Top Ten African Adventures

We’ve travelled all across Africa – to Ethiopia, Kenya, Zambia, Madagascar, South Africa, Gabon, Cameroon, Nigeria, Niger, and Cape Verde – in search of the continent’s Top 10 adventures.

Top Ten African Adventures

We’ve travelled all across Africa – to Ethiopia, Kenya, Zambia, Madagascar, South Africa, Gabon, Cameroon, Nigeria, Niger, and Cape Verde – in search of the continent’s Top 10 adventures. You can watch the thrilling episode here

Two Burchell's zebra in the central Kruger National Park, South Africa by Nithin bolar k - Own work, CC BY-SA

Two Burchell’s zebra in the central Kruger National Park, South Africa by Nithin bolar k – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,

10. Kruger National Park, South Africa

In our choice of the continent’s top 10 adventures, Kruger National Park in South Africa, one of the largest and best game reserves in Africa comes in at Number 10. As one of the largest game reserves in Africa, it covers an area of 19,485 square kilometres (7,523 sq mi) in the provinces of Limpopo and Mpumalanga in northeastern South Africa, extending 360 kilometres (220 mi). All the Big Five game animals are found at Kruger National Park, which has more species of large mammals than any other African game reserve (at 147 species). Kruger houses 114 species of reptile, including black mamba, african rock pythons, and 3000 crocodiles. Thirty-three species of amphibians are found in the Park, as well as 50 fish species.

Trekking with the elegant Tuareg, Niger

Trekking with the elegant Tuareg, Niger

9. Tuareg Camel Caravans, Aïr Mountains, Niger

Next up is a visit to Tuareg trader’s camel caravans crossing the Sahara desert in Niger. The adventure travels with almost 100 camels, laden with vegetables, heading to a remote desert oasis where the produce is traded for salt. The Aïr Mountains or Aïr Massif in Tuareg: Ayăr; is a triangular massif, located in northern Niger, within the Sahara Desert. Here lies the oasis of Timia and the Tuareg, one of the most revered of the North African nomadic tribes. Renowned for their bravery, proud and warlike stance, the Tuareg, with their blue eyes peeking through long taguelmoust – a shawl or scarf that completely covers their face. The Tuareg are also famed for their ‘cavalcades’ – camel races through villages where a hundred rider race for the prize of a sword.

Trekking through the rainforest with the Baku

Trekking through the rainforest with the Baka

8. Baka tribal people, Cameroon

Exhibiting all the major climates and vegetation of the continent: coast, desert, mountains, rainforest, and savannah’s, Cameroon has been donned with the title of “Africa in miniature.” Cameroon’s southeastern rainforest is an incredible range of climates and the place to experiences pygmy forest culture at first hand. Here you can go hunting and fishing with the Baka pygmies and witness the initiation ceremony of a group of young boys. However, it’s important to be aware that much of the Baka’s ancestral land has either been designated as national parks – Boumba Bek, Nki and Lobeke – or awarded to safari hunting companies with the Baka having been stripped of all rights to it.

Boophis reticulatus at Ranomafana National Park, Madagascar by Axel Strauß

Boophis reticulatus at Ranomafana National Park, Madagascar by Axel Strauß

7. Ranomafana National Park, Madagascar

 is place to trek through the rainforest in search of the lemurs, unique to Madagascar. Ranomafana was created in 1991 after a new species of lemur, Madagascar’s national animal, was discovered in the rainforest around the Namorona River. it is home to several rare species of flora and fauna including the recently discovered golden bamboo lemur, the greater bamboo lemur, black and white ruffed lemur and Milne-Edwards sifaka, and over 120 species of frogs. Pitta like ground rollers, blue vangas, short-legged ground rollers and brown mesites can also be seen.

Pico do Foco volcano, Cape Verde

Pico do Foco volcano, Cape Verde

6. Pico de Fogo volcano, Cape Verde

Cape Verde is adventure Number 6, climbing the still active Pico de Fogo volcano – at nearly 3000 metres high, overlooking the ocean, it’s a spectacular ascent. Fogo is a hotspot volcanic island and the youngest and most active volcano in the Cape Verde Islands, a short chain of volcanic islands that generally are younger at the western end, formed as the African Plate moved towards the east over the hotspot. The mountain’s slopes are used to grow coffee, while its lava is used as building material. Near its peak is a caldera and a small village, Chã das Caldeiras, is inside this caldera.

