Are you planning an Africa Bucket List? Not quite sure where to explore?
There are so many unique experiences in Africa, with many incredible hidden gems are waiting to be unearthed — places, events, once in a lifetime experiences, it’s no surprise why many people around the world dream of visiting Africa!
As someone who grew up in South Africa, every time I visit other parts of Africa I’m completely blown away by the beauty of our continent’s many sights, people, and, dishes.
This list includes some of the best African experiences you must have at least once in your lifetime!
These are the most unforgettable travel experiences and the top things to do in Africa:
Continent First-Timers: Africa Bucket List
#1. Big Daddy Dune in Namibia
Namibia has some of the most unique and extreme landscapes in the world. It’s 55-80 million-year-old desert is home to the tallest sand dunes in the world. The Sossusvlei region is where you will find magnificent red dunes overlooking a white salt and clay pan. Seeing these colors contrasted with the cloudless and vivid blue sky is an otherworldly experience.
One of the best things to do in Sossusvlei is to hike up Big Daddy, the largest dune in the area reaching 325 meters in height. Ascending through the sand is tiring, but the panoramic views of the desert at the top are worth it. After taking in the view, it’s a fun journey back down running freely through the soft sand. Once at the bottom make sure to walk through Deadvlei, a dead marsh with leafless camel thorn trees. It’s a spectacular sight.
Sossusvlei is a 5-hour drive from the capital of Windhoek. It’s recommended to rent a 4×4 vehicle as you will be driving on gravel roads to get there. If you do rent a 2×4 car, once you get to the park you will have to take a 4×4 shuttle to the start of your hike. The 10-minute transfer costs 175 NAD (~$11.50 USD) per person roundtrip. Ensure to bring about 3L of water with you to stay hydrated.
By Cecily of Groovy Mashed Potatoes
#2. Cape Agulhas
Cape Agulhas is the southernmost tip of the African continent, the point where the invisible line between the Indian and Atlantic Oceans officially merge and the two oceans meet. Early Portuguese sailors called this point Cape Agulhas – or Cape of Needles – like the needles of their compasses showed no deviation here.
The official tip of Africa is part of the Cape Agulhas National Park, a wild, unspoiled area with dramatic landscapes. Before you reach the landmark tip of Africa, you’ll pass a red and white lighthouse – it’s the second oldest lighthouse in South Africa, and you’ll find a tea house and lighthouse museum inside. For the best view of the point where the two oceans meet, go up the little hill behind the lighthouse. If you’re lucky, you may even see the whales play. A short walk from there, you’ll see a simple stone cairn and a bronze plaque marking the tip of Africa.
The scenery at Cape Agulhas isn’t as spectacular as Cape Point, but it’s a quiet, untouched place, where you truly feel like you’re on the edge of the world. It’s a beautiful drive from the city and it is possible to visit as a day trip while staying in Cape Town. However, you’ll probably enjoy your trip more if you base yourself in nearby Struisbaai (home to the longest beach in the southern hemisphere) and spend a couple of days exploring this unique part of the continent.
By Roxanne of Far Away Worlds
More Cape Town Guides
#3. Safari in Kenya
Kenya is the ultimate destination for wildlife viewing and safaris. Everyone knows that! But there are so many Safari options in Kenya each with its unique charm. So the best way to experience wildlife is by visiting all of these.
Masai Marais the most popular Safari destination and why not. It’s the largest and it is home to the greatest African migration. Each year millions of wildebeest, zebra, and antelope come over from Sarangeti nation park. It becomes the feeding season of abundance for the big cats and crocodiles. The many giraffes get a break.
Sweet water camp may be smaller but you’ll likely see most of the wildlife from the comfort of your luxury tent. You see, across the camp is the salt link pond that draws all the wildlife throughout the day and night. It’s perfect for viewing without the drives and without any risk.
Aberdeen Treetop Hotel is famously known for the place where Princess Elizabeth went up one night and came down as queen. But the best part about it is the viewpoint from the treetop with the wildlife on the ground.
The easiest parks to get to are the Nakuru National Park and Nairobi National Park. They are close to Nairobi and provide ample wildlife viewing experience.
By Jyoti from Story at every corner
#4. The souks of Marrakech
Wandering the souks of Marrakech should be on everyone’s Africa bucket list! There’s something so evocative about this beautiful part of the city packed full of color and noise and the pungent aroma of spices. The maze of streets can feel so disorientating, especially with the throngs of the crowds that are inevitably here. Don’t let that put you off though.
