This continent I call home is full of surprises. It is a vast and beautiful space that is just waiting to be explored…. but sometimes it’s hard to know where to begin!? I’ve rounded up 10 of my top African Bucket List Adventures to get you inspired to start exploring Africa!
A few of these spots are ones I’ve ticked off myself… and a few are yet to be ticked.
All are magical and mysterious and a unique slice of African culture that should be experienced by everyone.
My Top 10 African Bucket List Adventures
1.Explore the souks and spices of Morocco
Top of my own African Bucket List is a visit to Morocco. I’ve fallen in love with this country without ever having ventured there myself… but I plan to rectify that as soon as possible!
I would love to weave through the souks and spice markets by day and enjoy sundowners with a rooftop view by dusk. All while listening to the sounds of the call to prayer echoing over the city of course!
I dream of hitching a ride into the desert atop a camel and exploring the back alleys of the blue city of Essaouira, winding my way through the medina maze of Fez and sipping a cup of mint tea while people watching in the markets of Marrakesh. And of course, paying homage to my favourite film in Casablanca!
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2. Travel back in time in Egypt
The Pyramids of Egypt were probably on the African Bucket Lists of the true nomads from as many of 6000 years ago! These only surviving ancient wonders of the world are surely at the very pinnacle of every bucket list, everywhere.
Who wouldn’t want to step back in time to explore these most ancient of entities? But Egypt not only serves up timeless treasures at Giza, Luxor and the Valley of the Kings, it also delivers incredible experiences with it’s desert safari’s, Nile River cruises and beautiful underwater world that draws divers from all corners of the earth to the waters of the Red Sea.
Egypt is must-see Africa and right near the top of my list of African Adventures to experience.
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3. Escape to the tropical island of Mauritius
A tropical island treat, Mauritius delivers some of the best beaches in Africa, and surely, the World! Home of the extinct dodo bird and the largest lily leaves in the world, as well as incredible diving, Mauritius is an island eden that will capture your imagination.Think lush vegetation, powdery sand, crystal water, endless activities, epic sunsets. It’s a paradise in a package and the premier holiday destination for African families in the know!
This is an island that knows how to spoil it’s visitors which makes it the perfect destination for families and honeymooners (we chose to stay at Sugar Beach Hotel on ours 😉 )
If you’re looking for an island escape after all your other African adventures then you won’t go wrong, plus you’ll be ticking one more destination off your African Bucket List.
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4. Meander the side streets of Stone Town in Zanzibar
The exotic island of Zanzibar is a melting pot of cultures with influences from Africa, Asia and the Middle East all converging on this tiny island. Stone Town is a UNESCO World Heritage site thanks to it’s unique coral buildings and beautiful carved wooden doors.
Wind your way through the back alleys that twist and turn, unfolding new delights around every corner. Don’t forget to look up to discover secluded balconies laced with latticework and rooftop terraces serving up ice cold drinks with views across to Dar es Salaam.
Highlights include the fish market, spice market and the live chicken market, the old slave quarter, an unfinished African cathedral and hundreds of shoes lining the street outside each Islamic school full of chanting children. Of course the rest of the island is equally enchanting with it’s tropical beaches, spice farms and incredible coral reefs for diving. I should know, this is where I did my first ever scuba dive! (another thing on my bucket list!)
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5. Get soaked at Victoria Falls
The largest waterfall (albeit, not the highest) in the world certainly should be on everyone’s Bucket List. This most impressive cascade of water makes it’s way over a gorge carved in the earth that is most spectacularly appreciated from the sky in a helicopter!
Victoria Falls is also known as the adrenalin capital of Africa and you can indulge your desire for bungee jumping, bridge swinging, flying fox swinging, white-water rafting during your visit.
A sunset cruise on the Zambezi river is also an exceptional experience. Watching the orange African sun sink below the horizon while listening to the sounds of the bush all while surrounded by pods of snorting hippos is the right way to end an African day.
6. Cruise in a mokoro on the waterways of the Okavango Delta in Botswana
Right near the top of my list is this incredible African experience…. a cruise through the waterways of the Okavango Delta in Botswana in a wooden canoe known as a mokoro!
