When it comes to exciting things to do in Africa, it is no secret that you are spoilt for choice. There are so many life changing things to do in Africa, it's impossible to choose just one or even know where to start. So if you are about to embark on the adventure of a lifetime on this incredible, diverse, vibrant and exciting continent, I have prepared a list that will get your heart racing. Here are 20 amazing things to do in Africa.
1. White Water Rafting down the Orange River – Namibia
One of the most adrenaline-filled things to do in Africa is to experience the magic of the resplendent Orange River. Multi day trips take you along the river, where you carry everything with you and camp every night on the banks. Experience the thrill and the tranquillity that the wild and raw nature of Namibia has to offer.
2. Swim with Dolphins – Mozambique
Many people have this particular one on their bucket list – that is, to experience the soul-stirring, life-changing experience of swimming with dolphins in their natural habitat. Dolphin encounters are a unique and very special event in anyone’s life and what better place to tick this off your list than the sparkling azure waters of Mozambique? This is one of the more gentle wildlife encounters in Africa. The wild swim program is certified and can be found in the popular tourist region of Ponta Do Ouro.
3. Visit Victoria Falls – Zimbabwe
The way Mother Nature communes with water lends itself to many of the attractions of Africa. One of the most life changing and powerful natural encounters ever to be experienced can be found at the dramatic Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe. The thunderous noise from the water crashing over the falls can be heard way before you have even arrived at the falls. It’s hot all year round and when you see people queuing up armed with umbrellas, don’t laugh, you are going to get wet. The spray will soak you to the bone, a welcome relief from the hot sun during the day.
4. Mount Kilimanjaro – Tanzania
Mount Kilimanjaro is without a doubt one of the most iconic landmarks and one of the top places to visit in Africa. Many travelers descend on the villages in Tanzania every year, in order to conquer their fears and reach their dream of reaching the top of the summit. But if you are not one for such an extreme adventure, there is still an impressive amount to see and do in this magical area of Africa, like the Serengeti and Pemba.
5. Experience a Deserted Island Adventure – Mumbo Island, Lake Malawi
Situated right in the heart of the Lake Malawi National Park, this freshwater marine reserve is now listed as a world heritage site. Stay in some of the most luxurious, unpretentious eco-friendly lodges and explore the island on the lake that has the biggest number of fish species of anywhere in the world. Rare marine life and complete seclusion on Mumbo Island make this one of the many unique things to do in Africa.
6. Pony Trekking – Lesotho
Known as the "Kingdom in the Sky," Lesotho is a breathtaking rugged and majestic valley region in the southern area of Africa. Step back into time, into rural Africa surrounded by a gaping sky swept with stars and rocky mountains as far as the eye can see. Experience the humble and charismatic hospitality as you sleep under a grass roof and switch off your cell phone to wake up to incredible sunrises and the chance to experience the Kingdom on pony back. More adept than any 4x4, your pony will get you where you want to go, village to village across the highlands.
7. Stay on a House Boat on Lake Kariba – Zambia
Here is one of the adventures in Africa that is as unique and incredible as they come. Float down the breathtaking Kariba river on an African water safari, have your drinks served to you as you watch elephants and other wildlife on the banks of the river going about their daily business, while fishing at the same time. All your catering and housekeeping is taken care of; all you have to do is relax in the heart of raw Africa.
8. Attend a Camel Derby – Kenya
Held up north in Morella, Kenya, each year in August, the annual Camel Derby attracts seriously skilled professional camel riders from all over Northern Kenya, which is big camel raising country – to take part in the prestigious derby. 42km of hectic paces, uneven terrain and wild excitement rip though what is normally a sleepy desert town. The winning trophy for the derby is highly coveted and considered a great honor, and you can be guaranteed that there is nowhere else in the world an adventure quite like this. You can hire a camel and enter the local amateur race; just close your eyes and think of the money.
9. Swim with Penguins on Boulders Beach – South Africa
Here is a once in a lifetime chance to get up close and personal with some of the most curious and quaint marine life – penguins. Dip into the warm, sparkling waters of a secluded cove and let your kids paddle in and out of the rock pools while the penguins zip along the beachfront beside you. It’s a truly remarkable experience in a region of the South African Cape where the weather is always good and the beachfront picture perfect.
10. Sleep in a Bedouin Tent in the Sahara Desert – Morocco
Book yourself an Arabian night adventure of a lifetime, right in the heart of the desolate Sahara Desert. Be whisked away by camels deep into the desert, traveling until you reach a real life oasis. World class luxury and opulence in what is really the real middle of nowhere, will make you think you have actually entered a mirage or are having an out of body experience. Be prepared to be waited on hand and foot whilst stretched out next to a sparkling pool surrounded by panoramic views.