There’s something really quite wonderful about the medina, once you allow yourself to get lost in it. Find yourself in the various areas from the basket section to the jewelry quarter. Discover stalls selling piles of olives and shelves stacked with carved wooden objects. While there’s plenty here for the tourist don’t be fooled into believing this is simply set up for visitors. The souks of Marrakech are there for the residents and you’ll jostle with the locals who are out to buy rounds of loaves of bread and brightly colored pomegranates as much as those looking for trinkets and souvenirs.
This can also be one of the best places to find somewhere to eat – nestled amongst the goods you’ll find great cafes and restaurants to sit and have hot tangines or cold drinks. The perfect refreshment after all that shopping. For family holidays in Morocco right through to solo travel the souks of Marrakech is a must-visit location.
By Nichola of Family Hotel Experts
#5. Table Mountain
Table Mountain got its name because of its flat top, this is one of the most recognized places in South Africa. There are many interesting facts about Table Mountain, one of the most notable is that the mountain is over 300 million years old and is located at the Table Mountain National Park in Cape Town.
At the same national park, you’ll find the famous penguins at Boulders Beach, and hiking trails.
Natural Wonders of Africa
#6. Mount Kilimanjaro
Know as the rooftop of Africa, summiting Mount Kilimanjaro is a unique African experience to add to your bucket list! Mount Kilimanjaro is a dormant volcano in Tanzania. It has three volcanic cones: Kibo, Mawenzi, and Shira. It is the highest mountain in Africa and the highest single free-standing mountain in the world: 5,895 meters (19,341 ft).
With an ascent of over 1500m, a descent of nearly 3000m, and between 16-18 hours walking on average. To successfully climb Kilimanjaro you need to be in the best physical condition of your life.
#7. Okavango Delta Self-Drive Safari, Botswana
One of the top Africa Bucket list activities is a safari in the Okavango Delta in Botswana and for a reason. Okavango Delta is the jewel in the crown of safaris in Botswana. With hundreds of streams originating in the highlands of Angola some 1000 km to the North, all converging from the tranquil Okavango River. Declared a World Heritage Site in 2014, Okavango is simply an experience not to be missed during your Botswana safari trip adventure.
One of the best ways to experience the Okavango Delta landscape and wildlife is by self-driving. You can enjoy the beauty, scale, and diversity of the Okavango Delta while exploring the savannah, swamps, and woodlands with countless birds and wild animals.
There is nowhere else in the world like the Okavango, as the landscape is stunning. You can explore safaris by land, water, or air.
One of the best things to do while visiting the Okavango Delta is to go on a mokoro boat tour as the Okavango is probably the best in Africa for water-based safari. Also, the land safari offers the opportunity to see a large variety of species, such as the big five and a large population of African Bush elephants.
Okavango is a true oasis situated in the middle of the largest stretch of continuous sand in the world, the Kalahari basin. So, in the other worlds, Okavango is a Delta within a Desert.
By Paula of Paula Pins The Planet
#8. Pyramids of Giza, Egypt
The Pyramids of Giza were constructed as tombs to house the bodies of 3 Egyptian Pharaohs. It is believed that they were built between 2550 and 2490 BC and exactly how remains a bit of a mystery to this day.
The Great Pyramid is the largest of the three at 480 feet and it took an estimated 2.3 million stone blocks to erect it. Each block weighs 2.5 – 15 tons. That the ancient Egyptians managed to lift these gigantic stones and to fit them so perfectly together is quite unbelievable. The Great Pyramid is not only the oldest of the 7 Wonders of the Ancient World but also the only one that remains intact.
The Pyramids are located in the small town of Giza, just 10 miles outside of Cairo. Most people choose to spend a few days in Cairo and make a day trip to Giza to see the Pyramids.
A trip to see the magnificent Pyramids of Giza and the accompanying Sphnix should absolutely be on your bucket list as it’s truly an experience of a lifetime. During your visit, you can marvel at the sheer size of the pyramids from the base of each one and even climb inside a few when they are open to the public. There’s a museum, a beautiful viewpoint where you can see all 3, and several restaurants if you need a break from all the walking.
Be sure to dedicate an entire day to ticking this ancient wonder off of your Africa bucket list!
By Nick & Val of Wondering Wheatley
#9. Ngorongoro Crater
Ngorongoro Crater is one of the most fascinating places to go on a budget safari in Tanzania. You can either go there on a day trip safari from Arusha or combine it with a longer trip to one of the most famous national parks in Tanzania, such as Tarangire, Lake Maniara, or Serengeti. It is one of the easiest safari destinations in the north of Tanzania.
What makes Ngorongoro Crater a special safari trip is that you can see all the big five in just a half-day. This is the place where you will most likely have a chance to spot black rhinos.
