Things You Can Only Do In Africa
From watching herds of elephants striding across open plains, leopards lazily lounging on treetop hideaways, majestic lions basking in the glorious mid-day African sun, and massive herds of wildebeest and antelope running across the vast and wonderful savannah, to giraffes feasting on the lush tree-top greenery, hippos popping in and out of the water, and rhinos grazing in the distance, there are few things in this world that are more magnificent, memorable, overwhelming, and awe-inspiring than witnessing Africa’s remarkable and diverse wildlife roaming free in their natural habitat and the place they call home – AFRICA!
However, there is so much more to Africa than its astounding wildlife. You’ll discover unsurpassed natural wonders and vast and contrasting landscapes – searing deserts, immense freshwater wetlands, dramatic coastlines, soaring mountain peaks, thunderous waterfalls, endless stretches of open savannah plains, lush tropical rainforests, and so much more – Africa is unlike any continent you’ve ever experienced before. Or are likely to experience again. At least in our lifetime. You’re bound to fall head-over-heels in love with Africa and EVERYTHING it has to offer.
Africa is undoubtedly a destination that should be at the top of every traveller’s bucket-list!
There is absolutely NO denying that Africa is a one-of-a-kind country filled with vast and unbelievable continents and destinations – and we love her all the more for it! Declared one of the top safari destinations in the world, Africa offers some of the most astonishing safari, wildlife, travel opportunities, exhilarating adventures, and once-in-a-lifetime experiences on the planet – with so much to offer, how could you possibly resist booking a trip to Africa ASAP?
Hold on, that’s not all! Africa is equally as breathtaking and remarkable as it is bold, daring, diverse, wild, vibrant, exciting, ever-changing, and so, so much more. She beats to the rhythm of her own drum – making it all the more fun!
With that being said, there are some unique and once-in-a-lifetime adventures, experiences, and things you absolutely can’t do anywhere else but right here in AFRICA!
Here are some of the top things you can only do in Africa! What are you waiting for? Your grand African adventure awaits!
#Glide along the waterways of the Okavango Delta on a traditional Mokoro safari
**Quick insight: A Mokoro is essentially a traditional dug-out canoe which is used to traverse and explore the narrow waterways and complex, yet thriving, channels of the Okavango Delta, as well as discover hidden islands that are inaccessible throughout the rest of the year.
Declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site as well as one of the Seven Natural Wonders of Africa, the glorious Okavango Delta is by far one of Africa’s most fascinating and captivating regions and destinations to discover and explore. The Delta is not only deemed to be one of the world’s premier wilderness areas, but largest inland deltas on the planet, boasting one of the most unique, intricate, and intriguing ecosystems to ever exist.
This vast and virtually untouched freshwater wetland area fed by the Okavango River, is an astonishing and endless oasis characterized by a complex network of channels, islands, floodplains, riverine woodlands, marshlands, and lagoons that offer travelers, wildlife and nature enthusiasts, avid adventurers, and globe trotters a truly immersive experience and out-of-this-world perspective into a world of thriving waterways and vast flourishing wetlands teeming with wildlife, birdlife, luscious vegetation, magnificent landscapes, breathtaking surroundings, and so much more – you simply have to see it to believe it!
The Okavango Delta truly is a water wonderland in every way – this undoubtedly makes exploring the Delta by Mokoro safari / boat cruise / river safari the very best way to discover and experience everything it has to offer.
Enjoying a Mokoro safari journey through the Delta is not only a unique safari adventure that is entirely exclusive to the Okavango Delta, it is also one of the top and most exciting things you can only do in Africa. Going on a traditional Mokoro safari in the glorious Okavango Delta gives you the opportunity to see, discover, encounter, and explore hidden gems, secret spots, as well as witness diverse and rare wildlife and birdlife sightings you might not otherwise have spotted or seen on a traditional game drive.
Nowhere else in the world can you experience the sublime serenity of being poled along in a traditional dugout canoe as birds like jacanas and herons walk among the lilies, elephants arrive to feed on the soft grass, and sitatunga antelope retreat shyly into the reeds. It’s all of this and so much more that makes the Okavango Delta (along with going on a traditional Mokoro safari), one of the best experiences and top destinations in Africa.
#See Africa’s spectacular & sought-after African Big 5
Declared one of the top safari and wildlife destinations in the world, Africa offers travellers some of the most astonishing safari and travel opportunities.
