Best and Favourite Places in Africa Through Travel Blogger’s Eyes
Africa is amazing continent. And huge! Impossible to discover everything by myself so I asked fellow travel bloggers, travellers and photographers to share their best destinations in Africa. If you are on the hunt for idea where to visit next in Africa I hope this post will inspire you to discover something new!
Dakhla is one of the rising stars of the Sahara. It is highly appreciated by surfers and oyster lovers, yet other people don’t visit it that often. It is situated in the West of Sahara and is a truly magical and inspiring place. Apart from that this place is also a (still) well-preserved natural gem. Dakhla is a warm and peaceful town with windy days outnumbering the sunny ones – that makes it perfect water sports destination. What I loved the most about Dakhla is that this place is the meeting spot for the white dunes of the desert and the crystal-clear waters of the Atlantic Ocean. It is a breathtaking experience and if you go there – you won’t regret it.
Monika – Bewildered in Morocco
David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust – Nairobi Kenya
This place saves and rehabilitates orphaned elephants. How can you not love that?! The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust is dedicated to helping orphaned elephants develop social and survival skills for reentry into the wilderness. The reserve is open to the public for only one hour, 11:00 am to noon, so be sure you arrive early enough to get a decent viewing spot, as the area fills up quickly. Plus, parking can be tricky. Upon arrival, you’ll hear the history of the reserve and the plight of the baby elephants, orphaned one way or another. Visitors watch the baby elephants get fed and frolic around and play in the mud. It warms your heart to see them so happy and being taken care of. And if you’re close enough to the viewing fence, you might be able to gently touch an elephant as it scampers by. Entrance is $7 per person over 4 years old. There is a gift shop which also helps fund the trust. Also, for a $50 a year donation you can sponsor an elephant and revisit the park in the evening when they put the baby elephants to sleep, plus get monthly email updates. So cool!
Scott & Hayley – International Hot Dish
Hiking Simian Mountains Ethiopia
I spent six months in Africa overlanding from Cairo to Cape Town and one of my favourite places was the northern part of Ethiopia specifically Gondar and the Simien Mountains. Gondar is known as the Camelot of Africa and it is also the gateway to the UNESCO World Heritage site of the Simien Mountains. The main attraction of the Simien Mountains is the trekking and the Gelada Baboon. Technically a monkey instead of a baboon, the word gelada means bleeding heart and they can be found on the all over the Simien Mountains. The landscape is spectacular as it is carved from years of erosion which gives it the jagged peaks and deep valleys and waterfalls. The area is at a high altitude which makes it difficult to trek due to the effects of altitude sickness and the rain which makes it quite muddy so make sure you have proper hiking boots. Here is a photo of the Gelada Baboons that live on the side of the cliffs in the Simien Mountains.
Nicole – Nicole La Barge
Safari in South Luangwa National Park Zambia
Crazy as it sounds, but after 2 months of safari-ing in Africa, South Luangwa National Park in Zambia is still my favourite place! That’s beating Tanzania’s Serengeti and South Africa’s Kruger even! Yes, this little, off the beaten track and remote national park in the Southern Africa country of Zambia packs a seriously mean punch when it comes to the sheer concentration of animals and the proximity at which you can view them. Just within our first 2 morning game drive we saw (and this is not an exhaustive list!) zebra, giraffes, hippos, warthogs, monitor lizards, crocodiles, buffalos, impala, mongoose, snakes, baboons, vervet monkeys, lions and elephants! But the jewel in the crown had to be the leopard we spotted only a metre or so away! It allowed me to capture this epic shot! My tip insider tip if you do travel to South Luangwa National Park is to stay at the wonderful Croc Valley Camp. Perched right above the river, this place gave us the most incredible view of hippos, monkeys and crocs right from out tent door and several elephants even wandered into our camp at dusk to say hello! Africa’s best in a nutshell!
Stephanie – Big World Small Pockets
Sunset in Avenue of Baobabs Madagascar
Trekking Monkey Fingers Canyon Morocco
If you visit Morocco, spend a day trekking with Berber guide in Monkey Fingers Canyon in Dades Valley. Trek start from Tamlalte village and leads you through narrow rocky maze with views of surreal rock formations. Monkey Fingers Canyon is located about 15 kilometers out of small city called Boumalne Dades and you can make a one day stop on the way to Sahara.
Island hopping in Seychelles
Probably one of the most incredible beach destination in Africa and a dream destination for most people. But that dream is within reach! The Seychelles is not just a honeymoon destination anymore. Yes flights to the Seychelles are not the cheapest ever, but there are a lot of affordable accommodation options on the islands. You don’t need expensive domestic flights for your island hopping adventure in the Seychelles either, there are local ferries as well. The main island Mahe is beautiful, but also make sure to catch a glimpse of Praslin and La Digue as well. These two islands are the most beautiful and is what you will see on any advertising pictures from the Seychelles. La Digue has that beach with the massive boulders and Praslin is amazing to drive around and find your picture perfect deserted beach. Also don’t forget do some amazing hikes along the coastline with the most incredible views. Locals are amazingly friendly and the island vibe gives you simply an incredible feeling that will make you never want to leave again.
