10 COUN­TRIES YOU NEED TO VISIT IN AFRICA THIS YEAR

Africa is huge, like se­ri­ously, it’s a vast con­ti­nent that’s so var­ied and filled with a melt­ing pot of cul­tures, iden­ti­ties, beau­ti­ful na­ture and his­tory. It’s a con­ti­nent that has so much diver­sity that is some­times for­got­ten when we hear ‘Africa’ menti

Nomad Africa Magazine - - Top 10 | Must Visit African Countries - Words: YAYA & LLOYD

thank­fully, trav­el­ling opens all our eyes to these naiveties and makes us ap­pre­ci­ate how won­der­fully di­verse the con­ti­nent of Africa is. Whether you’re dream­ing of white sandy beaches, cos­mopoli­tan cities like Cape Town, vis­it­ing the At­las Moun­tains of Morocco or get­ting up close to the big five on sa­fari, Africa is sure to have a place on your travel bucket list.

The world’s sec­ond-largest con­ti­nent has a lot to of­fer even the most sea­soned of trav­ellers. Take a look at some of the very best coun­tries to visit in Africa this year!

Morocco

Bor­der­ing on the At­lantic Ocean and the Mediter­ranean Sea, Morocco has ev­ery­thing to of­fer, from quaint sea­side towns to snowy moun­tains and with enig­matic cities in be­tween. Its mixed her­itage makes it a particularly fas­ci­nat­ing coun­try to ex­plore: You can see ev­i­dence of Euro­pean, Ber­ber and Ara­bian in­flu­ence on the cul­ture wher­ever you go.

Ethiopia

Ethiopia is a coun­try of an­cient cul­ture, with ar­chae­o­log­i­cal finds dat­ing back 3 mil­lion years, in­clud­ing the 12th-cen­tury churches in Lal­i­bela and the ru­ins of the an­cient city of Ak­sum. It’s the place to visit if you’re a his­tory geek like me. They have a vast ar­ray of his­tor­i­cal and ar­chae­o­log­i­cal sights that are just too good to miss, es­pe­cially Gon­dar Cas­tle.

If you’re more into your nat­u­ral land­scapes, make sure to visit Simien Moun­tains Na­tional Park and Nechisar Na­tional Park – both are just stun­ning and are well worth spend­ing a few days vis­it­ing. As with any trip, make sure you al­ways lis­ten to lo­cal ad­vice and fol­low safety pre­cau­tions… es­pe­cially around those big­ger an­i­mals.

Sey­chelles

Sey­chelles has a rep­u­ta­tion as one of the world’s most idyl­lic places to visit and it’s easy to see why. If you ‘re look­ing to do more than just lie back and re­lax on the beach, there’s plenty to ex­plore. Many of its smaller is­lands have been pro­tected as na­tional parks, show­cas­ing the her­itage and beauty of this slice of par­adise.

Make sure to visit the un­be­liev­ably gor­geous Curieuse Is­land and snorkel the beau­ti­ful Sainte Anne Marine Na­tional Park.

Botswana

Botswana is a real jewel of Africa in terms of wildlife and nat­u­ral land. As a coun­try, it’s com­mit­ted to wildlife and en­vi­ron­men­tal con­ser­va­tion, mak­ing it the ideal coun­try to visit if you’re in­ter­ested in African wildlife. The Oka­vango Delta, the Cen­tral Kala­hari Game Re­serve, and Chobe Na­tional Park are just a few of the places you can head to for a sa­fari. To top it off, Botswana is also fa­mous for its stun­ning wa­ter­colour-style sun­sets and the friendly wel­com­ing at­ti­tude of its lo­cals to­wards tourists.

Namibia

As one of Botswana’s neigh­bour­ing coun­tries, Namibia is sim­i­larly rich in wildlife and great for an ad­ven­ture through some of Africa’s in­cred­i­ble land­scapes.

Etosha Na­tional Park is a must-see as it’s home to 114 fam­i­lies of mam­mals and 300 species of birds. For an un­for­get­table trip, you can also take a quad bike tour across the Namib Desert, visit the Chee­tah Con­ser­va­tion Fund, and ex­plore the ghost town of Kol­man­skop.