Boy, oh boy – we just love boasting about our Big 5! Everyone has their own memories of Africa they take away with them, but the wildlife makes for some of the most magical to remember. The vast continent of Africa boasts the widest diversity of wildlife in the world and is home to the most extraordinary wildlife sightings, spectacles, and gatherings than anywhere on the planet. However, no safari to Africa is complete without witnessing incredible up-close sightings of its most elite grouping of wildlife residents, the renowned African Big 5. Ladies and gentlemen, we give you the lion, leopard, elephant, rhino, and buffalo – the reigning royals of the safari world.
While Africa’s Big 5 is surely in need of no introduction, it makes sense for us to give credit where credit is due. As the most famous and celebrated collection of animals on the African continent, a Big 5 safari – an experience that entirely unique to Africa – is an unbelievable safari adventure that should be on everyone’s African safari bucket list. What could be better than seeing a leopard lazily lounging in a tree soaking up the African sun, the mighty rhino browsing through the grasslands, elephants trudging their way through the African bushveld with their young, buffalos grazing in the distance with their oxpecker companions, and lions, the all-mighty king of the bushveld, wondering the vast plains in search of their prey? There truly is nothing quite like it!
These remarkable animals are not only the most recognised symbols of Africa, but its crowning glory too! Undoubtedly making a Big5 safari one of the top and most popular requests from any and all travellers and wildlife lovers visiting Africa (for obvious reasons of course)
Thankfully, you can find these magnificent wildlife species in several countries across the African continent. From Kenya, Tanzania, Botswana and South Africa, to Namibia, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. However, the most notable place and National Park packed with Big 5 wildlife has to be the renowned Kruger National Park in South Africa.
#Visit Cape Town’s famous Boulders Beach & its thriving colony of African Penguins
Due to animated films such as Happy Feet and Surfs Up, we quickly equate penguins to the icy lands of Antarctica. But did you know that Africa, more specifically Cape Town, has its own special share of penguins too? Adding to your list of unique experiences and things you can only do in Africa, make your way to the continent’s southwestern coast – the glorious Western Cape – to view these waddling aquatic birds – AKA African Penguins (also lovingly referred to by Capetonians as ‘Cape Town’s favourite marine life locals’ & ‘the ultimate Cape Town cool kids) – in their natural habitat.
There are a number of African Penguin colonies found between Namibia and South Africa’s South Coast. However, Boulders Beach in Cape Town is home to the most famous colony of African Penguins and is one of the only places in the world where you can get up close and personal with these cool and charismatic ocean locals. This makes visiting the African Penguin colony at Boulders Beach a not-to-be-missed bucket-list worthy experience in every way.
In addition to seeing the remarkable colony of African Penguins from the African Penguin Viewing Site in Boulders Beach, it is also one of the only places in the world that gives you the incredible and unforgettable opportunity to experience a variety of other once-in-a-lifetime adventures such as kayaking and swimming among the penguins as well as enjoying a laid-back beach day with them right by your side – there truly is nothing quite like it!
In addition to Boulders Beach, Stony Point Nature Reserve in Betty’s Bay is home to an African Penguin viewing site as well as one of the largest successful breeding colonies of African Penguins in the world.
**Note: Visitors will need to pay an entrance fee (which forms part of a conservation project) to gain access to the African Penguin Viewing Site and Boulders Beach. Your ticket is valid for the entire day. You can choose to exit and re-enter as it suits you (this only applies to the day your ticket was purchased).**Visit the SANParks website for more information regarding Boulders Beach’s Conservation Fees.
#Embark on a Gorilla Trekking adventure in Rwanda
Calling all thrill-seekers, daring explorers, and avid adventurers – This unique and beyond exhilarating Africa-only experience is for you! Plus, absolutely anyone else eager to tick this thrilling adventure off their bucket-list!
Africa is widely renowned for its once-in-a-lifetime wildlife sightings and encounters. However, few are as highly sought-after (or as frequently featured on the cover of travel magazines or at the very top of avid traveler’s bucket lists of must-do once-in-a-lifetime adventure experiences) as Rwanda where avid wildlife enthusiasts and thrill-seeking adventurers from across the globe have the incredible opportunity of witnessing Mountain Gorillas in their natural habitat.
It therefore comes as no surprise that Rwanda is deemed the best place in Africa to engage in what is arguably the world’s single most enriching, exhilarating, and powerful wildlife experiences, sought-after safari adventures, and thrilling wildlife encounters – tracking mountain gorillas through the steep bamboo and forest-swathed slopes of the Virunga Mountains. It’s here, in the Virunga Massifs, where you’ll find Volcanoes National Park – home to the largest mountain gorilla population in the world.
