It is also home to astonishing cities and towns that are rich in history and culture. You may see some up north in Etosha, but it’s more about the dynamic landscapes, which are breathtaking,” explains Saperstein. You can also go on wine tours or get in some hiking up Table Mountain—on its own, one of the best places to go in Africa for a day trip. Lamu is one of the best places to chill out and adopt a slow-paced, coastal way of life. For info on these editor-selected items, click to visit the seller’s site. “Make sure to have a walk around the square in the evening when musicians, dancers, and storytellers come out.”. Pack both warm-weather and cool clothes. The last two are most beautiful at dawn when viewed from a hot air balloon. Best time to go: Namibia is a year-round destination, but remember that since it’s a desert environment, you can get a big shift any day of the year, from very hot to very cold. The Blue Nile Falls are also one of the most spectacular sights to see in Ethiopia and are only a short distance away from Bahir Dar. “The game is very good and the experience in Zambia feels like Kenya did 30 years ago—still very raw and real.”. Seeing the gorillas in their natural habitat was one of my favorite experiences in Africa. South Africa. So important, in fact, that it was named the capital of Portuguese East Africa in 1507 (in 1898 it was changed to Maputo). But with 54 countries calling it home, Africa’s topography, landscape, and activities vary drastically by region. Tunis is both the capital and the largest city of Tunisia. When to go: Almost any time of the year is great for game viewing; but December through February sees the bulk of the rain and May through July are the coldest months. Tours are small, no more than eight people, and once the gorillas are spotted, you have 60 minutes with them—and believe me, it goes really fast. It guarantees moments of peace and tranquility far away from the mayhem of bigger cities and the charmless all-inclusive resorts of Morocco. I was surprised to see how playful the juveniles are, not unlike my own little kids. Private game reserves abound in South Africa, which makes it easier to see the Big Five animals up close and in limited time than in other destinations. It is also home to the remains of the tombs of the Pharaohs, the beautiful temple of Karnak, the Temple of Hatshepsut, and the stunning Valley of the Kings among others. In fact, the largest and most creative mud-made buildings in the world, the Grand Mosque, lies in Djenné. Over the last 200 years, little has changed in this old city. Things you buy may earn us a commission. Disclaimer, Lake Malawi (Malawi, Tanzania & Mozambique), Black River Gorges National Park (Mauritius), Bwindi Impenetrable National Park (Uganda). All items are in stock and prices are accurate at the time of publication. In the latter, you can also do canoeing and fishing in addition to the game drives and walks,” says Hippo Creek Safari’s Daniel Saperstein. Wide streets with lines of palm trees and stunning river views make up Bahir Dar’s landscape. Just be sure to pack appropriately. Nothing says safari like being five feet away from a bathing elephant. With an ancient medina and lustrous fortifications that date back to the 18th century, miles of stunning beaches, and a charming harbour and fish market to stroll around, Essaouira is one the most beautiful towns to visit on the continent. When to go: “Peak season will be their winter time, when it is dry and mild—anywhere from June through September is ideal,” says Saperstein. Some products are sent to us free of charge with no incentive to offer a favorable review. Visiting them is a must, and there are many boat tours available to travellers. People tend to think of Africa as a country, not a continent. Editor’s Note: A previous version of this story incorrectly spelled the name of the city of Durban. Marrakesh can be hot in the summer months, however, and the desert gets very cold in January. They can also relax at the nearby Shela Beach. “A must is the Djemaa el Fna, the largest market in Morocco and the biggest square in Africa,” says Worth. When to go: Morocco is a year-round destination and one of the best places to go in Africa. The ambiance there is usually laid-back. Judy Koutsky writes often about luxury, adventure, spa, and family travel. The only thing that could occasionally disturb the peace is a braying donkey. One even came up and gave me a light fist bump to the leg (the animals can do what they want, but we were instructed to stay seven meters away from them; they came much, much closer). It’s no surprise, then, that this Swahili coastal trading town is classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Whether it is hang gliding in New Zealand, shark-cage diving in South Africa, or swimming with whale sharks in Belize, she and her family of four are always up for an adventure. Windhoek, Namibia’s largest city and capital, is a tidy and modern city with stunning pastel-painted buildings and traditional German houses. Travellers can spend hours strolling around the beautiful, narrow alleys in the old town. Essaouira is one the most beautiful towns to visit, Stone Town a fascinating place to wander around, Lamu is one of the best places to chill out. If you’re going to catch the migration, it’s July through September,” says Daniel Saperstein, co-owner of Hippo Creek Safaris and an Africa travel specialist. Why go: This country’s focus is on high-end, low-impact tourism, so the properties are all very luxurious and the crowds you see in East Africa are noticeably absent here. The beautiful capital of the Amhara region is located on the shores of Lake Tana, and the city is home to some of the oldest monasteries and churches in the world. But even if you don’t go during the migration, Kenya and Tanzania have some of the most extensive populations of wildlife in all of Africa; it’s not uncommon to see 50 elephants in a herd, or to see the Big Five (lion, rhino, cape buffalo, elephant and leopard) on your first game drive. Taking the cable car ride to the top of Table Mountain at sunrise or sunset to take in the beautiful views is a must. But, here are a few of the most popular destinations to add to your African adventure bucket list. © 2020 Smarter Travel Media LLC. If you can afford the stopover, it’s worth doing a Living Desert Tour, a Ghost Town tour, and an overflight of the Skeleton Coast. Why go: In Namibia, you can climb some of the highest sand dunes in the world (or better yet, take a hot air balloon ride over them). The town of Djenné is one of the oldest in the country. Everyone’s experiences will differ. They come in search of the ancient wonders that still dominate the city’s landscape. Sign up for our free newsletter. Why go: Visiting the pyramids and taking a cruise up (yes up) the Nile River is a bucket list adventure for good reason. Mgahinga Gorilla National Park in Uganda is home to the Nyakagezi gorilla family with its two silverbacks (adult males). She has traveled to six of the seven continents (Antarctica is next on her list). When to go: “Avoid the long-rains of April and May. Editor’s note: This story was originally published in 2017. Cape Town is a vibrant and colorful city with stunning beaches, beautiful mountains and some of the best vineyards in Africa. “Additionally, Zambia focuses on fantastic walking safaris in wonderful national parks like South Luangwa and the Lower Zambezi.
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