Most beautiful and interesting African destinations for your wanderlust
Africa is still today one of those regions most people know little about. However, this continent is much more than just a massive shape somewhere in the south: it’s a continent with more than 50 different countries in it, over 1 billion inhabitants and an incredible diversity in people, culture, language, climate and scenery. From deserts to rainforests, from pristine lakes to thundering falls and expansive savannahs, Africa is a captivating destination that offers visitors attractions that cater to each and every taste and expectation.
At Bonzah, we are convinced that Africa has it all. From interesting cultures to discover to admiring the Big Five or understanding its diversity, we’ve compiled some of the most beautiful destinations you can visit here.
South Africa, located in the southernmost corner of the continent, is one of the African countries that people are most familiar with. It’s well known for its splendid natural beauties, developed cities and varied wildlife. With many exciting and diverse attractions, South Africa attracts visitors with a plethora of things to see and do. Whether you are into nature or you’re an adventure seeker, you won’t feel disappointed.
If you’ve always wanted to try bungee jumping, shark diving or exploring amongst valleys and hill peaks, this is the destination for you. You can go shark cage diving in Gansbaai where you can get up close and personal with great white sharks, bungee jumping from Bloukrans Bridge at almost 220m high, abseiling off Table Mountain, skydiving in Mossel Bay and, of course, you can get up close with cheetahs and rhinos at Kruger National Park.
Johannesburg is a beautiful metropolis in South Africa that strikes the balance between retaining the roots of its South African culture and thriving as a modern, prosperous metropolis. Skyscrapers, trendy eateries and international commerce make this city very attractive. But the real beauty of Johannesburg lies in its interesting collection of museums. The Apartheid Museum shines light on the struggles of a nation while the Gold Reef City Mine Museum can be found atop one of the original gold mines. And you can see ancient rock art, stone tools and spiritual artefacts at the Wits Origin Centre Museum.
Cape Town is another popular South African city that is definitely worth a visit. With picturesque mountains, extensive wine valleys and gorgeous beaches, Cape Town is one of the most loved travel destinations in the country. Skirted by Table Mountain, you can ride a cable to the mountaintop for fantastic panoramic views of the city. Or you can drive to Foxy Beach or Boulder Beach to see funny African penguins. If you’re a plant lover, don’t miss the gorgeous Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden! Cape Town is also culturally rich and home to many museums and historical attractions such as Robben Island, where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned for 27 years.
No trip to South Africa would be complete without going on a safari at Kruger National Park, the premier wildlife viewing game reserve in the country. It’s the place to go to see Africa’s Big Five: buffalo, elephants, leopards, lions and rhinos. It’s home to over 145 species of mammals and over 500 species of birds, crocodiles, hippos, zebras, wild dogs, giraffes, cheetahs and antelopes. From May to August is the best time to visit Kruger as the bush is sparse and animals gravitate to the water holes, making them easier to spot. There are plenty of accommodation options at Kruger, from well-equipped rest camps to more luxurious and exclusive experiences.
Egypt lies in the north east of Africa and it’s the must-visit destination for history lovers. The country is famous for its unique archaeological sites, some of which are world wonders. Egypt is known to be the cradle of one of the greatest ancient civilizations, who developed extraordinary temples and tombs from where archaeologists still discover artefacts today.
The country also attracts tourists with its beaches, the impressive River Nile and vibrant cities. Egyptian cities are definitely worth mentioning with burgeoning beach resorts that offer holiday experiences that can’t be experienced anywhere else. Egypt’s coastline borders the Red Sea and it’s a natural magnet for sunbathers, swimmers and divers interested in taking the Mediterranean experience to the next level. That said, Sharm el Sheikh, Abu Galoum, Agiba Beach or the Fjord in Taba are some of the most renowned resort destinations.
As it’s been already said, Egypt is the cradle of an ancient civilization that had a significant cultural, scientific and political impact thousands of years ago. Amongst the historical sites that portray their rich history and that tourists can admire today we can mention: the Pyramids of Giza, Karnak Temple and the Valley of Kings in Luxor, Aswan, Abu Simbel, Abydos Temple, St Catherine’s monastery, Siwa Oasis, Philae Temple, Ramses II’s greatest temple, Temple of Horus and the Egyptian Museum amongst others. These and more make Egypt one of the best countries in Africa for exploration.
