By ‘Niyi David

Okay, so the year is gradually winding down. But it’s not over yet, because there are several things you can still cross off your bucket list before 23:59 on the 31st of December. We know you love a good challenge and on that premise, we have helped you prepare a list of 15 things to do in Africa before the end of the year. From the walk-in-the-park to the heart-thumping, hair-raising activities, places you can visit, events to attend, etc.…Go ahead and dive right in!

 

1. Jump off Bloukrans River Bridge, Western Cape, South Africa

Famous bridge on the garden route where people do bungee jump in South Africa.

No, it’s not what you think! We are not asking you to jump to your death. Rather, we implore you to visit the Bloukrans Bridge for the jump of your life! Yes, this bridge is the first African bungee bridge and the highest commercial bungee jump bridge in the world. That is not all, several world records have been achieved or broken here, such as: oldest bungee jumper in the world at 96, most bungee jumps in an hour and most bungee jumps in a day. What better place to bungee jump? So if you are currently in South Africa or heading off there soon, do yourself a favour and jump off this illustrious bridge before the year runs out!

 

2. Discover the Oldest Church in West Africa, Saint Louis, Senegal

Saint Louis Cathedral

But Saint Louis is in Missouri, USA? You ask. Well, there is a Saint Louis here in Africa as well! It used to be the capital of Senegal a long time ago, but it’s still an important tourist destination in the country. Saint Louis is made up of the mainland, the island and the peninsula. Apart from the Cathedral du Saint Louis, the island is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and you can enjoy a calèche ride to explore the place.

 

3. Hike Above the Clouds, Mount Kilimanjaro, Tanzania

At the top of Kilimanjaro

Did you know that Africa’s tallest is the highest free-standing mountain in the world at 5,895m or 19,341ft above sea level? Although climbing the Kilimanjaro is a considerable feat of human endurance, it is the most ‘tourist-friendly’ mountain. The peaks have been accessible to people without climbing equipment and even newbies. Every year, about 75,000 people successfully scale it. Now, there is nothing stopping you from hiking above the clouds before the end of the year. Is there?

 

4. Get Down to Africa’s Lowest Point, Lake Assal, Djibouti

The natural salty rivers of Assal Lake in Djibouti, Africa

At 155m/509ft below sea level, Lake Assal is the lowest point on the continent, and only ranks next to the Dead Sea as the lowest in the world. Although the name actually means Honey Lake, what you’ll find here is salt, and the salinity is higher than the Dead Sea’s. Also, Lake Assal is the largest salt reserve in the world. What to do next? First of all, go down low…

 

5. Stroke a Croc in Bakau, The Gambia

katchikally-tourist-touching-crocodile

Maybe the nickname of the West African country, Smiling Coast of Africa is what has affected the crocodiles. But you can get to pet crocs at Kachikally Crocodile Pool and Museum in Bakau, The Gambia. Locals see crocodiles as symbol of fertility power and barren women often visit Kachikally, one of three sacred pools where fertility rituals are performed to seek help. There are 80 crocodiles in all, and they can be seen in and around the pool. You don’t have to be barren to visit and stroke a croc though.

 

6. Party All Night in Funchal, Madeira

funchal-at-night

Okay, so Madeira is officially a part of Portugal. But the island is definitely on African waters, so it falls right into this list. Which is why it’s just the perfect place for an all-night of fun, for the young and the young-at-heart. The fun usually starts at the clubs and bars well after midnight and lasts into about 08:00hrs in the morning. Need any more prodding..?

 

7. Rent an entire Island, Denis Island, Seychelles

DenisIsland

Seychelles offers some of the most amazing beaches in the world, amongst other impressive attractions. But this is a real treat – renting an entire island to yourself. Apart from Denis Island, other islands like Alphone, Cousine, Bird, North also Fregate are also available for rent. So take the family and own an island for a weekend – before the year runs out.

 

8. Attend a Coffee Ceremony in Ethiopia or Eritrea

coffee ceremony

Nothing like a refreshing cup of coffee to start a day. Okay, so some prefer tea. Well, but for those who love the aromatic smell of brewing coffee, attending a coffee ceremony in Ethiopia or Eritrea is something you can do before this year waves goodbye. Watch the whole process from the roasting of the beans to eventual serving of the brew, often consumed straight black with plenty of sugar or salt. Peanuts and popcorn are usually served along as complements. It’s a mark of honour and respect to be invited to a coffee ceremony.

