Most of the people come to Africa for the parks, to see the wildlife that the many parks in Africa offer.
There are Parks in almost every country of Africa, but here are the main ones:
- Serengeti/Masai Mara (Kenya-Tanzania), probaly the best one, here were filmed the scenes of "Out of Africa". Endless plains where you can see the "Big 5" and many more...
- Ngorongoro Crater (Tanzania). Not the biggest, but the most charming. Is like a huge zoo, hundreds of animals "trapped" inside an old volcano crater, a wildlife lover paradise.
- Kilimanjaro Park (Tanzania). Not the best, but characteristic for the world know silhouette of the Kilimanjaro mount.
- Kruger (South Africa). The main one in austral Africa.
- Namib-Naukluft (Namibia) A park in the desert of red dunes, with its special wildlife. The desert elephants are great!!
- Okavango Delta (Bostwana). A real oasis in the south african deserts, a park on water, with hundreds of creeks, you have to visit it on canoe.
... and many many more (see the link below).
Zanzibar is one of those mythical destinations I had always dreamt of when thinkink of Africa.
Located in the middle of the east coast, this tiny island has always been a crossroads in the trade routes between India, Arabia and Europe. Till the opening of the Suez canal, all the ships between West and East had to pass by.
A brilliant arab culture was developed here, and Zanzibar became a main point in the trade of spices... and slaves. This was one of the main basecamps for the 19th century expeditions into the unknown borders of Africa.
The island's highlights are the capital, known as the Stone Town, with narrow laberynthical streets, old markets, and oriental flavours, anf the Beaches of the north and east coasts.
The southernmost point of the continent is located in South Africa, not far from Capetown. But is not Cape of Good Hope, as U might suppose, but Cape Agulhas (150 kilometres towards the southeast).
Anyway, Cape of Good Hope is the most famous landmark in all sailor's legends (Cape of Storms they called it), as it was on the way of all the vessels that wanted to reach Asia from Europe till the Suez channel as opened.
It makes a nice daytrip from Capetown, there are many transports to get to the Cape Peninsula, where there is a wonderful Natural park, a perfect place for a walk, bike or trekking. There is a nice restaurant, parking lot, and a souvenirs shop too.
If you like Ancient Egypt and its treasuries, THE Museum is a must, reserve half day minimum to visit it properly. Here you will find all those items that you didn't see in the archeological sites, the statues, jewels, sarcophagus, vases...
The main highlight is undoubtely the famous Tutankhamun pharaoh items, specially his mortuory golden mask, a real wonder that deserves by itself a visit to this marvellous museum.
The best way to visit the main monuments and archelogical sites of ancient Egypt is from the river Nile. Most of the tours start in Aswan, near the press, and follow up the river in those typical river boats with sundecks.
Most of the main sites are along the river, as life in Egypt uses to take place on the banks of the river, further than that is the desert...
Most of the temples are quite well preserved, with columns standing and even ceilings, so you can easily imagine how must they have been in the past, you can imagine the pharaohs and priests running around...
This iron age ancient site was built in 1200 AD and gives name to the country. Is one of the few rare stone ruins in subsaharian Africa.
It was once the capital of a fabulous empire.
It is a big touristic complex, that includes the ruins, a citadel and a touristic "african village" with typical dances shows and all that.
There is also a little museum (tiny, in fact) where you can see the stone birds that appear in the zimbabwean banknotes.
To get there take a bus from masvingo (south of the country, near Bulawayo) and get down at a crossroads, from where you have to walk about 2 kilometres.
Djemaa el Fnaa square in Marrakesh is one of the most interesting gathering points in Africa, the real social centre of the town, a place where you never get bored. Here?s a complete day schedule there:
7:00 am At Mic Mac Bakery (by the Post Office) or at the many cafes in the Bab Agnaou Street (a pedestrian street) you can have an early breakfast.
9:00 am The first performers arrive: fortune tellers, orange juice sellers, henna women... Cross the Square to the Argana Cafe and have a mint tea at the terrace.
10:00 am Enter the Municipal Market to see the rush in this moroccan food market, buy some oranges (real cheap).
11-13:00 Have an orange juice at one of the many stalls around (2,50 Dh). Wander around the souks, entering via the Souk Semmarine Street, the main long covered street of the the souks. If you get lost (you will!), ask for the Djema el Fnaa Square, or just take a taxi back...
13:30 Lunch at a terrace (shade required), for instance in Cafe de France or at the Residence de la Place, with a nice view of the Square at noon.
15-18:00 Back to the souks, bargain and wander.
