As the plane descended I secretly peaked out the cabin window at the landscape below: green and brown savannah, an odd looking tree here and there, and a low I-can’t-look-away African sun. It was my first time on the continent and the beginning of my wildest journey yet. The airplane skidded to a halt, and there I sat — staring twenty-seven months straight in the nose. The following is a list of four recommendations for things to see and do when you jump on the plane and travel to Africa.
Travel to Africa for the Animals
The African safari is one of those experiences that, if done properly, will make the meekest of us into loquacious storytellers back at the local watering hole.
An African safari isn’t just for the wealthy and newly retired. (However, congratulations if you fall into this camp!) In fact, you don’t even need to wear those clothes you see all safari-goers wearing. You know. Those clothes. With the hat!
There are many options. Want to sip afternoon tea while the elephants romp on the nearby tree? Feel like off-roading it in search for a big cat? What about sleeping in tents in the middle of the national park and hearing lions roar so loudly and so carefully that you swear you won’t make it out in one piece?
Pro-tip: When you travel to Africa remember that the continent isn’t merely one giant jungle gym for those lions, elephants, and giraffes. The wildlife is, for the most part, located inside of giant national parks and reservations.
Travel to Africa for Victoria Falls
I vaguely remember my fifth-grade geography teacher mumbling the words from a caption in one of our books.
Victoria falls — the smoke that thunders!
It didn’t mean anything then. But after visiting Victoria Falls about a dozen times, I can assure you that it indeed thunders. If you’re like me and can’t remember the waterfall unit in geography class, click here!
During the dry season, Victoria Falls is a shadow of its full glory. However, this is the perfect time to get into the devil’s pool. Think of it as the ultimate bathtub for adrenaline junkies and a surefire way to get at least four likes on your Instagram. During the wet season, Victoria Falls fills up and gushes out so much water that you’ll need a rain jacket for your rain jacket. Feeling lethargic after all that water slapping you in the face? Hike down to the bottom of the gorge and sun yourself on the giant boulders next to the whirlpool. Wave at the white water rafters as they zoom past.
Pro-tip: Victoria Falls is located on the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe. Spend the extra dough to visit the perspective of the falls from both Zambia and Zimbabwe. Each view is unique and worth the effort.
Travel to Africa to Cape Town
I am biting my lip by telling you this because I want it all for my own. Cape Town in and by itself is a perfect reason why you should travel to Africa. This South African city contains everything a modern traveler could want: coastal beauty, weekend markets, Table Mountain, vibrant neighborhoods, incredible food, and penguins.
Cape Town feels different than anywhere else in Africa. It possesses a certain charm and buoyancy immovable by touristy gimmicks or pretense.
If you’re wanting some fresh air to try hiking up to table mountain. The views of the surrounding area will result in you marching down exclaiming to your loved ones: “We’re moving here!”
Pro-tip: Before you get to Cape Town make sure to read some literature about Nelson Mandela. Then be sure to take the bumpy boat ride out to Robben Island to see where Mandela was imprisoned for many years.
Pro-tip #2: When you travel to African and land in Cape Town prepare for windy days! Don’t get caught on the beach when the wind picks up, or else you’re in for an eye full.
Travel to Africa for the People
When you go to Africa, you’ll soon discover that the people who call Africa home are incredibly inviting and kind. Whether you are traveling with friends or by yourself, it doesn’t matter. The local community will embrace you like a son or daughter, hand you a jug of the local brew, and then declare you a member of the family.
The further out you get from the lodges, hotels, and touristy red-zones the better. Out there, on the edges of your comfort zone will sit Mr. Opportunity. Mr. Opportunity wants to greet you. Mr. Opportunity wants to challenge you to a game of pool.
Pro-tip: When traveling in rural Africa eat what the locals are eating. People will respect you for it and invite you into the circle. If the individuals in the circle offer you, caterpillars always try at least one.
Obviously, this is merely four reasons why you should travel to Africa. And each of these grounds is a flashlight to the wall — my perspective. What’s missing is your perspective.