward

Spend five days in the village of Njobvu, where you’ll help build, farm, and teach. You’ll stay in thatch-roofed huts and dine on traditional food in this sustainable community. A visit to adjacent Liwonde National Park features sightings of elephants, rhinos, and hippos. Elevate Destinations: “Malawi Service and Safari,” 9 days; $2,500;

Sudan: The Other Pyramids

Although this nation just south of Egypt remains off most travelers’ radar, word is spreading about Sudan’s rich cultural patrimony, including temples, painted tombs, and more pyramids than Egypt. Mountain Travel Sobek: “Ancient Kingdoms of Sudan,” 12 days; from $4,995;

Tanzania: Stalking in the Serengeti

Serengeti National Park has granted veteran outfitter Mark Thornton Safaris permission to lead walking safaris in its interior. The result: this multiday trek through backcountry known for its savanna—and sightings of big cats. Digs are walk-in tents furnished with comfy cots. Mark Thornton Safaris: “The Great Serengeti Traverse,” 11 days; $9,990;

Kenya, Tanzania: Go for the Joe

Most visitors to Africa come to see animals, but this look at Kenya and Tanzania is through the filter of coffee, which has helped shape the modern history of both lands. Taste fair-trade roasts, meet the crew at Kenya’s Nyeri Coffee Estate, and bed down at local lodges, including Arusha Coffee Lodge. Between tastings, take game drives in nearby parks to spot leopards and lions. Micato Safaris: “Sourcing the Perfect Cup: A Coffee Connoisseur’s Tour,” 11 days; $19,550;

Zambia: This Park Is Made for Walks

Explore a remote region of South Luangwa National Park, which is considered one of Africa’s great wildlife sanctuaries, as you look for animals—hippos, buffalo, elephants, lions—on foot with this seasoned operator. Robin Pope Safaris: “Mobile Walking Safari,” 8 days; $4,345;

Mozambique: Wild Archipelago

Discover the subtropical Quirimbas Archipelago aboard a dhow, snorkeling pristine reefs and lounging on white-sand beaches. Retire to mobile eco-camps on uninhabited islands to sleep under starry skies. Wind up with a visit to the once prosperous trading center of Ibo Island, with its ancient forts and pirate lore. CW Safaris: “Ibo Island Dhow Safari,” 8 days; $3,498;

Algeria: Hidden North Africa

Venture into a country largely untouched by tourism, from the white-washed capital of Algiers—with its ancient Casbah and fanciful Ottoman architecture—to the World Heritage site of Djemila, one of the best preserved Roman sites in North Africa, to the oases and sculpted sandscapes of the Sahara. Wild Frontiers: “Algeria Colours,” 9 days; $3,032;

South Africa: Outward Bound

With dozens of mountain ranges and hundreds of miles of coastline, South Africa is an outdoor enthusiast’s dream. This adventure weaves in hikes in the Drakensberg Mountains, kayaking to a penguin colony, and a safari in the Sabi Sand Game Reserve. REI Adventures: “South Africa Ultimate Adventure & Safari,” 11 days; from $7,199 for members;

Contributing editor Margaret Loftus has reported and written “Tours of a Lifetime” for the past nine years.