Africa is the oldest living land of human-being, our ancestors have walked to different parts of the world from this land 60 thousand years ago. Africa should be the mother land that human best known about, she is still the hidden gem of the Earth. However, when us, human, getting deep into Africa, we found that we actually knew nothing about Africa.
Africa is different from any world you have experienced, this is the reason why there are more and more travellers made their steps on Africa and explore this mystical land.
Africa is too big and diverse, she can fulfil every need of every single travellers —— archaeologists, history lovers, animal’s lovers, mountaineers, beach lovers……
I have summarised recommendations from different travelling websites, combine with my own experiences and advises from different people, then selected the 10 places you must travel in Africa. You could not proudly say “I have been to Africa!” if you have never been to these 10 places!
Egypt. Giza. Great Pyramid
Reason of recommendation: The most mysterious construction.
I believed that Pyramids in Egypt are the must-go location for everyone who have dreamed to travel around the world. It is not only the symbol of ancient Egyptian civilization, but also the common wealth of the world. It is one of the Seven Wonders of the World, and it has joined the World Heritage List in 1980.
Pyramids have a history of more than 5000 years, they were the highest constructions of the world until the Eiffel Tower was built in 1889. Most of the Pyramids were in the desert of Giza Plateau in southwestern Cairo. Among those Pyramids, the most famous one is the “Giza pyramid complex” —— Khufu's pyramid complex, Khafre's pyramid complex and Menkaure's pyramid complex.
Khufu's pyramid complex is the biggest one among the Giza pyramid complex, cover an area of 13.1 acre, constructed by 2.6 million blocks that is at least weight at 2.5 tons each, those blocks are weight at 6.25 million tons in total. Assume that there are 10 thousand workers who can deliver 10 blocks to the top of the pyramid every day, it still needs nearly 700 years to finish the construction of a pyramid. But in fact, Khufu’s pyramid complex was built within 30 years. By considering the population of Egypt, delivery and construction techniques at the time, it was a miracle. Therefore, the method of constructing pyramid is the eternal mystery that all the archaeologists want to solve, some people even suspect if there is any help from the Alien.
However, as Pyramid is a very popular attraction, there were too many traveller, and thus generate quite a lot of problems, such as harassments from swindler and beggar. Please be careful while you visit the Pyramid.
The United Republic of Tanzania. Zanzibar
Reason of recommendation: Authentic culture of Kiswahili.
On the sea that is about 50 km away from The United Republic of Tanzania, there is a beautiful island that makes all the travellers fall in love —— Zanzibar. This island stands aloof from the world, it is the most shinning pearl on the Indian ocean. This island located near the Equator, surrounded by the sea and beach, warm and humid in all four seasons, it is a very famous African attraction.
Historically, Zanzibar was a colony which has occupied by Portugal, Arabia, England. It was the transfer station of black slaves’ trade, but also the main trading and transportation centre of Africa and the other countries. In Zanzibar, you can find traditional African black culture, Islamic culture and Indian culture, these 3 cultures combined and formed the unique culture of Kiswahili. Zanzibar is also best known as “the aromatic island”, the cloves produced on this island have took over 4/5 of the world sales volume. Therefore, people also called it “The most fragrant land of the world”.
The Stone Town of Zanzibar is one of the must-go places on the island, it was a brilliant example for Swahele seashore commercial building and joined the World Heritage List in 2000. On this beautiful island, you can see well-preserved ancient buildings; walk through different alley in the town; join the busy clamorous local market; visit the old historical mosque and sumptuously decorated house in Arabian style
Apart from the Stone Town, attractions like Prison Island that filled with Tortoise or the Rock Restaurant are also worth going!
The Republic of Botswana. Okavango Delta
Reason of recommendation: The Kingdom of Wild Animals on the sea.
The Okavango Delta in Botswana is a very large, swampy inland delta formed where the Okavango River reaches a tectonic trough in the central part of the endorheic basin of the Kalahari. It has area of over 15000 km2 in total, which is as big as Peking city and has joined the World Heritage List in 2014.
All the animals in this Delta are living on the water, even the lions learnt how to swim. Every year, from July to September, there is a “festival” in the Okavango Delta. Because it is the dry season during this period, the animals who lived in the Kalahari Desert cannot find any food, whereas there are relatively rich water resources in the Delta. Therefore, all the animals will come to the Okavango Delta and stay in here for months.
The Okavango Delta is not only the paradise for the animals, there are also many great things for us to experience! For example, you can travel through the Delta by canoe which decorated in local style; choose a horse to gallop across the Delta; or even sit on a helicopter and enjoy the animal migration!