 

9. Swim with Whale Sharks in Tofo, Inhambane, Mozambique

The view of a diver diving with bull sharks, Pinnacles, Mozambique

Regarded as the Whale Shark Mecca of the world, Tofo is a little village on the south shores of Inhambane Peninsula. Apart from the whale shark, diving in Tofo offers you a lifetime opportunity of spotting interesting marine life like: reef shark, dolphin, mantra ray, and green turtle. In fact, the only one missing in action this period is the humpback whale.

 

10. Experience Africa’s Biggest Gospel Concert, Lagos, Nigeria

Billed as Africa’s biggest Gospel concert, ‘The Experience’ is a Christian worship event organized by the House on the Rock Church, Lagos. The first edition of The Experience was held in 2006 at the Tafawa Balewa Square in Onikan, Lagos, and it has since then become an annual event that everyone looks forward to. 

 

11. Adopt an Orphan, Nairobi, Kenya

Elephants

No. Magical Kenya is not saddled with a human orphan problem. Rather the orphaned offspring here are elephants, and you can find them at Dame Sheldrick’s Elephant Orphanage which is located close to Nairobi National Park. Since 1977, the orphanage has been taking care of elephants and black rhinos orphaned by activities of poachers. And no, you won’t get to take the animals home when you adopt them. All you have to do is pay for their upkeep in the orphanage until they are released back into the wild when they are ready.

 

12. Dive Into the Devil’s Pool, Victoria Falls, Livingstone, Zambia

Devil's pool honeymoon

Guess what? The pool is still open, because the Zambezi is in low tide. So, what are you waiting for? Hurry up before this year runs out. Fly to Zambia and touchdown at Harry Mwanga Nkumbula International Airport, Livingstone and head on to Victoria Falls, on a mission to defy the devil.

 

13. Test Your Endurance at the Roof of Africa, Lesotho

Roof-of-Africa-Action-Photo-DirtRacing

Ever heard of Enduro? Okay, this is not so easy even for professionals. In a nutshell, Enduro is a kind of motorcycle sport run mostly on off-road courses. Well, similar to rallies, but enduros are strictly about time trials. The Roof of Africa is regarded as the “Mother of Hard Enduro” – guess that spells out how tough this extreme sport is. The course runs about 450km lasting 3 days in the highest country in the world, Lesotho. Still interested? I knew it!

 

14. Make a Return to Eden, Vallée de Mai, Praslin, Seychelles

coco-de-mer-3-728

A 19th-century myth claims Vallée de Mai was the exact location of the biblical Garden of Eden, because of the presence of a particular fruit found there. No, the fruit is not an apple, but a rather interestingly-shaped coconut, coco de mer. Also known as the double-coconut and shaped like a woman’s pelvis and buttocks, the myth supposes it to be the forbidden fruit from the book of Genesis. You know what? Get down to Vallée de Mai and find out if this is truly just a myth or fact!

 

15. Join Africa Biggest Street Party, Calabar, Nigeria

carnival

If you did not know, the Calabar Carnival is Africa’s biggest street party. It’s a month-long affair which runs through the whole of December with events kicking off on the night of the last day in November with a tree lighting ceremony at the Millennium Park. Various daily activities such as fashion shows, cultural dances, boat regatta, carol nights, music concerts featuring both local and international stars light up the city. The carnival parade is a 12km route featuring colourful floats and beautifully adorned participants marching through the streets dancing – similarly to the Rio carnival in Brazil. The festival comes to an end with a Thanksgiving service on the 1st of January of the New Year.

 

So there you have it, the 15 things to do before this year runs out. So what are you waiting for? 

 

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About the Author: ‘Niyi David explores the beautiful and enthralling continent of Africa with Afro Tourism, capturing colorful memories of places, cultures and events in words and images.

 

 

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Michael Alvin

Michael Alvin

Creative Writer
Michael Alvin is a lawyer and a UNESCO certified journalist. At Afro Tourism, he blends creativity with his training in telling moving stories about his personal experience on his various trips across Africa.
Michael Alvin
Michael Alvin
Michael Alvin

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