Africa is the wildlife enthusiasts and photographers dream destination. If you are new to backpacking in Africa then welcome to the second largest and one of the most bio-diverse continents on earth. It has the largest desert and the second largest rainforest in the world. Everything Africa does is on an epic scale, from big starry nights to powerful and electric thunderstorms over the savanna. Africa is considered by many people to be the earth’s Garden of Eden, home to elephants, lions, rhinos, gorillas, leopards, an amazing range of antelope to a multitude of smaller but equally fascinating animals. Africa, to put it rather quite simply is her abundant wildlife and vast beautiful wilderness.
Africa has long held a special place in the imagination of explores and adventurers wanting to unlock her secrets. There is just something about Africa that keeps pulling you back to her. She is the birth place of our species and no matter what side of the planet you find yourself on, once you have spent time there and experienced true Africa. You may find yourself changed forever and it may feel like she is always calling you back to her. Few places in the world have the energy, wildness and mystery all in one.
Backpacking in Africa
Africa is a very diverse continent, with each country, or even each part of a country having its own unique culture. While it is common for people in the West to refer to Africa as if it was a single country, one should remember the sheer size of the continent, and that Africa is not one country but 54 different countries, meaning that it is impossible to make generalizations of Africa as a whole.
Popular destinations for backpackers traveling in Africa are Morocco, Egypt, Kenya, Tanzania, Zanzibar, Namibia, Zambia, Botswana, South Africa, Ghana, Malawi, Rwanda, Congo, Zimbabwe, Lesotho and Mozambique. It can be difficult deciding where to start your journey to Africa. Each place offers a unique backpacking experience, different landscapes, cultures, food, people and history.
What to See and Do in Africa
There are a lot of adventure activities and amazing attractions for the backpacker in Africa. If you are looking for a tropical getaway then try relaxing and soak up the sun on the stunning beaches with crystal clear waters like those found in Mozambique, it is great place for scuba diving and seeing whale sharks. Looking for something a little dryer then grab a sand board and ride the massive sand dunes in Namibia.
If you are more adventurous, feeling fit and like a challenge, then try climb to the peak of Kilimanjaro or trek along the mountain tops of the Drakensberg in South Africa. Highly recommend a trip to Botswana to see the large elephant herds, Okavango Delta and the sunsets in the Kalahari Desert. Zambia is a popular destination for safaris and a good place to spot the big five animals of Africa.
Africa is not just for the outdoor backpacker and is not all bush, forests or deserts, there are also massive urban sprawls in Africa. Cities like Cape Town have become popular with tourists around the world. Cape Town especially has a modern, cosmopolitan feel to it. The first thing you will notice about Cape Town is a city of contrasts, where the extreme poor and the very rich live side by side.
The city is also near the meeting point of two great oceans, the Indian and Atlantic. Cape Town rests on the foot of the beautiful Table Mountain, give the residence a spectacular backdrop. There is access to soft white beaches and the wine lands near it are world renowned. There are a lot of hostels or accommodation options for the backpacker in Cape Town. Popular tours include a climb up Table Mountain, wine tasting and vineyard tours, shark cage diving and a ferry trip and tour of Robben Island.
If early civilizations are of interest to you then exploring the ancient ruins of Egypt and take a river cruise down the famous Nile River is a must. Morocco is also worth seen, many ancient cultures have passed through there leave their mark on the history of Africa.
Feel the need to connect with a distant relative, then visit the gorillas of the Congo and help conserve these magnificent great apes before they disappear forever. Take a drive through and watch the wildlife of the Serengeti or Kruger National park. This is just a handful of suggestions on what to do and see in Africa. It’s a big place and we have just scratched the surface.