Tom – TravelTomTom
Spotting Hippos in St Lucia South Africa
Fish River Canyon Hike Namibia
Floating on Lake Assal Djibuti
Djibouti is at the crossroads of the three tectonic plates that separated the Arabian Peninsula in ancient times and may well split off from the mainland one day in the future. This has created a host of unique landscapes and phenomenon that cannot be found anywhere else in the planet. Through our drive to lake Asaal, coming from lake Abbe, another of the strangest rock formations I have ever seen in my life, complete with even quick sands, We do not see a single other tourist. Djibouti is truly the country that no tourists visit. I am not surprised, as the temperatures in the winter exceed the 35 degrees in the sun. At night, in the dessert they drop to 15 Celsius. Finally, we reach Lake Assal, a salt lake with a 45% percentage of salt, the highest in the world after a salt lake in Antarctica. This is a much higher percentage than teh Dead Sea. The high percentage of salt is due to the high rate of evaporation and a combination of other unknown reasons. Some theories point at volcanic eruptions. Floating on Lake Assal is easy, you just need to get in. Of course, we were the only ones. Do not expect any facility so bring water to rinse the salt off your body and hair and towels to dry.
Exploring Islamic Cairo
Boat Safari in Queen Elizabeth National Park Uganda
Robben Island South Africa
Cape Town is dominated by a legendary mountain and the memory of the mighty Nelson Mandela. Nowhere is that memory more palpable than on Robben Island, where Nelson Mandela served 18 of his 27 years in prison. It was here that he walked out a free man and where he made his first speech as South Africa’s president. Today it is a place of pilgrimage for lovers of history and human rights. Thousands of political prisoners were held on the island from the 1960s until 1991, mostly without trial. Three of these former inmates have gone on to become President of South Africa: Nelson Mandela, Kgalema Motlanthe and current President Jacob Zuma. We visited the lime quarry where prisoners were forced to work under the scorching sun for hours each day, a small cave the prisoner’s only shade. It also doubled as a latrine and became their only unsupervised meeting place and is where, it is said, much of South Africa’s current constitution was drafted. In the tangle of concrete and barbed wire of the maximum-security prison, our guide, who spent many years of his life incarnated here, shared his harrowing story. And we visit the cell that took 18-years of Mandela’s life. The only respite from the grim reminders of the island’s past are spotting the penguins who call the beach home and the spectacular views of Table Mountain.
Aleney de Winter – Boy Eats World
Hiking in Ankarana National Park Madagascar
One of the first places in Madagascar, that I visited, was the Ankarana National Park. To enter the Park, you need to have a guide, so me and my friend were accompanied by a local, English (!) speaking guy. His help was really needed, as it would be so easy to get lost in the huge and unpopulated area. Ankarana Park is a spectacular combination of sharp limestone spires called “tsingy”, surrounded by a dry forest, patches of dense tropical jungle, rivers and deep caves – the longest in the whole Africa. Apart from the breathtaking and diverse landscape, the reserve is also a home to many interesting animals. You can walk over the limestone ridges stepping carefully on the hanging bridges, admire the large bat populations and tarantulas in the dark caves, listen to the cute lemurs playing in the baobabs and observe the longest centipedes moving through the rocks. The world’s only known cave-living crocodiles can also be found there, together with my favorite plant of the park – elephant foot tree that blooms with beautiful delicate white flowers. This place is a hiker and explorer paradise – the trails lead to incredible viewpoints overlooking the hundreds of limestone needles and numerous terrific paths that let you chase the adventure. Definitely a must-see in Madagascar!
Aga – Worldering Around
Walking Safari in Moremi Game Reserve Bostwana
When the elephant appeared in front of me, I was a bit scared but my guide said “the elephant cares only about the trees and food, not you”. With that we moved out of the way and thus began one of many up close encounters with animals on my unique walking safari in the Okavango Delta of Botswana. The camp provided a private guide and Mokoro (carved wooden) boat for each couple and as I was solo, I had my own boat and guide. Twice a day, I met my guide to glide on the water through the tall reeds in search of a good spot to land and track animals. My guide, armed only with his local knowledge of the area and the animals, had me walk behind him and pointed out fresh tracks or told me to look up in the tree or in the distance. Baboons populated the trees and then quickly evacuated right past us as a warthog in the distance meandered by and zebra stood in the fields. This was daily life among the animals in the Moremi Game Reserve and I put my camera down more than once to take it all in – the experience is like no other and I found myself looking up at the sunset each night saying “thank you”.
Suzanne – PhilaTravelGirl
Going Local in Chinguetti Mauritania
If Mauritania is the best country I have visited so far, then Chinguetti is my favourite place on earth. The village in the middle of nowhere in a country unknown for majority is surely not most people’s number one holiday destination. Therefore, most of travellers, who happen to be in Mauritania either just skip Chinguetti because they do not know it exists or simply just want to go straight through the “boring” Mauritania.
I had a plenty of time to spend in Chinguetti, although I had initially planned to make it just an overnight stop. As everywhere else in Mauritania, I was invited to sleep over at local family’s house for free and they made my stay even more special. Mauritanians treat foreigners as if we were gods, so be prepared to get many invitations for a tea, lunch, dinner or even a sleepover. This is the case especially in Adrar region, where locals are famous for being generous. To maximise your chances of getting opportunity for being invited to live with locals in Chinguetti, get there in the early morning or in the afternoon, after 5 p.m. However, if you are really unlucky, there is an auberge or two, where you’ll also be well treated.