As Rwanda is one of only three places in the world where you can see mountain gorillas in their natural habitat, visiting this extraordinary African country and embarking on an exhilarating gorilla trekking expedition is so much more than a tick off the bucket list – it truly is a humbling, emotional, enriching, and powerful experience that you’ll undoubtedly remember and cherish for the rest of your life.
Depending on where exactly you decide to go, you can also see other primates, including the chimpanzee, golden monkey, Ruwenzori colobus, L’Hoest’s monkey, and many more.
#Explore Table Mountain & Table Mountain National Park’s rich biodiversity, indigenous vegetation & endemic flora & fauna
Standing tall at a staggering 1,086 meters above sea level, Table Mountain is deemed the all-mighty giant of the Cape Town skyline. Declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site as well as one of the New7Wonders of Nature, Table Mountain is so much more than one of Cape Town’s most iconic landmarks and sought-after attractions – It is the ultimate mecca for nature lovers, avid hikers, and adventure seekers!
Table Mountain National Park has two world-renowned landmarks within its boundaries: Table Mountain and the Cape of Good Hope. Declared by UNESCO as a Word Heritage Site, Table Mountain National Park encompasses the scenic Peninsula mountain chain that stretches from Signal Hill in the north all the way to the dramatic Cape Point in the south.
Recognized globally for its extraordinarily rich and diverse fauna and flora, this singular land formation, with rugged cliffs, steep slopes, and sandy flats, is a truly phenomenal natural, scenic, historical, cultural, and recreational asset both locally and internationally. Nowhere else in the world does an area of such unique beauty and rich biodiversity exist almost entirely within a metropolitan area – AKA Cape Town!
Table Mountain National Park Fauna & Flora
Table Mountain National Park is home to the world’s smallest, yet most diverse, floral kingdom, known as the Cape Floristic Region – With the famous Cape Fynbos, an ancient indigenous vegetation that is entirely endemic to the tip of the African continent, being one of only six floral kingdoms in the world. It is also the only Floral Kingdom that occurs entirely in one country.
As Table Mountain forms part of the Table Mountain National Park, it boasts a truly spectacular diversity of fauna and indigenous flora. The approximate 57-square-kilometre area comprising Table Mountain and the Back Table is said to be home to more than 1470 floral species, with many of them being endemic to the area. Undoubtedly making it any nature lover’s dream destination to explore.
In addition to its unique biodiversity and indigenous flora, Table Mountain is also home to some of the most incredible wildlife species. The most common mammal you’ll find on the mountain is the dassie or rock hyrax. You will also encounter a variety of porcupines, mongooses, snakes, lizards, and tortoises, as well as a rare endemic species of amphibian that is ONLY found right here – the Table Mountain ghost frog! That’s not all! Several raptor species, including the charismatic Verreaux’s eagle, jackal buzzard, booted eagle (in summer), African harrier-hawk, peregrine falcon, and rock kestrel can often be spotted amongst the mountain cliffs.
**Interesting fact: While leopards once roamed the slopes of Table Mountain in the 1920’s, now, the biggest cat you’re likely to spot when exploring the mountainside is the amazing rooikat (caracal). Which is a pretty spectacular sight!
#Witness the Annual Great Wildebeest Migration – One of the greatest wildlife spectacles in the world
The Great Wildebeest Migration in Africa – also known as the Gnu Migration, Serengeti Migration and Masai Mara Migration – is one of the last mass terrestrial wildlife movements left on the planet. Regarded as the ‘Seventh New Wonder of the World’, the Annual Great Wildebeest Migration is one of the most breathtaking and extraordinary wildlife spectacles in all of Africa. Africa’s Great Wildebeest Migration has also been described as ‘The Greatest Show on Earth’.
Deemed to be one of the most remarkable wildlife and natural phenomena to ever exist in the natural world, getting the unbelievable opportunity to witness and experience Africa’s Annual Great Wildebeest Migration up-close, in action, and first-hand is the chief reason why so many travelers, tourists, globe trotters, and avid nature and wildlife enthusiasts venture to Kenya’s Masai Mara National Reserve and Tanzania’s Serengeti National Park, especially around mid-year.