The crater itself is a wonder of nature, being formed two to three million years ago when a supervolcano erupted. The caldera is 610 meters deep and it’s quite an adventure to get in and out, especially when it’s foggy.
Among the wild animals that you can see in a safari in Ngorongoro Crater are lions, hyenas, elephants, hippos, blue monkeys, and flamingos. There are around 60 black rhinos living inside the crater, which are best seen in the wet season when they come out of the Lerai forest to the grassy open fields. They usually move around with other big grazers such as buffalos, and they can easily be missed if your guide is not experienced. But most are and they can spot them even 500 meters away.
If you choose to camp overnight at the top of Ngorongoro Crater, you may see buffalos grazing among the tents, in the early hours of the morning.
By Joanna of The world in my Pocket
#10. Victoria Falls
Victoria Falls also known as Mosi-oa-Tunya by locals is located on the border of Zimbabwe and Zambia. It is a must for your African travel bucket list addition! Victoria Falls is one of the 7 Natural Wonders of the World. You have to experience and see for yourself one of the largest waterfalls in the World. The best time to visit Victoria Falls depends on your reason for visiting.
One of the best things to do is visit Victoria Falls National Park, you can either visit on your own or take a guided tour. There are entrances to Victoria Falls located in both Zambia and Zimbabwe. Once in the park, you can tour the Victoria Falls Rainforest. Be sure to pack or purchase a poncho and have a waterproof case for your phone for pictures. You can also opt to see the falls from a helicopter flight!
If you’re adventurous. You can swim to the edge of Devil’s Pool for a stunning photo opp and up close and personal view of Victoria Falls.
If you’re looking to splurge, there is a steam train that runs from Zimbabwe on certain days and Zambia on certain days. The train in Zimbabwe is called the Bushtracks Express. The train in Zambia is called the Royal Livingstone Express. Both offer a three-course meal with drinks. The route includes a stop at the Victoria Falls Bridge, to view and take photos on the bridge.
By Kim of Work Hard, Travel Well
Unique Africa Experiences
#11. Diving in the Red Sea
Diving in the Red Sea is an activity that should be on every Africa bucket list, as the Red Sea has some of the best diving in the world. Located between the African and the Asian continents, this saltwater inlet has water temperatures between 21°C and 30°C. This leads to a flourishing and colorful underwater world.
While diving the many dive sites all around the Red Sea, you get to see large schools of colorful fish and gigantic coral reefs. And, depending on where you dive, you also have a chance of seeing dugongs, whale sharks, or hammerhead sharks.
Most people diving the Red Sea do so from places in Egypt like Hurghada, Marsa Alam, or Sham El Sheikh, but countries like Israel and Sudan also offer fantastic dive locations.
Some of the most popular dive sites in the Red Sea include the Thistlegorm Wreck, the Dahab Blue Hole, the Brothers or Elphinstone Reef. And while most of these are best explored during a liveaboard, day trips to dive sites like the El Mina wreck, El Fanus or Turtle Bay off Hurghada are also fantastic.
There are many great dive centers and schools all around the Red Sea, so be sure to add diving in the Red Sea to your Africa bucket list even if you have yet to get your diving license. After all, the Red Sea is a great place to start exploring the underwater world and no one should miss out on it while exploring Africa.
By Steph from A Nomad’s Passport
#12. Mount Nyiragongo
Conquering the slopes of Mount Nyiragongo in the Democratic Republic of the Congo is one of the most exhilarating travel experiences in Africa and the entire world. Set inside the alluring Virunga National Park close to the Rwandan border, Mount Nyiragongo is considered one of the most dangerous volcanoes to hike in the world.
While hiking to reach the summit is not for the faint of heart, the views along the way never really get boring. Every section of the trail comes with its own unique charm, including forested slopes where wildlife roams, paths made up of dry lava flow, and beautiful views of the rolling hills down below.
Once you reach the top, you’re in for one of those jaw-on-the-floor moments as you approach the edge of the largest lava lake in the world (yes, it’s as thrilling of an experience as it sounds).
The best part? You’ll actually get to camp right by the edge of the crater as the descent starts the next morning. Sleeping is entirely optional and not at all recommended, though. You’re bound to spend the entire night cozied up into a blanket in awe of the spectacle of red fire and waves of lava crashing down below!
By Daniela of No Hurry to Get Home
#13 Great Migration, Tanzania
The Great Migration in Tanzania is one of the planet’s most incredible natural events and an absolute bucket list item for anyone in love with the wildlife. Every year millions of wildebeest, accompanied by thousands of zebras, gazelles, and other animals embark on a journey towards greener pastures.
