Not many people plan on going to Africa for a vacation, but there is more and see to do there than you could ever imagine. From week long safaris to world class beaches, this country is enriched in a culture worth putting on your bucket list. Just a few things we recommend checking out.
Two oceans, green craggy mountains, sandy savannah, spectacular beaches, and exotic wildlife – South Africa is a central hub for adventurous travelers. The abundant diversity of the landscape is home to some of Africa’s most famous landmarks including Kruger National Park and the Kalahari Desert.South Africa wasn’t always famous for travel though. From as early …
African Countries to Visit
Africa’s a vast continent with so many different things to offer. Whether you’re looking for world class beaches or a one-of-a-kind safari adventure, you can do in Africa. These are among the most popular countries in African for travelers.
Map of African Countries
African Countries and Capitals
|South Africa||Cape Town; Bloemfontein; Pretoria|
Welcome to Africa!
Given the nickname, The Cradle of Life, Africa is the origin for all modern humans. Hundreds of thousands of years of history has made Africa an enigmatic destination.
Rich and ancient traditions are celebrated amongst the people in places where tribal culture continues to reign. With wildlife and landscapes unlike anywhere else on Earth, Africa will make you audibly gasp at its beauty.
The Beginning of History
Africa is the heart of human ancestry. Homo sapiens, our genus, came into existence in the Horn of Africa, which is the Eastern part of the continent. Countries in this area include Ethiopia and Somalia.
Even before H. sapiens, human ancestors have been traced back to area is Southern and Eastern Africa. Mrs. Ples is one of the most famous fossils, which was found in Sterkfontein, South Africa. Other fossils that became world famous include the Taung Child and Lucy.
Yet, fossils are only a fraction of Africa’s ancient history. Northern Africa is the cradle of the Egyptian civilization, which began over 5,000 years ago. Egypt has become a popular destination due to its long history. Antiquities and iconic landmarks like the Pyramids of Giza and the Valley of the Kings frequently sit at the top of traveler’s must-see list.
The words, “going on safari” have become synonymous with the African continent. Just as history draws in travelers, so too does Africa’s wildlife and epic landscapes. Lions, leopards, elephants, rhinos, and Cape buffalo are the Big Five animals that tourists are most eager to see. These animals all roam throughout the Great Rift Valley, which is spattered with world-class safari destinations.
South Africa tops the list with one of the continent’s most visited wildlife viewing areas, Kruger National Park. Further north in Tanzania, the Serengeti National Park is the king and home to the millions strong herd of wildebeest, which annually migrate across the African plains. Kenya is another top safari destination, whose Lake Nakuru National Park is flushed pink with flamingos, which recently returned to the area in late 2020 after an eight-year absence.
A dramatic change in the landscape will lead travelers to Tanzania, which is where Mount Kilimanjaro rises above the African plains. A dormant volcano, the mountain is the tallest in Africa as it rises over 19,000 feet above sea level. Visitors can view the mountain from the open plains, whereas only experienced mountaineers dare venture to the summit.
Amongst the wildlife and landscapes, Africa boasts a smorgasbord of cultures. Diversity presents itself on a platter where Arab customs rule the north, colonial power is still present, and ancient tribes still roam the land.
Arab culture is ingrained in Northern Africa, where tourists flock to top destination spots in Egypt and Morocco. Egypt is most synonymous with mummies, pyramids, and tombs.
Long gone are the days of the Pharaohs and only remnants of their power remain standing. However, new developments are made every year as forgotten tombs are unearthed. The Grand Egyptian Museum in Cairo is a must visit destination for every traveler eager to dive into Egyptology.
Morocco is the other most visited destination in Northern Africa, which is famous for its Marrakesh markets and Sahara Desert dunes. The country’s cities explode with color and bustling streets. Coffee and mint tea are ingrained in the culture as a way to connect with others.
When you aren’t sipping a hot beverage, it’s time to explore the cities contrasts. Urban areas like Casablanca have been modernized. The true Morocco lies in the medinas, which are the preserved areas of the oldest part of towns and cities. In the medinas, travelers will find the soul of Morocco as it winds through narrow streets and past sacred mosques.
Colonialism is still present throughout Africa and its influences continue to shape countries today. East Africa reels from the slave trade and is it often called the “Land of Tears”. In South Africa, traces of Apartheid still exist as the gap between wealth and poverty grows.
The contrast is most present in Johannesburg, where change is still a hard pill to swallow. Yet, the future is bright as new generations are born without government sanctioned racism.
Travelers who want to head into the roots of Africa should seek permission to visit a native tribe. The Zulu tribe is Africa’s most popular and the largest in South Africa. Members of the tribe call themselves the “People of Heaven” and they strongly promote a united front. As a modern tribe, the Zulu people take great care in honoring their ancient cultural practices.
One of the older tribes in Africa that has become famous are the Maasai Warriors of Tanzania and Kenya. Unlike other African tribes that have lost some traditions to time, the Maasai people have worked hard to preserve and honor their way of life.
The men of the Maasai are the warriors who don brightly colored robes and sharp spears. The tribe’s ritualistic rite of passage was once to kill a lion. In recent years, the tribe has turned towards conservation to protect the now endangered big cats.
Into the Unknown
Africa is a large continent and not every country gets to make the top destinations list. 72.4 million tourists visited Africa in 2019. With most venturing to the continent’s highlights, Comoros, São Tomé and Príncipe, as well as Sierra Leone are Africa’s least visited nations.
The few who have been to Comoros will eagerly call it Africa’s “Hidden Gem”. This country lies between Madagascar and Mozambique. With abundant wildlife and quiet villages, Comoros is the ideal destination for eco-tourists. Clear water and amazing beaches aren’t too shabby either.
Consisting of two islands, São Tomé and Príncipe is the second smallest nation in Africa. Comoros is the hidden gem, but São Tomé and Príncipe has been named Africa’s “Best Kept Secret”. Sitting in the Gulf of Guinea, the two islands embody the definition of paradise. The picturesque coast provides the most beautiful sights, though inland there are lush rainforests waiting to be explored.
Ebola and a devastating civil war have long kept tourists away and prevented them from visiting Sierra Leone. However, the days of the virus and war are over. With the country back on its feet and recovering, now is the time to explore Sierra Leone.
Situated on the coast of West Africa, seafood lovers will rejoice at the abundance of lobsters, crabs, and oysters. Visitors might also be amused as they set out in the jungle to catch a glimpse of one of the world’s rarest creatures — the adorable pygmy hippopotamus.
Picking a destination is Africa can be a difficult choice. It’s impossible to see everything in one trip — that’s what makes Africa special.
Whether you’re a first-time traveler or a frequent visitor to this continent, Africa is guaranteed to enchant your eyes and capture your soul. As a continent that is well suited towards building your own adventure, you can find your own rhythm as you explore Africa’s culture, wildlife, and landscapes.