Malawi

This land­locked coun­try in south­ern Africa is of­ten for­got­ten about by us trav­ellers in light of its more popular sis­ters, Kenya and Tan­za­nia.

Boast­ing a ge­o­graph­i­cally di­verse land-

scape, from the im­pres­sive peaks of Mount Mu­lanje to the sprawl­ing grass­lands of the Nyika Plateau, and not for­get­ting Lake Malawi, it re­ally is a spe­cial place to ex­plore. Whether you come here for the hik­ing and kayak­ing or to en­joy some of its rich cul­tures, Malawi is a coun­try of amaz­ing beauty.

Don’t for­get to try a lo­cal foody favourite of Nsima, it’s made from ground up corn that can be served with roasted meats and veg­eta­bles.

Rwanda

Rwanda is the num­ber one African des­ti­na­tion for go­rilla fans as you can pos­si­bly catch a glimpse of the Moun­tain Go­ril­las up close at Vol­ca­noes Na­tional Park. It’s not cheap, but the prof­its are put into the park’s out­stand­ing con­ser­va­tion ef­forts, as well as go­ing to­wards build­ing schools and health cen­tres for the sur­round­ing com­mu­nity.

You can’t ig­nore this coun­try’s tragic his­tory, but you can make an un­for­get­table visit to the Ki­gali Geno­cide Memo­rial Cen­tre to un­der­stand and re­flect upon the hor­rors so they are never for­got­ten.

Make sure to try some yummy Ma­toke, which is mainly made from steamed plan­tains.

Tan­za­nia

If you’re a moun­taineer or hiker who can hear the high­est moun­tain in Africa call­ing your name, it’s time to head to Tan­za­nia. Mount Kil­i­man­jaro dom­i­nates the land-

scape, and even if you’re not up to climb­ing it (not many of us are!) it’s a once-ina-life­time view even be­low. Of course, Tan­za­nia also has a whole lot more to of­fer; you can see the ‘Big Five’ on a sa­fari at Serengeti Na­tional Park, or head out to the trop­i­cal is­land of Zanz­ibar for com­plete re­lax­ation.

Gam­bia

Gam­bia is a beau­ti­ful (and rel­a­tively small coun­try to visit) when it comes to Africa. Like most of the other coun­tries on this list, Gam­bia has an abun­dant wildlife pop­u­la­tion that’s just too good to miss.

If you visit Kiang West Na­tional Park and Bao Bo­long Wetland Re­serve you can see mon­keys, hip­pos, hye­nas, leop­ards and sev­eral species of rare bird. The vi­brant cap­i­tal of Ban­jul is also great to visit too, with its fas­ci­nat­ing Na­tional Mu­seum of Gam­bian his­tory, and the beaches aren’t far away ei­ther… in fact, they’re famed in Gam­bia.

South Africa

South Africa is a coun­try that seems to have it all. Cos­mopoli­tan cities like Cape Town and Jo­han­nes­burg, de­li­cious vine­yards, the in­cred­i­ble Kruger Na­tional Park and even its own pen­guin beach! I’ve vis­ited South Africa a few times and just love go­ing back, it’s one of my favourite places to ex­plore. Make sure you head to Her­manus to spot some whales, and grab a bite to eat at Kloof Street House in Cape Town, it’s in­cred­i­ble. If you’re look­ing to drive, con­sider the Gar­den Route for an epic ex­plo­ration of this beau­ti­ful coun­try.

ABOUT THIS AR­TI­CLE

This ar­ti­cle was ini­tially pub­lished on the www.hand­lug­ga­geonly.co.uk blog as writ­ten by Yaya & Lloyd. Hand Lug­gage Only was born back in April 2014 on a sur­pris­ingly warm af­ter­noon in Yaya’s col­lege room at Uni­ver­sity of Cam­bridge. In what seemed like an oa­sis of calm be­tween as­sign­ments, while talk­ing about shar­ing their travel sto­ries and photos with oth­ers like-minded trav­ellers on the in­ter­net.

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