The Okavango Delta is one of the world’s largest inland deltas and known as one of Africa’s most extraordinary places. This is where you can sink right into nature’s rhythms and let it carry you along for the ride. Encounter dramatic wildlife encounters right before your eyes and absorbs the sounds of the bush as you glide through the waterlilies of this watery paradise. Floating past crocodiles, hippos and elephants enjoying a dip or a drink must certainly be one of the most memorable ways to enjoy Africa?
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7. Float silently above the Serengeti in Tanzania
Recently I managed to tick one very special item off my bucket list… a flight in a hot air balloon. Floating above the earth felt like nothing on earth and now I’m keen to do it again, and again!
The best place in the world to fly in a hot air balloon surely has to be above the Serengeti in Tanzania. And even better if you can time it for the annual wildebeest migration! What an incredible perspective this mode of transport gives… a bird’s eye view of Africa is hard to beat.
Find accommodation in the Serengeti National Park of Tanzania
8. See the Big 5 on a safari in South Africa
As a family we’re big fans of going on safari and try to visit the area of South Africa surrounding the Kruger National Park as often as possible! Nothing beats the thrill of heading out on a 4×4 safari trying to track down the elusive Big 5 animals of the bush.
Elephant are pretty easy to spot against the horizon, buffalo too, it’s the other 3 that are a bit more scarce. Rhino are currently under major threat from poachers and at risk of becoming extinct so they are often top of the Big 5 checklist, but it’s the big cats that take top prize! A lion kill is a once-in-a-lifetime sighting, while stumbling across a lazy leopard in a leadwood tree is a true safari highlight. Fortunately we were lucky to spot both on our most recent safari! #Blessed indeed.
On our trips to the Kruger area we’ve stayed in various private game lodges including Africa on Foot, Klaserie River Safari Lodge, nDzuti Safari Camp, River Lodge at Ezulwini & Waterside Lodge at Thornybush. Find accommodation in the Kruger National Park
9. Drive the Garden Route
The Garden Route of South Africa is a must-see destination for most visitors to South Africa’s shores – and these are easily the prettiest around! Expect endless coastal vistas and views that will stay with you forever. A mere 300km long, from Mossel Bay to Storms River, the journey meanders through lush, green forests, alongside picturesque lagoons, over rolling hills and past majestic mountain ranges.
It’s a part of the world that is abundantly blessed with natural beauty, adrenalin activities and family-friendly fun, such as game parks, quad-biking, zip-lining, boat cruises, shark diving and endless beaches of pure magic.
10. Visit the most beautiful city in the world, Cape Town!
Arriving into Cape Town via plane, train or automobile, the first thing that greets visitors is the imposing Table Mountain and what better way to take in the sights of the city than from the top! The view from the top of iconic Table Mountain is one of the best ways to see Cape Town’s most beautiful attributes… Lion’s Head, The Twelve Apostles, Signal Hill, and it’s even better at sunset! Climb up, or conquer your fear of heights and hitch a ride in the cable car, either way you’ll appreciate the efforts as this is certainly one of the most beautiful cities in the world – almost every list says so!
But the magic of Cape Town doesn’t stop there! Head down the peninsula to visit the beach huts of Muizenberg, the antique alleys of Kalk Bay and the penguins of Simonstown. Stand on the tip of the African continent at Cape Point and then take a slow drive back via Scarborough, Noordhoek, Hout Bay and along the Atlantic Seaboard’s luxurious suburbs of Camps Bay, Clifton and Bantry Bay.
If you’ve got a few more days in the city don’t miss the brightly coloured houses and babootie of the Bo-Kaap, the 5-star food experiences at The Old Biscuit Mills’ trendy eateries or the botanical beauty of Kirstenbosch. Plus there’s the wine farms of the Constantia Wine Route that deserve a visit – for a taste of the Cape’s history and their delectable wines!
Or alternatively you could just go for the very best African Bucket List Adventure and book a trip aboard the Rovos Rail that traverses much of Southern Africa and visits many of these very spots… Cape Town, Kruger, Garden Route, Victoria Falls, Dar es Salaam. I’ve just ticked this awesome experience off my own Bucket List and it was all kinds of incredible!
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Images: Pexels, Pixabay, Kathryn Rossiter