Usually, the number one reason for travellers to visit Africa is to embark on a safari or to climb Kilimanjaro, and while Africa certainly does have some of the most prolific wildlife viewing opportunities and one of the seven summits, there are SO many more reasons to visit Africa! The continent teems with unique landscapes, ancient history, geographical wonders and active adventures to boot.
Check out our top 8 OTHER reasons to visit Africa that will make this incredible continent jump to the number #1 spot on your travel bucket list.
1) Tropical beaches that rival some of the world’s best.
Though Africa isn’t home to all the best beaches in the world, it certainly has a lot! It’s impossible to pick the absolute best, though highlights include beaches on the small island of Zanzibar, just off the coast from the Tanzanian capital of Dar es Salaam. Other pristine beaches include Mozambique’s Bazaruto island, featuring idyllic island beaches and shallow turquoise waters that drop into the deep Indian Ocean; Camps Bay, Cape Town’s most popular beach on the edge of a trendy suburb lined with cafe’s and bars; and the Skeleton Coast, possibly the world’s most hauntingly beautiful stretch of beach and graveyard for ships across in Namibia.
Africa is a melting pot of the ancient and cosmopolitan cities. Explore Morocco’s Marrakech, a densely packed, medieval city that dates back to the Berber empire. The maze of alleys and thriving markets evokes images of Disney’s Aladdin and you’ll be hard-pressed shaking the image of a magic carpet from your mind as you browse hundreds of intricately hand-woven rugs from the eclectic souks.
In contrast, South Africa’s Cape Town is a modern cosmopolitan city that boasts a spectacular coastline and rich cultural heritage and history. The city is undeniably beautiful both for its setting against one of the new seven wonders of nature, Table Mountain, as well as its regeneration of industrial districts, Dutch, Malay & British influenced architecture, & historic buildings.
How can one continent contain so many geological wonders? You can visit the world’s highest sand dunes in the Namib desert, then witness the world’s largest and most powerful waterfall, Victoria Falls in Zambia/Zimbabwe, explore the lush water world of the Okavango Delta in Botswana, discover Ngorongoro Crater – the world’s largest unbroken, un-flooded volcanic caldera and also UNESCO World Heritage Site, or even stop over at Fish River Canyon – the second largest river canyon in the world (after the Grand Canyon) – and all this in one holiday!
4) Excellent opportunities for camping, glamping, and everything in between!
Camping in Africa is an invigorating experience; it offers a close connection to the land, nature and wildlife (we’re talking birds and beetles – not buffalo and lions!), and is a truly immersive way to experience Africa. The best thing about camping in Africa is that there are many grades of camping, so it’s not all bush tents and bare essentials – though there is that too!
Whether you’re keen on pitching a tent to experience the outdoors first hand, want that little bit of luxury like bush showers attached to your campsire and fully serviced camping, or high-end camping in luxurious dome tents with full bedding and an ensuite; Africa has it all!
5) Water based activities (beyond the usual safari vehicle).
If your inner water-child is calling for a trip with water activities, Africa has all you need and more! Though not commonly associated with the country’s dry landscape, there are plenty of water based activities, including canoeing down the mighty Zambezi, taking a kayak adventure in Madagascar past mangrove forests and white sand beaches, white water rafting in Kenya’s River Tana, explore the wildlife-rich Okavango Delta by mokoro, cruise along the tropical Kazinga Channel in Uganda, and enjoy excellent snorkelling spots in Mozambique!
6) A chance to make a difference to local communities
Sometimes the greatest holiday is one where you can give something back to communities in need and improve the lives of less fortunate people. Behind Africa’s extraordinary beauty, the reality is that it also has some problems and with a little bit of time and effort, travellers can make a long and lasting difference to communities through participating in community project trips which focus on assisting schools and education.
7) It’s brimming full of BIG Things
One of our favourite reasons to visit Africa is that although it may only be the second biggest continent, it is absolutely jam-packed with some of the world’s biggest things!
The largest desert in the world, the Sahara Desert. The longest river in the world, Nile River, which runs for 6,853 km! The world’s biggest inland delta, Okavango Delta. The highest freestanding mountain in the world (and one of the Seven Summits), Mount Kilimanjaro. The World’s Oldest Desert – The Namib desert in Namibia. The World’s largest wildlife migration on Earth takes place in The Serengeti in Tanzania, with over 750,000 zebra marching ahead of 1.2 million wildebeest as they cross this amazing landscape. (Explore the Serengeti)
8) World’s largest outdoor art galleries.
Africa has more rock art sites than any other continent, with thousands of sites located across this vast land. Large amounts have been found in the Sahara Desert, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Kalahari and Botswana, though many remain undiscovered because they are situated in remote areas of the desert or are rarely visited by humans. The oldest known art found has been estimated to be between 27,000 – 40,000 years old, offering an insight into the ancient people’s beliefs, way of life and stories. To view these art sites is fascinating, especially considering that the art has endured natural elements of sun, sand and thunderstorms and has maintained, to varying degrees, their colour and visibility.