Top 10: Best Experiences in Africa

Africa is an adventure playground – the whole continent is one adrenalin rush (some safer than others!)

As part of my Top 10 Africa series I called on some of the most widely travelled and adventurous folks around – travel bloggers – and asked them to share their best African experience…

Today’s post features 10 of the most exhilarating experiences you can have in Africa as nominated by travel bloggers from around the world.

10 of the Best African Experiences

Cruise down The Nile River, Egypt

Nominated by Andrew Dobson from Dobber Nation Loves

One of the Nile’s most luxurious floating hotels is the Sonesta St George, which sails from Luxor to Aswan. History buffs go wild for the Nile as classic itineraries include visits to The Valley of the Kings, the Temple of Hatshepsut and the famous mummified crocodiles at Kom Ombo Temple. Guests arrive to find a stunning chandelier dangling over the marble floored lobby. There’s a spacious lounge just off the lobby featuring plush couches, Baroque sculpture and bar. Most guests spend their free time on the boat’s top deck, which is separated into two space: a breezy al fresco cafe and lounge chair lined pool.

 

Take a desert tour in the Sahara Desert, Erg Chigaga, Morocco
Nominated by Nina from Where in the world is Nina

The epitome of Morocco in most people’s minds is the Sahara Desert. And while Morocco has so much more to offer (thing lush green landscapes, epic surf, and even snow-capped mountains), the Sahara Desert is certainly a must visit. The landscape is painted in light pinks, deep oranges, and of course, sandy yellows depending on where the sun is at the moment. The sand dunes are beckoning for you to climb them and when you do, you’ll be rewarded with views of the vast desert and maybe a few sprinkles of nomad tents in the distance. Taking a desert tour into Morocco’s Sahara Desert and staying a night or two in a camp will be the highlight of your visit, hands down!

 

Swim in Devils Pool, Victoria Falls, Zambia
Nominated by Matt from The Travel Blogs

The ominously named Devil’s Pool is a small, naturally formed hollow on the lip of the 108-metre high Victoria Falls, and not dying there was one of the standout memories of my trip to Zambia. I was the last of our group to jump. Everyone else had survived, but it did nothing to calm the fear inside as I counted 3 . . . 2 . . . 1 . . . Relieved to resurface still at the top of the Victoria Falls, the current swept me to the edge and fear was slowly being replaced by awe. To be sat in a pool, staring across one of the biggest waterfalls in the world was a true bucket list moment. Booking a guided tour is essential if you would like to swim in Devil’s Pool, and I highly recommend doing this online before you visit Zambia as it is a popular trip with limited numbers.

(Ed – I wasn’t brave enough for Devil’s Pool during my time at Victoria Falls but I can recommend a helicopter flip over the falls!) 

Go on a Meerkat Safari, South Africa
Nominated by Erin Mushaway from Sol Salute

We’ve all heard of the Big 5, but what about the Shy 5? In Oudtshoorn, on the Garden Route South Africa, you can get up close and personal with one of the most famous members of Shy 5: the Meerkat. This is the only place in South Africa where you can see these little guys in the wild. It’s a completely ethical experience, the crew has studied these meerkats for years from a respectable distance and have never interfered with their natural behaviors. So if you’re on the Garden Route, watch a family of meerkats start their day, it will be a memory to last a lifetime.

 

Trek to see the Gorillas in Uganda
Nominated by Corinne Vail at ReflectionsEnroute

One thing that should be at the top of any must-do list for travelers to Africa is a close encounter with the mountain gorillas of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest in Uganda. The journey to this remote National Park is by itself a memorable experience, however nothing can prepare you for coming face to face with the incredibly emotional, gentle eyes of the giant mountain gorillas. The trek can be hard and strenuous with some folks hiking for the better part of the day through the close jungle. We were lucky and were mixed right into a small family within only an hour of trekking from the visitor’s center. Long range planning for these visits is essential and the cost is high, but the rewards are out of this world. Start planning your Africa mountain gorilla trek today!

 

Sail on Lake Malawi
Nominated by Steph from The Pink Backpack

Lake Malawi is a beautiful destination and one of Southern Africa’s best kept secrets. Some lakeside destinations, such as Senga Bay, are so quiet and serene that it feels as if you are the only tourist there! The lake is massive, offering many opportunities for water activities, including kayaking, stand up paddle boarding, sunset boat rides and even scuba diving. So, whether you are an adventurer or seeking more of a restful stay, there is something for everyone at Lake Malawi.

