Admittedly, Africa doesn’t get a lot of positive coverage in international media. Granted, much happens on the continent that isn’t positive, but the fact remains that many who haven’t visited remain ignorant to the intriguing side of Africa. And, inasmuch as there are negatives, the positives are far greater in number. Travel across the continent and you’ll be enchanted by the welcoming spirit of the people, a geniality that’s ingrained in the culture. Then, there’s the landscape that’s so beautiful that the word to describe it hasn’t been invented yet. In this article, we’ll take a look at the famous things in Africa – the reasons you should make it a point to visit. Scroll down to find out more.
Crowned as the longest river in Africa and in contention for being the longest in the world, it’s no doubt the Nile is a very famous feature on the continent. This river stretches from Tanzania and snakes its way north, all the way to Egypt, cutting through a total of about 11 countries.
The Nile’s significance cannot be gainsaid. It’s a major source of water, helps in the production of hydroelectricity, and, of course, a huge source of fish. Then, there’s the small fact that the River Nile attracts tourists, some on educational trips, while others simply want to see the river that rivals the Amazon River.
Nile River Dinner Cruise in Cairo
Duration: 3 hours
2. Mouthwatering cuisine
Africa is a continent that’s diverse, not only in its landscape and climate, but also in its people. The cultures and traditions of Africa are variegated, while the languages spoken are in the thousands. One country alone can have hundreds of different communities, each with its own way of life, each with its own cuisine. This is why Africa is famous for its wide assortment of dishes, stemming from each culture.
If you’re a foodie, you’ll fall in love with the variety of dishes in Africa, be them meat-based or from traditional vegetables. If you’re in South Africa, you should try some ‘biltong’, which is cured and dried meat slices. In West Africa, there’s Nigeria’s 'jollof rice’ or Senegal’s 'mafe’, and in East Africa, there’s 'pilau rice’ and 'ugali’.
3. Wildlife and national parks
If you know Africa for nothing else, you should at least know it for its wildlife. Famous for coining the term ‘safari’, which is actually Swahili for ‘journey’, this is where you get to see the big five: the lion, elephant, buffalo, rhino, and leopard. Africa’s wildlife is its pride and joy, bringing in tourists from parts of the world where the only animals are caged in zoos.
Here, you get to explore vast grasslands, where the fascinating creatures are in their natural habitat. With world-renowned marvels, like the Great Wildebeest Migration, there’s no argument that the continent is a Mecca for wildlife enthusiasts and nature lovers.
4. World-renowned personalities
History is made by people who choose to go against the grain – those who are a bit eccentric. Africa has its own share of influential personalities whose work left a mark, not just on the continent, but in the whole world. There’s Nelson Mandela, Desmond Tutu, Wangari Maathai, and Kofi Annan. Do these names ring a bell? There are numerous others with African roots, who continue to make waves in different industries.
The Ancient Egyptian civilization is one of the world’s oldest, known to have first risen in about 3,000 BC. It is as far back as this time that the first pyramids were built to act as tombs for their leaders, the pharaohs. Therefore, these structures are recorded to be thousands of years old and have withstood the vagaries of time to remain standing to this date.
It isn’t just the fact that the pyramids are ancient, it’s also the level of architectural prowess with which they were built, at a time when technology was primitive. These facts earned them a place among the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, making them a symbol of Egypt’s tourism industry.
Giza, Dahshur, Saqqara and Memphis Pyramids Private Day Trip
Duration: 9 hours
6. Diverse cultures and languages
Above, in number four, we saw how Africa boasts an array of traditional cuisine, a consequence of the continent’s cultural diversity. Each country in Africa has numerous indigenous communities, each speaking a different language. What weaves the people together is their national language, the tongue spoken by everyone. Then, there’s the official language, the one that the colonial powers left in the countries they ruled. This language could be English, French, or Portuguese, depending on the country.
If you’re keeping count, a child born in any African country is likely to grow up speaking at least three languages: the native tongue, the national language, and the official language. This diversity, of course, isn’t unique to Africa but is certainly one that warrants a spot on our list of famous things.
7. Sahara Desert
Famous for being the world’s largest hot desert, the Sahara sits within the African borders, taking up an area of real estate that’s about the same size as the United States. Most of North Africa is engulfed by this desert, with about a dozen countries within it, including parts of Sudan, Nigeria, and Burkina Faso.
Certainly, the Sahara is synonymous with heat, drought, and hunger, however, this marvel of nature also attracts millions of tourists and the countries that leverage this have ended up reaping big rewards. Morocco and Egypt, for instance, welcome a high number of visitors who can’t wait to go on a desert safari.
Each year, from around July, tourists head to East Africa hoping to catch a sight of a wonder of the new world: the Great Wildebeest Migration. This is the largest overland migration in the world, involving millions of wildebeests, accompanied by a few other animals, like antelopes and zebras. Their arduous journey starts at the Serengeti, in Tanzania, and leads them across the border into Kenya’s Maasai Mara, a journey that’s headlined by the dramatic crossing of the Mara River. If you’ve never been on a safari, the best time to start is during this magnificent event.
8 Days Great Wildebeest Calving Migration Safari from Arusha
Duration: 8 days
Evidence from paleontological discoveries suggests that humankind was born in Africa. Historical sites in East and South Africa are spots where fossils of early man have been unearthed, dating back millions of years. Archaeologists continue to marvel at these finds that help piece together man’s evolution, bringing us closer to believing that Africa truly is the cradle of mankind.
Full-Day Cradle of Humankind Safari Tour
Duration: 8 hours
Anyone who doesn’t live in a bubble has heard of Mt. Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest mountain. Its look is distinctive: it’s a flat-topped crest, crowned by white snow. The majesty of Kilimanjaro is discernible from a distance and, as you get closer, you feel its allure to try and scale it. Nestled in Kilimanjaro National Park, the country that stakes the claim to this stunning feature is Tanzania, though it sits close to the border of Kenya.
Ascending the mountain is an experience that many yearn for and a challenge that millions have overcome. If ever you’re in East Africa, make a plan to see this imposing feature for yourself and find out what all the fuss is about.
Mount Kilimanjaro Short Trek from Arusha
Duration: 1 day
An experience of a lifetime in Africa
If you’ve been deferring your trip to Africa, there’s no better time to finally visit. With our list of famous things above, we certainly hope you are compelled enough to get on a flight. Pick a country in Africa and prepare for an experience of a lifetime.
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