Time is ticking and 2015 is fast running out, but there is still enough time to conquer the travel bucket list for the year. Still thinking? Well, we at Afro Tourism are willing to help out by presenting the 10 African countries to visit before 2015 runs out, together with the particular cities and places of interest in some of these countries.
1. South Africa: Hermanus
No doubt Africa’s number 1 tourist destination, South Africa with destinations like Cape Town, Johannesburg, even the Kruger National Park, offer so much that shouldn’t be missed. But I’d recommend Hermanus! It is a small beach town popular for its whales. From paragliding, diving, whale watching, to lazing around exquisite beaches, there is so much to do and see in Hermanus, don’t miss out!
2. Mozambique: Maputo and Vilankulo
It’s one of the nicest places to visit in Africa. The two cities of Maputo the capital city and Vilankulo stand out as the perfect holiday destinations in Mozambique. These cities stand out in the Island country with promises of an alluring mixture of beautiful dune-fringed beaches, warm sea, friendly people, great food and hammocks swaying under palm trees against a backdrop of the sun setting over the Indian Ocean.
3. Kenya: Lamu and Diani
Mombasa, Malindi, Lamu or Diani most of Kenya are simply spectacular! From pristine beaches to World Heritage Sites, Kenya welcomes you to a distinct taste of Eastern Africa hospitality. Lamu is the perfect destination if you’re interested in the off the beaten path spots. However, hit the coastal town of Diani for a refreshing time at the beaches. Explore the wildlife at Maasai Mara National Reserve, and chow down some of the mouth-watering delicacies. You’ll never want to leave after a single day!
4. Namibia: Swakopmund
It’s a game of chance to pick between Windhoek and the coastal town of Swakopmund. Just as it’s often a tough call choosing between exploring the dunes and incredible creature of Namib dessert and the Etosa National Park. Such is the splendour that characterises the diverse wildlife, colonial architecture, and stunning landscape filled with mountains, deserts, and beaches of Namibia. The country is one of the safest and most picturesque countries in the world. It intrigues me when I remember the Sossusvlei dunes. The word means “the gathering place of water” but you’ll need to bring your own if you don’t want to dehydrate here.
5. Tanzania: Zanzibar
Talk of Tanzania and the alluring isle of Zanzibar comes to mind! This spice Island is almost all tourists’ dreamland. Its impressively picturesque ambience and brilliant white beaches lapped by the warm turquoise waters of the Indian Ocean provide the perfect place to relax, soak up the sun and take a break from some busy sightseeing. There is equally the ever-popular Serengeti, and the less travelled Selous Game Reserve and of course the Kilimanjaro, which make the choice wide enough for fun seeking or adventurous traveller, whichever category you fall into.
6. Morocco: Rabat
Casablanca, Fez, Marrakesh…the list of impressive destinations in this country is long, but why not go the novel path by visiting Rabat. The Moroccan capital is a seaside metropolis with UNESCO World Heritage site status since 2012. Thronging with ancient sites such as Roman ruins, labyrinthine medieval districts, European-style boulevards, and the long-awaited opening of the Musée Mohammed VI, the nation’s first modern and contemporary art museum, Rabat no doubt has finally hit limelight with so much for the eyes.
7. Ouidah, Benin
Africa is home to various traditions, custom and culture; and the Republic of Benin is one of the places to find these at their finest. Renowned globally as the epicentre of the voodoo religion, Benin’s Ouidah hosts the annual Voodoo festival in January, exhibiting amazing colours, gyrations and vibrant celebration characteristic of African festivals. While in Ouidah, enter the Temple of Pythons and take a picture with a sacred python around your neck (if you are adventurous enough). You can hike through the Sacred Forest of Kpassè, and walk along the slave trade route, see the slave barracks, the auction block, and the extremely moving and emotional ‘Gate of No Return.’
8. Rwanda: Kigali
From genocide experienced two decades ago, Rwanda has become a gem on the African continent. It is where everyone goes for breathtaking gorilla treks in Nyungwe. There are also grasslands safaris in Akagera, thriving city life in the capital Kigali, and powerful encounters with history at Rwanda’s profound memorials.
9. Zambia and Zimbabwe: Victoria Falls
Victoria Falls is one of the world’s most majestic water spectacle; it is locally called Mosi-oa-Tunya, or “The Cloud That Thunders.” Since the first European sighted it in 1855, thousands others have been thronging in to enjoy the spray from the 108-meter high cascade, it had been recorded to flow at 12,800 cubic meters per second—twice that of Niagara’s highest flow.
10. Malawi: Lake Malawi
The lake is the jewel that crowns Malawi’s tourist attractions. This vast body of freshwater is fringed by beaches of golden sand, with scenic wonderland that provides great opportunities for water sport. Dubbed “Lake of Star” by David Livingstone, the Lake Malawi National Park is blessed with more tropical fish, about 1,300 species, than any lake in the world and its bio-diversity has earned it a World Heritage site status from UNESCO.
Extra: Senegal’s Dakar, Botswana’s Okavango Delta and wildlife safari, as well as a cruise down Egypt’s Nile valley are quite impressive too.
Usifo Mike-Alvin is a creative writer with a knack for budget traveling and adventure. He travels across Africa and reports for www.afrotourism.com