My African Dream!
The vibrant cultures, exciting attractions, and colorful scenery, make Africa a dream continent indeed! There are plenty of exciting places to visit when you vacation in Africa, and aside from the popular safaris that make this continent unique, there are tons of other activities that you can enjoy. Some of the most amazing vacation spots in Africa will take you from the arid Northern regions, to the more arable Southern areas.
Africa boasts a rich history and culture, and of course, the most abundant wildlife that people come from all over the world to admire. Most countries within Africa have numerous game reserves and national parks that offer exciting game viewing including the Big 5, exotic birds, and some of the most unique plant life. For those who are outdoor enthusiasts, Arica is your playground! Even if you are an admitted city slicker, you will find Africa one of the most fascinating places on earth, with many vibrant cities and towns that will appeal to your urban sense of adventure.
So, let’s have a look at the top amazing vacation spots in Africa that should include in your travel itinerary, when you embark on your journey.
At the very tip of the African continent, lies the most Westernized of all the African countries. South Africa is known for its extremely diverse climates, cultures, history, and lifestyles with the main vacation spot being that of Cape Town at the very South of the country. Cape Town offers a truly unique experience with cosmopolitan CBD and wide variety of outlying areas that will appeal to everyone. Within the CBD itself, you can enjoy taking a long hike or cable car ride up the famed Table Mountain, explore the Cape of Goodhope Castle, take a boat ride out to Robben Island, where the renowned ex-president Nelson Mandela was held prisoner, and enjoy the world-class V&A Waterfront.
The famous Cape Wine Route is a must where you will find some of the finest wine farms in the world in towns like Stellenbosch and Franschhoek. These places have such a rich history too with interesting museums, history buildings, and plenty of world class restaurants and cafes to frequent.
Making your way right to the Southwestern Most point of Cape Town, and the country, you will find more seaside village type of suburbs including the Kalk Bay where you can shop for antiques, browse little art galleries and curios shops and enjoy the eclectic atmosphere, Fish Hoek, with its beautiful beach, and whale watching sites, and Simon’s Town, the seat of the South African Navy, where you would be mistaken for thinking you were in a quaint British seaside village. Here you will also find the penguin colony at Boulder’s Beach and of course you can then make your way further along to The Cape of Goodhope Nature Reserve, where you can see the Indian and Atlantic Oceans meet at Cape Point, view the 15th Century Diaz Cross, spot some Cape Mountain Zebra and various buck, and enjoy snorkeling at the nearby private beaches.
If you make your way along the East Coast, you can enjoy Shark Cage Diving in Gansbaai and view the immaculate whales at Hermanus.
For a complete different experience in South Africa, you can make your way up to the northern Limpopo and Mpumalanga Provinces where you will find the renowned Kruger National Park. This is the largest and most popular National Park in the country where you can stay at numerous camps in thatched bungalows or caravans, and embark on game drives every day. You can spot any of the Big 5, as well as a wide variety birds and other smaller animal species. At night in the campsites, you will be treated to a symphony of hyena laughs, lion vocals, and the occasional hippo or warthog grunts.
South Africa’s other top vacation spots include UShaka Marine World and the Wild Coast found in Kwa-Zulu Natal along the East Coast, as well as the magnificent Drakensberg Mountain Range flanked by the beautiful lush, green rolling hills of Lesoto, a Kingdom fully surrounded by South Africa, The Cradle of Humankind in the central Gauteng Province, and the gorgeous beginnings of the Kalahari Desert in the North West. There is so much to do and see in South Africa, that you would need an entire vacation dedicated to exploring this wonderful country. However, there are plenty of other amazing vacation spots in Africa to enjoy.
Along the borders of South Africa, you will find Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Namibia, and Botswana, all of which offer numerous exciting vacation hotspots and attractions.