There are very few things that can compare to witnessing and being part of one of Africa’s greatest and grandest wilderness and wildlife spectacles – as well as the last mass terrestrial wildlife movement left on the planet – and experiencing it in its full all-mighty force. It truly is an unforgettable once-in-a-lifetime experience in every way possible.
There is absolutely no denying that witnessing and experiencing the Maasi Mara / Serengeti Great Wildebeest Migration should be on everyone’s African safari travel bucket-list!
The Great Migration is a never-ending movement which includes millions of wildebeest, accompanied by large numbers of zebra, and smaller numbers of Grant’s gazelle, Thomson’s gazelle, eland, and impala circling and venturing across the vast Serengeti-Mara ecosystem in Tanzania and Kenya, chasing the rains in a constant search for food, moving from Tanzania’s Serengeti National Park into the Maasai Mara National Reserve in Kenya by crossing the great Mara River.
*Interesting Fact: The Mara River crossing of The Great Wildebeest Migration is one of the most thrilling and equally daunting endeavours to witness and experience – often referred to as “the greatest show on earth”. The great Mara River is both surrounded by and filled with Africa’s top predators, making it an INCREDIBLY risky journey for all of the wildlife species taking part in the Annual Great Migration. However, despite the great danger that awaits these animals – the Mara River crossing cannot be avoided and is a vital component of the Great Migration cycle / movement.
Nile crocodiles and other predators are patiently waiting for the right moment to strike and make the wildebeest their prey. Not to mention the legendary Serengeti lions – some 3,000 of them – who lie in wait, along with leopards, cheetahs, and countless hungry hyenas all jumping at the bid to get in on the action.
*Interesting fact: Triggered by East Africa’s rains and linked to the annual rainfall patterns and the growth of new grass, the Great Migration of millions of wildebeest is a constant, year-round movement of huge, nomadic herds across the Serengeti-Mara ecosystem, following an age-old route in search of fresh grazing and fresh water sources.
The Great Migration typically starts in the Southern region of the Serengeti National Park. The ‘start’ of the Great Migration coincides with the prime wildebeest calving season, as thousands of wildebeest calves are born within a couple weeks of each other. Due to the rapid rise in the number of new-born wildebeest, there’s an equally significant increase in the number of predators, such as lions, leopards, and hyenas in the area who are constantly on the hunt for new-born wildlife.
After the calving season in the southern part of Tanzania’s Serengeti near the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, just as the drought starts to set in during the month of May and Tanzania’s dry season approaches, the Great Migration continues on their journey through the Serengeti up and around in a clockwise direction towards the Masai Mara National Reserve in Kenya.
Following the rains, the vast herds arrive from Tanzania sometime between August and November each year, crossing some of Africa’s most famous rivers. The multitudes of snorting and cavorting animals, the heart-stopping tension of the river crossings and the sinister patience of the predators that follow the herd all combine to form an epic life-and-death saga that plays out beneath Kenya’s vast skies.
*Interesting fact: Guided by survival instinct, each wildebeest (as well as zebra and antelope) will cover approximately 800km to 1000km on its individual journey along age-old migration routes during the annual Great Migration.
**Extra Insight: Best Time: While the entire dry season is regarded as the best time to go to the Masai Mara and witness spectacular up-close game viewing, and unbelievable wildlife spectacles, September and October are deemed the top months to experience the renowned Masai Mara Great Wildebeest Migration in full force together with the highly-acclaimed Great Migration river crossings – A truly remarkable and unforgettable wildlife spectacle and experience in every way.
General Guideline: When to see the Great Wildebeest Migration in the Serengeti National Park & Masai Mara National Reserve
(These guidelines are subject to change as per seasonal rainfall)
|January to March
|Intense Big Cat Action
|January to March
|January to March
|Grumeti River Crossings
|May to July
|Mara River Crossings
|July to September
|On the Move
|October to December
|Northern Serengeti and Masai Mara
*Important Note: The above guidelines are approximate dates and places. The Wildebeest Migration is a year-round, circular journey and the exact timing of the highly sought-after river crossings cannot always be precisely predicted (there are several uncontrollable variables involved that can have a big impact on both the place and timing of the various events, especially the river crossings).
If the Great Migration follows the typical outlined timeline, the two main river crossings – the Grumeti River crossing in Tanzania and the Mara River crossing in Kenya – will generally take place between May and September.