A member of the Mursi tribe in Ethiopia

A member of the Mursi tribe in Ethiopia

5. Hamar and Mursi tribal peoples around Mago National Park, Ethiopia

The southern border of Ethiopia is home to the remote Hamar and Mursi tribes. The Mursi experience a force greater than themselves, which they call Tumwi. This is usually located in the Sky, although sometimes Tumwi manifests itself as a thing of the sky (ahi a tumwin), such as a rainbow or a bird. You can witness the Humar’s remarkably unique customs and ways of life such as fortune telling from a goat’s intestine or the ritual of bull jumping initiation ceremony, and stick fighting. From here you can travel to the town of Arba Minch and the Mago National Park, established in 1979, making it the newest of Ethiopia’s several National Parks with its highest point being Mount Mago.

 

Ogooué River, Gabon, The Ogooué Basin includes several major conservation reserves, including Lope National Park.

Ogooué River, Gabon, The Ogooué Basin includes several major conservation reserves, including Lope National Park.

4. Lope National Park in Gabon, west central Africa.

Although the terrain is mostly rain forest, in the north the park contains the last remnants of grass savannas created in Central Africa during the last Ice Age, 15,000 years ago. Some of the mammal species include the very rarely seen mandrills, which are amongst the most endangered and spectacular primates in all of Africa as well as forest elephant, western lowland gorilla, chimpanzee, forest buffalo, sun-tailed guenon, leopard, black colobus, sitantunga and yellow-backed duiker. Bird species include rosy bee-eater, crowned hawk eagle, Dja river warbler, great blue turaco, grey-necked rock fowl (picathartes), the chocolate-backed kingfisher, emerald cuckoo and black guinea fowl.

Mount Kenya, photographed by the Globe Trekker team

Mount Kenya, photographed by the Globe Trekker team

3. Mount Kenya

Climbing Africa’s second highest mountain Mount Kenya (after Kilimanjaro), which rises to around 17,000 feet is a spectacular ascent, and despite being located just 10 miles from the equator, there’s plenty of snow at the summit. The peaks of Mount Kenya are almost all from a volcanic origin with majority being located near the centre of the mountain. The main ethnic groups living around Mount Kenya are Kikuyu, Ameru, Embu and Maasai. The first three are closely related. They all see the mountain as an important aspect of their cultures. All these cultures arrived in the Mount Kenya area in the last several hundred years.

Horseman at Kano Durbar, 2006, by Andy Waite

Horseman at Kano Durbar, 2006, by Andy Waite

2. Annual Durbar festival, Nigeria

We are off to the far north of Nigeria for Adventure number 2, to the remote village of Machina in the Northeastern Yorbe State of Nigeria, where an extraordinary desert festival called a Durbar takes place. A Durbar is an annual festival celebrated in several cities in northern Nigeria usually staged during the Islamic festivals of Eid el-Fitr and Eid el-Adha. The prominent ones are in: Kano, Bauchi, Katsina, Bida, Machina, Fika, Hadejia, Suleja, Borgu, Zazzau (Zaria).It begins with participants riding their horses to the prayer ground, followed by a parade of the Emir and his entourage on horse accompanied by singing from traditional musicians and praise singers and finally ending at the Emir’s palace. Chiefs, desert dwellers, and some commoners participate by riding on lavishly decorated horses to greet their Emir. Each horse may wear fabrics and ornaments worth thousands of Naira.

Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe

Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe

  1. Victoria Falls

    And finally, we journey down the mighty Zambezi River by canoe, braving its rapids to reach the incredible Victoria Falls or or Mosi-oa-Tunya (which translated by Tokaleya in Tonga reads: The Smoke That Thunders). The falls are located on the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe. At around 100 metres high, and a mile wide in the rainy season, the Victoria Falls form the largest sheet of falling water in the world. The entire volume of the Zambezi River pours through the First Gorge’s 110-meter-wide exit before entering a zigzagging series of gorges designated by the order in which the river reaches them. Water entering the Second Gorge makes a sharp right turn and has carved out a deep pool there called the Boiling Pot which can be reached via a steep footpath from the Zambian side. Its surface is smooth at low water, but at high water is marked by enormous, slow swirls and heavy boiling turbulence. Objects—and humans—that are swept over the falls, including the occasional hippopotamus or crocodile, are frequently found swirling about here or washed up at the north-east end of the Second Gorge.

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