18:30 Take a ride in a Horse-drawn carriage now that the sun is down.
19:00 The sunset is one of the main shows in Djema el Fnaa. The terraces (Cafe Glacier, Argana, Cafe de France...) get really crowded at 19, so go there in advance to take a place. The main performers start moving around, the square gets at its best!!
20:00 The many food stalls in the center of the square are a wonderful animated place for dinner.
21:00 to midnight Walk around the square, look at the performers, bargain with the berbers that come to seel their goods at night. Relax and have a Mint Tea at one of the terraces, enjoy the show!!
Probably the best known desert in the world, in fact the word "Sahara" means "desert" in some african language I can't remember now...
Though we have the idea of Sahara as an endless sea of dunes, there are a wide variety of landscapes, rock formations, inhabitants, caves, ancient paintings and animals in this vaste desert. Scientist say it was once a green garden with many animals, lakes... hard to believe now, isn't it?
There are many ways to cross the Sahara, though the "standard" ones are:
- The Atlantic Route, via Morocco, Western Sahara, Mauritania and Senegal.
- The Hoggar Route, from Algeria to Niger, though this one is quite unsecure nowadays...
Michelin 741 is said to be the best map for this area. You can find more info about Sahara crossing overland in the web below:
This wonderful kasbah near Ouarzazate is one of the best kept in Morocco. It has been background of many Hollywood films: Gladiator, Lawrence of Arabia, the Jewel of the Nile.... Not many people live still here, just 6 families, living from carpet-making and agriculture (and from the tourists too).
There is a new town at the other side of the river, where most of the inhabitants have moved. There are the hotels and restaurants.
To visit, cross the dry river (there are camels to cross too) and enter by the right side, where the souvenir shops are. You can hire a guide, but there's no need to.
To get there, leave Ouarzazate by the road to Marrakesh. After 23 kms there is a little road (paved) to the left, there are signs showing it.
In West Africa, there’re also places to go on Safari.
They might be unknown, but they’re worth a visit.
Niokolo Koba for instance, it’s located in south east Senegal and is a WHS site.
The scenery is magnificent, you can find Chimpanzees over here and do pirogue trips on the Gambia River.
The abundance of wildlife isn’t as big as in the Parks of East and South Africa, but with some patience, you’ll always spot animals.
Below you'll find some information on a other West African Safari destination.
Fort Jesus, located on the edge of a coral ridge overlooking the entrance to the Old Port of Mombassa, was built by the Portuguese in 1593 to protect their trade route to India and their interests in East Africa.
Now it’s a major tourist attraction and worth a visit.
It’s located along the road Mombassa – Ukunda.
Goreé Island, rich in history, is probably the most famous tourist attraction in Senegal. One of the most frequently visited sites is the Maison des Esclaves (Slave House), a poignant reminder of Goreé's role as the center of West African slave trade. Built by the Dutch in 1776, the slave house has been preserved in its original state. Other points of interest include the Church, the picturesque ruins of Fort Nassau, Saint Michel (the Castle) and the Historical Museum in the old Fort Estrees. There is a small swimming beach near the ferry slip.
You can find these saltlicks deep inside the rainforest, animals gather here to feed and supplement their diet with minerals. The best time to observe these places is after dark, animals such as elephants, forest buffaloes and antelopes are frequent visitors.
The massive erosion over the years on the Ethiopian plateau has created one of the most spectacular landscapes in the world. The dramatic landscape of the Simien Mountains is consisting of several plateaus separated by wide valleys. The jagged peaks, the deep valleys, the steep escarpments of about 1500 M, the views at the pinnacles make the landscape breathtaking. There are good views at the mountains, going north from Debark to Aksum.
The Simien National Park of 179 sq KM lies at a height from 1900 to 4500 M. The park can be entered form Debark. Here you can also buy the tickets at the park's headquarters. The Simien Park is home to some extremely rare animals like the Gelada (bleeding heart) Baboons, the Simien Fox and the Walia Ibex, a goat found nowhere else. During my visit I saw huge groups of the baboons with the unique red breast.
The Simien Mountains are an UNESCO World Heritage Site.
For more information and pictures have a look at my Ethiopia and Simien Mountains page.
Many travellers are attracted to the highest point in Africa - Uhuru Peak on Kibo - which can be reached by several easy walking or scrambling routes. The two main summits of Kilimanjaro: craggy Mawenzi, 5149m, and 'flat-topped', Kibo, 5896m are separated by The Saddle, a 5km wide, high-altitude, semi-desert. From the summit glaciers, screes, cliffs, afro-alpine moorland then forests lead down to the cultivated foothills below.
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