Namibia, known as the Land of the Brave, is was a colony of Germany, only receiving their independence in 1990. It boasts one of the harshest environments in Africa with huge stretches of uninhabitable coastal beach areas, and sand dunes, where many people enjoy going on sand boarding and quad biking tours. The Namib and Kalahari Deserts are found here as Namibia is the country in Sub-Saharan African with the least amount of rainfall.
Some of the best places to visit include:
• The Skeleton Coast and the Diamond Coast often covered in thick fog
• The Caprivi Strip
• The Town of Swakopmund
• The town of Walvis Bay
• Cape Cross
• Etosha Pan National Park
• The City of Windhoek, the Capital
• Fish River Canyon
There are extensive wildlife reserves here and sport hunting has become quite popular among tourists.
Botswana is rich in wildlife and one of the most sparsely populated countries in Africa with 70% of the country being made up of the Kalahari Desert. The best places to visit are the Chobe National Park and the Kgalagadi-Transfrontier National Park, as well as the Central Kalahari Game Reserve, Moremi Game Reserve, where you can see the stunning cascading waterfalls of Moremi Gorge, Mokolodi Game Reserve and more. The ancient rock paintings at Tsoldilo Hills are a must-see on your vacation, and to enjoy some spectacular safari tourism and geographical wonders, visit the Tuli Block to the East where Botswana borders Zimbabwe and South Africa.
You will also find the Makgadikgadi Salt Pan, which boasts some of the largest salt pans in the world. It is desolate during the dry months, with the uniquely massive baobab trees dominating the skyline, but when the rains come, it is the most important place for migrating wildlife, and you will see some of the largest populations of Zebra and Wildebeest, as well as the breeding Greater Flamingos. More than 200 thousand large mammals pass through the Delta every year during their migration.
Botswana is also home to the lush, fauna and flora rich Okavango Delta or Okavango Swamp which is where the majority of wildlife can be seen. There are over 400 species of birds and 71 species of fish in the Delta. The Okavango Delta is created by a huge run off from the Okavango River where it reaches the tectonic basin in the Kalahari Desert. It spreads out over between 6000 and 15,000 km2 with 11 cubic kilometers of water flooding the area every year during March and June, bringing the largest diverse populations of wildlife and birds anywhere in Africa. This is the best time to visit Botswana.
If you want a taste of city life, then head to the capital city, Gaborone, where you can visit the National Museum and Art Gallery, see Government Buildings, walk around the National Botanical Gardens, catch a show at the International Convention Center, and have a picnic, go yachting or fishing on the Gaborone Dam.
Perhaps the most famous attraction and vacation spot in Zambia is the majestic Victoria Falls, locally known as the Smoke that Thunders. Shared with Zimbabwe, the Falls stretch across for 1708 meters, and is 108 meters high, making it the largest waterfall in the world. From the enormous First Gorge, where the entire volume of the Zambezi River pours over, the water then reaches 5 more gorges zigzagging on its way down. On the Zambian side, you can walk a small, steep footpath to reach Boiling Pot, the Second Gorge.
One of the most famous and dangerous tourist attractions is Devil’s Pool reached from Livingstone Island. This naturally formed rock pool offers the most exciting swimming opportunities for visitors, as you frolic right on the edge of the enormous drop. During a certain time of year, usually September to December, the water is at a safe enough level for people to swim, although swimmers have occasionally been washed over the rock barrier. While you are here don’t forget to visit the Livingstone Reptile Park and the Livingstone Museum.
Some other eco-regions and wildlife hotspots in Zambia include the South Luangwa National Park, where you can go on a walking safari, take a Zambezi river cruise, visit the North Luangwa National Park where you can enjoy the Kapishya hot springs, go bungee jumping off one of the highest bridges in the world at the Victoria Falls, and enjoy abseiling or bridge sliding at the Batoka Gorge.
Zambia has one of the biggest urban populations in Africa, and you should make a plan to visit the Capital of Lusaka and the Copperbelt region where most people reside. You can visit the Lusaka National Museum, the Zintu Community Museum, Freedom Statue, Agricultural Society Showgrounds, Open Air Arcades Mall, Zoo and Botanical Gardens, Munda Wanga Environmental Park, Moore Pottery Factory, and Playhouse Theatre.