 
Dive with Great White Sharks in Gansbaai, South Africa
Nominated by Sharon Henry from What The Saints Did Next

The fishing town of Gansbaai, South Africa is known as the ‘Great White Shark capital of the world’ making it a popular destination for tourists the world over. Adventure seekers come here to tick off bucket lists going cage diving with Great Whites in their natural habitat. It’s a thrilling experience and there are many tour operators who provide this service in a safe and responsible manner. Gansbaai has the ‘Big Marine 5’; whales, sharks, dolphins, seals and penguins, and on land there are forests, waterfalls and vineyards to explore. Gansbaai is two and a half hours from Cape Town and is well worth a visit.
 

Visit Tutankhamun‘s Tomb in The Valley of the Kings, Luxor, Egypt
Nominated by Lindsay Nieminen from Carpe Diem Our Way

Luxor lies on the banks of the Nile river in Egypt and is rooted in amazing history. Marvel at the tombs in the Valley of the Kings, explore Karnak Temple, shop in the local souq and visit the burial temple of Hatshepsut. Those are just a few of the hi lights on a short visit and I would suggest you do not leave before riding a felluca on the Nile and taking a sunrise hot air balloon ride for amazing views from above! If you have more than a few days, a visit to the Valley of the Queens and the worker’s burial sites are well worth it. Wandering the city is amazing in itself as monuments all over the city are thousands of years old! It is amazing to think of how long the carvings and the paintings have stood the test of time.

 

Visit the penguins at Boulders Beach, Simon’s Town, Cape Town, South Africa
Nominated by Sarah and Kris from JetSetting Fools 

Africa has some of the most incredible wildlife in the world…and it’s true too of Simon’s Town, where a colony of penguins have taken up residence on the town’s beaches. The endangered African penguins are what encouraged us to visit Simon’s Town and we quickly realized there is more to the town than just the penguins. The quaint town is the base for the South African Navy and boasts a handful of restaurants and pubs, a few museums and gorgeous beaches. Because of its proximity to Cape Town, Simon’s Town is a fantastic city escape.

 

Go white-water rafting on The Nile in Uganda
Nominated by Oksana & Max from Drink Tea & Travel

If you are a thrill seeker heading to Africa in search of adventure, then you will certainly find it in Uganda. Our experience of whitewater rafting on the River Nile was one of the most exhilarating moments of an already incredible trip. We conquered the Nile with the help of the skilled instructors of Adrift, the pioneers of whitewater rafting tours on the Nile. With their skilled instructors, we tackled 8 different rapids, one of which included a waterfall! The ride along the river is a good mix of calm and crazy, meaning you do get the chance to appreciate the scenery and wildlife before your adrenaline starts pumping again. You don’t have to be a daredevil to enjoy whitewater rafting on the Nile, Adrift also offer tours that are suitable for families with kids. They even have an introductory tour for those who wish to experience the rapids from a safe distance! We were adventurous (mad?) enough to try the Grade 4 and 5 rapids and lived to tell the tale!

 

 

So how many of these African experiences have you ticked off your bucket list? And which ones have you added? Let me know in the comments below!

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Kathryn Rossiter

Kathryn is a South African lifestyle blogger and mom of 2 who has been blogging daily for almost 7 years! She writes about travel, health, beauty, fashion, decor and family... but not food (unless it's food she's eaten made by someone else) as she is a hopeless cook. She only wakes up early for 2 things... a red-eye flight to somewhere exotic and early morning game drives. She has just finished an extensive home renovation and would prefer to never see another box again. She's never met a chocolate or glass of bubbles that she didn't like!

2 Comments
  1. Having been born in Malawi and spending my early years there, I have been to Lake Malawi. So beautiful and the lake is so clear, but the heat was awful!
    And having lived in Zimbabwe from the age of about 10 to 24 years of age, I visited the Victoria Falls several times. Absolutely gorgeous if a little wet. Not being the adventurous type, I would NEVER swim there!

  2. What a great list! I did gorilla trekking in Rwanda but would love them to see them in Uganda as well. When I visited Victoria Falls it was not possible to swim in Devils Pool but not sure if I would have been brave enough to try it.

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