Places in Africa range from the southerly tip of the Cape of Good Hope to the northerly point in Morocco where the continent is separated by Europe by a mere eleven miles, from the desert mountains of Somalia in the east to Senegal’s capital, Dakar, in the west. Places in Africa might be in the heart of what is known as the Dark Continent, or the mysterious island of Madagascar. Places in Africa might be oil rich Saudi Arabia or Nigeria or they might be in the sand washed plains of the huge Sahara Desert. Africa is an amazing continent with the most extreme extremes – wealth from oil, gold and diamonds to abject poverty, drought and famine. Each country has a singular identity and offer amazing experiences. Here are just 8 Places in Africa to Explore.
1. Ngorongoro Crater, Tanzania
3 million years ago, a massive volcano exploded and collapsed in on itself forming the largest, unflooded, unbroken caldera in the world. It measures roughly 12 miles across and 2000 feet deep. Fossil evidence has shown that humans have lived in the area since 3 million years ago but, remarkably the first recorded European visit was in 1892. Part of the Serengeti, Ngorongoro is just one of the places in Africa to see amazing wildlife. Book a safari and see rhino, hippo, lions, antelope, elephants and giraffe.
2. Fish River Canyon, Namibia
There are some amazing places in Africa of breathtaking geography. The Fish River Canyon in Namibia is second only to the Grand Canyon in terms of astonishing size and grandeur. The ravine runs for 99 miles and its width ranges from just 2000 feet in some places to 17 miles in others. The canyon floor is home to the Fish River which supports wildlife such as mountain zebra, wild horses and kudu, a kind of antelope. There’s also more than 60 different bird species.
3. Abu Simbel, Egypt
Abu Simbel is one of the most remarkable places in Africa. Originally, the two monumental temples dedicated to Rameses II and Queen Nefertari were carved in the 13th Century BC in sandstone cliffs near the River Nile. During the construction of the Aswan Dam in the 1960s, there was the risk they would be submerged by the creation of Lake Nasser so, incredibly, the temples were moved in their entirety to their current location. You can see the story of their reconstruction at this unique UNESCO World Heritage Site.
4. Mt. Kilimanjaro, Tanzania
Kilimanjaro is Africa’s highest mountain. At 19340 feet it is also the tallest free-standing mountain in the world. The highest peak, Uhuru, is actually achievable if you are of moderate fitness. Scale the summit and stand on the top of Africa. Mt. Kilimanjaro is surrounded by some of the continent’s premier wildlife parks so ‘Kili’ is a definite among the must see destinations in Africa.
5. Victoria Falls, Zambia/Zimbabwe
Lying on the Zambezi River on the border of Zambia and Zimbabwe, the Victoria Falls are known locally as Mosi-oa-Tunya, translated as ‘the smoke that thunders’. This is because of the columns of spray from the curtains of water than can be seen from miles away. There’s plenty to see and do here. As well as enjoying the magnificent falls, you can swim in pools at the top or you can enjoy the diverse wildlife in the surrounding area.
6. The Virunga Mountains, Central Africa
The Virunga Mountains run along the borders of Rwanda, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. There are 8 major peaks with the highest being Mt. Karisimbii. There are also two active volcanoes, Mt. Nyuragia and Mt. Nyirangongo and they last erupted in 2006. The Virunga Mountains are covered in forest which is home to endangered mountain gorillas –the only place in Africa where they are found. Lovers of animals can also see Okapi, chimpanzees and forest elephants here.
7. Djemaa El-Fna, Morocco
Djemaa el-Fna is the main square of Marrakesh in Morocco and the heart of the Medina quarter, the old city. This is not the place in Africa for peace and quiet. The square never sleeps. By day it is full of locals and tourists. It’s a clamor of orange juice stalls, water sellers, snake charmers and stalls selling tourist tat. In the early evening, the Chleuh (dancing boys), story-tellers, magicians, street entertainers and potion peddlers hold court while the square fills up with food stalls that see everyone through the night and fill the air with steam and every spicy, sweet aroma imaginable.
8. The Atlantic Coast, the Gambia
The Gambia is one of the smallest countries but also one of the most visited places in Africa. It might be diminutive compared to other nations but its Atlantic coast is second to none when it comes to beautiful beaches. Lined with luxury resorts and bustling fishing villages, Gambia’s coast is a tropical paradise. There’s year round sunshine so any time of year is a good time to visit an exotic African destination of history, culture and stunning scenery.
Places in Africa are as diverse as any continent can offer. Every geographical feature is splendid and grandiose. Culture ranges from the base primitive to the ultra-contemporary. There’s no end of delights to titillate and beguile. You will never be bored and these 8 Places to Explore in Africa are just the tip of the iceberg.
Top Photo Credit: gomoneyways.com