In a short break from our Asia trip posts, we’re jumping today to another beautiful and exotic destination: Africa. There are many places in Africa on my travel list and while we’ve touched the continent briefly during our time in Morocco, I know we’ll be planning more trips there in the next few years to take in more of this beautiful place. When Encompass Africa approached me about showing off some amazing places in Africa, I couldn’t help but say yes to all these gorgeous destinations, places I hope to see in my lifetime!
Africa is a name that conjures up countless wonderful things in a person’s mind. With so much beauty, history and colour bouncing around one’s head, it’s hard to pinpoint the places and sights that are most impressive on this fascinating continent. That said, there are some clear highlights across the vast and varied land that Africa covers and we’d like to share them with you. Here are some unique sights and experiences that can be found only in Africa.
Let’s start on a high; the highest peak on the continent of Africa, Mount Kilimanjaro, is a summit that many come to see and a brave few climb to conquer. Kilimanjaro has three summits – each a volcano in itself. The 5895 metre peak is the highest point of the dormant volcano Kibo, which could still one day erupt again, while the other volcanoes – Mawenzi and Shira – are extinct. Surrounded by national parks, you don’t need to summit Kilimanjaro to appreciate its presence, with stunning views found on the ground on both the Kenyan and Tanzanian sides.
A relatively short distance away from Mount Kilimanjaro is the unique Serengeti. Home to over 570 species of mammals and birds, the Serengeti ecosystem is a natural spectacle with the world’s largest terrestrial migration taking place there during the months of January, February and March. Covering over 12,000 square miles of swamps, forestry, grasslands and kopje mountains, the diverse landscape brings a wide range of wild animals to all corners of the Serengeti, making it one of Africa’s best regions for going on safari. The Masai Mara National Reserve in particular is one of Kenya’s most popular tourist destinations for seeking out the Big Five game. Serengeti safari is a must to make your Africa safari complete.
The Arabic name for the Sahara, Al-Sahra al-Kubra translates as “The Great Desert”, and this should serve as a worthy introduction to the world’s hottest desert, a vast space of punishingly hot and arid land that is almost the same size as China. Crossing the borders of no fewer than eleven African countries, the Sahara Desert varies in climate and wildlife with the sandy dessert areas constantly changing its shape thanks to the wind and weather. And believe it or not, aside from the golden sand dunes which can reach as high as 180 metres, there are also stone plateaus, gravel plains and even salt flats in the Sahara desert.
Heading further south, the world’s largest waterfall, the Victoria Falls, is found on the Zambezi River along the border of Zambia and Zimbabwe. Incredibly, Victoria Falls is twice the width of Niagara Falls. Known to many as Mosi-oa-Tunya, this translates beautifully as “the smoke that thunders”, perfectly capturing the power and force of Victoria Falls, as the spray from the falls alone can rise up to 400 metres into the air.
Watching over Cape Town like a wise protector, the remarkable sight of Table Mountain across the beaches of sun-kissed South Africa’s south west coastline , is something few forget. The 3 kilometre wide level table top of the 1,086 metre summit is adjoined by two distinct peaks on either side; Devil’s Peak and Lion’s Head. While reaching the top is a beautiful walk in itself, through a national park rich in fauna and wildlife, there is also a cable car to take you to the top for views of Cape Town’s sprawl, peninsula and beyond.
South Africa is also home to the Cango Caves, a network of tunnels and grand chambers spread over four kilometres. Featuring mind-boggling stalactite and stalagmites carved out of limestone, tours are catered to two different types of visitor, those who want to marvel at nature’s artistry and those who want to combine this with a bit of adrenaline, as the adventure tour includes the navigating of steep climbs and narrow passageways. The Van Zyl Hall, named after the local farmer who discovered the caves in 1780, is almost the same length as an American football field and experts in cave biology are still discovering more chambers and corridors of this natural marvel.
Alley of the Baobabs
The West African island of Madagascar is a haven for some of the world’s most exotic species of wildlife; in fact, over 90% of its plants, birds and cannot be found anywhere else on Earth. One sight that draws intrigued visitors from all over the world is the so-called “Alley of the Baobabs”, a long stretch of distinctive trees – known locally as Malagasy – that are unique to Madagascar. For over 800 years they have been an essential part of the region’s biodiversity. The Alley of the Baobabs is especially dramatic to look at because they are all that is left in an area that was previously cleared for agriculture, making these iconic trees stand out.
Encompass Africa can create the ideal holiday and tailor a Kenya safari so you can see the Serengeti and climb Mount Kilimanjaro if that is what your heart desires. It’s truly an unforgettable safari experience. Find out more and follow Encompass Africa at Google+ and http://www.encompassafrica.com.au/
*This is a sponsored post, however I only promote brands I would work with personally and that are of interest to myself and my readers.