Africa offers the ultimate holiday experience or experiences, depending on how long you intend to stay. Either way, the continent delivers something that stays with you for all time, giving you a new perspective on the world as you know it. The question is, how do you choose your African destination by experience? Would you rather see the Great Migration in Tanzania or brave the winds and sands to stand before the pyramids of Egypt? Perhaps you’d prefer to track endangered primates in Uganda or marvel at the magnificent obelisks in Ethiopia – the list of tourist attractions in Africa is endless. Here’s the top five experiences to get you started:
1. Bush to Beach Safari
The combination of scenic inland wilderness and tropical coastal beaches in Africa makes a perfect combination and a unique experience in Africa. Inland offers vast savannah plains, towering mountains, wildlife viewing, and desolate deserts. You can enjoy game drives, go hiking, climb the highest mountain and enjoy the amazing views of the lush African vegetation. The coastal regions present turquoise Indian ocean, pristine coral reefs, an abundance of marine species and aquatic activities.
The aquatic activities include scuba diving, jet skiing, windsurfing, kite surfing, snorkeling, sailing and many more. Some of the countries that offers a bush to beach experience are Tanzania, Mozambique, Kenya, Namibia, Madagascar, and South Africa. A bush to beach safari helps you escape the stress of the real world. After an adventurous wildlife viewing, hiking and mountain climbing, you can detox by the beachside watching palm trees away as you enjoy the gentle seaside breeze.
2. Gorilla Tracking/Trekking
To engage in a gorilla tracking/trekking adventure, Uganda, Congo, and Rwanda are the best countries to visit. The Bwindi Forest National Park in Uganda and Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park are the top choices as the infrastructure are more structured, ensuring relatively easier tracking activities. Trackers wake up early and head into the forest or park with a guide who keeps in touch with an advanced team to give direction on how to locate a particular gorilla family. These primates are mountainous creatures so expect a few hours of hiking to catch a glimpse of them in their natural habitat.
There are over 1000 mountain gorillas in Bwindi Forest National Park, Volcanoes, Mgahinda, and Virunga National Park put together thanks to conservation efforts. This trek is a unique experience because it provides a once in a lifetime experience to visit these endangered species. The mountain gorillas have endured years of war, hunting, habitat destruction and disease—threats so severe that the WWF once thought they might be extinct by the end of the twentieth century. Thankfully, their populations are starting to blossom, so now is a perfect time to catch a glimpse. Some other gorilla trekking destinations in Africa include Angola, Gabon, Equatorial Guinea, and Nigeria.
3. Victoria Falls and Swimming in the Devil’s Pool
Victoria Falls is one of the seven wonders of the world flowing from the mighty Zambezi River and shared by the countries of Zambia and Zimbabwe. While there are many notable activities, like bungee jumping, abseiling, and kayaking, taking a plunge in the famous Devil’s pool is an experience like no other. A boat ride takes you through Zambezi River toward the top of the falls overlooking the edge. The Devil’s pool was created by thousands of years of erosion and sits right at the very edge with a sheer drop and an up-close-and-personal view of the side of the falls below.
As a safety precaution, a maximum of 24 people is allowed at the time in this adrenalin-pumping swimming hole. Those brave enough to take the plunge get pushed to the edge by the force of the river, with the rock lip forming a natural barrier so you don’t get swept over the edge. You can also lie at the edge of the pool looking into the falls with huge torrents flowing meters away. Definitely not for the faint of heart, but an unforgettable experience worth bragging about for sure.
4. Sahara Desert
The Sahara Desert is the third largest desert after Antarctica and the Arctic. It covers a span of over 9,200,000 square Km with many geographical/ historical divisions within — the Sahel, the Nubian desert, the Libyan desert, and the Eastern desert. Over eleven countries are part of the Sahara desert. These countries include Egypt, Morocco, Libya, Algeria, Mauritania, Chad, Niger, Mali, Tunisia, Western Sahara, and Sudan. You can access the Sahara desert through any of these listed countries. However, most tourist prefers to go through Egypt and Morocco.
To visit the Sahara, you either sail down the Nile or ride on a Carmel. Sailing the Nile allows for great views of the ancient Nile river, colorful villages and occasional wildlife. The boat cruise takes you past the ancient Thebes, Valley of the Kings, El Amarna, Naga Hammadi, etc. A sunset camel ride, on the other hand, offers unimpeded views of the beautiful night star-filled sky; a true wonder to behold. It also allows you to live the nomad lifestyle in tents which is the real way of life in the desert. Animals in the Sahara desert include mountain sheep, cats, antelopes, species of birds, gazelles, rodents, etc. Dinosaur fossils have been found in the Sahara desert and the highest point of the desert is the Emi Koussi.
5. Climbing to the top of Africa – Mount Kilimanjaro
Mount Kilimanjaro is located in northeastern Tanzania. Towering at an impressive 19341 ft, it is the highest mountain in Africa and the highest free standing mountain in the world due to volcanic activity. Its unique position means it experiences glaciers, a rarity in Africa’s temperate climate. Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro is pretty easy. It is a hiking peak and does not require any technical skill or equipment. While climbing, trekkers experience five different ecological zones as the elevation increases.
Each zone gets colder and drier. Aside from the Mountain itself, the Mount Kilimanjaro National Park is another interesting tourist attraction. The lush vegetation boasts of big and small game viewing. Some of the wildlife includes leopards, elephants, colobus monkeys, buffalos, baboons, mongoose, bush pigs and many more.
Packed Your Bags Yet?
These amazing experiences are just to get you inspired and there are so many other things to do, places to see and visit. So what are you waiting for? Africa awaits!