Malawi is located right next to Zambia and offers plenty of interesting attractions and vacation spots. These include:
• Mulanje Mountain
• Likoma Island
• Liwonde National park
• Zomba Plateau
• Lake Chilwa
• Chongoni Rock Art Area
• Monkey Bay
• Lake Malawi
The most famous vacation spot in Tanzania is Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest freestanding mountain in the world. It offers a variety of climbing routes consisting of 3 dormant volcano summits, namely, Shira, Mawenzi, and Kibo, with Uhuru Peak on Kibo being its highest summit. It is situated within the Kilimanjaro National Park which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site offers an array of flora and fauna including leopards, bushbuck, grey duiker, elephants and Cape buffalo.
Another wildlife rich area is The Ngorongoro Reserve which is locate in an extinct volcano and offers wonderful game viewing from the rim of the crater. Of course, a visit to Tanzania would not be complete without visiting the famous Serengeti National Park. This park is home to the largest wildlife event on earth, namely the great annual zebra and wildebeest migration, where these creatures make their way across the plains of the Serengeti down to the Okavango Delta region. This park offers some of the best safari tours in all of Africa.
Rich in history and culture, Tanzania boasts the ancient hominid site of Oldupai Gorge and Archaeological Museum. This is a conservation area where the largest extent of human fossils has been discovered reaching back 3.5 million years.
The Archipelago of Zanzibar is located off the coast of Tanzania and is a popular honeymoon destination with ample seaside retreats and pristine beaches. Take a trip to Zanzibar town or Stone town, visit Livingstone House and relax in the Hamamni Persian Baths. Make sure you also visit:
• The House of Wonders
• Pemba Island
• The Palace Museum
• The Mangapwani caves
Zanzibar is gorgeous and tranquil, a perfect tropical paradise and an ideal vacation spot.
Kenya is a remarkably hot country, situated on the equator and named after the second highest mountain in Africa, Mount Kenya. There is plenty to do and see in Kenya including going on a walking safari with the famous Maasai people. You can ride camels in the desert and explore the largest tropical lake in the world, Lake Victoria. There are numerous game reserves and wildlife parks in Kenya including the Maasai Mara, where one of the Great Natural Wonders of the World, the great blue wildebeest migration, takes place, Nairobi National Park and River, Hell’s Gate National Park, Tsavo National Park, Lake Nakuru National Park, where the largest population of Lesser Flamingos breed.
Other Kenyan attractions include:
• Lamu Island
• The Ancient Malinidi Port
• The Great Mosque of Kilwa Kisiwani
• The vibrant city of Mombasa with its markets and stunning historic buildings
The capital city of Nairobi, nicknamed, the Safari Capital of the World, features:
• Uhuru Monument
• Giraffe Centre
• Bomas of Kenya
• Uhuru Park
• Central Park
• Kenyatta International Conference Centre
• Parliament of Kenya
• Jeevanjee Gardens
• Nairobi City Hall
• the Nairobi River
• Nairobi Arboretum
• Nairobi National Museum
• Nairobi Railway Museum
• Rahimtulla Museum of Modern Art (Ramoma)
• Kenya National Theatre
• The Mizizi Arts Centre
• Safari Park and Casino
• Nairobi City Square
• Various shopping malls
There are many great vacation spots and resort locations in Nigeria with plenty of attractions and points of interest that are culturally and historically significant. Here are some of the highlights:
• Azumini Blue River Rose, where you can canoe, relax on the sandy beaches, and enjoy picnicking.
• The Long JuJu Shrine of Arochukwu, where you can explore the Long JuJu Oracle Cave.
• Yola, the capital city of Adamawa State, with its impressive three sister hills, and Lake Njuwa fishing festival.
• Ogbunike Cave.