The village itself can be easily toured on foot and if you just step out of it, you will get to the picture-perfect desert dunes. 3 km out of Chinguetti in the desert, there is an oasis, which can be easily seen from the village and is reachable by foot in the early morning (to avoid the heat of the day). It seems like you can only get camel meat, some couscous and dates there, so if you are planning to stay there longer, consider bringing some fruit from Nouadhibou or Nouakchott (the fruit is hard to find even on market in Atar). Sleeping outside is a wonderful experience in Chinguetti. Since it is far in the desert, the Milky Way is clearly visible. Furthermore, as you lie down and watch the sky, many shooting stars are seen there too. Do not hesitate anymore and let Mauritania be your next destination and make sure Chinguetti is on your itinerary.
Žan – Traveller
Saint Louis Senegal
Even though I don’t like cities much, Saint Louis left a special mark on me. It’s probably the best place to stay for travellers in northern Senegal with plenty of cheap, middle range and high end accommodations located on Île de N’dar (Historical island). Locals are much more laid-back in Saint Louis than in any other city in the country, which makes it a great escape from madness of Dakar. Nights there are lively, especially on Île de N’dar with plenty of clubs and bars offering live music every night. If you are lucky enough, you might just catch up a concert in front of the city hall.
During the day there are a lot of kids on the streets playing football and if you are white, they’ll start screaming »bonjour Toubab! « (Hello, white man) while smiling. These moments are the best opportunities to catch their sincere smiles on your camera, so don’t miss many them. If you ever get tired of kids calling you Toubab, just say back »Mun dooma Toubab« (»I’m not white man« in Wolof) and watch their reactions.
Last stop of the city bus is on the Fishermen island just a few 100 meters away from well maintained beach used every day by bunch of locals and Talibe kids. Swimming in Saint Louis seems to be a great opportunity to meet locals and Talibes, since everyone will try to initiate a conversation with you, but be careful not to swim to far from the coast as the currents are strong in this part of Atlantic Ocean. The Fishermen island is also a great place to explore, if not a little bit stinky.
Žan – Traveller
Microlight Flight Over Victoria Falls Zambia
Victoria Falls should be seen by anybody from the sky! You get Angel’s Kiss when flying over Vic falls! Seeing Vic Falls from a microlight flight was one of the best memories of Zambia for me. Periodically we would pass through a cloud, and all vision is obscured. The pilots call this the ‘Angel’s Kiss’, when the lungs are filled with sweet, moist air, and the glass of the visor becomes pocked with droplets of moisture. As locals call it ‘flight of angels’ is undoubtedly the most breath-taking way to see the magnificent Victoria Falls in all their glory, and to get those picture postcard panoramic photos you have always dreamed of. This is also a great way to see the Zambezi River as it leads up to the Falls, as well as the formation of the spectacular gorges that are carved out below. The best time to see Victoria Falls from the sky is in the early morning hours or late afternoon. I was flying over the Vic Falls in the morning hours before 7 AM. Flight over Victoria Falls is sweet and short and will set you back between 175 USD – 360 USD, depending the length of flight.
Nina Zara – Safari Junkie
Driving The Garden Route South Africa
Hot Air Balloon Safari in the Maasai Mara Kenya
Visit Sidi Bou Said Tunisia
Anybody visiting Tunisia should not skip the gorgeous Sidi Bou Said, at about 30 minutes drive from the capital. This lovely small city on the shores of the Mediterranean is famous for its white buildings and blue doors and windows and the tiny alleys with lovely souvenir shops. It is a totally different scene from the chaos of Tunis. The best way to enjoy Sidi Bou Said is by taking a walk through the village, sitting down at one of the beautiful cafés to enjoy a mint tea or a strawberry juice, and catch a bit of local action. There’s a lovely souvenir shop in the centre, who’s owner is a very interesting old man who likes chatting about Italian literature.
Vilankulos, off the coast of Mozambique, is by far one of the best spots to visit in the country – if not all of Southern Africa! Vilankulos is located about a four-hour drive north of Inhambane. It is a small town but is the gateway to the Bazaruto Archipelago. This is where you can see the bluest water and whitest beaches of your life! To see the best of the fine white sand and gorgeous turquoise water you will need to hire a local dhow to take you around the islands. Baobab Beach Backpackers can set this up for you, or if your Portuguese is good you may be able to hire a local for a lower price. Plan to spend at least a day in Vilankulos, however, I would recommend at least three to get the most your of your time there. It’s a fairly remote spot to get to so you may never be back! Mozambique was my favorite country I have been to in Africa. The people are friendly, the food is amazing, and the views are to die for!