Starting from the southern parts of the Serengeti National Park, the herd makes its way to the north of the park, eventually crossing the famous Mara River and entering into the Kenyan Masai Mara National Park. The abundance of wildlife is beyond imagination, and the park is so vast that you can easily avoid crowds of cars.
You can spend a few days in Central Serengeti, before driving or flying to the Northern parts of the park to see vastly different landscapes. While there, organize an early morning trip to the Mara River and witness the wildebeest’s courageous river crossing. Look out for the crocodiles calmy waiting for their prey to get in the water.
Another must-have experience is definitely spending a couple of nights under a tented camp, and experience waking up in the wild, taking a bush shower, and watching gorgeous sunsets over the savannah plains.
The best time to witness the Great Migration is from June to September. It is amazing to do on its own or as a few days out of a longer Tanzania Itinerary.
By Emma of Bonjour Sunset
#14. Ganvié, Benin
Ganvié on Lake Nokoué in Benin should be on every Africa bucket list. It is the largest floating village in the whole of Africa and is home to some 45,000 people.
The original small collection of bamboo houses was built on stilts around 400 years ago by the Tofinou people to escape being sold into slavery. They named their settlement Ganvié because it means ‘we survived’ in the local language.
Today, Ganvié has expanded to include markets, schools, a hospital, businesses, and churches. There is even a hotel! I strongly recommend you spend the night there to get a real sense of what life is like for the residents of this unique place.
The overwhelming impression you get when you spend time in Ganvié is of vibrant color. Villagers paint their homes in bright yellows, greens, and reds. They dress in clothes made from locally produced waxed cotton adorned with extravagant patterns. If you are fortunate enough to be there on a Sunday, you will see whole families wearing the same fabric as they row their boats to church.
A visit to Ganvié will leave you feeling like you are in the pages of a National Geographic magazine. It is a photographer’s paradise! Find yourself a vantage point and watch the world go by.
By Andrea of Happy Days Travel Blog
#15. Donkey Refuge, Morocco
An unconventional albeit fulfilling experience to add to your African travel bucket list is to visit Jarjeer Refuge, a rescue farm for donkeys and mules in Marrakech. Donkeys play an instrumental role in the transportation of goods and supplies across Morocco. Unfortunately, they are dumped if they get sick or old.
Jarjeer takes in abandoned donkeys and cares for them, nurses them if injured, and provides a home for them to live out their lives and retire with dignity.
Why it should be on your bucket list: As travelers, we are becoming increasingly conscious of the impact our travels have, now more than ever. Many of us actively look to support ethical initiatives. This rescue farm in Morocco deserves the spotlight for the incredible work it is doing. A visit to Jarjeer isn’t only meant for animal lovers; it also gives us an opportunity to develop a more nuanced understanding of day to day life in Morocco, and the role working animals play in it.
While there are already many established sanctuaries for dogs and cats, there is a need to shift the focus towards supporting less sought-after animals like donkeys and mules, as well.
Things to do there: The farm is run by a British couple, Susan and Charles, now settled in Morocco. Charles will walk you through the farm, where you’ll meet some of the donkeys. All the rescues have names of their own. Don’t forget to say hi to Melanie, Ruby, and Pearl! You can also feed the donkeys, pet them and learn more about them.
Once the tour is over, you can spend some time playing with two very friendly dogs, also rescued.
By Tanya of My Right Sock
African History Fanatics Bucket List
#16. Abu Simbel
If you are visiting Egypt, make sure you include a stop in Abu Simbel, a spectacular temple complex located in the desert in the far south of the country, about two hours’ drive from the city of Aswan.
Abu Simbel is famous because of its temples with entrances flanked by colossal statues, one of the iconic images of Egypt alongside the Pyramids, but not many know that Abu Simbel used to be located somewhere else. When the Nasser Dam was built in the 1960s, the area where the temples stood was meant to be flooded, so the Abu Simbel temples were removed brick by brick and moved to a safe area, where they can be visited this day. The two sights in the Abu Simbel temple complex are the Great Temple, dedicated to Pharaoh Ramses II, and the smaller one right next door, built for the Pharaoh’s wife Nefertari.
Abu Simbel tours generally depart from Aswan, which is also an amazing place to visit. You can walk along the Nile, go on felucca tours, visit the colorful bazaar or the Nubian village, on the opposite side of the river compared to the main city. The atmosphere is more relaxed compared to Egyptian cities like Luxor or Cairo, making it a great place to spend a few days.
