Looking to exploring Africa? Here are 10 places in Africa that nature lovers should look at while planning to take a safari in Africa. These places have spectacular scenery and range from the popular places to less known but beautiful destinations;
Maasai Mara National Reserve is a large game reserve in Narok County, Kenya, contiguous with the Serengeti National Park in Mara Region, Tanzania. It is named in honor of the Maasai people who are the ancestral inhabitants of the area and their description of the area when looked at from afar: “Mara,” which is Maasai word for “spotted,” this is a description for the circles of trees, scrub, savanna, and cloud shadows that mark the area.
The reserve is a wonderland of spectacular scenery, colorful culture, and unparalleled wildlife-spotting opportunities. It is globally famous for its exceptional population of lions, leopards and cheetahs, and the annual migration of zebra, Thomson’s gazelle, and wildebeest to and from the Serengeti every year from July to October, known as the Great Migration. This is your best bet for spotting the Big Five in a single morning. In the Maasai Mara, there is hot-air balloon safaris which is a once-in-a-lifetime safari experience.
Victoria Falls, Zambia
Victoria Falls is a waterfall in southern Africa on the Zambezi River at the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe and can be seen from either country. It is defined by the plunging, roaring water falling beneath a mystical veil of spray. The falls’ indigenous name is “The Smoke That Thunders’, and there’s nothing quite like witnessing its power from one of the mist-soaked lookout points.
While it is neither the highest nor the widest waterfall in the world, Victoria Falls is classified as the largest, based on its combined width of 1,708 metres and height of 108 metres, resulting in the world’s largest sheet of falling water. Victoria Falls is roughly twice the height of North America’s Niagara Falls and well over twice the width of its Horseshoe Falls. Victoria Falls boasts the world’s largest sheet of falling water, with over 165 million gallons flowing over the edge per minute during peak flood season.
Pyramids of Giza, Egypt
The Great Pyramid of Giza, also known as the “Pyramid of Khufu or the Pyramid of Cheops” is the oldest and largest of the three pyramids in the Giza pyramid complex bordering the present day El Giza, Egypt. It is the oldest of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, and the only one to remain largely intact. The Pyramids of Giza have existed for more than 5,000 years and represent one of man’s greatest architectural feats. The pyramids are one of the world’s oldest tourist attractions, and the only one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World to have survived the ravages of time. There are three main pyramids at Giza; the Great Pyramid of Khufu, the Pyramid of Khafre and the Pyramid of Menkaure. In front of the pyramids lies the Sphinx, whose Arabic name means “Father of Terror.”
Djenné is located 398 km northeast of Bamako and 76 km southwest of Mopti, Mali. The town sits on the floodplain between the Niger and Bani rivers at the southern end of the Inland Niger Delta. The town has an area of around 70 ha. The town was founded in 800 AD, and is one of sub-Saharan Africa’s oldest cities.
The history of Djenné is closely linked with that of Timbuktu. Between the 15th and 17th centuries much of the trans-Saharan trade in goods such as salt, gold and slaves that moved in and out of Timbuktu passed through Djenné. Both towns became centres of Islamic scholarship. Djenné’s prosperity depended on this trade and when the Portuguese established trading posts on the African coast, the importance of the trans-Saharan trade and thus of Djenné declined.
The town is famous for its distinctive adobe architecture, most notably the Great Mosque which was built in 1907 on the site of an earlier mosque. It was also famous as a center of Islamic learning, and its bustling market square is still dominated by the beautiful Great Mosque.
Cape Town, South Africa
Cape Town is mostly known its first-class culture, exceptional scenery, and gourmet restaurant scene, Cape Town is the jewel in South Africa’s crown. As the oldest urban area in South Africa, it was developed by the Dutch East India Company (VOC) as a supply station for Dutch ships sailing to East Africa, India, and the Far East. Jan van Riebeeck’s arrival on 6 April 1652 established Dutch Cape Colony, the first permanent European settlement in South Africa. Cape Town outgrew its original purpose as the first European outpost at the Castle of Good Hope, becoming the economic and cultural hub of the Cape Colony.
