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The Magic of Countries in Sub-Saharan Africa

Updated on December 17, 2023
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Esmé has a deep appreciation for nature and environmental affairs.

About Southern Africa

  • Botswana and Zimbabwe are land-locked countries, but South Africa, Mozambique, and Namibia border on the ocean and have beaches too. Namibia has beaches in the cold Atlantic Ocean, which does not encourage swimming, but the other two countries have beaches in the warmer waters of the Indian Ocean.
  • Southern Africa has an abundance of birds and bird species and is a paradise for bird-watchers. Nature lovers are in their element when in Africa, not to mention the bliss that campers, hikers, and rock climbers experience. Fishing, white-water rafting, and scuba diving are just some of the water activities that visitors can expect in the oceans, dams, rivers, and lakes on the continent.


Map of Botswana

Okavango Delta

The Okavango Delta
The Okavango Delta | Source

1. Botswana

  • Botswana is a landlocked country with an emphasis on tourism; for that reason, they are well-geared to receive visitors. There are many national parks to visit, waterways to investigate, and 4x4 roads to travel. In fact, if you do not own a 4X4 or are willing to hire one, then the major areas will not be accessible to you.
  • Because of the landscape, there is a lot of dust in the air, and this makes for the most magnificent sunsets. No visitor should enter the country without good camera equipment—at least a small digital camera. There is just too much that you would otherwise miss out on.
  • The Botswana people are friendly, and they will assist as far as possible. The country is also stable from a political point of view, and that makes a visit enjoyable and safe. It is, however, an expensive country due to the demand for its game parks, and visitors should book in advance for a trip.

There are no fences in the game parks, and one should take care not to wander around unless it is safe to do so. Their most important places of interest are:

  • The Central Kalahari
  • The Okavango Delta
  • Chobe National Park
  • Makgadikgadi Pans
  • Moremi Game Reserve
  • The Kgalagadi
  • Tsodilo Hills

Botswana Salt Pans with Baobab Trees


Mozambique Map


2. Mozambique

  • Mozambique is synonymous with fishing and diving charters. There are a number of islands along the coast, and divers go to the many coral reefs in the vicinity for scuba diving. Fishing and diving charters can be arranged from the mainland as well as from the islands. Getting from island to island is easy; just hop onto a small plane and it will take you there.
  • The long coastline offers beautiful stretches of beaches with the warm water of the Indian Ocean at hand for a swim or just to cool off.
  • The country has wildlife and game reserves complete with bush camping for those who are not going to Mozambique for the sea activities. Niassa is a 42000 sq. km. game reserve in northern Mozambique with animals such as elephants, buffalo, lions, hyenas, and leopards. The reserve lies next to the Lugenda River and offers accommodation in the form of safari camps.
  • Mozambique is the place we go to if we really want to eat prawns; yes, you guessed it, they are famous for the size of their prawns and for the Portuguese-style way they are cooked.

Places of interest in Mozambique are:

  • Inhambane
  • Quirimbas Arquipelago
  • Bazaruto Island
  • Ponta de Ouro for luxury and swimming with the dolphins
  • Maputo, the capital

What Mozambique looks like

Mozambique | Source

Botswana or Mozambique?

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Namibian sights

Map of Namibia
Map of Namibia | Source

Swakopmund and the Welwitschia plant

Swakopmund | Source
Welwitschia | Source

3. Namibia

  • Namibia is an arid region, with the Namib Desert being a well-known attraction in the area. It is from this desert that the country got its name. The roads are predominantly gravel but in overall good condition. The Welwitschia is an ancient plant of the desert, and spotting one causes extreme excitement.
  • The country is visited as a hunting destination, with many game farms offering hunting opportunities. Etosha National Park is the major game park in the region, although Khaudom further to the north is popular too. Other parks in the region include Muumuu, the Ai-Ais Richtersveld Transfrontier Park with South Africa, and Namib-NauKluft Park.
  • Ai-Ais is the main hot springs destination in Namibia, and it is here that the entrance to the Fish River Canyon can be found. A 5-day hiking route down the Fish River Canyon finishes here, but for those who do not relish the 53-mile 5-day hike in a river bed, you can view the second-largest canyon from a number of viewing points.
  • The whole country is beautiful; anyone who has ever been there will tell you of the beauty of the land and the stars at night, but the top places of interest are:
  • Swakopmund
  • Skeleton Coast
  • Etosha National Park
  • Fish River Canyon
  • Sossosvlei
  • Caprivi
  • Twyfelfontein
  • Damaraland and the Kaokoveld

Mother Cheetah and her cub

Watching a cheetah feed in Namibia: a mother and two cubs
Watching a cheetah feed in Namibia: a mother and two cubs

The beautiful Southern African country: South Africa

Tsitsikamma, Garden Route
Tsitsikamma, Garden Route | Source

Drakensberg Mountains


World's End, Kgalagadi

World's End, Kgalagadi -visiting with friends
World's End, Kgalagadi -visiting with friends

4. South Africa

  • South Africa is a diverse country with diverse cultures, so come prepared for variety. There are no less than 11 official languages and many different cultures. The landscape varies from province to province and can range from wet and cold to dry and hot.

  • Cape Town and Table Mountain are world-renowned destinations, and there are good reasons for this. The mountain is spectacular and unique, and the beaches are many and different from coast to coast. The winelands in the Stellenbosch area are a must-see, and wines should be tasted in as many of the wine farms in the Boland as can be managed.
  • Wildlife experiences abound in South Africa, and luxury as well as bush accommodation will satisfy the needs of every visitor. Do it the self-drive, fly-in, or tour-operated way, but get it done. There is an abundance of animals, birds, insects, reptiles, and trees. Plant life varies from lush and green to arid and scarce.
  • The Orange River is the major waterway, and big dams have been built on this river and its tributaries.

Places of interest:

  • Table Mountain in Cape Town
  • The wine lands in Stellenbosch and Paarl.
  • The Garden Route
  • The Drakensberg Mountains
  • The Kruger National Park
  • The Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park
  • The smaller game parks are in KwaZulu-Natal.
  • Magaliesburg and the Meander
  • Addo Elephant Park


Ancient ruins: Great Zimbabwe
Ancient ruins: Great Zimbabwe | Source

5. Zimbabwe

  • Unfortunately, Zimbabwe has deteriorated due to political conflict, although they are getting their act together again. Touring the country with either a tour group or by way of an Overlander is no problem.
  • They have the Big 5 in Zimbabwe, mostly in Hwange National Park. Gonarezhou means “place of many elephants,” but whether there are still many elephants in the Gonarezhou National Park is an open question.

Places of interest:

  • Victoria Falls
  • Hwange National Park
  • The Matopos
  • Kariba Dam
  • Mana Pools
  • Chimanimani

Things to pack
Mosquito repellent
Warm clothing

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South Africa:
South Africa

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This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2014 Esmé


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