By Margherita of The Crowded Planet
#17. Carthage, Tunisia
Tunisia is a wonderful country for a trip, packed full of history and amazing sights. When people are considering why to visit Tunisia, it’s important to look beyond the package holiday beach culture and all-inclusive resorts.
One of the best places to visit is Carthage, just outside the capital of Tunis. Here, beside the beautifully sparkling turquoise sea is the site of what was once the capital of the ancient Carthaginian empire. It’s a really evocative place for a wander, with fallen pillars and wonderfully ornate mosaic floors to run your fingers across or step over as visitors and residents would have done hundreds of years ago.
Find yourself walking through hallways and imagine an opulent world that was all but lost forever. Don’t miss the Antonine Baths which had a variety of saunas and baths and you can picture the gladiators luxuriating here between fights. Also make sure you make it to the Roman Villas, particularly the reconstructed villa which gives such an insight into this vibrant place. While you’re in the area you should also visit the world-famous Bardo Museum which contains a number of artifacts from Carthage, including the famous mosaic of Dominus Julius from the 4th century. Carthage really is a must-visit for any Africa bucket list.
By Nichola of Globalmouse Travels
#18. Lalibela, Ethiopia
You’ll find one of Africa’s most incredible sights in Lalibela, Ethiopia. The UNESCO rock-hewn churches in the highlands of Ethiopia are not only the most famous landmark for tourists in the country but also the center of pilgrimage for the Ethiopian Orthodox Christians.
Eleven churches in total, the Lalibela churches are a feat of engineering. Carved and chiseled from solid rock, from top to bottom, and then hollowed out, these churches have their roofs on the ground level. This gives a whole new meaning when you say “This one time in Ethiopia, I stumbled upon a church…”
What makes Lalibela so captivating is the fact that these churches are still active places of worship. You’ll see devout pilgrims visiting these churches any day of the week. Sleepy Lalibela transforms on the weekend though, as thousands of farmers from the surrounding mountains come to the market in town on Saturday, and then stay over to attend church the next day. Attending Mass on Sunday morning with thousands of pilgrims all dressed in their whitest shawls is a truly magical experience.
The Lasta Mountains which surround Lalibela offer some of the best hiking in Africa. Hikers can go on easy day hikes or challenging multi-day hikes into these rugged mountains.
A spectacular day hike takes you from Lalibela up Abuna Yoseph, 4 000 meters high mountain. While the scenery along the hike is breathtaking enough, you should also visit the cave monastery of Asheton Maryam, where the priest will show you his collection of ancient manuscripts and crosses.
By De Wet & Jin of Museum of Wander
Africa Bucket List for Outdoor Enthusiasts
#19. Danakil Depression, Ethiopia
Should you ever decide to travel to Ethiopia, you really can’t leave the Danakil Depression out of your itinerary for this really is a unique place. Located at around 125 meters below sea level, in the northeastern corner of the country, in the Afar region, this is one of the most inhospitable places in the world, with an average daily temperature of 34° C – which easily raises up to more than 50° C.
The main thing to see in the Danakil is the unique rock formations, as well as the water springs and geysers and the lines of camels transporting salt. Despite what you may expect from such an inhospitable place, there actually is life there. More than that, indeed: this is where Lucy, the hominid skeleton, was found, and where the Afar people of Ethiopia live, still following a traditional lifestyle of cattle or goat herding and working in the salt mines of the Dallol.
Visiting the Danakil is no piece of cake. The conditions are such that you will need a guided tour and even an armed guard for your visit, and you will have to follow their instructions carefully as the last thing you want is to get lost there. Tours usually depart from Mekele and include a visit to Erta Ale volcano and Lake Giulietti, a salt lake. Tours are in the range of $250 for 3 days, and very basic sleeping and eating option.
By Claudia of My Adventures Across The World
#20. Avenue of the Baobabs
One of the most iconic landmarks in the whole of Africa is the Avenue of the Baobabs, which is located on Madagascar.
This group of huge Baobabs trees lining along a dirt road in the western part of Madagascar is actually a national highway in the country, but you won’t see many cars along this road.
This is because most transportation in this part of Madagascar is done with carts getting pulled along by cows, but instead, you will see groups of foreign tourist trying to get a glimpse of one of the most beautiful sunsets in the world, a reason itself why this place should be on your African bucket list.
There’s not much to do around the Avenue of the Baobabs except enjoying the beautiful scenery; there’s only a small wooden shack selling refreshments. You might encounter groups of young local kids holding colorful Chameleons, another thing that Madagascar is famous for, so there you can get photos of two of the most iconic things in the country on the same day.
