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Africa boasts a scale, diversity and level of pure-unadulterated adventure to which other continents don't even come close. From the heady heights of Mount Kilimanjaro (5895m) to the extreme lows of the Danakil Depression (153m below sea level), the lush fertile lands fed by of the world's longest river to the parched sand of the oldest desert, these are 52 countries that refuse to conform to generalisation.

A gap year in Africa offers incredible variety of environments and the sort of wildlife encounters that would make David Attenborough's mind boggle, but it's the spirit of the people that capture the heart and make travelling in Africa such a memorable and often life-changing experience.

There is an enormous range of gap year programs especially for those that seek to immerse themselves in the local communities through voluntary work such as teaching, caring or conserving either as an individual or as a member of a group.

If your idea of a gap year is getting as far as possible from the generic, well trodden backpacker circuit and discovering a land and culture which fires the imagination and challenges your preconceptions then a gap year in Africa is for you.

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