Cairo is the capital city of Egypt and it bustles with commerce and culture. Perched over the River Nile, it’s not only famous for the Giza Pyramids but also because visitors can step back in time into the Coptic Cairo in the oldest areas of the city. Chaotic and captivating, Cairo is the largest Egyptian city and there’s always something going on in this sprawling metropolis.
The Egyptian Museum is a must-see attraction, filled with a millenia worth of antiquities and artefacts, including mummified bodies of ancient rulers. Tahrir Square is the central square and the heart of the city and you can climb the Cairo Tower to enjoy panoramic views of the city.
Thinking about Egypt and the Pyramids at Giza will immediately pop up in your mind. In fact, the triangular architecture of the Pyramids has become an iconic symbol of the country. Most of them were built as tombs to preserve the mummified bodies of pharaohs and their family members. The Great Pyramid of Giza is a jaw-dropping sight and its construction remains an enigma. The three main pyramids built for the pharaohs Keops, Kefren and Micerinos are the most outstanding features of the larger Giza Necropolis. Together with the famous Great Sphinx located, there is plenty to admire in the area.
While you’re in Egypt, don’t forget to visit Karnak Temple Complex. It’s one of the largest and most impressive temple sites around the globe and it comprises three main temples and several smaller ones. Only the main temple is open to tourists and it’s located within the Valley of Kings, where the tombs for kings and nobles were built. In fact, it’s here that the famous tomb of Tutankhamon was discovered in 1922. Ride on a cruise along the River Nile as it’s a fantastic view to admire many of these historically remarkable buildings between Luxor and Aswan. The best cruises have Egyptologists on board that share their knowledge with an avid audience.
Ethiopia Located in eastern Africa, Ethiopia is a country of splendid landscapes, great wildlife, nice weather and friendly people. It’s a culturally rich and diverse country that offers great hiking opportunities due to its rolling mountains.
History lovers will be drawn to its many historical sites. Amongst them we can mention: Aksum’s Ark of the Convent (said to house the most famous biblical ship). The most popular historical sites include:relic of history which is the chapel of the Tablet); the Ethnological Museum and National Museum of Ethiopia (where you can find the preserved skeleton of Lucy) and Lalibela, one of the holiest cities in the country and a centre of pilgrimage known for its rock-hewn monolithic churches.
Home to 9 UNESCO heritage sites, Ethiopia is an exotic country to visit and one of the less visited by tourists due to its challenges in tourism infrastructure with problems ranging from lack of air conditioning to lacklustre services.
Addis Ababa is the capital city and its biggest feature is a network of roads that connect it to other Ethiopian cities. It’s home to one of the largest open-air markets in Africa known as Mercato.
Lalibela is a complex of stone churches dug into the ground and it’s an important religious town for the country’s Orthodox Christians. There are 11 of these monolithic churches; one of them, Biete Medhani Alem, is believed to be the largest monolithic church in the world.
Kenya Are you interested in enjoying the best wildlife in the world and the most exciting safaris? Then Kenya is the place to visit. Located in East Africa, it’s considered the home of safari with endless savannahs, countless parks and reserves and arid deserts where you can find rhinos, elephants, lions, cheetahs, antelopes, buffaloes and many other animals. Besides, as it lies next to the Indian Ocean, it’s also home to unique aquatic animals. There are also extensive white sandy beaches fringed with mangroves and coconut trees and colourful coral reefs that offer splendid diving opportunities.
Adventure lovers can hike across the mountains or join a Balloon Safari: roaming around in a hot air balloon. There are 25 national parks, 16 national reserves, 6 marine parks and reserves and countless private conservancies for visitors to explore. The country is home to 390 species of mammals, 1100 species of birds, 280 reptile species and 115 amphibians. The most popular national parks include Amboseli (known for its massive elephant population, 400 bird species and spectacular views of Mount Kilimanjaro) and the Masai Mara National Reserve, the northern stop of the Great Migration route.
Nairobi is the capital city and it’s known for its interesting combination of urban culture and lush natural landscape. It’s a vibrant and unique destination with some of the best infrastructure in the continent. Visitors can expect modern skyscrapers, traditional Kenyan style buildings and an interesting dose of cultural and historical sites. One of the coolest characteristics of Nairobi is its accessibility to wildlife safaris: located just on the outskirts of the city centre lies Nairobi National Park. a game reserve famous for breeding endangered black rhinos, zebras, lions and giraffes.