#Explore the Oldest Desert in the World
Get ready to embark on an adventure like no other as you uncover the enchanting secrets of the world’s most ancient desert! Buckle up for a journey through time in Namibia’s incredible Namib Desert, where history comes alive in vibrant hues. with the roots of this desert’s story going back a jaw-dropping 80 million years. Picture yourself surrounded by countless rolling dunes, stretching a whopping 2,000 kilometers from the Olifants River in South Africa, all the way to the Carunjamba River in Angola. Oh, and did we mention that this desert hugs Namibia’s entire coastline? Now that’s a colossal desert embrace!
People have called the Namib Desert home since the early Stone Age, leaving behind a treasure trove of well-preserved artifacts, pottery, and rock art that whisper tales from the past. And if you thought that was impressive, hold onto your hats! This region is a treasure trove of Namibia’s most iconic attractions. Dive into the charm of quaint towns, where warm welcomes are as plentiful as the sights to see. Whether you’re up for an exhilarating safari, a leisurely hike, casting a line for fishing fun, conquering thrilling 4X4 trails, or even indulging in some top-notch bird watching, this desert wonderland has it all.
But wait, there’s more! How about a dash of relaxation? Sink your toes into the sandy beaches, or better yet, treat yourself to a hot air balloon ride over the mesmerizing dunes that seem to stretch forever. Can you feel the sun’s warm embrace yet? The Namib Desert is like a playground of endless possibilities, each more exciting than the last. So gear up, soak in the sun, and prepare for an endless array of unbelievable adventures that you’ll definitely never forget!
#Go whale watching in Hermanus – The whale capital of the world
- Best months to see Southern Right Whales in Hermanus & across the Cape Coastline: July – November | August – October (peak Southern Right Whale watching season) | August & September (prime calving season)
Every year, between the southern hemisphere’s winter and spring, countless Southern Right Whales migrate from the cold Antarctic waters to the sheltered shallows of the stunning Western Cape, particularly the waters around Hermanus, Gansbaai, and the Cape shores to mate and calve.
After a year-long gestation period, female Southern Right Whales give birth to a single calf. While the whales sometimes arrive earlier and stay later, the prime / peak whale-watching season takes place between August and October with calving normally taking place in August and September, however, it has been known to happen as early as July in some instances – just their way of keeping all Southern Right Whale lovers on their toes.
This means that between the months of August and October, you can watch and be utterly mesmerized and amazed by these oceanic behemoths and their 1-ton offspring as they navigate their first few months together. It truly is an unforgettable sight and once-in-a-lifetime experience.
These gentle giants spend their days frolicking in the shallows, displaying flukes and flippers, and wowing crowds with the occasional breach. This gives locals and travelers the incredible opportunity to witness these majestic ocean beings in their natural habitat as they thrive in the Cape waters.
While an ocean safari / boat-based whale watching adventure is always worthwhile, especially if you’re looking to see up-close sightings of Southern Right Whales and their calves, Hermanus has arguably the best land-based whale watching in the world – Hermanus is the whale capital of the world after all! Located Only a 90-minute drive from Cape town, the entire town bustles with activity during the whale watching season. Hermanus even has a week-long eco-arts festival in September that attracts people from all over the world.
While the whales sometimes arrive earlier and stay later, the prime whale-watching season peaks between August and October with calving normally taking place in August and September, however, it has been known to happen as early as July in some instances.
Whether you choose to witness these remarkable ocean giants from the shoreline, the perfect ocean view sunset spot or up close and personal on a boat-based whale watching ocean adventure, it promises to be a bucket list worthy experience in every way.
*Tip: Here are some of the top spots & destinations for whale sightings in and around Cape Town:
- Hermanus: Of course we had to mention the whale watching capital itself – the one and only Hermanus – one more time! If you’re looking to experience the REAL deal when it comes to whale watching in the Western Cape, a visit to the whale capital of the world, Hermanus, should definitely be on your Cape Town bucket-list! Not only will visitors be able to enjoy amazing land-based viewing opportunities, with the whales coming within metres of the shoreline at times, Hermanus boasts some great whale-watching viewing terraces at the Old Harbour and Gearings Point. There are also a variety of boat-based whale watching adventures available if you’re looking for something a little more thrilling. If you’re eager to fully immerse yourself in the Hermanus whale experience, be sure to visit this top Western Cape whale spot during the first week of October when the seaside town hosts an annual whale festival.