11. Go on Mokoro Safari in the Okavango Delta– Botswana
Drift through the incredible Okavango Delta in a Mokoro, or dug-out canoe, with a knowledgeable guide and you will have experienced heaven on earth. See the wildlife as it makes its way along the banks of the river through the rustling grass, see antelope, go fishing, sleep under the stars and see real life bushmen paintings.
12. Go Dune Skiing – Algeria
Much like water skiing, but more like sand boarding, dune skiing is the new black. Hire everything from a tour operator who will get you to the best spots, hook you up and let you go gliding down the Saharan dunes at an alarming rate – definitely an activity for an adrenalin junkie, and one of the most exciting vacation activities in Africa.
13. Visit Cape Coast Castle – Ghana
A poignant, moving and dramatic historical landmark perched right on the coastline, the castle provides an eerie, chilling and momentous look into the history of the slave trade in Africa. Incredible views make this site appear as peaceful as the day it was built hundreds of years ago. It is a truly remarkable and humbling site, as ominous as the history may be, this is one place not to be missed.
14. Stand on Top of Table Mountain – Cape Town, South Africa
There is no question as to why Table Mountain has recently made the list as one of the wonders of the world and is one of the most visited attractions in Africa. Ascend the incredible mountain, set in the heart of the Table Mountain National Park, in a rotating cable car, enabling you to see the slowly disappearing road beneath you. The view from the top is simply unparalleled anywhere in the world.
15. Attend the Royal Reed Dance Festival in Zululand – Swaziland
Swaziland is one of the most enriching, moving and breathtaking regions of Africa. Seeped in culture, the heart of Bushmen land is a truly authentic African experience all on its own. The Royal Reed Dance Festival is an event of deep national pride, and lasts 4 days during one week every year in September. It is an incredible event not to be missed, and will be one of the most memorable trips in Africa.
16. Escape to Coffee Bay – Transkei
This mysterious, completely untouched bay is perched on the rugged, untouched shores of the majestic Wild Coast in the Transkei. It is a tiny little town, with an incredible ambience, everything is in walking distance of each other, the locals know your first name, the scenery is like nothing on earth and the activity – never boring or sleepy. A rustic retreat, this is one place where time stands still, and is worth the 250km trip from the city of East London.
17. Experience an African Dinner in a Tree House – Moyo, Stellenbosch
Sophisticated, entirely unique and a chance to experience the pure African spirit right in the very heart of the historic Stellenbosch wine lands, Moyo is truly one of a kind. Arrive at dusk to the sounds of a beating drum, massive fire pits blazing and live African music and dancers. Take your seat in the tree tops, have your hands washed, your faces painted and get whisked away into a real African wonderland as the lights flicker and the dancing continues. A full buffet is available – all you can eat – with every possible African dish on the planet. Dine on ostrich, crocodile, game and tarentaal and finish off the meal with a mouth watering South African milk tart.
18. Track Gorillas – Uganda
The mountain gorillas of Uganda was a plight brought to life by the life story of Dian Fossey in the movie Gorillas in the Mist. These days these protected animals can be tracked by visitors in the wild on a tour through the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest and Mgahinga National Park. For anyone with a love of adventure and a passion for conservation of wildlife, this trip will be everything you hoped for and more.
19. Go to the Open Air Opera in Ouagadougou - Burkina Faso
An outdoor opera village surrounded by an art studio, sporting facilities and homes is a unique and one of a kind event brought to the region of Ouagadougou by a local Burkinabe. Let the breeze ruffled trees provide shade as you get comfortable waiting for the performances about to start at the opera village. If you love music and you have fallen in love with Africa, this one is for you.
20. A Night Time Tour of the Sutherland Observatory – Karoo, South Africa
Sutherland is home to the world’s largest and clearest skies, making it the ideal home for SALT – The South African Large Telescope, which is also the largest single optical telescope this side of the southern hemisphere. The arid landscape of the Karoo and the particular position of this quaint, country town is the coldest in all of Southern Africa, with many sheep farms out in the area. Thick snow falls on this area in winter, making a visit to the observatory at night something incredibly special.
The sights of Africa have no end and the joy they bring to travelers again and again is legendary. No matter what you expect when embarking on trips in Africa, you will be rewarded with so much more. There are so many places to go in Africa, I hope that I have helped you choose one from our list of 20 amazing things to do in Africa. Which one was your favorite?