By Christian of Unusual Travellers
#21. Santo Antão, Cape Verde
Santo Antão is the crown jewel of Cape Verde. A tiny island located off the coast of Senegal in West Africa, it boasts scenery that looks straight out of a fantasy film.
The scenery on Santo Antão is unlike anything you’ll see elsewhere. It features terraced mountains, colorful villages, a sculpted coastline, and lush valleys.
Santo Antão is, above all else, a hiker’s paradise. The 11-mile trek from Cha da Igreja to Ponta do Sol highlights the island’s most dramatic coastal scenery. It passes by the picturesque villages of Cruzinha, Formiguinhas, Corvo, and Fontinhas. Along the way, it showcases sheer cliffs, crashing waves, and windswept beaches.
The Paul Valley hike is another unforgettable Santo Antão activity. It follows a spectacular valley flanked by vertical terraced hillsides and soaring peaks. The best way to complete the hike is to catch a ride along the island’s scenic Old Road to the Cova Crater. From the crater, a trail descends into the verdant valley in a series of switchbacks.
Santo Antão may be a small island, but its beauty is hyperbolic. With its combination of mountain and coastal scenery, the Cape Verdean island is an African bucket list destination that you’re unlikely to forget.
By Erika of Erikas Travels
#22. Erg Chebbi Desert, Morocco
One of the most amazing adventurous and unique destinations for a trip to Africa is for sure Merzouga in Morocco. It is a small desert town located in the Sahara, near the Algerian border and next to the huge dunes of Erg Chebbi. You can visit this place by rental car, or by guided tour from the larger cities like Marrakesh or Fes.
A trekking tour on the vast dunes of a desert, watching the most incredible sunsets, singing songs at the fire camp, and sleeping underneath the bright shining stars will make your vacations a very unique thing. For sure, there is nothing more romantic than spending a night together in a desert camp, best without any WIFI or mobile phone. Just talking, laughing, and enjoying the magic silence of a dessert.
Such a romantic safari can be combined with some fun and exciting activities. In Morocco, for example, you have the possibility to ride a camel or to do exciting quad tours or even helicopter flights. No matter which thing you decide on, a safari in Erg Chebbi Desert is pure magic and should not be missed on any roundtrip.
By Jurgen and Martina of PlacesofJuma
#23. Hiking Tsingy de Bemaraha, Madagascar
One of the most fun things to add to your Africa bucket list is to hike the unique landscape in Tsingy de Bemaraha Nature Reserve in western Madagascar. Tsingy means “walking on tip-toe” in Malagasy. The name comes from the razor-sharp limestone forest where you certainly can’t walk barefoot.
The Nature Reserve has two different limestone forests, the Small Tsingy and the Big Tsingy. And they are exactly that. A day out on the Small Tsingy includes a ride in a traditional Malagasy carved wood boat through the Tsiribihina River and a walk on top of the razor-sharp rocks that are safely connected by small boardwalks and bridges so it is safe for tourists to walk.
The Big Tsingy, on the other hand, is quite an adventure with a via Ferrata, long hanging bridges, and exceptional views. Both hikes have to be done with local guides as they’re within the nature reserve and responsible tourism is important. As it is situated in rural Madagascar, it is not easy to get there by public transport. So you need to rent a driver or self-drive to get there from Morondava.
By Linn of Brainy Backpackers
#24. Namib-Naukluft National Park, Namibia
Namibia in Southern Africa is one of the continent’s hidden gems that has recently begun to emerge as a popular international tourist destination. If you’re into nature, outdoor pursuits, and wildlife experiences there’s plenty of variety across the country, but it’s the Namib-Naukluft National Park in Western Namibia that really showcases the whole of the country in one small region.
The park is part of the Namib Desert – the oldest quite possibly the most beautiful desert in the world. For the most part, the region offers epic, empty landscapes with wide horizons, unpolluted skies, and one of the lowest population densities anywhere.
Dotted amongst the almost 50,000 km2 national park are a number of unmissable sights. These include the world’s tallest sand dunes, and many pockets of dried-out lakes, now home to small forest patches of thousand-year-old dead trees, known as “vlei”.
The 400 meter high dunes are bright red and orange and shift both shape and color as the day progresses. Dawn hikes to the peaks are the order of the day here, to take in the majesty of the surroundings as the sun rises over the Namib Desert – in a word, epic.
Close to the most accessible dunes is Deadvlei – offering legendary scenery and a paradise for photographers. Here the contrast between the pitch-black dead trees and bleached-white pans ringed by rust-colored dunes and blue sky is at its most intense.