- False Bay Coastline: A great place to enjoy incredible whale sightings is along the vibrant False Bay coastline, with Simonstown being one of Cape Town’s best whale watching hubs. Opt for the higher vantage points along the False Bay coastline such as Cape Point, Boyes Drive between St James and Kalk Bay, and Clarence Drive between Gordon’s Bay and Rooi Els. During peak whale-watching season, you might even be lucky enough to spot them close-up if you take the train trip from Muizenberg to Simon’s Town.
- Cape Agulhas: Another top whale watching spot in the Western Cape is the Cape Agulhas. Up to 50 pairs of southern right cows and calves have been known to frolic in the ocean waters near the southernmost tip of Africa. If you’re looking to combine your love for the outdoors, hiking and marine life, The Whale Trail, a five-day hike along the cliffs, dunes, and beaches of the Cape Agulhas, gives you a wonderful opportunity to view these mighty mammals and their offspring while ticking an exhilarating experience off your Cape Town bucket-list.
Other great places to enjoy spectacular Southern Right Whale sightings in Cape Town and surrounds:
- De Hoop Nature and Marine Reserve
- Witsand (also known as “The Whale Nursery of South Africa”)
- The Cape West Coast: Lambert’s Bay; Strandfontein; Yzerfontein; Langebaan; Paternoster; Elands Bay; Saldanha Bay; Melkbosstrand & Doringbaai
- Overberg region: Struisbaai; Arniston; Stanford; Betty’s Bay; Gansbaai & De Kelders
- Cape Town: Llandudno & Hout Bay
- Garden Route: Stilbaai; Sedgefield; Nature’s Valley
*Extra Insight: While Hermanus is deemed the capital of the scenic Cape Whale Route, the entire route consists of a 900-kilometre-long stretch of coastline that extends from Strandfontein near Muizenberg to Plettenberg Bay in the Southern Cape. This ultimately gives you ample destinations and opportunities to enjoy incredible and down-right spectacular Southern Right Whale sightings.
Southern Right Whale Fact File:
- Latin name: Eubalaena australis
- Southern Right Whales grow up to 15 meters in length and can way up to 47 tonnes.
- Right whales are curious around humans and have been known to give ‘lifts’ to boats and kayaks on their backs.
- They were called “right whales” because they were the right whale to hunt.
- Claim to Fame: Southern Right Whales’ testicles are the largest in the world, weighing up to 500kg each.
#Swim at the edge of nature’s ultimate infinity pool – Devil’s Edge!
Another one of Africa’s most unique, not to mention beyond thrilling, experiences is taking a dip right at the edge of nature’s ultimate infinity pool – Devil’s Edge! Located at the edge of the mighty and majestic Victoria Falls (situated on the Zambian side of the Victoria Falls), Devil’s Edge is a rock pool offering adventurers all the thrill and rush of exhilaration they seek. Boasting a sheer drop and an up-close-and-personal view off the Falls – Devil’s Edge is in fact the ultimate infinity pool not only in Africa, but perhaps the world too!
During the waterfall’s peak flow season around the month of June, the mile-wide chasm is filled with the thunder of water descending at a rate of 3,000 tonnes per second. We highly advise that you avoid taking a swim or even dipping your toe in the daring Devil’s Pool – well unless you want to be swept away to an untimely demise. But all jokes aside, this time of year is a hard no when it comes to ticking this adventure experience off your bucket-list.
However, here’s the bright side you were waiting for! You are free to swim as close to the edge of the pool from the month of September right through to December when the river flow is at a safe level. The exposed natural rock walls also act as a barrier to prevent you from being carried over. While going for a swim in Victoria Falls’ Devil’s Edge may seem somewhat daunting at first, once you’re in, you’ll have the time of your life. Not to mention the view from the edge is beyond breathtaking! This is one bucket-list worthy adventure experience you absolutely don’t want to miss out on when visiting Africa.
#Witness & walk among the largest concentration of African Elephants in both Africa & the world
Nicknamed ‘The Land of the Gentle Giants’, Botswana’s Chobe National Park is where elephants reign supreme, and the powerful pulse of the great Chobe River breathes life into the endless stretch of unspoiled wilderness that makes up one of Botswana’s most glorious wildlife and safari gems.
Exactly how many elephants reside in Africa’s elephant paradise you ask? Chobe National Park boasts an impressive and exceptional population of African elephants, which is said to exceed 120,000 – Undoubtedly making it one of the top places, if not THE top place, on the planet to witness these remarkable gentle giants of the African bushveld in their natural environment. It’s no surprise avid travellers, wildlife enthusiasts, and tourists flock from all across the globe for the opportunity to see these mighty and magnificent mammals and largest member of the African Big 5 in action and to experience breathless face-to-face encounters with these never-ending herds of the largest living land animal on earth.
