Part of the magic of Africa is experiencing special moments and strong emotions that are forever etched in your memory – so let us know what your No. 1 is.
1. THE WONDER OF BUSHMEN ROCK ART
The indigenous people of southern Africa have long-vanished but their legacy remains as beautiful Rock Art paintings and engravings on rocks and cave walls. These ancient paintings were created up-to 3,000 years ago and portray their hunter-gatherer lifestyle and specific San experience of spirit world journeys. Sadly some of their last paintings depict sailing ships, people in Dutch costumes and men with rifles – innocent records of the 17th century European invasion that would seal their fate.
Where to Go: The Drakensberg mountains in KwaZulu-Natal boast the greatest concentration of San Bushman rock art in South Africa, much of it in remote beautiful surroundings.
The Sevilla Rock Art Trail in The Cederberg region, just two hours from Cape Town brings you to a range of craggy mountains in which there are over 2 500 different San rock art sites.
2. FEEL THE HEARTBEAT OF A MOROCCAN SOUK
To lose yourself in the souks of Marrakech is to find yourself in a city with a heart. The lifeblood of daily trade pumps through the alleyways with its vibrant, exciting and chaotic feel.
There are stalls selling fresh oranges, dates and piles of roasted almonds. The sights and sound of the haggling vendors, selling everything from household goods to leather poufs, kitchenware and tourist crafts is noisy and overwhelming . The experience is strangely exotic for all its mundaneness. Yes, this is the place to lose yourself and experience the heartbeat of Marrakech.
Where to Go: Morocco
3. THE FISH RIVER CANYON GRANDEUR
Photo by Chris Davies
The Canyon is startlingly beautiful and a soulful place to get up-close and personal with Mother Earth. The road there is intriguing; perpetually climbing and then swiftly dropping. Then comes the surprise – The huge gash in the earth, which is the Fish River Canyon! One moment there’s a rolling, rocky landscape; the next you are gazing down into one of the world’s largest canyons. Walk along the rim, taking in the changing views. Drive down through walls of rock to a pool of naturally hot mineral water amid this deep river valley. Take the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to hike through its depths from the hiking trails. The canyon grandeur will take your breath away.
Where to Go: The Fish River Canyon, is the largest canyon in Africa, and the second most visited tourist attraction in Namibia.
4. SWIM WITH AFRICA’S OCEAN GIANTS
Feel the thrill on a close encounter with some of the world’s largest sea creatures and experience a journey of a lifetime. Being able to swim with whale sharks, manta rays and humpback whales all in one day is amazingly mind-blowing. Mozambique is one of the very few places in the world where this opportunity exists. Snorkel in the clear blue waters and witness the immense beauty whilst diving with giant manta rays. The feeling is like being surrounded by graceful magic carpets, while snorkelling with a peaceful and harmless whale shark (the world’s largest fish) is both sobering and emotionally stirring.
Where to Go: Mozambique has much to offer with long, dune-fringed beaches, turquoise waters abounding in shoals of colourful fish, well-preserved corals & graceful dhows gliding on the waters with billowing sails.
5. LOSE YOURSELF IN EXOTIC STONE TOWN – ZANZIBAR
The historical port and former slaving centre of Zanzibar, Stone Town is renowned for its jumble of cobbled alleyways – perfect for losing yourself in. Whilst you dodge donkeys, market traders and craftsmen, keep a look out for Stone Town’s rich architectural blend of African, Arabic, Indian & European influences. Once the historic centre of the ivory, gold and slave trade, the ancient maze of narrow streets that make up Zanzibar’s ‘Old Town’ are now a web of markets, shops and craft centres. Frequent calls to prayer from the mosques, along with the hustle and bustle of town, are part of everyday life here. It’s a lively, vibrant atmosphere.
Where to Go: Zanzibar, Tanzania. Perfect combination with a Tanzania Safari & Zanzibar Beach with a night or two in Stone Town.
6. THE SONG OF THE INDRI – MADAGASCAR
There are at least 50 species of lemurs in Madagascar – but none has the tingle factor of the Indri when it greets the first touch of the sun in the rainforests of Madagascar. This is a large animal on a miniature island with a colossal voice. Imagine the song of a whale amplified – All this from a black-and-white teddy bear with comical cute stuck-on ears and round yellow eyes.
Where to Go: Madagascar – home to thousands of animal species, such as lemurs, found nowhere else, plus rainforests, beaches and reefs.
7. STAND ON TOP OF TABLE MOUNTAIN – SOUTH AFRICA
Table Mountain is a flat-topped mountain forming an iconic landmark overlooking the city of Cape Town in South Africa. Throughout Cape Town, the mountain exerts a perpetual pull – forming a scenic background for photographs or a place from where you can take a breath-taking photo of Cape Town. At sunset, the sky blazes crimson behind Robben Island, reddening the magnificent rocks & providing incredible vistas of Robben Island, the City & Cape Peninsula. (The rocks on the mountain are over 600,000,000 years old making Table Mountain one of the oldest mountains in the world). Immerse yourself in the magnificence of the Table Mountain Top and enjoy peace and solitude on the picnic sites located around the rim.
Where to Go: Cape Town, South Africa
8. ISLAND HOP THROUGH THE SEYCHELLES
With a network of daily internal flights or boat transfers between most Islands, experiencing more than one island during your stay will add a dimension to your holiday experience that you will never forget.
Perhaps you are tempted by Praslin’s “Garden of Eden” or the castaway beach on La Digue – or wish for escapism on one of the desert island hideaways. Simply island-hop and do all four. The truth is, whether you choose a day excursion to one of the many granitic islands, or a longer stay on one of the island hideaways, Seychelles has something exceptional to offer for everybody. It has everything you’d expect from one of the world’s most exotic and desirable holiday destinations.
Where to Go: The Seychelles
9. WILDLIFE AT A WATERHOLE
Safaris are not complete without watching a waterhole surrounded by wildlife. In the dry season, water is life, and to this place comes all the wildlife for miles around. From dawn to dusk, waterholes are natural arenas with moments of high drama and unforgettable beauty. Sit here long enough and you’ll see it all. Elephants march in to drink their fill and then disperse again to forage where they can in the dry bush. Flocks of doves, nervous impala, jumpy zebra and with luck, a lion pride, waiting in ambush or slaking their thirst after a kill can all be viewed from the comfort of your lodge verandah.
Where to Go: Kenya, Tanzania, Botswana, South Africa
10. FREEDOM ON A CLASSIC MOBILE SAFARI
Experience unrivalled game viewing and explore the most untouched areas of wilderness in Africa. Nothing beats the sense of freedom you get by going off the beaten track and into the more remote and wild areas on a traditional mobile safari.
The senses of taste, scent and sight are all enhanced on a mobile safari. Everything you experience on a mobile safari will heighten the senses. It is as if your soul tunes in to some long-forgotten needs.
Luxury mobile safaris are about an authentic safari experience, for an intimate, exclusive wilderness experience, without sacrificing any comfort or convenience.
After the afternoon drive, and at the end of the journey, arriving to find a new camp set up in a new location, you linger moments to savour the sunset. Dinner is served around the camp fire under the stars. The moment is enveloped by the African night, where each little sound carries into your soul.
Where to Go: Kenya, Tanzania, Zambia, Botswana, Namibia
Write to us and tell us your No. 1 Best of Africa Experience.