At first glance, Namib-Naukluft seems like a lifeless pan, all about the scenery. There’s also a surprising amount of wildlife to spot in the park, however, which is one of the best places in Africa to see desert animals, and a sanctuary to large mammals including black rhino, gemsbok, mountain zebra, giraffe, brown hyena, leopard, and cheetah. Any wildlife ticked off the list is just a cherry on the cake for one of the best days out in Africa!
By Ed Gold from SafarisAfricana
Africa Bucket List for Beach Lovers
#25. Fishing in Seychelles
The island nation of Seychelles is located off the eastern coast of Africa, near Madagascar and Kenya. This stunning destination is mainly known for its incredible beaches and is a popular honeymoon spot.
However, if you’re a fisherman, Seychelles is an excellent fly fishing destination to add to your Africa Bucket List!
The main island offers some fishing, but if you make your way to the outlying atolls (St. Francois, Cosmoledo, or Astove), you’re in for a real treat — expect to hook into bonefish, giant trevally and if you’re really lucky, sailfish.
If you’re a novice angler, January is a great time to cast your line, whereas if you’re advanced, you may prefer September more as it’s a challenging time to fish due to winds and the fact that the fish have been resting for the past 3-4 months.
Seychelles is not a budget fly fishing destination, but if you have some money to spend and are looking for a unique experience, you’ll be able to enjoy a once in a lifetime fishing trip.
By Dariece of Into Fly Fishing
#26. Lake Malawi
No visit to Malawi is complete without visiting Lake Malawi, also known as Lake Nyasa. Located between Malawi, Mozambique, and Tanzania, this is the ‘inland sea’ of the otherwise land-locked Malawi and stretches along the length of most of the country. Its calming sandy shores dotted with fishing villages offer weary travelers a place to kick back and relax.
There are a range of accommodations on offer, from excellent Lake Malawi campsites to a couple of high-end lodges. Pick your accommodation right, as this is the place to while away your days with long walks along the shoreline, or swimming in the lake (although do note that bilharzia is present and you will need to take medication if you do go swimming). You can also hire a local fisherman to take you out on the waters, to catch a fish, and then cook over an open fire back on the beach.
The waters to the south of the lake are nicer for swimming than the north, which can have a lot of reeds. However, the landscape becomes more picturesque as you head north, and it’s worth taking a detour up the old Scottish colonial town of Livingstonia, close to Chitimba, for lush scenery and fantastic views.
Jenny from TraveLynn Family
#27. Sailing Quirimbas Archipelago, Mozambique
The Quirimbas Archipelago is one of the most beautiful island chains in the world. Located off the coast of Mozambique in eastern Africa, this group of 31 islands is a traveler’s paradise.
Rich in marine life, historic towns, and traditional ways of life, you could easily spend a couple of weeks here soaking up all that the Quirimbas Archipelago has to offer.
Not all of the islands are inhabited, and not all are accessible — some of them are private islands.
A great idea is to base yourself on Ibo Island and enjoy excursions from there. Ibo was developed as a trading post by the Arabs in the 7th century, and more recently, it was an importing trading post for the Portuguese — you’ll notice remnants of both Arab and Portuguese architecture here.
Sailing is the best way to explore the islands. From Ibo, you can access Matemo with its incredible sandbar and traditionally dressed locals, and Rolas Island which is known for its massive coconut crabs.
Another must-have experience in the Quirimbas Archipelago is a visit to the island of Quirimba. From Ibo Island, you can walk to Quirimba at low tide through the mangroves!
Once on Quirimba, enjoy the local village, and the amazing sand which is visible for miles at low tide, before returning to Ibo by boat. If you play a string instrument, make sure to bring your favorite mandolin, ukulele, banjo, or guitar with you, as dancing and singing is a great way to connect with the locals on these remote islands.
By Dariece of Into Strings
#28. Sidi Bou Said, Tunisia
Sidi Bou Said is definitely the most charming small town in Tunisia. At an easy distance from Tunis, the capital, and easily visited on day trips that also include a stop at the marvelous archeological site of Carthage, this is a place where time seems to have stopped, and where life follows a different rhythm from that of the rest of the country. It’s no wonder it’s a locals and tourists favorite alike!
The best thing to do in Sidi Bou Said is to simply have a walk to admire all the beautiful whitewashed buildings, and taking in all the pretty blue doors. Make sure to stop at one of the cafés – the nicest one is Café de Nattes, but you can also opt for Café de Delice for beautiful coastal views.
