Which are the best places to visit in Africa?
The Sphinx and the Great Pyramids at Giza, Egypt
Sunset in a Game Park in Kenya
The four best places to travel in Africa
If you are planning on visiting the African continent and are not sure which are the best spots on the continent, you might wish to consider these four destinations (from North to South), with a suggested itinerary:
· Egypt: Plan on a week’s vacation in this country that has over a hundred Pyramids, and countless monuments and tombs.
- Spend two days in the capital city Cairo, and visit the Great Pyramids and the Sphinx in Giza, on the outskirts of Cairo. Built several thousand years ago, they are truly one of the major Wonders of the World. Spend half a day at the National Museum that has a magnificent collection of ancient treasures and artifacts from the days of the Pharaohs.
- Fly to Luxor and spend a day (or two), and visit the Luxor Temple and the Karnak Temple, both on the east bank of the Nile. Visit the Valley of the Queens and the Valley of the Kings on the west bank, and the numerous tombs and temples.
- Board a cruise ship that takes you on a four or five day cruise along the river Nile down south to Aswan. The region between Luxor and Aswan along the Nile literally teems with ancient temples, tombs and monuments, depicting the country’s very rich history. Undoubtedly, a country with a wealth of ancient monuments and one of the cradles of civilization.
· Kenya/ Tanzania: These East African countries abound in Game Parks, and one should plan on spending at least a week here.
- Spend two days in the beautiful capital Nairobi of Kenya, situated a mile high and blessed with probably the best weather in the world. Visit the National Museum that depicts the human evolution going back to our ancestors, the Zinjanthropus that roamed in East Africa more than two-and-a-half million years ago. Dine at the famous restaurants, including the “Carnivore” that serves a feast of about a dozen different grilled meats for the true carnivores!
- Take a “Safari” (this word originates from this region and means a trip or journey) to the famous Game Park, Masaai Mara that stretches into the Serengeti in neighboring Tanzania, and teems with spectacular wild life. If possible, witness the annual migration, a unique seasonal phenomenon when about a million wildebeest (similar to bison) migrate from one region to another, along with thousands of gazelles, zebras and giraffes. Stalking and pursuing them are their predators, the lions, cheetahs and leopards.
- Spend a night at the “Treetops”, a luxury lodge built literally on treetops. In the comfort of glass enclosed lookouts, get a ringside view of the watering hole, where various species of wild life come in all night to drink water. It might be comforting for you to know that today's most famous royal personality visited the lodge as Princess Elizabeth in 1952. While spending a night at the lodge, her father King George the Sixth of England passed away, and she emerged from the lodge the next morning as the Monarch of the United Kingdom, Queen Elizabeth.
- Travel to Lake Nakuru, a volcanic lake that has the world’s largest population of flamingos – more than a million of them! At first sight the lake appears to be one vast pink blanket! View the Great Rift Valley, a massive “rift”, a deep fissure or a fault caused long ago by a massive earthquake. It runs thousands of miles along eastern and southern Africa, and astronauts have reported sighting it from outer space.
- Mountain climbers might wish to scale the snow-capped peaks of Mount Kenya or the highest peak in Africa, Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania. Tanzania also boasts of the largest wild life game park in a volcanic crater, the Ngorongoro crater. This region is uniquely the best travel place in Africa. (For more details, see the author’s Hubs Where is the best weather in the World? – and Which is the best country to visit in Africa?).
· Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe and Zambia: One can plan on an overnight's stay in either Livingston in Zambia or Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe.
- The Horseshoe Falls at Niagara on the US/Canadian border are undoubtedly spectacular, but the Victoria Falls are awesome, and during the peak rainy months of April and May, they form the largest sheet of water in the world. At 355 feet (108 meters), these falls are more than twice as high as the Niagara Falls, and at 5,600 feet (1,700 meters), they are more than a mile long and more than twice the width of the Horseshoe section of the Niagara Falls. The spray from the falls rises more than 1,500 feet in the air and is visible nearly 30 miles (48 km) away.
- The Victoria Falls lie on the famous Zambezi River, and are divided lengthwise between two countries, Zambia and Zimbabwe, and must be viewed from both sides. The width along the Zambian side is narrower, but the walk across the “knife-edge” steel suspension bridge, with the thunderous roar and the upwards shooting spray from the massive falls seemingly only a few feet away, is not for those weak at heart - but it's an absolute thrilling experience! The Zimbabwean side is much broader and offers several memorable views as one walks along the rain forest facing the falls.
· South Africa: Plan on a weeks stay in this mineral rich country - the most developed country on the continent and an economic powerhouse.
- The capital Johannesburg at an altitude of about 7,000 feet is as modern as any European (or American) city and has several attractions. However, the favorite destination for tourist is the Cape Peninsula. The city of Cape Town lies at the foot of a plateau called the Table Mountain, and a cable car ride up to the top offers some spectacular Ocean views. There is plenty to visit around Cape Town – vineyards offering some best wines, Marine parks with African Penguins (a much smaller species), Seals. Dolphins and Otters.
- A few miles down the Peninsula is Cape Point, the southern most tip of the African continent, and the meeting point of two oceans – the cold and windy Atlantic and the warmer and calmer Indian Ocean. A famous Lighthouse at Cape Point atop a rocky tip of the continent offers a panoramic view of the two oceans. From the parking lot, a funicular railway called the Flying Dutchman takes you up a steep incline stretching some half-a-mile. From the windy observation point at the Lighthouse, one can view the “Cape of Good Hope”, some half mile below to the northwest. This was the name given by the European sailors several hundred years ago, since the winds near that point are at times furious and treacherous, and the sailors believed that they needed to navigate safely past that landmark to enter the calmer and safer waters of the Indian Ocean.
This then is a quick reference guide for traveling to some of the best places in Africa. Enjoy your trip - you will not regret it!