Natasha & Cameron – The World Pursuit
Skydiving in Swakopmund Namibia
Skydiving was always on my bucket list, but I wasn’t convinced I would ever actually have the guts to do it. It certainly wasn’t my plan to do it in Swakopmund, Namibia. A couple of friends said “You’ll do a skydive with us, won’t you Em?” The trailer did look good and the views looked amazing, but jumping out of a plane strapped to a fella I had never met? Before I knew it I had agreed to take to the skies in the morning. I slept a lot better than I was expecting and surprisingly didn’t feel too nervous either. It got a little bit more intense as I got into my jumpsuit and learnt the correct positions, but before I knew it I was in the plane and climbing 10,000 feet watching the ocean and the Namib desert dunes get farther away. The door was open the whole ascent, so when the time came, we shuffled over to the door and out we leapt. The free fall of 35 seconds, felt a lot longer. It was exhilarating, surreal, amazing and scary simultaneously. The wind rushing against you, the ground approaching and the unusual feeling of freedom. The descent with the parachute open was more unnerving to me, I had time to process what was happening. However it was still peaceful and the view was simply stunning, I just couldn’t stop thinking “I JUST JUMPED OUT OF A PLANE!”
Emma – Wheresthatto.com
Quad biking Botswana’s Makgadikgadi Pans
We tied our kikois Lawrence-of-Arabia style to keep out the dust and rode into the vast moonscape of Botswana’s Makgadikgadi pans on quad bikes. With nothing around us for miles but salt-encrusted earth and dust, the featureless landscape played tricks on our minds. We stopped to jump and take photos; without any points of reference, it looked as if we were flying. A million years ago these salt pans used to be lakes. Then tectonic plates moved and created a ridge to the west so the Boteti River couldn’t flow into the lakes anymore. Water evaporated, leaving condensed minerals and salt behind. After the adrenalin rush of quad biking across the salt flats, we enjoyed the sunset in eerie silence, not even the chirp of a bird or insect. After dark, before the moon rose, we saw the whole of the southern hemisphere’s stars laid out from horizon to horizon. If spending a night on the pan sounds romantic, book your quad-biking and sleep-out experience through Planet Baobab near Gweta. Just take something warm because nights can get chilly, even in summer.
Safari in Nyika National Park Malawi
Getting to Nyika National Park, in the north of Malawi, involves several hours of dirt road: hard, bumpy and rocky in the dry season, muddy and treacherous in the wet season. Nevertheless, it’s worth the effort. On a plateau high above Lake Malawi, Nyika resembles the highlands of Scotland. The grassy, rolling hills here, though, are populated by herds of zebras, elands, and other antelopes. If you’re lucky, you might spot warthogs – or at least their tails, which stick straight up above the grass as they run – or leopards or even an elephant. You’ll certainly spot dozens of species of birds. In the wet season, look for some of the 200 species of orchids that grow there. The flora and fauna aren’t really the point, though, of visiting Nyika. It’s the beauty of the landscape, and the isolation of it. You could easily spend the whole day there without running into any other people. Enjoy the peace and quiet. Stay in a cozy chalet at Chelinda Camp, or splurge for the high-end Chelinda Lodge. Take a walk at dusk. After dark, see the stars, undimmed by pollution or surface lights. You won’t regret it.
Rachel Heller – Rachel’s Ruminations
Struisbaai South Africa
Hiking Dogon Country Mali
Inscribed as an UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1989, Dogon Country is a unique and mysterious region of central Mali. The Dogon people are famous for their astrological knowledge, UFO-related stories and singular architecture. They refused to convert to Islam and have been living in the area for more than a thousand years, building their houses on cliffs. Aside from all the alien stories and theories, it’s a region with impressive landscapes, traditional villages and a fascinating culture. Most hikes can be arranged in the city of Mopti. Hike durations can be anything from two days to more than a week depending on what you want to visit. You will hike along the Bandiagara Escarpment and visit several villages and archeological sites. While most villages are located down the cliff, hikes generally take you uphill and downhill so you get the most out of the region and take in impressive views from the top. I highly recommend a guide, as the local people don’t speak English and you’ll need someone to talk to them, ask for a place to sleep, get some food, etc. In my opinion, the best part of this hike is that you’ll be able to meet the Dogon people and learn about their fascinating history and traditions. It’s an unforgettable African experience!
Miguel – TravelsAuro
Safari in Serengeti NP Tanzania
The Serengeti is one of the most famous national parks in Africa and offers some of the best wildlife viewing opportunities in the world. Serengeti National Park is home to all of the Big Five animals and about 500 bird species. It is also home to the famous Great Migration where over 1 million wildebeest migrate across the Serengeti towards Kenya. July and August tend to be the most popular months to see the migration as this is when they typically cross the rivers. In addition to wildlife safaris, you can also visit a local Maasai village, see the important Oldupai Gorge paleoanthropological site, and go hot air ballooning. It is one of my favorite national parks and I highly recommend it for wildlife lovers.
Jessica – Independent Travel Cats
The Long Wall (aka Lange Wand) Namibia
Great Pyramids of Giza Egypt
An absolutely unmissable sight when visiting Egypt are the truly spectacular Great Pyramids of Giza, including of course the enigmatic Sphinx. The most impressive of the pyramids is the Great Pyramid of Giza. At almost five thousand years old, this is the oldest of the seven wonders of the ancient world, and the last remaining one that survives almost intact. It, and the other structures in the pyramid complex, have been entrancing visitors to Egypt for millennia – it’s amazing to think when you visit that you’re gazing upon something that everyone from Julius Caesar to Napoleon has also visited. It’s also incredible to think that whilst we think the ancient Romans are from a long time ago, the pyramids predate them by over two thousand years! There’s more to do here than just walk around the pyramids and marvel at how they might have been constructed, and how they’ve withstood the test of time so well. You can actually go inside some of the pyramids. There are also camel rides, and if you want to ride a camel, doing so against the backdrop of the Egyptian Pyramids is certainly an excellent place to get started!
