Our top 10 African adventures
December 16, 2020
Africa is a continent that offers experiences like no other, from the Tomb of Tutankhamun through to the Atlas Mountains, the best safari you can find and stunning white sand beaches, it has something for everyone.
It’s been a hard task trying to narrow down all that Africa has to offer to work out what our top ten must sees and must dos across the continent are, but these are my Top 10 African Adventures – in no particular order – that’s perhaps a task that is too hard to succeed at
Take on Mount Kilimanjaro:
Africa’s tallest mountain is no mean feat at 5,895 metres tall, whilst it’s not of Himalayan stature it’s definitely not a walk in the park. With its snow-capped peaks and varied ecosystems it’s not only a journey of testing your legs and adaptability to altitude but also a journey of many varied sights and sounds.
Typically treks from the park entrance gates are between six to nine days with a variety of route options up the mountain from the ‘Coca Cola’ route, a less scenic but a more gradual and easier climb, to the most popular ‘Whiskey’ Machame route which winds through rainforests, traverses Kilimanjaro’s southern ice fields and affords stunning vistas. Your choice of route should be dictated by fitness levels, experiences and acclimatisation experience but also we’d recommend considering the slightly longer lower footfall routes to have the best experience on top of Africa! This is the true spirit of African adventure and a real once in a lifetime experience.
Discover the Gorillas in the Mist at Volcanoes National Park:
Gorillas in the Mist cast the public eye on the wondrous gorillas living in the Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda and shows how diverse Africa’s landscape and wildlife is. Whilst not a cheap experience, predominantly due to the high park entrance fees, it will make for one of the most memorable experiences possible. The gorillas in the park are strongly protected and relatively safe from harm.
With just over 50 permits issued to track gorillas each day in Rwanda this is a unique and uncrowded experience. Gorilla trekking starts with an early rise and briefing before you set off into the rainforest to find a family of gorillas to experience a breathless encounter like no-other. You get an hour with the gorillas which offer a true spectacle with rangers communicating with one another to almost guarantee your sighting. The beauty of these highly endangered animals can almost be an overwhelming and very emotional experience, it is an intimate encounter that you’ll never forget!
Discover the contrast to the city in the Atlas Mountains, Morocco:
Whilst Marrakech, Fes et. al certainly have their place and charm aplenty, when it comes to Morocco my favourite destination is the Atlas Mountains. With Mount Toubkal rising to over 4,100 metres this spine of mountains is even home to a ski resort in winter. The people, the food, the scenery and the experience is magical.
Take a couple of days away from the beach or the city and head to the Atlas Mountains for wonderful varied scenery and a refreshing experience. The Berber people live in the Atlas Mountains and are very proud of the their land and customs and are truly warm and wonderful to meet. The Atlas Mountains offer a trek into the wilderness of untouched beauty, peaceful and serene with peaks stretching far into the distance across valleys and canyons. If taking in the majestic beauty whilst sipping a fresh mint tea sounds like your idea of a holiday then we’d place Morocco high up on your hit list.
Relax and take in the beauty of the Indian Ocean in Zanzibar:
Zanzibar is famed for its white sandy beaches and being a tropical paradise, it certainly lives up to this picture. The perfect compliment to a safari experience when visiting Africa, just a short journey from Tanzania’s mainland, the Spice Island has wonderful warm and clear waters meeting with palm-tree lined beaches and some amazing hotels to experience as well.
Fly into Stone Town, Zanzibar’s capital where the Old Town affords UNESCO World Heritage protection. Stone Town is worth taking some time to explore with the Darjani Bazaar a perfect maze-like market to get lost within for a few hours with incredible smells and sights to absorb. You can visit spice factories to learn a little about the history of why Zanzibar really became established on the map, or for those seeking the ultimate in relaxation, sink back into the soft white sands, cocktail in hand and drink in the stunning views, complete with cocktail in hand.
Experience the unique safari of the Okavango Delta:
Botswana’s Okavango Delta strikes as a different safari experience to the likes of Kenya, Tanzania and South Africa. Botswana offers a different form of safari where conservation efforts are given much emphasis and whist it does result in costs being a little higher, it is more than worth it! The Okavango Delta is a spectacular wildlife destination with a very high concentration of animals with a huge variety to enjoy. Around June to July the delta floods to its high point and the waters are teeming with life from birds like fish eagles through to elephants and leopards.