During Botswana’s dry season, from about June to October, an inconceivable number of these gentle giants can be seen crowding the banks of the Chobe River. So, if you really, REALLY want to see as many wild African elephants as you possibly can on your Chobe safari trip, it’s hard to think of a better destination than the iconic Chobe River at the end of Botswana’s enervating dry season.
Botswana’s virtually rainless winter begins in May and by late August the rest of the park has practically dried out completely; The bone-dry surroundings, due to the extreme lack of rain, means that ponds, streams, puddles, and smaller water sources around the park dry up. This forces animals to essentially congregate around the remaining large water source / sources – AKA the Chobe River – resulting in enormous concentrations of wildlife, including Chobe’s huge herds of elephants, on the riverfront where they can be seen drinking, wallowing, and lazing about, grazing, and, most exciting of it all, taking dust baths – A truly breathtaking sight!
In the heat of September and October, thousands of elephants arrive cheek-by-jowl with enormous buffalo herds, trailed by prides of sleek lions. Game drives and boat cruises take you right into the center of the action, providing you with seriously spectacular up-close sightings and encounters that are bound to leave you gob-smacked and utterly amazed.
**BONUS Wildlife in Chobe National Park: Occupying a great woodland wilderness between the eponymous Chobe River and the fringes of the Okavango Delta in Botswana, Chobe National Park is one of Africa’s heavyweight reserves and a sanctuary for some of the continent’s healthiest populations of elephant, buffalo, lion, giraffe, zebra, leopard, jackals, and the widely beloved and endangered African wild dog, to mention merely a few. Chobe is also one of the best places in Africa to witness the most dramatic predator action – its Savuti region is where lions regularly clash with hyenas and powerful prides famously take down Africa’s biggest game like buffalo, giraffe and even elephants.
- Best time to visit Chobe National Park: June – October | Botswana’s Dry Season
#Marvel at the diverse & endemic flora of the Cape Floristic Region – the only Floral Kingdom that exists entirely in one country – as you explore Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens
Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens is acclaimed as one of the great botanic gardens in the world. Regarded as one of the most magnificent natural gems in Cape Town, very few gardens can compare to the sheer grandeur of the setting of Kirstenbosch.
Nestled at the base of Table Mountain, the renowned Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens forms part of the Cape Floristic Region, also known as the Cape Floral Kingdom, boasting one of the most spectacular displays of indigenous natural beauty. One of only six floral kingdoms, The Cape Floristic Region is the smallest, yet most diverse, floral kingdom in the world. It is also the only Floral Kingdom that occurs entirely in one country.
Kirstenbosch covers over 528 hectares and is home to a glorious diversity of fauna and flora entirely indigenous to Cape Town, including more than 7,000 plant species, 2,500 of which are from the Cape Peninsula.
Besides its vast natural beauty and globally acclaimed Botanical Garden status, Kirstenbosch offers visitors and nature lovers an endless assortment of things to do and see. Not to mention a variety of thrilling adventure experiences!
The gardens are also a haven for birdlife, and there are several hiking trails that wind through the property. In addition, Kirstenbosch hosts a number of events throughout the year, making it a popular destination for locals and tourists alike. Whether you’re admiring the stunning flowers or taking a leisurely hike, Kirstenbosch is sure to delight and inspire.
#Meet the Authentic San, Maasai & Himba People in Africa
Africa is a land bursting with the vibrancy of countless authentic tribes, over 3,000 of them to be exact. Think about the San people, the delightful souls of Southern Africa, or the Maasai tribe, who bring the heart of Kenya and Tanzania to life with their colorful presence. Now, if you’re ready to sprinkle some true magic into your African escapade, here’s a tip that’ll have you grinning from ear to ear: dive into the world of these captivating indigenous communities!
Africa boast an array of lodges that roll out the cultural carpet, inviting you to step into the shoes of these traditional tribes. Imagine sipping chai with the San people, swapping stories as ancient as the land they’ve lived and thrived upon for eons. Oh, but wait, it doesn’t stop there! Brace yourself for the Maasai tribes, who’ve turned beadwork and piercings into a symphony of self-expression that’s bound to captivate you in more ways than one.
