Africa is packed with adventurous and breathtaking sights, sounds, tastes and experiences. This fascinating continent will blow you away with its sheer choice of activities you won’t find anywhere else on Earth. Though there’s an endless amount to stir up your senses, why not start with this bucket list of 35 things to do on holiday in Africa.
1. Spend a day in Ngorongoro Crater
This pristine destination is packed with wildlife roaming the crater floor. You can look forward to spotting the Big 5 including the usually hard to find black rhino.
2. Explore Lake Malawi
Go kayaking, snorkelling or scuba diving in the perfectly clear waters of this African Great Lake. You’ll be rewarded with seeing plenty of fish – more species than any other lake in the world.
3. Witness the lemurs of Madagascar
Madagascar is the world’s oldest island and the lemur populations here are absolutely fascinating. Getting to see them up close is a one-of-a-kind experience. Book your stay in advance and enjoy you vacation in Madagascar without stress!
4. Go hiking on Reunion Island
Thanks to its lush forests, pristine beaches, cascading waterfalls and high peaks, Reunion Island is also fondly known as ‘Little Hawaii’. Go on an awe-inspiring hike here and you’ll get to see ancient volcanoes and calderas.
5. Watch the sunset over the savannah
After a dusty day of spotting wildlife, there’s not much better than kicking back, drink in hand, to watch the sun set over the African bush. Keep your camera handy for incredible shots in this golden light – it’s one of the highlights of safaris in Africa.
6. Swim with whale sharks in Mozambique
Take a dip with the largest fish in the ocean! The Mozambique coast is home to one of the world’s highest concentrations of whale sharks thanks to a great supply of plankton.
7. Take in San rock art in the Cederberg
Bushman tribes have lived in these mountains for 120,000 years. Gaze upon ancient hand-painted scenes in caves and on rock faces that go back up to 10,000 years.
8. Witness the Great Migration
Every year over a million wildebeest, zebra and antelope migrate around the Serengeti/Masai Mara ecosystem, an awe-inspiring spectacle guaranteed to take your breath away.
9. Stake out a waterhole
There’s nothing like that sense of anticipation you’ll find at a wildlife hide. Wait patiently and quietly until the animals come to quench their thirst and even bathe in the cool waters – a great way to get excellent pictures.
10. Catch a cable car up Table Mountain
Table Mountain has been voted one of the world’s greatest natural wonders. Its cable car will get you to the top in 5 minutes where you can take in awe-inspiring views of the city and Atlantic ocean or go for a gentle hike along the top.
11. Hike down the Fish River Canyon
A top destination for hikers from around the world, this 5-day route winds its way along Africa’s largest canyon and makes for magnificent and dramatic photos.
12. Take a hot air balloon ride above the Serengeti
Possibly one of the greatest places on earth to take a balloon ride, here you’ll float above herds of wildlife on the golden savannah as you sip your coffee at sunrise.
13. Head out on a walking safari in South Luangwa
Considered to be the origin of walking safaris in Africa, this region in Zambia is a great place to take some of the continent’s best walking safari trips.
14. Take a micro-light flight above Victoria Falls
Hold onto your seat while you get a bird’s eye view of the majestic falls, all under the care of your experienced micro-light pilot, a truly adventurous experience.
15. Cage dive with great white sharks
A couple hours outside Cape Town you’ll find Gansbaai, widely considered to be one of the best places to go cage diving. Don’t forget to breathe as you come face to face with the ocean’s apex predator!
16. Go island-hopping in Seychelles
This scattering of 115 islands in the Indian Ocean is an ideal place to go island-hopping. Look forward to pristine beaches, warm water, spectacular coral reefs, rare wildlife and excellent diving and snorkelling.
17. Go leopard spotting in the Kruger National Park
Typically hard to find because they’re so elusive and usually nocturnal, head to Kruger Park’s Sabi Sand Game Reserve to boost your odds of spotting this spectacular big cat.
