In our Africa travel guide we touch briefly upon North Africa, one of the most sought-after tourist destinations in Egypt and Morocco, but when it comes to true nature and unforgettable experiences, you will only find these in South Africa.
Our compact guide on Africa highlights and the best places to visit so you can add them to your itinerary.
Africa is a large place and there are many exciting parts to visit. To help you to achieve a great vacation, we've narrowed it down so you get nothing but the best experiences.
For centuries, it has been rumored, whispered and even published in great documentaries that Africa is the place of diseases, violence, sub-standard hotels, danger, and scarcity. If you have ever been privileged enough to land in any part of Africa, you can quickly tell how broad the distinction is between the misconceptions and reality.
Whether you are looking for pleasure and enjoyment in Africa or planning to visit and find out the truth about this culturally vibrant part of the planet, you need to have a clear understanding of the best places to go on your arrival. These are the places that will give you the real image of Africa as a continent and not as a formerly misconceived part of the world.
Similarly, your travel to Africa is a step into a comfort zone that is going to give you and your family a great adventure of meeting and learning new cultures as well as enjoying the best climatic conditions any time of the year.
Different African countries have various forms of adventure, right from the magnificent historic temples in Egypt to the best scenes and beaches in Madagascar. Your tour to Africa is a great opportunity and so, worth planning well.
Regardless of your personal preferences, you'll be sure to find something thrilling in any, and indeed, most of the African countries.
Here are some places I would unreservedly recommend for you and the specific reasons to visit them:
These are the magnificent Egyptian temples that have been in existence for centuries since the time of Pharaoh Ramesses II when they were dedicated to him and his wife as well as the Egyptian gods.
Both The Great and The Small temples of Abu Simbel were excavated to radiate magnificence from the sandstone cliff. The name 'Abu Simbel’ came after a boy who directed the first European explorers to the site. These temples are steeped in rich history and religion which you will learn about by paying a visit to the place. These temples are a great treasure to both the Egyptian government, locals and any visitor looking forward to exploring and find out more about them.
Relocation from a sandstone cliff (their original site) was intended to rescue them from potential harm that would result from the construction of the Aswan High Dam and the consequent creation of Lake Nasser which was anticipated to cause submersion of the temples. Thanks to the support accorded to the Egyptian government by UNESCO and the international community. Since their relocation, they have never suffered any disaster.
I had for a long time wondered how they accomplished this great relocation, until out of curiosity, I visited the site and met men of history and religion who offered a free explanation. Likewise, you can unravel the mystery by landing at the site and finding out from the friendly wizards of history how the temples were dismantled, moved, and reassembled into their exact original form.
In fact, the new location is more reinventive as a result of the surrounding artificial mountains. Visit Abu Simbel and discover what the world has been hiding from view for years.
Both the Maasai Mara and Serengeti National Parks in Kenya and Tanzania experience mass movements of wildebeests every year as a result of climatic change.
Looking at the peaceful walk of these animals as they abandon their habitat to search for better ones, no other scene offers such a spectacular movement in Africa and beyond.
The great journey does not just involve wildebeests. On the contrary, antelopes and zebras also take part in this massive migration that occurs annually.
Visit the Maasai Mara plains in Kenya and Serengeti in Tanzania for a first-hand observation anywhere between July and September and watch the animals as they traverse the region between the two neighboring East African countries.
The great migration or the Kenyan safari is attributed to the search for greener pasture and water, having exploited the areas they leave behind.
Although many predators, including crocodiles, attack the animals during their passage, they finally manage to maneuver and reach their destination in high numbers of over 2 million.
Visiting the border of Kenya and Tanzania for this great adventure is safe and secure. Do not be concerned about the complicated and seemingly dangerous scene. You will have friendly and welcoming tour guides to take you through the land and its vegetation.
The guides, mostly from Kenya have a quick and thorough mastery of foreign languages especially English. By the time you leave the place, you will have understood every single detail about this great migration.
The DRC (Democratic Republic of Congo), Rwanda, and Uganda, all share a fantastic scenery with the name Virunga. These are volcanic mountains formed in a chain-like design, radiating spectacular beauty and unique forest vegetation.
It is the home to a highly endangered species of mountain gorilla with unique features uncommon to other species of gorilla. History and science have demonstrated several times that this extraordinary variety of gorilla has exceptional capabilities similar to homo sapiens.
One notable feature about them is their excellent trainable nature.
Only when you have visited Virunga National Park will you be able to learn more of the mountain gorilla, its characteristics, and great history. Apart from gorillas, you will also observe other thrilling wildlife species of chimpanzees, forest elephants, and the okapi. The general nature of the place is an adventure in itself too.
One look at the mountain range characterized by eight significant peaks such as Karisimbii (the highest peak), will leave you craving for an extension of your vacation. Present are other major active volcanoes of Nyiragongo and Nyiragira mountains which require the utmost safety before visiting, lest a volcanic eruption disrupt your adventure.
Back to Egypt, the great Pyramids are perfectly recognizable the instant you land in Giza.
Formerly built as tombs to preserve the dead bodies of Pharaohs, these Pyramids have turned into an exciting place for tourists and an excellent source of history. If you miss out exploring one or more of the 100 pyramids, you have no business visiting Egypt.