Uganda. Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
Reason of recommendation: Track the Mountain Gorilla in Africa primeval forest.
As the series of the movie “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” has finished, Caesar and his kingdom were saved preciously on the theatre screen. All the fans of the gorilla kingdom cheer up! Because we can now visit the Gorilla kingdom that literally exist in real life in the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Uganda!
The Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is in south-western Uganda, with area of over 331 km2. The park was covered by verdant mountainous rain forest, with breath-taking scenery. The park has joined the World Heritage List in 1994. It is famous for its diversity of species, you can find different types of birds and butterflies, or even endangered species like the Mountain Gorilla and Chimpanzee.
The Mountain Gorilla is a very rare endangered animal, there are only about 800 of them in the entire world, nearly half of them are now living in the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. As they have rough-looking and big size, people usually think they are scary. But in fact, they are a very peaceful herbivorous animal. They will turn to angry rebel, chest-thumping and roaring, only when they are being threatened or irritated. There have been no cases of gorillas killing humans so far, therefore, people called them “The Gentle Giant”.
Tracking Mountain Gorilla is the most exciting wild animals viewing experience in the world, you will regard if you did not join this tour! In Bwindi, there is nearly 100% probability for you to meet the gorilla, if you are lucky, it only takes you 30 minutes to see them. The gorillas spend most of their time chilling in the forest, chewing leaves or sleeping. They are lazy and proud of themselves, you do not have to be scare if you have made eye contact with them, because they will probably just turn around and ignore you! However, because those gorillas are very rare animals, there is strict restriction on the number of people who can join the gorilla tour and the price is comparatively high as it will be used for rare animal’s protection.
The United Republic of Tanzania. Ngorongoro Crater
Reason of recommendation: The Shangri-La of African wild animals.
Mount Ngorongoro is the largest and most well-preserved caldera in the world. The crater was formed after a large volcano exploded and collapsed on itself two to three million years ago. The crater is 18 kilometres in diameter and 700 metres deep, this unique geographical feature has made a fine Shangri-La for the animals living inside. Other animals cannot go into the crater, and animals inside could not go out as well.
But to be honest, I think, even the animals have the chance to get out, they will decide to just stay in the crater! Because Ngorongoro is just too wonderful for living! There is completed ecosystem here: forest, prairie, hills, swamp, river, lake… the crater has everything the animals will need. Even in the dry season, there will still be enough water resources for the animals, it will be hard for them to run out of food and water!
In this crater, you can also see great variety of animals! There are over 30000 animals living there, including over 50 types of large mammal, such as lion, elephant, zebra, rhinoceros, hippo, giraffe, monkey, baboon, warthog, hyena, wildebeest and various species of antelope; over 200 types of birds, including ostrich, wild duck, guinea fowl… It is just like the epitome of East Africa's wild animal kingdom!
In Ngorongoro, you do not only see varies animals, but also the brilliant scenery you may never forget. Once the rain season is here, the crater will turn to the sea of flowers, large amount of morning glory, lupin, daisy, clover… will all be blooming in front of you, give you an illusion of being in the wonderland.
The Republic of Namibia. Namib Desert
Reason of recommendation: The oldest desert in the world.
When we talk about desert, I believe the first thing come into most people’s mind is the Sahara, the desert where the Chinese writer ECHO and his husband José started their love story. But in the south Africa, there is a desert that is actually older than the Sahara —— the Namib Desert. The Namib was formed more than 60 million years ago, it is like the “grandpa” of the Sahara (which is formed 2.5 million years ago)!
The Namib is a coastal desert which stretches for more than 2,000 kilometres (equal to the distance from Peking to Shanghai!) along the Atlantic coasts of Angola, Namibia, and South Africa, its main body part is in Namibia. The red sands collide with the blue ocean, this amazing visual effect give us the unforgettable scenery, people often called it “Ocean and Flame”!
The name Namib is of Nama origin and means "vast place". However, in my point of view, there is countless treasures hidden in this desert. For example, there is an amazing plant called Welwitschia, they have survived in the cruel desert for 2000 years with only 2 leaves; The Deadvlei, a place where it is as beautiful as abstract painting, draw out the beauty of death, the trees that were long dead but still standing have made us feel the vicissitudes of life; The most beautiful and oldest Dune 45, telling us the magnificence and greatness of the nature…
The Republic of Zambia. Victoria Falls
Reason of recommendation: The largest waterfall in Africa.
The Victoria Falls constitutes one of the most spectacular natural wonders of the world. It is the largest waterfall in the world and was joined the World Heritage List in 1989. The Victoria falls is 1708 meters wide and 108 metres high, which are one-and-a-half times as wide and twice as high as the Niagara Falls. Victoria Falls defy description. So vast are the falls and their setting that it is difficult to grasp their true grandeur. The awesome magic of the sun-kissed column of water remains an unforgettable spectacle and earns its place as the no.1 tourist attraction in Africa.