Scattered around Sidi Bou Said you will also find lots of art galleries and souvenir shops – so this is the best place to look for something to bring home. The most typical thing to buy is the wire birdcages – beautifully ornate birdcages that make for a perfect ornament.
By Claudia Tavani of My Adventures Across The World
Culturally diverse and rich in natural beauty, the island nation of Mauritius is more than worthy of a spot on your Africa travel bucket list.
Located in the Indian Ocean east of Madagascar, Mauritius is usually considered a luxury travel destination – but there are budget-friendly ways to explore the island too. Beyond the (admittedly gorgeous) beaches and lavish resorts, there is a lush interior of mountains and valleys to discover.
Black River Gorges National Park and the unusual Chamarel Seven Colored Earth Geopark, both on the southern end of the island, are worth checking out. For something fun, take a jeep tour of Heritage Nature Reserve in Bel Ombre. This former sugarcane plantation has been transformed into a bio-reserve and is home to several endangered species.
Aside from the landscapes, another highlight of visiting Mauritius is immersing yourself in the local culture. A diverse nation with influences from all four corners of the globe, Mauritius boasts vibrant Sega music and dance traditions, a heritage of woodworking, and an artisanal rum industry. The national cuisine combines Indian, African, Chinese, and Middle Eastern influences. A food tour of the capital, Port Louis, is a perfect introduction to the island’s diverse flavors.
By Emily from Wander-Lush
Zanzibar is a beautiful Tanzanian island in East Africa in the Indian ocean. The beaches here are literally heaven and with their rich history and charm, it is the perfect destination for all tastes.
The biggest city on the island is Stone town, which has a heartbreaking history. The city was one of the last open slave markets in the world until it was shut down in 1873 by the British. The slavery museum, the Anglican Cathedral Church of Christ (which is on the actual market grounds) and the slavery monument are silent but touching memories of the past.
All fans of Queen and Freddy Mercury should know he was born here, and they can now visit the Freddy Mercury restaurant. But the real thing, why you should visit the island are its beaches. White sand, turquoise water, stunning marine life. But be careful with choosing the right beach, as some are very affected by the tides. For instance, in the far north Nungwi beach is beautiful in high tide, but you can’t swim at low tide.
A great beach, where swimming is possible throughout the day is nearby Kendwa. A great boat day trip is to Mnemba atoll – get ready for insanely beautiful watercolors. For fine dining head to the famous The Rock restaurant. And if you would like to cook at home, do a spice tour, as Zanzibar is also known as the spice island. Animals and nature lovers should visit the Jonzani Forest, which is the last indigenous forest left on the island. Zanzibar is a true gem – the African roughness mixed with the tropical vibes offers its visitors a fascinating East African vacation.
By Simona of Slovenians Travel
Unique Places to Stay
#31. Pezulu Tree House Lodge
Pezulu Tree House Lodge is a small Game Lodge within Thornybush Game Reserve in Limpopo, South Africa. The lodge is also conveniently located just forty minutes from Kruger National Park, making it a great addition to your Kruger adventures.
During our stay, we stayed in the “Dream” luxury treehouse, and what a dream it was. The treehouse overlooked a watering hole and featured breath-taking views of the savannah. The bed was able to be pulled out onto the deck of the treehouse, where we were able to sleep under the starry night sky.
We woke to giraffes eating leaves off the branches of the treehouse; it was a magical way to wake up! A watering hole could be seen out front of the treehouse and we saw many animals cross over the land to go get a drink; right from the treehouse deck.
The lodge offers game drives, bush walks, ranger day courses (kids and adults). Also, a delicious three-course dinner is served in a traditional style around a log fire in the outdoor boma.
Pezulu was a fantastic way to enjoy some relaxation while enjoying unique accommodation in the South African wilderness; a grand experience to add to your African bucket list!
By Debbie Fettback of World Adventurists
#32. Nay Palad Bird Nest, Kenya
Set in the heart of the Laikipia plains, one of Kenya’s most spectacular safari locations, Nay Palad Bird Nest is a one-of-a-kind accommodation on the grounds of Segera Retreat, an award-winning sustainable luxury destination.
Perched amid the treetops on a river teeming with wildlife, the Birds Nest offers views of the plains by day that are matched only by those of the stars at night. In the morning, guests awaken to the magical sounds of animals at play.
Travel Insurance for your next Africa trip
Use travel insurance while exploring the beautiful African continent so you are covered for theft and medical expenses. it’s best to have peace of mind while driving, hiking, and trying some of the best food in the world!
Find out why I recommend World Nomads, check out my World Nomads Insurance Review.
Disclaimer: This article contains affiliate links. This means that if you make a booking after clicking on a link, I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you!