But hold on tight, because there’s more! Ever heard of the Himba folks? Nestled in the breathtaking landscapes of northern Namibia, these wonderful souls have perfected the art of butterfat and ochre pigment. And trust us, it’s a sight to behold! Their skin and hair are like a canvas painted with the hues of Mother Nature herself.
So, all you adventurers out there, are you ready to infuse your journey with the spirit of Africa’s authentic tribes? Get ready to dance to the rhythm of their stories, wrap yourself in the colors of their traditions, and immerse yourself in a tapestry of cultural wonders that’ll warm your heart and leave you with memories that shine brighter than the African sun!
#Take a trip to one of the most well-known & recognisable prisons in the world
Cape Town is at the heart of a country with one of the most prolific histories in the world, and right at the center of it all is Robben Island. Arguably home to one of the most recognizable and well-known prisons in the world, Robben Island was a place of banishment, exile, imprisonment, and isolation for nearly 400 years.
For centuries Robben Island was used as a penal colony, primarily for political prisoners. The most famous political prisoners that spent time on Robben Island include former and late South African president, activist, and world icon, Nelson Mandela, Tokyo Sexwale, Walter Sisulu, and Govan Mbeki. Nelson Mandela was imprisoned on Robben Island for 18 years during the South African apartheid era.
Today it is regarded as a symbol of hope and testament to the triumph of the human spirit over adversity – A place that has played a pivotal role in South Africa’s journey to democracy. In 1997 Robben Island was turned into a museum – The Robben Island Museum – and in 1999 it was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Now locals and tourists alike can visit this South African landmark and historical site, tour the Robben Island Prison where Nelson Mandela was held, as well as the island’s museum and lighthouse.
Robben Island Tours are typically led by ex-inmates with first-hand knowledge and experience of what life was truly like during those pivotal years / times – The exact times that would ultimately change the entire course of South African history. Visiting Robben Island on your future trip to Cape Town is a great way to immerse yourself in a vital piece of South Africa’s history and journey to democracy.
#Witness the world’s biggest sheet of falling water – Victoria Falls – & enjoy an exhilarating whitewater rafting adventure on the Zambezi River
Regarded as one of the Seven Wonders of the Natural World and one of Africa’s most astonishing sights, Victoria Falls reigns supreme as one of the top tourist attractions and sought-after destinations in all of Africa. Locally known as Mosi-oa-Tunya or ‘The Smoke That Thunders’, this jaw-dropping waterfall on the Zambezi River is located on the border of Zambia and Zimbabwe. Stretching 1.7km wide and reaching a height of 355 feet, Victoria Falls is considered to be the world’s biggest sheet of falling water.
When the Zambezi River is in full flood, it is estimated that 500-million litres of water per minute thunders over the drop, crashing into a deep rocky gorge at the bottom. While the Main Falls lie within the borders of Zimbabwe, the Zambian side is equally as impressive during peak flood season (February to May).
If you’re looking to tick one of the most thrilling and adrenaline-inducing adventure experiences off your bucket list on your trip to Zambia – look no further! The renowned Zambezi River in Victoria Falls is deemed one of the world’s best destinations for whitewater rafting on high-grade rapids. Overflowing and very deep, you can expect class 3-5 rapids – which will undoubtedly have your heart racing and your adrenaline levels at an all-time high. The Zambezi River is said to boast 24 thrilling rapids, right and ready for you to conquer. Right after the falls lies an intense stretch of the river with a channel of high-volume water – It truly is an unforgettable once-in-a-lifetime experience in every way!
It is important to note that the Zambezi’s water levels change throughout the year. This means that if you’re keen to go whitewater rafting and conquer the mighty Zambezi River rapids, it’s crucial that you plan and book your trip to Zambia at the right time to avoid missing out.
#Take a road trip on the world’s longest wine route
With more than 2500km of coastline hugging South Africa, the country is begging you to take to the road. Coastal cities like Cape Town, Port Elizabeth and Durban give you plenty of reason to pause, but the treasures you’ll really want to discover are the little coastal gems such as Paternoster, Hamburg, Mtunzini and Pennington. Between the Western and Eastern Cape, you can drive along the renowned Garden Route, bordered by mountains on one side and the ocean on the other, and dotted with lagoons, forests, and lakes – it is breathtaking to say the least. To make your road trip truly unique, hit Route 62. Slaloming through wine farms and estates in the Western Cape, it’s the longest wine route in the world.