Laurence – Finding The Universe
Tanji Village Gambia
Be prepared to have all your senses overloaded as you experience the sights, sounds and smells of Tanji in The Gambia, West Africa. This bustling fishing village and in particular, its wide stretch of sandy beach, is mesmerising as the colourful fishing boats, known as pirogues, return to shore weighed down by their catch of the day. Men and women rush between the boats and the market with multi-coloured buckets full of fish balanced on their heads. Children run behind in the hope that they can catch a falling fish – it’s theirs to keep and take home or sell as they wish. Women are dressed in brightly coloured clothes with vibrant scarves wrapped around their heads. People haggle. Smoking sheds belch out smoke. Seagulls squawk overhead, hoping to snatch their share of the catch too.
Kathryn – Boutique Travel Blog
Kruger National Park Safari South Africa
I’ve been back to Kruger National Park in South Africa numerous times and I can assure you, that “Best Place On Earth” is not just a catchy marketing slogan. No other place like Kruger National Park offers an abundance of free roaming wildlife spread over more than 20’000 square kilometres. The park exists since the early 20th century, which allowed the environment to recover from human influences during an extended period of more than a hundred years. If you’d like to see the famous Big Five: lions, rhinos, elephants, leopards, buffaloes and get close to magnificent predators like cheetahs, jackals, wild dogs and hyenas or you’re in to birding, you’ll have the best photo opportunities in Kruger National Park. You can book guided tours and stay in luxury game reserves if you like, but for longer enjoyment you might prefer to self-drive and stay on campgrounds in the park. Unique for Africa you can spend several weeks in the park for an affordable price and feel the beat of the bush as close as through the thin layer of your camping mattress on a small budget for an extended time.
Marcelle – Grey World Nomads
Safari in Chobe National Park Botswana
Going on safari in Africa is a pretty epic experience no matter where you go, but beautiful Chobe National Park is by far our favourite! It’s made up of four diverse wildlife zones (the lush Chobe Riverfront, Ngwezumba’s grass and clay pans, the Linyanti Marshes, and the Savute channel), which makes the wildlife viewing action-packed and varied. You could cruise along the river spotting hippos and crocodiles one day, then take a morning or afternoon game drive to spot the ‘big 5’ the next. If you want to see elephants in the wild, safari in Chobe National Park is definitely your place. The local population in Chobe NP is estimated to be around 120,000 thanks to conservation efforts, and we can definitely believe it: we saw hundreds of elephants crossing the plains, bathings in waterholes, and drinking by the river! It’s also an awesome place to see lions, cheetahs, and leopards too. By day, we saw prides of roaming lions and a leopard up a tree with a fresh-caught antelope, and by night, we fell asleep to the sounds of big cats calling to each other in the dark outside our tent. Epic!
Mark & Miranda – The Common Wanderer
Swimming in Devil’s Pool Zambia
One by one everyone jumped in, I was last. As I hit the water it was a mixture of fear, excitement and irritation, as small fish tried their best to eat my toes (no-one warns you about that part). I was relieved to resurface and see the rest of the small group hadn’t been swept over the edge of the Victoria Falls by my ill conceived plans for a dramatic “running bomb” entrance. Now, All that stood between me and 100 metre fall to a spectacular death was this small natural pool, but as the current took me to the edge and I looked down, I felt safe, wondering if there is anywhere else in the world like this. Located on the Zambian side of the Victoria Falls, Devil’s Pool is an exhilarating addition to a trip to the Victoria Falls. To reach it you must book a guide, which can be done in most hostels or in the park itself. Just remember though, the pool is about a 20 minute walk from the meeting point which involves a fair amount of wet rock hopping, so bring some decent footwear.
Mark – The Travel Blogs
Inhambane Province Mozambique
Only now is Mozambique emerging from four centuries of Portuguese colonization, the legacy of slavery and a brutal civil war. The country has remained politically stable since 1992 after peaceful elections. This stability has encouraged a small but growing tourism trade. The world should start hearing more about Mozambique’s charm and attractions in the years to come. Nowhere else is Mozambique’s natural beauty more evident than in Inhambane Province where the beaches are exceptional. There is a sting of mid-range hotels there that cater to travelers that just want to chill on a beautiful beach, explore the area, sample the fresh seafood and get to know the local people. There is plenty to do in Inhambane. The backwaters are ideal for a motor boat ride to explore the villages deep in-country. One of the most fun activities in Inhambane is to explore the abandoned Portuguese forts. It’s hard to imagine these fortresses, now abandoned, were beehives of commercial activity not so long ago. So what do you do at night in Inhambane after you’ve lounged on the beach and explored abandoned fortresses? Why you play Mancala, of course! Mancala is a group board games played in many parts of the world. But beware. It is addictive like most of this beautiful, underrated country.
