Ever since I visited the region of Southern Africa, I cannot stop raving about the trip. Why? Because of the raw nature, contrasted with the modern cities, the face-to-face encounter with wild animals, once-in-a-lifetime adventures you can find on every corner, delicious cuisine, the diversity of cultures, and some of the best beaches in the world. In terms of prices, Southern Africa is a jaw-dropping budget destination.
Actually, I am surprised that so many people are avoiding this part of the world as their vacation destination. I believe that they are scared of the unknown. That is why I decided to share my amazing experience with you. Here are my top five destinations in Southern Africa that would drop the jaws of any seasoned backpacker!
1. Cape Town
Cape Town is the jewel of South Africa. It is lying on two oceans, the Indian and Atlantic, beneath the impressive flat-topped Table Mountain, surrounded by winelands. Although the main city area is quite vibrant, and boasts world-class accommodation and restaurants, the city still has that authentic relaxed and friendly African atmosphere.
Today, Cape Town has a reputation for tolerance, as one of the culturally most diverse places in Africa, but the memories of apartheid are still painful. I was so deeply touched by the District Six Museum displays and the heartbreaking stories of the staff, who were mostly the forcibly removed inhabitants of the District themselves.
2. Victoria Falls
Victoria Falls is breathtaking even on a photo, so try to imagine how it feels to be standing before ‘the smoke that thunders’ in person. The falls are a must-see wonder. And you must get soaking wet from the 500 million litres of water that plummet over the 108m high cliff.
The activities you can do here range from viewing from the look-out points at a safe distance, and lazy boat rides on the Zambezi, to bungee jumping and helicopter flights over the falls, if you are bold enough.
3. Bazaruto Archipelago
If there is paradise on earth, then it must be located on the islands of the Bazaruto Archipelago in Mozambique. The turquoise waters that are home to colourful fish, dolphins, dugongs, the coral reefs with over 100 coral species, pink flamingos, white sand beaches, Nile crocodiles, have earned their reputation as the ‘Pearl of the Indian Ocean’. The entire area of about 1400 sq km is now under protection as a marine conservation area.
The archipelago offers a unique blend of African, Portuguese and Arab influences that cannot be found anywhere else in the world. If you intend to visit Mozambique any time soon, head over to propertymaputo.com to get the info on the hottest real estate deals and availability.
4. Etosha National Park
Etosha is God’s zoo. It is the third largest game reserve in Africa. Apart from being one of the world’s best wildlife-gazing spots, Etosha is famous for its Pan – a flat, saline desert which is so large that it can be seen from space. Although the land is mainly barren, it is abundant with wildlife. In Etosha, you do not have to look for animals, they will come to you. Just wait by one of the many scattered waterholes and watch while a host of wild animals come by searching for water.
5. The Caprivi Strip
The Caprivi Strip is one of Namibia’s most remote and exquisite parks. This wetland area is stretching between four countries – Namibia, whose park it is, Angola, Botswana and Zambia, and it is interspersed by four major rivers: the Kwando, the Okavango, the Chobe and the Zambezi. The region aspires to be the centre of ecotourism, and I can see why. It is the habitat of the endangered wild African dog, in addition to a wide range of breathtaking flora and fauna.
Not many places in the world can top Southern Africa.
Oliver Hyde is an experienced business consultant from the UK. His job allows him to travel, which also happens to be one of his greatest passions.
Find out more about his travels on twitter.com/HydeROliver