The European explorer David Livingstone has found the Victoria Falls during his journey, and named his discovery in honour of Queen Victoria of Britain. But the local people call it "Mosi-oa-Tunya" -- the smoke that thunders and the Falls are remarkable, which is the closest description of this wonderful nature.
The Zambezi river is the water source of the Mosi-oa-Tunya. The edge of the falls is reached through the cool, moist tunnels of the Rain Forest. Always shrouded in fine spray, the forest is a fairyland of tropical plants thriving in the humidity. Early morning is a magic time to see the falls. As the sun rises it tints the plumes of spray pink and gold. This is also the best time to see the game animals looking for food. It has also been described by CNN as one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the world.
The Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia. Omo River
Reason of recommendation: Primitive Tribe, prehistoric culture sites.
If you are strongly curious about the mysterious African Tribe, then you must go and visit the Omo River. Ethiopia is the only country that has not been colonised in the entire history of Africa. Therefore, local culture is less affected by the outside world, keeping their original culture, from the day the Tribe lived.
Omo river rises in the Shewan highlands and is a perennial river. Its course is generally to the south then resumes to Lake Turkana. There are many indigenous tribes living along the river, including Kara tribe, Mursi tribe, Hammar tribe etc… their total population is about 200 thousand people. They are busying at farming and grazing animals every day, living freely and happily in their own way.
These African tribes’ own cultures have well-preserved, the unique way of migration, fighting, or talk have already disappeared in other tribal places. But aside the Omo river, you can still able to see the “ancient Africa”, for example, you will see women in one tribe will dress themselves up with a plate putting in their mouth to present beauty; Men in other tribe will fight together like their ancestor, in the most ancient way; In some tribe, women are willing to be flogged until bleeding in some tribal ceremonies, and the men will run above a queue of cow to prove himself is a real man.
The United Republic of Tanzania. Kilimanjaro
Reason of recommendation: Conquer the Africa's highest mountain.
Kilimanjaro is a dormant volcano with its three volcanic cones, "Kibo", "Mawenzi", and "Shira", located in northeast of Tanzania. Uhuru Peak is the highest summit on Kibo's crater rim, with the height of 5,895 metres, the highest point of Africa. Kilimanjaro has joined the World Natural and Cultural Heritage in 1981.
I believed going on the top of Kilimanjaro is on many people’s must-do list, people hoping to train themselves, challenge themselves through conquering the highest mountain in Africa. Climbing Kilimanjaro is not as hard and dull as you think! While you are climbing to the top, you can see the view of hot, warm and cold: From tropical forest to volcanic ash desert, and then to the sea of cloud covered fully with snow. The landforms, plants and animals you are going to see are dynamic, they are changing constantly. Kilimanjaro has the capability to bring you different surprises every day.
Although the Kilimanjaro looks spectacular and untouchable, it is the easiest mountain to conquer among the highest mountains on all seven continents. The Kilimanjaro is nearly 6000 metres high, but the slopes are comparatively flat and large. Therefore, to a person who has good physical strength, he/ she can still climb to the top of Kilimanjaro without any professional experiences.
The Republic of Kenya. Masai Mara National Reserve
Reason of recommendation: Witness the world's natural wonders.
The Great Migration in south Africa is one of the World’s natural wonders, it was also called as “The Greatest Migration of Life on the Earth”. Animals including wildebeest, zebra, gazelle and etc… will all be running for food on the South Africa Savannah every year. In the process of the migration, the most spectacular scene – when millions of animals running into the Mara river that is full of crocodiles without any looking back, just aiming for the fresh food across the river… it is the climax of the song of life! This is also the scene where we can see on television every summer holiday.
This popular “attraction” is happened in Masai Mara National Reserve annually. Every year, from June to July, when millions of animals want to enter Masai Mara from Serengeti (in Tanzania), they must across the Mara River. This river is a challenge that they must get over before they reach the fresh food. There are lions and leopard eyeing on them; there are nile crocodiles that only eat one meal a year, lying in the Mara river waiting for them to become their food… those successful migrators did not just get over these challenges, at the same time, it was another metamorphosis of life for them.
In fact, there are also many other breath-taking attractions waiting for your visit in Masai Mara National Reserve! It is the best wild life protection area in Africa, you will not just able to see with your own eyes, the wild animals you saw on discovery channel; also able to enjoy the magnificent African Savanna scenery as well as experiencing the unique local culture… This is the unforgettable trip you must join!