Talek Nantes – Travels With Talek
Safari in Lake Manyara National Park Tanzania
All my life I dreamt of going on safari and visiting Lake Manyara National Park. I wanted to see the huge flocks of flamingos and other birds this park is famous for. When I finally decided to go and fulfill my dream, I discovered that Lake Manyara offers so much more than birds. The lake and surrounding marshes and scrubland provide a very different habitat from those inside the other major Tanzanian parks. Giraffes, wildebeest, and zebra frolic along the shorelines of this massive lake. Elephants roam through the brush and large families of monkeys groom themselves by the side of the dirt tracks. I loved every breathtaking moment I spent here. Lake Manyara can be easily added to any safari itinerary as it is on the way to the other major parks like the Serengeti and the Ngorongoro Crater. Look up as you drive along the road leading into the park. The trees lining the road are filled with hundreds of storks. Ask your driver to take you to the hippo pool area. In the dry season, when there are no hippos there, the whole area turns into a gorgeous marshland.
Mary Talbott – The Lifelongadvetures.com
Sani Pass Leshoto
A few weeks ago I went to Lesotho. After hearing about the Sani Pass I knew I had to go. For this pass, you need a 4wd. Unfortunately, I had booked a small car that would not make it up. I started researching and there were plenty of companies that will take you up and you can even spend the night on top of the Sani Pass. I booked into the lodge and arranged my transport up and down the pass. The views were breathtaking. It was a bit chilly but really cozy and warm inside my little rondawel. As a part of the tour we got to meet a tribe that lived on top of the Sani Pass. I fell in love with Lesotho and would definitely want to go back!
Petro Marais – Worldmission196.com
Mpumalanga Province South Africa
Mpumalanga is one of South Africa’s most picturesque provinces and one of my favourites. The name itself has a beautiful meaning which translates to “the place where the sun rises” . The province is a haven for nature-lovers and has an abundance of stunning scenery, spectacular waterfalls, historic caves and striking natural rock formations. The views from the viewpoints along the Panorama Route are incredible. All this natural splendour makes a great setting for a myriad of adrenalin-pumping activities, like ziplining, river rafting and abseiling. Some of the best game reserves in South Africa can also be found here including the world-famous Kruger National Park. You can see hundreds of fascinating wild animals and birds in their natural environment while on safari, whether you choose to self-drive or to go on a guided game drive. Add Mpumalanga to your South African itinerary and you will create memories for life. The best way to get to Mpumalanga is to fly to OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg then either drive there or fly to Nelspruit airport.
Sara Essop – In Africa and Beyond
White Desert Egypt
In our daily busy lives in this fast-paced world, we go on living trying to find fulfilment through accumulating stuff, surrounding ourselves by many other people and filling up our schedules as much as possible and yet we are somehow not really fulfilled. But what if we changed strategies? What if we quit our troubled routines and set off with the essentials to the middle of nowhere? Hundreds of miles west of Cairo and Luxor and their historical landmarks visited ad-nausea by millions of tourists, lies the magnificent White Desert, a vast empty stretch in the almighty Sahara decorated by thousands of pristine-white sculptures standing in deafening silence, towering around you under millions of stars. Where you choose to pitch your tent it’s your choice, but rest assured that the boundless beauty and absolute emptiness will be fulfilling.
Giraffe Center Nairobi Kenya
There are six sub-species of giraffes in Africa and one of them – the Rothschild – is endangered. That is what’s at the heart of the mission for the Langata Giraffe Center just outside of Nairobi, Kenya, Africa. With an emphasis on education the center runs a very successful breeding program which has been one factor in increasing the population of the Rothschild giraffe from 130 to 300 since 1979. For me, the highlight of visiting the Giraffe Center was getting up close and personal with the giraffes from the center’s giraffe feeding platform. As you interact with the resident giraffes a keeper is always close by to educate you about the center, provide you with the history of each giraffe and demonstrate how their individual personalities differ from one another. Regardless of age or predisposition, everyone I saw at the Giraffe Center was having a huge amount of fun. If you dare, you can even feed a giraffe pellets from your lips. They use their prehensile (and slobbery) tongues to remove the pellet from your lips. It is an awesome experience that I highly recommend. After all, how many of us can honestly say we’ve kissed a giraffe on the mouth?
Cherri Megasko Bucket List Travel Club
Safari in Lake Nakuru National Park Kenya
One awesome African destination is Lake Nakuru National Park. In a country full of wildlife, this park is special because of the tree-climbing lions, which are found nowhere else in Kenya. The lions are rare because… well, lions don’t normally climb trees. They can be hard to spot without an experienced safari guide, who will keep in contact with others in the area to share updates. There is nothing so thrilling as flying across open savannah in your safari truck, bumping about in your seat as you race to a sighting! On my visit, I was rewarded with two lions, one of which climbed up a tree to settle for a nap, unperturbed by the long lens cameras clicking in the distance. My top tip: be patient. When a lion is sighted, every vehicle in the area will flock to see it, but most will hang around only 10-15 minutes. If you have time to spare, wait until they have left; the animals will start to relax, and you will get fantastic photos and an unforgettable shared moment. A few hours’ drive west of Nairobi, Lake Nakuru makes for an easy day trip.