18. Travel on the world’s most luxurious train, Rovos Rail
Experience the romance of travel from a bygone era while you cruise through the African wilderness sampling excellent cuisine and fine wines.
19. Get close to the gorillas of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest
Have a life-changing experience when you come face to face with the endangered great apes of Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable Forest.
20. Enjoy a glass of pinotage in Stellenbosch
Considered the spiritual home of wine-making in Africa, Stellenbosch in the Cape winelands is an absolute must-see. Visit this beautiful destination to sample some of the world’s finest wines including the pinotage, South Africa’s signature variety of red wine grape.
21. Cruise in a mokoro through the Okavango Delta
With no noisy engine to disturb the peace, a mokoro (traditional dugout canoe) is the ideal way to explore the waters of the Okavango Delta. Apart from seeing hippos and crocodiles, you’ll easily be able to spot elephants along the banks.
22. Track wild dogs in Northern Botswana
Although they’ve been known to cover distances of up to 50km in a day, catching up with these social creatures and observing their interactions is an unforgettable experience.
23. Climb some of the world’s tallest dunes at Sossusvlei
A famous subject for photographers, the dunes here can reach up to 325 metres and make for spectacular hiking with fantastic views of the desert from their peaks.
24. Relax with a chimpanzee in Mahale National Park
Chimpanzees are our closest genetic match and it’s not hard to believe when you spend a bit of time watching them interact, use tools and express themselves in Tanzania’s Mahale National Park.
25. Amble down the Avenue of the Baobabs in Madagascar
An amazing collection of towering baobab trees lines the road from Morondava to Belon’i Tsiribihina in western Madagascar. Take a walk between them and feel dwarfed by their massive scale.
26. Climb Mount Kilimanjaro
Depending on how fit you are, it could take you between 5 and 9 days to climb to the 5,895m peak of Tanzania’s Mount Kilimanjaro. While it’s currently a snow capped volcano, global warming is melting the ice, so plan to get there sooner than later!
27. Go whitewater rafting down the Zambezi
Famous as the ‘wildest one-day whitewater run in the world’, the mighty Zambezi is a firm favourite for paddlers from around the globe. Be sure to take a guided trip down its waters though, because there are crocodiles in this river!
28. Witness the tree-climbing lions of Queen Elizabeth National Park
One of Africa’s strangest phenomenons is its prides of tree-climbing lions. While you’ll be able to spot these cats engaging in this odd behaviour in south western Uganda, you’ll also catch them at it in parts of the Serengeti and Lake Manyara National Park.
29. Explore the underwater world of Mauritius
Mauritius is home to some of the world’s best coral reefs and diverse marine life. Take a dip in these waters and you’ll find out why it’s such a popular destination for scuba divers and snorkelling.
30. Stargaze in the Kalahari
Take in the uninterrupted night skies in the Kalahari where you won’t find any pollution or city lights to distract from the sprawling Milky Way above your head.
31. Visit the historic Robben Island
Global icon Nelson Mandela spent 18 of his 27 years of imprisonment on this small island just off the coast of Cape Town. Take a tour here and you’ll get to visit the cell where he penned the beginnings of his famous memoir, Long Walk to Freedom.
32. Explore the ghost town of Kolmanskop
Namibia’s deserted mining town of Kolmanskop is eerie, having been slowly reclaimed by sand over the years. Photographers will love it for its ethereal scenery.
33. Take a dip in Devil’s Pool at Victoria Falls
Situated right on the edge of Victoria Falls, this naturally occurring infinity pool offers spectacular views of the roaring waters below and will surely take your breath away.
34. Go whale watching in Hermanus
Hermanus is just over an hour’s drive outside Cape Town and is one of the best places to come and see whales frolicking just off the cliffs. The best time to see them is between June and November.
35. Spend a night under the stars on a sleepout platform
Drift off to dreamland under the Milky Way on a raised platform while the animals of the wild roam the night below you – there isn’t a better way to fall asleep.