Africa’s Top 10 Experiences
Africa is synonymous with safari, and probably top of mind when you begin planning a trip to this vast continent. Each of Africa’s 54 countries has their own unique topography, ethnic cultures and cuisines.
Here, we’ll explore some of our top 10 experiences to consider when planning a trip. Of course, safari is included on this list…but with a twist.
1) Seek out the Mountain Gorillas in Rwanda
Known as “The Land of a Thousand Hills,” Rwanda supports impressive diversity conserved by its national parks, including Volcanoes and Akagera National Parks. Book a stay at the exclusive Bisate Lodge comprised of just 6 spacious forest villas (www.wilderness-safa
ris.com), and adjacent to Volcanoes National Park. Your client’s bucket-list mountain gorilla trek will begin here in the natural amphitheater of an eroded volcanic cone, with dramatic views of the peaks of the Bisoke and Karisimbi volcanoes rearing up through Afro-alpine forests. Rwanda has made a commitment to conservation, primarily when it comes to protecting these gorillas and has put the country on the map for safari adventure.
2) Discover the fascinating architecture of Ethiopia
Its roots in the Aksumite Empire were influenced by the arrival of the Arabs and Portuguese, along with the Italian colonization, contributing to the country’s wide array of architectural perspectives. One of the most fascinating sites lies in the holy city of Lalibela in the mountainous highlands where you’ll explore designed pieces of monolithic rock-cut religious architecture considered sacred ground, and a pilgrimage site for Ethiopia’s Orthodox Christians. The are 11 rock-cut churches dating from the seventh to thirteenth centuries and this area was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1978.
3) Sleep in the Sahara Desert
There is something magical about the vast beauty of the desert. In the Sahara, specifically the Erg Chebbi sand dunes you find an experience like no other. The Erg Chebbi dunes at Merzouga are indisputably one of the greatest sights of Morocco. These giant hills of smooth sand line the Algerian border and are a must see for everyone. Spend the night at the Kam Kam Dunes tent (www.kamkamdunes.com) to be truly immersed in breathtaking natural landscape, not to mention the mind-blowing stargazing you’ll experience. Each tent has a private bathroom and shower, and accommodates two or three adults. The camp has a dinning tent and a chill-out area with views over Erg Chebbi.
4) Witness the Great Wildebeest Migration
The annual migration of giant herds of grazers across Northern Tanzania and Kenya is a truly spectacular event. July-October are the best times for viewing, when the wildebeest are in the northern Serengeti plains, and visitors have a chance of seeing thousands crossing the great Mara River. Book at stay at Singita Grumeti (www.singita.com), situated adjacent to the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania, an integral part of the Serengeti-Mara ecosystem. Their custom-designed tents are top-notch “glamping,” where dining under stars and sleeping under canvas will immerse visitors in the sights, sounds and smells of the Serengeti plains.
5) Experience a River Safari
An estimated 120,000 elephants call Botswana’s Chobe National Park home, one of the largest concentrations of elephants in the world. With numbers like these, the odds are high that you’ll be viewing large numbers of these magnificent creatures enjoying their morning drink along the banks of the Chobe River. The magnificent Zambezi Queen (www.zqcollection.com), a modern and chic houseboat, offers luxury accommodation in the form of 14 tasteful and luxurious suites – ten standard suites and four master suites. A cruise on the Zambezi Queen is truly an unforgettable experience while viewing some of Africa’s most majestic animals.
6) Go Wine Tasting in the Cape Winelands
Stellenbosch, South Africa, home to one of the most beautiful wine regions in the world, is located just outside the equally stunning city of Cape Town. The topography of the Cape Winelands leaves you breathless, while the wine tasting will educate you on fabulous South African wines, offering so much more than the Pinotage varietals one normally associates with the region. Indulge in a luxury stay at the Delaire Graff Estate (www.delaire.co.za) one of South Africa’s most visually appealing vineyards, complete with an exclusive Lodge and Spa. The lodge, consisting of a 10 units, offers private plunge pools and modern furnishings with views of the beautiful Cape Winelands
7) Scale the Sand Dunes in Namibia
Namibia, one of the least-densely populated countries in the world, is also home to some of the largest sand dunes in the world. In Naukluft National Park, the Sossusvlei dunes are undoubtedly Namibia’s most iconic landscape. The sand dunes here are some of the highest in the world, and the tallest in this area at approximately 1,066 feet. The sand here is five million years old, coated in a thin layer of iron oxide, giving the Namib its distinctive red color. Stay at the Kulala Desert Lodge (www.wilderness-safaris.com) located at the foot of the majestic Sossusvlei Dunes. The camp comprises 23 thatched and canvas “kulalas,” each built on a wooden platform. The main area includes a pool and wraparound veranda overlooking a waterhole. Those not able to scale the dunes can opt for a hot air balloon ride!
8) Discover Remote Islands In the Indian Ocean
While everyone normally heads to the Seychelles after an African Safari, there are many other lesser-known islands to explore, offering high-end accommodations. Located, quite literally, in the middle of nowhere, Anantara Medjumbe (www.anantara.com) is a unique island-resort and just one of the 31 islands that make up the Quirimbas Archipelago, a cluster of islands stretching 200 miles along the coast of Mozambique in Southern Africa. It will give you bragging rights, for sure, upon your return to the States.
9) Track the Big Five on Foot
Take a walk on the wild side and partake in a walking safari that provides a true sense of tracking, and a view of the animals from another perspective. A walking safari in Zambia, specifically in South Luangnwa National Park, will give you access to Normal Carr Safaris (www.timeandtideafrica.com), one of the leaders in walking safaris. South Luangwa National Park is home to abundant lions, leopards, and herds of elephant. It’s a truly unforgettable experience.
10) Visit Cape Town
We had to include a visit to Cape Town as an experience all its own when considering a trip to the country of South Africa. The beauty of the landscape and its deep historical roots will fascinate and educate at every turn. Be sure to send your clients to Robben Island, used by the South African government as a prison for political prisoners. In 1997 Robben Island was turned into a museum, and in 1999 it was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Tours given by former inmates will give you a glimpse into their world…it’s a must-visit. Book a stay at the iconic Belmond Mount Nelson Hotel (www.Belmond.com), located just a few miles away from Table Mountain.