Jill Bowdery – ReadingTheBookTravel.com
Kikuletwa Hot Springs Tanzania
The Kikulweta hot springs in Tanzania are quite literally an oasis hidden in the middle of a desert. To get there you must take a tuk tuk through small African villages for some time. Peering out across the African savannah, you would not think a crystal clear, perfectly warmed hot spring would be waiting for you on the horizon. The hot springs are so artfully hidden, our tuk tuk driver even got lost looking for them! Upon arriving, you will instantly realize you have come to a magical place. Locals and foreigners alike gather to play, swim and relax in the water or perch on the roots of the banyan trees that grow like vines throughout the area. *Insider Tip!* Don’t forget to bring your go pro or underwater camera. If you’re looking for a great spot to get some awesome underwater footage the hot springs could not be a better place. A mixture of the perfectly clear water and the banyan tree limbs weaving through the water makes a perfect backdrop for some artfully crafted and fun photos.
Jessica Drier – Unearththevoyage.com
Ngorongoro Conservation Tanzania
Not only is the Ngorongoro Conservation Area one of the most visually stunning and wildlife-rich places in all of Africa, it’s also one of the most historically significant. Based on fossil evidence found at the nearby Olduvai Gorge, where Louis and Mary Leakey began their famous archaeological excavations in 1931, the Ngorongoro area of Tanzania has been inhabited by various hominid species for approximately 3 million years. Separated from Serengeti National Park in 1959, Ngorongoro became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1979. It’s unique because it’s the only conservation area in Tanzania that protects wildlife while allowing human habitation, prohibiting cultivation of the land at all but subsistence levels. The park’s most famous feature is the Ngorongoro Crater, the largest intact, inactive and unfilled volcanic crater in the world. Formed when a volcano exploded and collapsed on itself, the crater is 2,000 feet deep and 100 square miles wide, providing home to more than 25,000 large animals (buffalo, hippos, gazelles, wildebeests, etc.), a dense lion population, and thousands of Lesser Flamingoes flocking to Lake Magadi. Just make sure you get there by noon: The Crater gates close at 6PM, and there are fines for being late!
Bret Love & Mary Gabbett – Green Global Travel
Addo National Park South Africa
Entering the 3rd largest national park in South Africa felt like something out of the movie Jurassic Park, large gates open to let our vehicle through. This was our first self-drive Safari and we had butterflies in our stomach, nervous about literally entering the lion’s den but also excited about the animals we might see. Within a few minutes, driving slowly down the sealed road we came across 2 cars, they had stopped to catch a glimpse of an elephant eating in a thorny bush. We could see the thorny plants shaking, an ear flapping up above the tree line, our first elephant! We hung back waiting for the other vehicles to move on, to our left the thorny bushes started to rustle and sway and out came a mother elephant with her calf, no peering through bushes or across valleys to distant figures, they were so close we could smell their grassy odour and see the eyelashes which lined their curious eyes. We would see many more animals that day. Zebra, antelope, warthog, the famous dung beetles and many more elephants Addo Elephant Park is one of the only malaria-free safari parks in Africa, making it great for families. Like Kruger, you can drive yourself through the park but an early morning guided tour will give you the best chance of seeing Lions.
Kaylie Lewell – Happiness Travels Here
Okowango Delta Botswana
If the Okavango Delta isn’t on your list – you need to stop and put it on there right now! The Okavango Delta is an amazing place to see wildlife in Botswana, and we’d recommend camping in the Delta itself. The only way to get to the campsite is by taking a Mokoro – a traditional dugout canoe. Even the journey to get to the campsite is fun! It’s extremely relaxing, peaceful, and you may even find yourself drifting off to sleep. In the Delta you can go on walking safaris, jump in for a dip and you might even hear lions roaring from your campsite. If you’re wanting something a little more special and don’t mind splurging a little – look at taking a scenic flight over the Delta. There’s something magical about seeing all the waterways snaking over each other and the wildlife from above. The Okavango Delta is full of untouched beauty and wilderness – and that’s why we love it.
Rachel and Jeremy – The Kiwi Couple
Bungee Juming From Bloukrans Bridge South Africa
Bloukrans Bridge is 216 meters high. It’s the highest natural bungee jump in the world. I couldn’t wait. Once we arrived to Face Adrenalin they weighed us, we signed our lives away and then we could watch the jumpers before us from a distance, or up close on a TV screen in the little café. I felt the anticipation start to build more and more Once it was our turn about 20 of us walked out to the middle of the bridge. They have music blasting and the staff is awesome. The jump order went from either heaviest or lightest, alternating between the two until you ended up in the middle of the group. They asked who wanted to go first. I hesitated. The heaviest guy went first which gave me just enough time to really get my heart beating out of my chest. A few minutes later my ankles were strapped and they were carrying me out to the edge of the ledge. 1, 2, 3…FLY! It was absolutely incredible (except perhaps the biggest wedge that occurred as they hoisted me back up to the bridge)
Jocelyn Fielding – Asideofsunsets.com
Stone Town Zanzibar Tanzania
Most people associate Zanzibar with white sand beaches and turquoise waters but Stone Town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is equally stunning — in a different way. Once a centre for trade, this town in Zanzibar City is a mix of international influences: African, Indian, Arab and European. The result is a rich and diverse history, society, architectural landscape and cuisine. The best thing to do in Stone Town is simply wander the narrow roads and alleys, and take in all the bright colours, textures and unique, historical buildings. The famous Zanzibari doors which are crafted with beautiful, painstaking detail are especially fascinating, each with its own story to tell. And the food! Zanzibar is known as the “Spice Islands” so the spice-rich flavours are hard to resist. Also impressive is how Hindus, Muslims and Christians peacefully live side by side — something the rest of the world can learn from.