From the iconic silhouette of Table Mountain to the golden beaches of the surrounding suburbs, Cape Town is undoubtedly one of the world’s most attractive cities. It’s also the perfect base for exploring the rest of the Western Cape, including the vineyards of nearby Paarl and Franschhoek. Cape Town is also one of the most culturally diverse cities in Africa and has a reputation for social tolerance.
Mgahinga Gorilla National Park, Uganda
Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is located in the Virunga Mountains, it is about 15 kilometres by road south of the town of Kisoro and approximately 55 kilometres by road west of Kabale, which is the largest town in the sub-region. The park encompasses three inactive volcanoes, namely Mount Muhabura, Mount Gahinga, and Mount Sabyinyo. In altitude the national park ranges from 2,227 to 4,127 m. It is contiguous with Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park and the southern sector of Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and forms one of the few remaining mountain gorilla habitats. With only around 800 mountain gorillas left in the Virunga region, seeing the species in the wild is something only a few people will ever have the privilege to experience.
While in the park there is only one group that is tracked which is the Nyakagezi gorilla group, years before this group of Gorillas could move from country to country until it had to make Mgahinga its home.
Mount Kilimanjaro, Tanzania
Africa is known as one of the best destinations for adventure travel and there are few greater challenges than hiking up the world’s tallest free-standing mountain.
Mount Kilimanjaro is the highest mountain in Africa, about 4,900 metres from its base, and 5,895 metres above sea level. Kilimanjaro is a large stratovolcano and is composed of three distinct volcanic cones: Kibo, the highest; Mawenzi at 5,149 metres (16,893 ft); and Shira, the shortest at 4,005 metres (13,140 ft). Mawenzi and Shira are extinct, while Kibo is dormant and could erupt again.
The hike to the top of this mountain takes between five and nine days on the mountain. Incredibly, reaching Kilimanjaro’s peak is possible for anyone with a good level of fitness, as the climb doesn’t require specialized climbing equipment or expertise. However, altitude sickness can be a problem for would-be hikers, and pre-climb training is recommended for beginners.
Zanzibar is located off the coast of Tanzania and surrounded by the warm waters of the Indian Ocean, Zanzibar is famous for its spectacular beaches and fascinating spice trade history. It was also an important slave trading post under its Arab rulers, and their influence is evident today in the architecture of Stone Town, one of the island’s top highlights. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Stone Town boasts beautiful traditional houses, narrow alleyways, a Sultan’s palace, and many mosques. Zanzibar is also a scuba diver’s paradise.
The Rwenzori Mountains is a mountain range of eastern equatorial Africa, located on the border between Uganda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). The Rwenzori Mountains reach heights up to 5,109 metres (16,762 ft). The highest Rwenzori peaks are permanently snow-capped.
The range is about 120 kilometres long and 65 kilometres wide. It consists of six massifs separated by deep gorges: Mount Stanley (5,109 metres), Mount Speke (4,890 metres), Mount Baker (4,843 metres, Mount Emin (4,798 metres), Mount Gessi (4,715 metres) and Mount Luigi di Savoia (4,627 metres). Mount Stanley has several subsidiary summits, with Margherita Peak being the highest point.
The Rwenzori Mountains are known for their vegetation, ranging from tropical rainforest through alpine meadows to snow. The range supports its own species and varieties of giant groundsel and giant lobelia and even has a 6 metres (20 ft) tall heather covered in moss that lives on one of its peaks. Most of the range is now a World Heritage Site and is covered jointly by the Rwenzori Mountains National Park in south-western Uganda and the Virunga National Park in the eastern DRC. A hiking safari up to Margherita peak will require at least 7 days on the mountain and some technical knowledge is needed more so when hiking through the ice of which there are experienced mountain guides who help mountaineers with that.