Africa is truly like no other place in the world. The African continent is far larger than most people imagine. Its size combined exceeds the United States, China, India, Spain, France, Germany, Italy, Eastern Europe, the United Kingdom, Japan and a handful of other countries. It is far more diverse than North and South America, Australia, Asia, and Europe.
No Two Countries are the Same
Northern Africa is heavily influenced by the Middle East, which is evident in the culinary dishes, religion and politics. Western Africa is filled with an array of history, including painful reminders of European colonization, particularly the slave trade. Eastern Africa offers some of the best wildlife viewing in the world, along with wonderful beaches unknown to most Americans. Southern Africa is home to several UNESCO World Heritage sites, amazing safari game viewing, archaeological sites including the beginning of humankind, and cosmopolitan cuisine and award-winning wine from world-class cities.
In this five-part series on experiencing Africa, we will share with you why Africa delivers unbelievably beautiful, pristine and awe-inspiring vacation destinations.
Home to some of the most amazing natural wonders on the African continent, a visit to Tanzania is an unforgettable journey. It surely will be among the remarkable experiences you’ll ever have.
- The snow-capped peaks of Mt Kilimanjaro are a sight to behold. It is Africa’s highest mountain. Ascending from the grassy, lush plains, its elevation exceeds 19,300 feet. For those brave enough to attempt a climb, they will travel through five different climatic zones during the 5- to 9-day trip. You might want to start planning because due to the influence of global warming, the ice may be extinct within 20 years.
- It is the world’s largest intact caldera. A geological wonder dating back nearly 3,000,000 years, it is home to a vast array of wildlife. Nearly 25,000 large mammals reside here including black-maned lions, cheetahs, leopards, flamingos, giant-tusked elephants, and a dwindling number of highly endangered black rhinos.
Serengeti National Park
- The Serengeti region is most famous for The Great Migration. This is the annual occasion where hundreds of thousands of zebra, wildebeest, and other herbivores cross the plains and rivers, risking their lives as they try to avoid encounters with lions, crocodiles and other natural predators. The ecosystem here is one of the earth’s oldest and has nearly unchanged fauna, vegetation, and climate.
Most people are familiar with South Africa because of its two Nobel Prize recipients Bishop Desmond Tutu and Nelson Mandela. With the dismantling of the oppressive apartheid system, this “Rainbow Nation” has quickly become a top travel destination. South Africa truly has it all. See why South Africa has been voted as a Bucket List vacation.
Three World-class Cities:
Johannesburg, dubbed the “City of Gold”, Joburg is the economic heartbeat of the African continent. It is also a great city for those with an interest in the arts and history.
Cultural opportunities include:
- Journey to Freedom – Soweto or South Western Township was command central for much of the apartheid struggle. Historic landmarks include Regina Mundi Church, a popular underground meeting place; Hector Pieterson Museum and Mandela House. Vilakazi Street is the only street in the world that can lay claim to being the former home of two Nobel Prize winners.
- Museums Abound – The top choices include the Apartheid Museum, the Museum of Africa, the National Railway & Steam Museum, and the South African Museum of Military History
- Art – Rosebank Rooftop Craft Market has over 600 clothing, craft, art and ceramic stalls with handmade African items.
Durban, with a tongue-in-cheek nickname “Durban the Turban”, is home to the greatest population of Indians outside of India.
- Walking along the beachfront try to spot dolphins just offshore in the Indian Ocean or experience a rickshaw ride in Victoria Park.
- Take in a slice of history in Shakaland, with authentic re-creations of the life and times of Shaka, the King of the Zulu tribe.
- Enjoy authentic crafts, fabric and authentic cuisine at the Victoria Market.
Cape Town is referred to as the Mother City since it is South Africa’s oldest. It is one of the most beautiful cities in the world, with both unique beaches and splendid mountains.
- Walk to Freedom – Her rich history includes Robben Island, the isolated home for political prisoners including Nelson Mandela; The District Six Museum; Langa, the oldest apartheid housing system and the Gold Museum.
- Sightseeing abounds with visits to:
- The V & A Waterfront, is a shopping and dining district set along a working harbor. You can purchase locally made beads and other arts and crafts at the Green Market Square, a short world from the V&A.
- Table Mountain offers panoramic views of the entire city. It can be accessed via the world’s largest, rotating cable car or by strenuous hike for the adventure seeker.
- Cape Point is the southwestern-most point on the continent. It’s also home to the Cape Floral Kingdom, a UNESCO World Heritage site that boasts more than 20% of Africa’s flora and comprises eight protected areas. Baboons still roam wild here.
- Watching the colony of endangered African penguins at Boulders Beach will bring out the kid in everyone.
- Chapman’s Peak is a 6-mile, picturesque drive that rivals California’s Big Sur.
- Safari Game Drive & Wildlife Viewing
Kruger National Park – Enjoy outstanding wildlife viewing in the world’s oldest national park, as well as in the surrounding private, luxury game lodges.
- Pilanesberg National Park – Located in a 1.2 billion-year-old extinct volcanic crater, it houses an extensive wildlife population including more than 300 bird species.
- KwaZulu-Natal Province – Home of the popular walking safari, the Hluhluwe-Umfolozi Game Reserve gained recognition for its conservation efforts in saving the white rhino from extinction.
- Addo Elephant National Park – With prime-viewing opportunities for its 300 elephants, it’s also a great place for bird watchers to try and spot some of the 180 species.
- Gourmet Food & Wine
- Evenings rich with mouthwatering cuisine and fine wine are abundant in this cosmopolitan city. Guided and self-drive tours of the Cape Winelands’ 13 wine routes are popular ways to experience the up-and-coming wine regions. Located within an hour’s drive of Cape Town are the most famous, Stellenbosch, Constantia, Franschhoek and Paarl. Better yet, stay in one of the well appointed B&B’s, hotels or inns with breathtaking mountain and vineyard vistas.
Return to TheTravelGospel.com for our five-part series. We’ll share more information on must-see points of interest and must-do attractions on the amazing African continent.Tags: Africa, Cape Town, Food & Wine, Gourmet Foods, Johannesburg, Johannesburg Journey to Freedom, Safari, South Africa, South African Wine, Tanzania, UNESCO World Heritage