The Complete Travel Bucket List: Africa

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Planning unforgettable travels around an entire continent is a feat not undertaken lightly. Many travelers opt for the tried and true sights of South Africa and Morocco. While those countries are stunning in their own right, there are 54 recognized states in Africa, so why not give the others a try? This list is a jumping off point to begin exploring the continent. Here are some top off the beaten path destinations to visit and things, from Algiers to Cape Town.

Road Trip the Skeleton Coast

Given its name by the animal skeletons and shipwrecks that dot its shores, the Skeleton Coast in Namibia is a must-see for any travelers who love marine life. You can drive along the coast and keep your eye out for all kinds of wildlife, including killer whales, as you enjoy the beautiful scenery. Predators like lions and hyenas are also known to venture out to shore looking for a meal. There are great spots for fishing and camping at Torra Bay in the North.

Photo: Greenlife Africa Safaris

Ride Ponies in Lesotho

Is there any better way to experience a place than to travel like the locals? In Lesotho this means hopping on the back of a pony. Rent out a Basuto pony and take a tour of the villages and natural landscapes in Lesotho while on horseback. This is a unique experience that will take you where vehicles can’t go.


Explore the Gardens of Algiers

The Jardin Botanique du Hamma is home to the 140-acre botanical gardens of Algiers, Algeria. It features both French and English style gardens with beautiful flora and fish-filled ponds. With over 1,200 species of plants in the gardens, you’ll always find something to look at, and the location of the gardens near the coast of the Bay of Algiers makes it the perfect place to go to rest and relax for a moment. 

Image result for Jardin Botanique du Hamma


Meet Elephants Ethically and Authentically

Most people who visit Africa are itching for the opportunity to see some elephants at close range. Why not cross it off your list while also supporting their protection? The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust in Nairobi, Kenya was created to protect and nurture baby elephants whose mothers had been killed by poachers or of natural causes. The keepers care for the elephants until they reach the age of ten and then release them into the wild. While there you can watch them receiving their bottles of milk and even foster one of them and receive updates on their progress by email.


Swim at the top of Victoria Falls

Naturally, Victoria Falls has to be on the list. It’s astounding just to see the beautiful falls. However, what really deserves a spot on this list is the Devil’s Pool, an infinity pool on the Zimbabwe side of the falls, where you can swim and splash around at the top. The pool is accessible from late August to early January. Just hire yourself a guide to help you find your way and don’t forget to pack a camera to capture the amazing view. 

Photo: Meraj Chhaya

Find Ethiopia’s Historical Castles

If you’re looking for spectacular architecture in Africa, Gondar, Ethiopia is where you should go. The city is famous for its 17th century castles, palaces, and churches. Touring the city, you will find yourself taken back hundreds of years to the time of Emperor Fasilides, who built several of the buildings in the then capital of his empire. The most famous church, Debre Birhan Selassie, was built in the 1690s and is the final resting place of many royals over the years, making it an important historical site and well-worth a visit.


See More Than the Pyramids in Egypt

This list wouldn’t be complete without at least mentioning Cairo. There are some absolutely essential stops you have to hit in Cairo before you do anything else. First, Tahrir Square, the main square where the Arab Spring demonstrations took place, is a great place to start out. You can branch off and visit the Egyptian Museum right nearby as well. While you’re there, try out the koshari, a popular Egyptian food, at one of the local restaurants. You can also grab some tammeya (falafel) if you’re in the mood. We also recommend stopping in for a tea or coffee at a shisha (hookah) lounge if you have the time. One last thing you have to do is walk around Old Cairo if you want to see some truly phenomenal architecture and old structures.

Image result for koshari


Dive Into Madagascar’s Marine Life

The beautiful island nation of Madagascar is a must-see on the bucket list, but it’s a pretty big place. So, where do you start? The smaller island of Nosy Be in the north is the perfect jumping off point. It’s one of the biggest resort locations in the country, but it’s a stunning place full of opportunities to be entranced by nature. You can scuba, snorkel, or swim with the whales. You can even explore the enchanting tropical forest landscape. 


Surfing in Durban

Durban, South Africa is the perfect location on the southern tip of the continent to get in some surfing. Unlike Cape Town, the beach is hit by warm currents, making wetsuits unnecessary and swimming essential. Addington Beach is the best place to go with families or catch some waves if you’re a beginner looking to get into the sport. 

Photo: South Africa Tourism

Experience City Life in Tunis

Tunis is the perfect place to visit if you’re looking for a North African city that’s not too foreign from your experience but not the biggest tourist city on the continent either. The Medina, a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1979, is full of vendors selling arts, crafts, spices, and fresh fruits. While wandering the streets there, you’re likely to come across plenty of monuments and gorgeous mosques. You can also stop by the more modern parts of the city like the Ville Nouvelle and the City of Culture where you can see opera, theatre, and cinema productions. For a more peaceful environment, visit Belvedere Park, the oldest park in the city, to spend time in its zoo.

Photo: Usaid

Cover Photo by Matthew Cramblett on Unsplash

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