Lalibela, Ethiopia

Top Ten Sites To Visit While In Africa

Africa is a diverse continent rich in cultural artifacts and history. This continent has a lot of secrets for those who are patient and willing to explore.

So if you are planning a trip to Africa, you should check out our list of top 10 sites to visit.

Victoria Falls, Zambia

Victoria Falls

If you are looking for what to do while in Africa, the Victoria Falls must be at the top of your list. This is the world’s largest waterfall, bigger than Niagara Falls, with more than 16.5 million gallons of water flowing over the edge per minute during peak flood season.

It is located at the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe. You will find the best views in the Zambian side of the border. The best time to visit is between June and July, the heart of the rainy season which cause the waters of the fall to swell to unfathomable heights.

The water is so plentiful at that time, so much that from the top of the falls, its base is almost impossible to see through the cloud of rapidly flowing water. While the spectacle of the falls is something to behold on its own, there are hiking trails for walking available, to get up close and personal with Victoria Falls magnificence.

Ganvié, Benin

This village is called the Venice of Africa for a reason. It is a unique village built completely of structures on stilts over water. The village was started when Africans escaped slave masters and it has thrived ever since.

The inhabitants of this village mostly thrive on fishing and while there is accommodation available, it is suggested you stay in the capital Cotonou and make a day trip to Ganvié.

From November to February, you are lucky to witness different Voodun festivals with the most important occurring in January.

The Pyramids, Egypt

The pyramids are one of Egypt’s most prominent and mysterious features. While studies have shown they were constructed between 2589 – 2504 BC, it is still unclear despite numerous studies carried out, how exactly they were built.

Though that slice of history is murky, most visitors agree that the mystery only adds to the ambience of the cultural diversity of the desert country the pyramids are located.

The biggest are in Giza with three major pyramids; The Great Pyramid of Khufu, The Pyramid of Khafre and the smaller Pyramids of Menkaura. All of this is guarded in front by the great Sphinx of Egypt. The best times to visit is from October to April.

Lalibela, Ethiopia

Lalibela, Ethiopia

Lalibela is a small town with a big outstanding feature. It is one of the most famous sites of rock hewn churches. These churches are either carved from the face of the rocks or carved into the rocks themselves.

The result is a combination of rugged man made views from a slice of history almost untouched and the natural vista of the well preserved mountainous vista. Unlike most tourist attractions, Lalibela doesn’t have any of the souvenir or gifts shops spoiling the view. Instead, what you have are amazing views and an unspoiled site and ambience preserved through decades.

The best time to visit is during the dry season from October till March. If you can, you should consider visiting during weekend because that’s when the local markets in town are open for business. This UNESCO World Heritage site is definitely worth a visit.

The Avenue of Baobabs, Madagascar

Declared in 2001 as a protected national monument, these 800 year old trees can grow as tall as 30 meters with diameters reaching up to 11 meters and circumferences of 49 meters.

The avenue itself is a dirt road of about 260 meter stretch with 20-25 of these trees bordering on either side between Morondova and Belon’i Tsiribihina in the Menabe Region of Western Madagascar.

The road itself is a little bumpy but takes nothing away from the scenery. This awe-inspiring site is one of the most accessible places to view impressive baobab trees. If you want to see them in full bloom, February and March are great, preferably at sunsets.

Virunga Mountains, Democratic Republic of Congo

Mountain Gorillas are almost extinct and if you’re after a one of a kind wildlife experience, then Virunga Mountains is just the site for you. The mountain range that spans across Uganda, Rwanda and DR Congo gives a chance to see 450 of the remaining 700 mountain Gorillas left in the world.

The Virunga National Park or Parc National des Volcans spans over 45 million square miles and covers about six volcanic mountains. It is also a UNESCO world Heritage Site.

Virunga is an all year-round destination. However, you should expect rainfall every now and then. July to September are the driest months of the year and typically the best time to track for mountain gorillas.

You should expect longer hikes during this period though, because the gorillas are expected to travel towards higher altitudes to cool off.

Table Mountain, South Africa

One of Cape Town’s most notable landmarks, Table Mountain is a flat-topped mountain with an elevation of 1,085 meters. It is the only mountain in the world to have a constellation named after it.

Besides the fact that Cape Town itself is a beautiful City, Table Mountain is accessible through scenic rides from cable cars. The vista at the top is definitely well worth the trip.

There are about 2,200 species of plants and about 1,470 species of flora most of which can only be seen on this mountain. The biodiversity doesn’t stop at its plant life but also extends to the fauna with animals like the Mountain Zebra, Caracas, Rock Hyraxes and others.

Table Mountain is one of the New Seven Wonders of Nature and it’s best to visit from November to February.

Olduvai Gorge, Tanzania

Olduvi Gorge in Ngorongoro Crater in Tanzania is known as the site that formed the belief that Africa is the cradle of humanity’s civilization. This gorge is where Louis and Mary Leakey excavated fossil evidence of the 1.7 million year old Australopithecus Baisei and Homo Babilis also known as the Handy Man.

This site is probably one of the most important paleoanthropological sites in the world. A visit gives tourists a chance to see archaeologists still excavating the site. Visitors can also see the small museum with rooms dedicated to each paleoanthropological finding with detailed explanations of each.

There isn’t any specific time that can be singled out as the best time to visit. All year round is perfect.

Tanaju Monoliths, Bouar, Central African Republic

These are about 70 groups of late Neolithic era megaliths to the north and east of Bouar known as Tanaju. They date back to 3500-2700 BC and are as old as England’s Stonehenge. These monoliths stand at about 5 meters tall and served as burial mounds.

The best time to visit these places is from October to January. Don’t forget to get your shopping done at the beautiful town of Bouar.

Coastal Forts, Ghana

Ghana’s colonial history, like many in Africa is fraught with conflict trade and loss of life. Ghana’s old forts are a well-preserved relic of castles that first served as warehouses for goods like ivory and gold to dungeons used to imprison slaves.

Most of these forts are still in great conditions and a couple of them are currently used as guesthouses. St. George’s Castle in Elmina and Cape Coast Castle and Museum are definitely worth the trip. The best times to visit are July and August and December to April.

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