CNN Travel's 26 of the Most Stunning Places to Visit in Africa
With its expansive landscapes and formidable animal life, the world’s second-biggest continent is arguably the best for photographers.
Throw in that sense of being in a place that hasn’t changed for centuries and sometimes millennia, and you get some of the most inspiring, and inspired, spots on the planet.
It’s not the river they need to worry about.A photo won’t capture the thunder of hooves on dirt as more than a million wildebeest and several hundred thousand zebra make their annual migration, but still, this is one for the top of the pile.
The migration is actually a year-round event as the animals move from Tanzania’s Ngorongoro Reserve in January, up through the Serengeti around June and hit Kenya’s Masai Mara around September, before journeying south again.
The Great Migration, Tanzania
Table Mountain, South Africa
Cable car rides are available to the top of the mesa, giving great views, fantastic sunrises/sunsets and a great photo. Challenge: try and limit yourself to 50 pics.
Djmaa el Fna, Morocco
As night falls, the vendors are joined by tribal drummers, ladyboy dancers and mobile restaurateurs selling delicious grilled meats, bread and salad as the smoke rises above their stalls till past midnight.
Sossusvlei Dunes, Namibia
The dunes have developed over millions of years, the result of material flowing from the Orange River into the Atlantic, carried north and returned again to land by the surf.
Climbing the dunes yields breathtaking views, including the Deadvlei, a ghostly expanse of dried white clay punctuated by skeletons of ancient camelthorn trees.
Mountain gorillas, Rwanda
Various operators run tours tracking silverbacks and their troupes in the dense forest.
Victoria Falls, Zambia and Zimbabwe
Since then thousands have enjoyed the spray from the 108-meter high cascade, which was once recorded flowing at 12,800 cubic meters per second — double that of Niagara’s highest flow.
Activities in the area include bouldering and rustic cave camping as well as multi-day safaris.
Sahara Dunes, Morocco
The foot of the Merzouga Dunes is the ultimate location for star-gazing, totally free of light pollution.
Pyramids of Giza, Egypt
The most famous of the structures at Giza, near Cairo, the Pyramid of King Cheops was built around 2650 BC from 2.5 million blocks of limestone.
Its sides are oriented exactly to the north, south, east and west.
The Chephren pyramid, built by Cheops’ son, is similar in size and incorporates the entrances to a burial chamber which still contains the large granite sarcophagus of King Chephren.
The pyramid of Mycerinus is smaller than both and all three are surrounded by other smaller pyramids and dozens of tombs.
Nyika Plateau National Park, Malawi
The eastern border of the plateau forms the wall of the Great Rift Valley.
The great domes of hills have gentle slopes, making Nyika perfect for both trekking and mountain biking as well as Jeep exploration.
Antelope and zebra abound, and the park has one of the highest densities of leopard in Central Africa.
Makgadikgadi Pans, Botswana
But it can transform in an instant during winter, if rains have been good enough to make lush grass sprout, bringing a stampede of wildlife to break the silence including zebra, wildebeest and flamingos.
Draa Valley, Morocco
Zagora, at the southern end, makes a good base with decent hotels and restaurants. Allow five hours to reach the Draa from Marrakech via a spectacular route across the Atlas mountains — it’s best not to self-drive.
Although the Sphinx has been thought of as female, many scholars believe the face is that of King Chefren.
Mount Mulanje, Malawi
The mountain is distinguished by giant basins of rock and narrow gullies cut by fast-flowing streams. A strenuous trek leads to magnificent viewpoints.
En route, expect to encounter monkeys, hares, voles and a carpet of enchanting wildflowers after the rain. Large numbers of butterflies are another feature.
Riding Safari, Kenya
Travelers can gallop alongside the stripey beasts in the Masai Mara, covering up to 100 kilometers in a week.
Wonders of the Nile, Egypt
The highpoint is the Valley of the Kings, with its monumental statues, and the magnificent Kom Ombo Temple, north of Aswan on the east bank.
The Southern Cross, Zambia
The constellation has appeared in various cultures in various ways, not least with a reference in the Australian national anthem.
This lake has become famous for the greatest bird spectacle in the world, with swathes of vibrant pink filling the alkaline lake and the huge sky.
Lower Zambezi, Zambia
Sports fishermen and women can also be accommodated at various of the camps and lodges on the banks of the river.
Bazaruto Archipelago, Mozambique
This award-winning boutique hotel set on a remote desert island is set within a Marine National Park, giving the chance to see whales, dolphins and dugong.
Nxia Pan National Park, Botswana
Their fruit apparently tastes a little like sherbet.
The Nxai Pan park is great for viewing the vast, salt-rich pans that characterize the Kalahari and is also known for lion, leopard and cheetah and unusually large herds of giraffe.
Fish River Canyon, Namibia
Rhinos at Solio Reserve, Kenya
Nyiragongo Volcano, Virunga National Park, Eastern Congo
Rising through lush rainforests and alpine meadows, climbers finally cross a barren lunar landscape to reach the twin summit, often above the clouds.
Lake Malawi, Malawi
The lake has more tropical fish than any lake in the world — 1,300 species — and the freshwater diving is great.
The bio-diversity has been recognised by UNESCO, which has made Lake Malawi National Park, the world’s first freshwater park, a World Heritage Site.
The first version of this article was posted on 5 Mar 2014 at 3:49 PM, and it cited a list of CNN Travel’s 26 of the Most Stunning Places to Visit in Africa.
The latest version is based on the above and CNN’s updated article ‘Africa Amazing Places’, accessible at “https://www.cnn.com/travel/article/africa-amazing-places/index.html”