Best experienced by the authentic Mokoro dugout canoe where all but the splash of the pole pushing you around the Delta is the sound of wildlife, it’s an incredible contrast from the 4×4 style most safaris offer. Many of Botswana’s camps and lodges are sustainable and perfect for the conscious eco-tourist.
Marvel at the mighty Victoria Falls:
Victoria Falls make for incredible photos but the real experience is something else in itself. The cascading water falls over 100 metres and the real experience often results in a fair amount of spray which helps blow any cobwebs away!
The falls sit across the Zambian and Zimbabwean borders and each side offers a different view point and there are plenty of opportunities for the adventure junkies in your party. Devil’s Pool is not one for the faint hearted – sitting right on the edge of the falls you climb and swim out to the edge of the falls and erosion of the rock has created a pool in which you can sit (in the dry season) and gasp at the falling water just a couple of metres away with the mist of the falls, creating incredible views and spectacle. If that doesn’t get your pulse racing then on the border of the two countries you can bungee off Victoria Falls Bridge dropping over 100 metres almost into the Zambezi River! But don’t worry if world-class views and spectacular natural wonder are higher up on your list of wants than getting your adrenaline levels pumping, the Falls more than provides.
Experience some of the best of South Africa:
South Africa is a land of many extremes from the exciting coastline, to vibrant cities and rolling winelands and excellent safari adventures thrown in for good measure. There is plenty to do and South Africa offers a rich mix of culture, cuisine, landscapes and people. One of our top ten experiences is to travel around South Africa and see how many of your desired destinations you can enjoy.
Cape Town is a great place to set off from, offering extreme landscapes of striking mountains dropping to the sea below. Enjoy the music, nightlife and culture and then head up to the iconic Table Mountain. For those feeling sprightly you can hike to the top but many will be glad to hear there’s the aerial cableway to make for a more relaxed journey.
From Cape Town there’s a host of options to choose from but a couple that are high up on our list are visiting the Kruger National Park for safari and exploring the Winelands. The Winelands sit just a couple of hours away from Cape Town, well established as a key player in South Africa’s food and wine scene, with its rolling hillsides and wine-tasting tours to enjoy you could be forgiven for thinking you were in France. The Kruger National Park sits in the northeast of South Africa and offers Big Five spotting opportunities, luxury accommodation and is well-established as one of the best safari experiences on the planet. Whether it’s black rhinos, leopards, elephants, cheetahs or the martial eagle that you seek, the Kruger provides.
Watch the Greatest Show on Earth:
The Great Migration, sometimes coined as the Greatest Show on Earth is where you can experience the thunder of the continent as wildebeest, zebra and a host of animals move across the Serengeti through to the Masaai Mara from Tanzania to Kenya. This circular migration is truly mesmerising and a unique experience with over a million wildebeest dicing with death to follow the rainfall and grazing opportunities through central Africa.
This natural phenomenon reaches its crescendo around July when the migratory animals cross rivers like the Grumenti where predators lie in wait. Wildebeest, zebra and many thundering hooves tackle steep banks risking broken limbs and crocodiles lurking in the waters ready to submerge calves and adults. Even when out of the waters, prides of lions still wait in the wings ready to add to the performance. It really is one of the most incredible scenes in the world!
The Sossusvlei offers a stark contrast from much of Africa within the Namib-Naukluft National Park it offering brilliant red, pink and orange rolling dunes and a true natural wonder. These ever shifting sands are truly impressive and offer an isolated serene experience, best experienced at either sunrise or sunset for incredible photo opportunities.
Giving a true workout, it might look like a short hike to climb one of the many dunes, the most famous of which is Big Daddy, or Dune 45 but trust us just getting to the top of the 170m height is a challenge, but one well worth it. Standing atop the dunes the views are more than worthwhile just make sure to pack some water for the hike! You can top the experience further by drifting across the dunes by hot air balloon an epic ride like no other.
Discover the climbing lions of Kafue National Park:
Kafue National Park in Zambia is little heard of compared with the likes of the Kruger National Park or Ngorongoro Crater but is one of the largest national parks in the world. With large prides of lions found across Kafue National Park thanks to the readily available antelopes and prey to be found, it is not uncommon to find lions climbing the trees or asleep on a branch enjoying respite from the afternoon sun.
Kafue also provides plenty of bird spotting for keen birders as well as the opportunity to search for leopards, cheetahs, elephants, zebras, antelope and a rich diversity of wildlife. Kafue is a great undiscovered gem.