The second-largest continent on Earth is becoming one of the most-frequented travel destinations for adventure seekers. Africa is chock-full of exciting things to do, from safaris and pyramid tours to sunbathing and swimming with sharks. When you visit, there's no doubt you'll find something to give you an adrenaline rush.
Here are five of our faves:
Most people immediately think of lions and giraffes when they imagine their African trip, and there's no shortage of them in the wild. You'll come face-to-face with tons of animals, including gorillas, leopards, elephants and cheetahs. (Or as face-to-face as you can safely get.) There are multiple ways to spot these majestic creatures, whether on self-drive safaris, via a hot air balloon, game vehicle, or even on foot.
Best places to view specific animals include:
- Etosha National Park, Namibia – cheetahs, black rhinos, and other big cats
- Chobe National Park, Botswana – endangered species, such as wild dogs, cheetahs, and brown hyenas
- Kruger National Park, South Africa – Big 5 spotting: lion, leopard, elephant, rhino and Cape buffalo
While some people venture to Africa for the animals, others come for the history, and Egypt has no shortage of that. Transport back in time to Ancient Egypt with a camel ride to the Pyramids of Giza. Stand beneath the Great Sphinx. Explore the various temples sprinkled throughout cities dating as far back as 1500 BC. Visit grand palaces, and get lost in the fascinating Mummification Museum, an underground museum full of ancient artifacts in Luxor.
Egyptian musts include:
- The Temple of Karnak - the largest ancient religious site in the world
- The Valley of the Kings - home to 62 tombs and burial chambers of pharaohs, including King Tut
- The Nile River - the longest river in the world
Another African staple is its rainforests, replete with dense jungle vegetation and exotic animals. Dubbed the world's 'lungs,' these precious global natural treasures cleanse the planet's atmosphere of heat-trapping carbon dioxide, while replenishing its vital oxygen supply. Witnessing its breathtaking beauty and critical purpose firsthand is the chance of a lifetime.
Several rainforest musts include:
- Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda – See rare mountain gorillas and other awe-inspiring natural wonders.
- Nouabalé-Ndoki National Park, Congo – home to exotic birds, apes, and forest elephants
- Kakum National Park, Ghana – Experience the only canopy walkway in Africa.
Although they're probably not the first things to come to mind when you think of Africa, some of the most beautiful beaches in the world are here. Whether you're looking for the high tides of West Africa, the fun crowds in North Africa, or the tranquility and luxury of South Africa, it's all here.
Some of our favorite African beach activities include:
- Hanging out with penguins – Yup. Both Boulders Beach and Seaforth Beach in Cape Town are home to sunbathing penguins.
- Humpback whale watching in Madagascar – Sante Marie Island is perfect for seasonal whales, along with picturesque diving among coral gardens.
- Relaxing in luxury – Unplug at the ultra-luxurious private islands of the Seychelles.
There's no better way to get to know a continent than trying the local cuisine. No matter which country you choose, culinary tours will likely bring you to local markets to shop for ingredients, learn about local recipes, and practice techniques, along with experiencing tons of tastings and dining experiences!
Some of the best destinations for culinary tours include:
- Cape Town
We aren't surprised that Africa is one of the most-visited continents in the world. There's just so much to do, see, and eat! A bucket list trip for many people, we're adding Africa to our list, too.