• Rojenny Tourist Village at the outskirts of Onitsha market town is one of the leading tourist locations. There are rides and amusement park facilities as well as recreation and sports facilities.
• lgbo-Ukwu town with its ancient bronze artifacts that date back to the 9th Century.
• Yankari National Park, which offers tons of attractions and is the most developed of all the national wildlife reserves in Nigeria. They have a huge population of wildlife which can be best seen around the Gaji River between November and May. Here you will also find the famous Wikki Warm Springs which are available for tourists to swim in 24 hours a day.
• Bassa Hills and the Ushogbo Hills are very scenic areas.
• Lake Chad is the largest lake in the country, and offers top fishing and boating opportunities and is a popular tourist destination.
• Obudu Cattle Ranch on the Cameroon border offers temperate weather and brilliant ranch life including horse riding, sports, bird watching, waterfalls, natural pools, and a gorilla camp.
• Agbokim Waterfalls is located nearby and is a popular picnic spot with beautiful scenery and green vegetation.
• Mbari Cultural Centre, is an open air museum where huge sculptures of religious entities are located.
• Oguta Lake is the second largest lake and offers a Holiday Complex with various attractions and recreational areas, including cruise boats, war bunker, golf course and club house with Oguta Lake Motel, recreational park, and the natural confluence of the Urashi River.
• Birnin Kudu town boasts ancient Rock Painting.
• Chief Nana’s Palace found in Koko is a National Monument.
• Abraka River Resort, where you can fish, boat, swim, or play lawn tennis, badminton, and squash.
• Okonni Wildlife Sanctuary in Benin City, where you will find rare wildlife including the red-cangaby, putty-nosed quenon, white-throated monkey, bush baby, red river hog, and more.
• Gashaka/Gumpti Game Reserve which is the richest and largest reserve South of the Sahara.
Other tourist vacation areas include Ososo Tourist Centre, Ezeagu Tourist Complex, The Iron of Liberty, Dr. Ladi Kwali Pottery Centre, Birikisu Sungbo Shrine, Olumo Rock Tourist Centre, and the Mambilla Tourist Centre.
There are also some great beaches in Nigeria including Pategi Beach, Maiyegun Beach, Port Harcourt Tourist Beach, and Ibeno Beach.
Some other points of interest include:
• The National Theatre
• Zuma Rock
• Gurara Waterfalls
• Ikogosi Warm and Cold Springs
• Idanre Hills
• Jos Wildlife Park
• Assop Falls
• The Sultan of Sokoto Palace
• Othman Dan Fodio Tomb
• Ooni’s Palace
• lfe Museum
• University Museum
• Osun Shrine
• Ancient City of lfe
This amazing land with its gigantic pyramid and ancient Sphinx structures is the most unique country in Africa, and one of the most unique in the world. It provides visitors with a completely different view of Africa, being more Arabic in culture than the rest of the continent. With both extreme desert and lush river areas along the Nile and Red Sea, Egypt is a fascinating, magical place that is a must on any African trip.
Some of the top attractions include:
• Giza Pyramids
• The capital city of Cairo with its famous bazaars
• Red Sea
• Nile River
• The city of Alexandria
• Mount Sinai
• Valley of the Kings
• Lighthouse of Alexandria
• Abu Simbel Temples
• Colossi of Memnon
• Cairo Opera House
• Ras Muhammad National Park
• Abdeen Palace
• Babylon Fortress
• Alexandria Zoo
• Grand Egyptian Museum
There are many other amazing vacation spots in Africa that you can explore including the Arabic countries of Morocco and Mali, as well as Greek-centric Libya. The Western bulge is where you will find exquisite, tropic countries like Cote d’Ivoire and Mauritania.
Africa is indeed unique, mystical, breathtaking, and wild, with attractions and activities that will suit anyone, from the most avid outdoor adventure-lover and wildlife enthusiast, to the history buff, and the urban dwelling culture fanatic. There is something for everyone in Africa!