When there are so many exotic places to choose from all over the world, you often ask yourself, why Africa! After all, what draws people to that part of the world, a place that was ridden with conflict and problems!
The truth is that while Africa’s problems have enjoyed a lion’s share of world news, its stunning beauty and sultry attractions have remained virtually unexplored until recently. Today, many countries in Africa are beginning to come out of their shackles and offer tourists safe havens that let them enjoy spectacular natural beauty and the very best wildlife adventures in the world at peace. Bookmundi examines the top travel destinations in Africa to help you choose from wild untamed landscapes and bustling modern day cities, unimaginable beaches and exciting mountain treks, delicious cuisines and incredible adventures, and everything else you can possibly think of.
If you’re seeking some adventure while in Africa, the Okavango Delta is just about perfect. This natural wonder is the largest inland delta in the world and is famous for attracting wildlife from all over the continent. Popularly described as the river that never meets the sea, Okavango disappears into a maze formed by more than 6000 islands and channels. While there are all kinds of things to see and do, a mokoro boat trip is a must. This flat-bottomed canoe lets you glide through the delta to areas that are unreachable by any other means of transportation.
Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest peak in Africa, rises to a height of 5895 meters and attracts all kinds of travelers. Popularly known as Sky Island, this exotic mountain often finds a place on most bucket lists because of its vast and varied habitat that ranges from lush green rainforests to alpine meadows and barren lunar landscapes. Climbers often have to navigate above the clouds to reach the summit and the experience is something that stays with you for your entire life.
The Namib Desert, Namibia
Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt’s trip to the Namib Desert made it famous all over the world, and the place has seen a huge influx of tourists ever since. Famous as one of the most beautiful locales on the planet, the Namib Desert lets you sleep on top of red sand dunes in blissfully secluded settings. Bookmundi also recommends you to visit Sossusvlei, a group of sand dunes that took years to develop. Climbing the dunes offers breathtaking views of the Deadvlei, a vast expanse of white clay covered with the skeletons of camelthorn trees from another time.
Gambia is often called the Smiling Coast because of its spectacular beaches, but don’t do the mistake of thinking Gambia to be just another beachy destination that is full of beachfront hotels and silky soft sands. The country offers unparalleled insights into rural Africa, and the villages here feel like they’ve stepped right out of the Nat Geo channel. Gambia’s varied habitat also makes it possible to enjoy some of the best nature experiences, particularly when it comes to bird watching. Lack of crowds, a civilization that has been untouched by modern-day advances and a seductively slow pace of life are some of the biggest charms here.
Marrakech is one of the greatest cities of Africa, famous for its aura of intrigue, mystery and romance. The city is old enough to offer beautiful insights into ancient architecture and medieval-era desert life, but modern enough to present a range of fashion designers such as Jean-Paul Gaultier and Yves Saint-Laurent. The biggest highlight of Marrakech is Djmaa el Fna, an exciting town square that reminds you why you chose Africa for your holiday. Home to date-sellers, snake charmers, henna-painters, street artists and orange juice vendors, this is where you would want to spend those sleepy afternoons. Bookmundi also recommends you to visit the square in the evening, when these vendors are joined by mobile restaurants selling all kinds of breads and grilled meat, ladyboy dancers and tribal drummers.
Lake Malawi, Malawi
Popularly known as the Lake of Stars, Lake Malawi is one of the largest lakes in the world. It is home to more than 1300 species of tropical fish and has more fish than any other lake on the planet. The lake’s bio-diversity was the reason why Lake Malawi National Park was offered the status of a World Heritage Site. Freshwater diving is one of the greatest charms here.
Life in Djenne started way back in the year 800 BC. Considered to be one of the oldest cities in Africa, Djenne is most famous for its mud-brick houses that are beautifully painted in all sorts of colors. The city is home to the largest mud house on the planet, the Grand Mosque. Another must-see is the Grand Market, one of the most colorful markets of West Africa, that is held every Monday and attracts thousands of sellers from all over the continent.
Franschhoek, South Africa
Sure, the beauty and cosmopolitan delights of Cape Town ensure that most tourists concentrate their energies on this world class city, but if you’re looking for something even more special, head over to Franschhoek, a beautiful little town set in winelands that remind you of those enchanting French wine regions. Beautiful cafes, exotic cuisines, an abundance of farm stays, the very best of African wines, mind-blowing natural beauty and cobbled terraces are some of the highlights here. Bookmundi recommends a trip to the Dieu Donne, a picturesque winery located on the southern slopes and famous for its secluded terrace restaurant
Victoria Falls, one of the most majestic waterfalls in the world, is a must-see while in Africa. Popularly known as the cloud that thunders, the falls were first discovered in the year 1855 and have been attracting countless tourists ever since. The 108-meter cascade has recorded flows of as much as 12800 cubic meters/ second, which is double than the flow enjoyed by the Niagara Falls.
With its formidable animal life and exotic landscapes, there is no doubt that Africa is a treat for photographers, lovers, families and solo travelers. Add to that the fact that many places in the continent haven’t changed over centuries (perhaps millennia), and you really get one of the most inspired and enviable travel destinations on the planet.