The Masai Mara National Reserve, connected to the Serengeti in Tanzania, is one of the best places in Africa for wildlife viewing. Named in honour of the Masai people, it’s famous for its Masai lions, Tanzania cheetah, African leopards and the annual migration of zebras, wildebeest and Thomson’s gazelle. In fact, the yearly Great Migration is the main reason why so many people choose the Masai Mara as their safari destination: it’s quite a captivating view to admire zebras, gazelles and wildebeest all over the plains as they search for greener grass from July to October. The park is also home to around 450 species of birds.
Tanzania Located just below Kenya, Tanzania stands out as one of the best safari destinations in Africa thanks to its heavily populated national parks and wildlife conservation areas. Tourists from all over the world travel to Serengeti National Park and the Ngorongoro Crater and have the chance of admiring hyenas, hippos, giraffes, more than a thousand bird species and more than 25 reptile species. It’s also home to splendid beaches and the impressive Mount Kilimanjaro, the tallest peak in Africa and a famous hiking destination.
This small country is one of the best places where you can admire the Big Five: lions, rhinos, elephants, leopards and buffalos. It’s probably the country that captures Africa’s beauty best. From the magnificent Kilimanjaro to the massive Serengeti Park wildlife, the idyllic islands in Zanzibar and the amazing beach life, there’s plenty to see and do here. With its thrilling mix of classic big game safari, adventure, culture and tropical beach vacation, Tanzania should definitely be on your bucket list.
Serengeti National Park is arguably one of the best natural game reserves in the world. It’s where the Great Migration takes place: more than a million wildebeest and zebras move towards greener pastures in a tense journey as herbivores are followed closely by various predators hoping to benefit from their weaknesses. In addition, all of the Big Five can be spotted here as well as many crocodiles!!
The Ngorongoro Crater is the largest intact volcanic caldera on Earth and it’s one of the most spectacular natural wonders of the world supporting over 25 thousand animals. Located in the highlands of Tanzania, it’s home to the Big 5 as well as cheetahs, wildebeest and rich birdlife. There’s a major population of endangered black rhinos, hippos and some of the largest remaining tusked elephants. Black-maned lions and flocks of flamingos are also remarkable sights. If you are into birdwatching, get ready to spot 100 species of birds not even found in the Serengeti.
Namibia is situated in the southwestern coast of Africa and it’s one of the least populated countries in the world. With amber sand dunes, endless grasslands and turquoise lagoons, its natural beauty can’t be matched. The Namib desert spans more than 1200 miles with striking dead-tree valleys at Sossusvlei and impressive sand dunes. There are also several national parks, natural reserves and an interesting and diverse wildlife, including the Big Five. Namibia deserves your visit: you can expect an impressive natural diversity without too many tourists.
There's excellent infrastructure for tourists and it’s a great family destination. Youngsters and adrenaline seekers will enjoy quad biking or sand boarding, there are also camel rides and lots of hiking opportunities.
Amongst the animal species you can admire here we can mention blue wildebeest, zebras, giraffes, hundreds of bird species, orx, elephants and the Big Five.
Sossusvlei is Namibia’s most spectacular natural attraction. It’s a salt and clay pan that is part of the Namib-Naukluft National Park. It’s an otherworldly landscape of white salt pans, towering orange sand dunes and fossilised trees that contrast with the deep bright blue African sky. During your visit to Sossusvlei you can hike towering sand dunes, spot unique wildlife such as wild oryx, ostriches and jackals and have a blast as a photography enthusiast.
Etosha National Park is Namibia’s flagship reserve. It’s one of the most reliable parks in Africa for black rhino, lions, leopards, elephants, antelopes, giraffes and other grazers. It covers about 2300 km of wilderness in northern Namibia and it’s a top game reserve. There’s also plenty of birds and water birds, especially flamingos. Its different waterholes along the edge of the Etosha salt pan provide excellent viewing opportunities of lions, leopards, spotted hyenas, elephants and giraffes.
Photo by Thomas Bennie on Unsplash