Helen Suk – Not Without My Passport
Safari in Tsavo East national Park Kenya
I spent two days in Tsavo East National Park (Kenya), which is the easiest reserve to reach from the most famous places on the coast: it takes about 3 hours to get there. Everybody should make, at least once in a life, this unforgettable and unique experience. You can’t miss the chance of admiring animals you’ve never seen before in their natural habitat. Nothing compares to look at at lionesses about to attack a herd of gazelles right in front of you or an elephant family drinking at a puddle or! During your safari you will soon understand that sighting these animals is the main aim of every day. There are no words to describe what I felt when we managed to see a lion and, the following day, a cheetah just a few meters distance from us. If you’re visiting the Tsavo East National Park, I suggest you to hire a good driver and to move with a jeep. Last but not least, spend at least one night in the reserve. You will be plunged into the absolute darkness and into the wildest nature… this is the experience of a lifetime!
Martina – Asfarasyoucan.com
Gorilla Trekking Rwanda
Rwanda in East Africa is a place that will sweep you off your feet as soon as you land there. The country which is dubbed as the land of a thousand hills and a million smiles is indeed a shining jewel of Africa. The natural beauty of the place is captivating and its wildlife is sure to set your heart thumping. One of the iconic activities in Rwanda is Gorilla trekking in the Volcanoes National Park which stretches across 5 of the eight volcanoes of the Virunga Mountains. The endangered species of Mountain Gorillas live in the forests enclosed by the Volcanoes National Park. A guided trek that will take you through fields, hills, swamps and dense forests leads you to a rendezvous with one of the families of the Mountain Gorillas.Watching the Gorillas at point-blank range is indeed a life-changing experience. The fact that the gentle giants today number less than 1000 in the world will add a poignant note to your experience with the Gorillas. An hour with the Gorillas will sculpt memories of a lifetime and will haunt you forever. Tip – Limited Gorilla permits are issued in a day, only about 80 people get to meet the Gorillas on any given day, hence it is advisable to book in advance.
Sandy & Vyjay – Voyager
Marrakech Souks Morocco
Safari in Masai Mara National Reserve Kenya
Congo River Adventure DR Congo
Omo Valley Ethiopia
The Omo Valley, located in Africa’s Great Rift Valley, is undoubtedly one of the most unique places on earth. It is occupied primarily by the province called “Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples’ Region” that is known for the wide variety of people and animals that inhabit it. The unique tribes that live in the lower Omo Valley of Ethiopia are among the most fascinating in Africa and around the world. You can take one of the tours that are offered in several towns and villages like Arba Minch and visit the tribes of Bena, Dorze, Hamer, Konso, Kwegu and Mursi, among many others. Most of the tribes keep their traditions. One of the most well known, the Mursi people, for example, decorates their bodies largely with multiple colours. And while men cut circular wounds around their nipples to express that they have killed an enemy, women use to wear big lip plates. A surreal, but then again, real life experience.
Clemens – travellersarchive.com
Somaliland is a great destination for seasoned travelers in search of an unusual travel experience. It is a self-declared state, internationally recognized as an autonomous region of Somalia and it has its own currency, flag, military, and government. While most of Somalia is very dangerous to visit, in Somaliland the safety of tourists is taken very seriously. The best place to start your trip is Hargeisa, the capital of Somaliland. A trip to Somaliland isn’t complete without a trip to Laas Geel. The 10.000 years old cave paintings in Laas Geel are one of Somalia’s main tourist attractions. While there aren’t that many touristy things to do in Somaliland besides this one, the best way to get the know the country and culture is to talk with the local people. The locals are very curious, and they like to know why you’re visiting their country and how do you find it. Remember, that there aren’t that many tourists (and you might even be the only one in their country when you’re visiting) after all. It’s easy to start a conversation with people and they are happy to show you around.
Gabriela – HereandThere.com
I had never seen sand this red until I went to Namib desert. While Namibia became a country only in 1990, the Namib – the world’s oldest desert – dates back at least 60 million years. So glad my husband’s colleague recommended Namibia to us, that set us off for a 2-week road trip with G Adventures through this amazing land. Sandboarding, a visit to the famous Dune 45, Namib desert is quite an adventure. We had signed up for the optional trip to Deadvlei the next morning, and I was in for more surprises. Deadvlei – its name means “dead marsh” – is a surreal place. This trip was way back in 2008, long before Instagram. So the first sight left me speechless! Imagine walking into a large circular white clay pan, with the cracked earth that’s not seen water in a thousand years. The camel thorn trees are a stunning contrast to the white clay pan floor. Deadvlei is a paradise for photographers as the contrast between the pitch-black trees and bleached-white pans, and the rusty-red dunes and deep blue sky make for incredible images. It is at least 1km walk from the parking lot so be sure to take drinking water and a hat with you.
Shweta – Zest in A Tote