One fantastic feature of these pyramids is the weight of the stone which was used to build them. You might find it fictitious that the number of stone blocks which go to make up the great pyramid total 2.3 million with a total weight of 5.9 million tonnes, but this becomes a true fact when you visit the pyramids and learn all about them.
These great pyramids were created for two distinct functions, one of them being decadent statements of ability and wealth and the other as a place of a dedication of power and judgment to the gods. Similarly, please do not find it appalling that the pyramids’ residents were buried alongside their most treasured possessions, including their animals and even slaves for company and assistance throughout their perceived journey in the afterlife .
When you are in Cairo, if you head several kilometers southwards, you will meet history’s iconic statue, that is half-human and half-lion where. You'll also discover the greatest of all tombs, where Pharaoh Khufu or Pharaoh Cheops was buried.
As far as statues are concerned, this is the world’s largest, most vibrant, and oldest place to visit.
Sossusvlei is one huge Namibia’s clay pans surrounded by giant red dunes portraying the symbol of Namibia.
It is situated at Naukluft Park, an arid and isolated part of Namibia.
Being Africa’s most significant and the world’s fourth-largest conservation area, Naukluft Park is a precious home to different varieties of flora and fauna that are highly adapted to the arid climatic conditions.
All of the attractions surrounding Sossusvlei are easily accessible, but the last 5 kilometers of the 65-kilometer drive to the vlei has tarmac. Shuttles provide access to the final 5 kilometers, if you do not have a 4×4 vehicle.
For this region, perhaps unusually for this article, we include luxury destinations - islands such as Mauritius, Seychelles, and Madagascar.
If you love to sit and watch nature as it beautifies itself, the island of Mauritius is the ultimate destination of your journey to the southern part of Africa. It's situated in the Indian Ocean, east of Madagascar.
Though small in both size and population, Mauritius boasts as an undoubtedly attractive Indian Ocean island with incredibly welcoming and friendly inhabitants of different cultures. Its bordered by a white-sand coastline occasionally lapped by sapphire waters, giving real meaning to the words 'adventurous life'. Whether you are planning an extended stay in Africa, or you are merely seeking a ton of pleasure with hospitable people and amazing cultures, you are advised to visit Mauritius and experience the pleasures of coastal and in-land life. There's more about where to stay in Mauritius on a separate page.
On your trip to Mauritius, do not forget to stop at any of the island’s richly rewarding beaches for dolphin-watching excursions, scuba diving adventures, and if you are game enough, deep-sea fishing.
If you are afraid of deep waters, here is another way to make the most out of your visit to Mauritius: Nature and its environment will give you everything you desire. The ample climate, relaxed mood, indigenous plants, and animals housed by the most significant national park and volcanic summits and so many other explorations will fulfill your expectations for a great trip to such a thrilling region.
Seychelles offers some of the best encounters in Africa with its numerous beaches and attractive scenes. A visit to Praslin Island, Anse Lazio, La Digue, among other places in this beautiful part of the rich continent of Africa, will transform your desire for adventure and take your experience to a totally different level.
Vallee de Mai Nature Reserve on Praslin Island has all it takes to be set apart as the World Heritage site by a UNESCO declaration.
With incredible flora and fauna, thousands of travelers assemble at this place just to get a glimpse of what this famous site looks. You might have heard about the rare palm tree and it's doublee nut called 'coco de mer' (the Forbidden Fruit), but you haven’t yet had an opportunity to taste it. All it takes is a visit to the Seychelles for an opportunity to enjoy the world’s most massive coconut - it's something special!
Have you heard of the Seychelles bulbul, black parrot, and fruit pigeon? These are the rare species of birds that originate from Seychelles and all about them is the sophistication of nature. On your stay in Seychelles, do not forget to visit Aldabra Island situated in the outer circle of the archipelago. It is another world’s heritage site confirmed by UNESCO.
Other than being a heritage site, it is a home for the massive population of giant tortoises, attracting tourists and visitors from all walks of life. If you are a lover of indoor attractions, you will have all your wishes granted by the National Museum of History and the Seychelles Natural History Museum.
Your plan to visit Madagascar is as perfect as your desire to tour Sainte-Marie white-sand beaches and Andasibe dense rain forests to discover the gift of nature.
Madagascar is a mysterious place of incredible wildlife which under the guidance of Madagascar specialists, you will be able to learn what is implied by true nature. Traverse the high montane rainforests of the Andasibe National Park and Anjajavy private Nature Reserve and find out the beauty of both amphibians and plant life.
A wide variety of frogs, chameleons, and even elusive fossa are vivid, jumping from place to place. In the Sainte-Marie island, the humpback whales are always calving, from June through September. A visit to Madagascar during this season will see you saying goodbye as a different person.
Other places that should not be missed from your itinerary include Isalo National Park, Antsirabe, Antananarivo, Nosy Be, Nosy Komba, Nosy Michie Archipelago, and Ranomafana National Park.
The above are just some of the best places to visit in Africa and have all it takes for your trip to be called a success. If you have ever been to any or even some of them, you know how enriching they are to Africa. If you haven't been yet, be sure to make the effort, and your dreams to get the best out of Africa will come true. There are other places in different countries worth visiting, but those I have mentioned above are the most outstanding experiences for visitors from all parts of the world.
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