African countries rarely hit a blip on peoples travel radar. Maybe it’s because of the negative portrayal, the steady media diet of constant war, famine and disease. In reality Africa is full of amazing places to visit and incredible things to experience, a place so vast and diverse that it is unlike anywhere else in the world. From the raw natural beauty and dramatic landscapes, to hands down the best destination on earth to view diverse animal life, from the fascinating traditional cultures mixed with modern flair to alluring beaches to die for. Africa offers some of the most amazing travel experiences in the world.
Looking for a travel destination in Africa? Here we list 5 underrated African destinations to consider for your next trip.
Mention Zimbabwe and the country’s negative perception becomes apparent from the outset. From government incompetence, political upheaval and economic woes. Forget What You’ve Heard, and Travel to Zimbabwe -Zimbabwe is back! 2017 ushered the post-Mugabe dawn and the country is gearing to reclaim its title as a premier safari destination.
A journey to Zimbabwe will take you through an unparalleled safari scene, case in point; the Hwange National Park (the third largest in Africa) where you can spot the Big Five (leopard, lion, rhino, elephant and buffalo) and the mana pools national park – unique in the sense that you’re allowed to walk around on foot without a guide.
Discover World Heritage–listed archaeological sites like the ruins of Great Zimbabwe, an ancient civilization, founded around the 11th century. Come face-to-face with the thunderous Victoria Falls, also known as Mosi-oa-Tunya or the Smoke that Thunders, this magnificent body of water cascades with full force into a deep crevice, shooting spray 400 meters into the sky. An awe inspiring scene that you can rest be assured will be imprinted in your memory for life.
This enigmatic southeast African country is one of the most stunning countries in the world yet least visited. Great swaths of turquoise Ocean and swaying palms, pristine coral reefs abounding in shoals of colorful fish, remote postcard-tropical islands, case in point; the Bazaruto Archipelago in the south and the exclusive private islands of the Quirimbas Archipelago near the Tanzanian border in the far north. All these make Mozambique the place to go for a classic tropical beach holidays.
Head for the Gorongosa National Park the subject of an award-winning National Geographic documentary Africa’s Lost Eden, for some of Africa’s most remote, exclusive and crowd-free game viewing.
Visit Maputo, the capital city, with its colonial-style architecture, castles, and forts, wide avenues lined with Jacaranda and flame trees, making it one of Africa’s most attractive capitals. Add to this a wide selection of hotels and restaurants, well-stocked supermarkets, shady sidewalk cafes and a lively cultural scene, it becomes clear Maputo is a requisite stop over if you happen to visit Mozambique.
Tanzania is not only stunningly beautiful, but it also brimming with abundant and varied world-class attractions. From the rooftop of Africa – Mount Kilimanjaro, to the expansive coastline with a sprinkling of breath-taking islands, such as the amazing spice island Zanzibar. Then there is the rich ecosystem that supports a massive range of wildlife, home to some of Africa’s largest game reserves from the plains of the iconic Serengeti, the geological uniqueness of the Ngorongoro Crater, to the little known Selous Game Reserve in the South.
Visit the Kitulo Plateau, especially during the rainy season when the plateau explodes with an ethereal display of floral bloom. Locals refer to it as Bustani ya Mungu or The Garden of God. With 350 species of vascular plants a number that includes 45 varieties of terrestrial orchid, botanists refer to the plateau as “the Serengeti of flowers.”
This sliver of a country in southern African is one of the lesser known destinations and clearly off the beaten track. Offering surprisingly diverse attractions, from a combination of little known parks and reserves, a massive freshwater lake and tremendous hiking opportunities through pristine highlands and vast plains.
Enjoy the dazzling views of Lake Malawi, Africa’s third-largest lake, offering stunningly gold sandy beaches, crystal clear water; perfect for freshwater snorkelling, diving kayaking or just chilling out on beach. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, it is home to the largest number of fish species of any lake in the world, thought to be between 500 and 1,000.
Shrouded in mist in Malawi’s Deep South, the imposing Mount Mulanje at 3000m, dominates the landscape. One of the most majestic sights in Malawi, the mountain offers magnificent scenery from pockets of mist-cowled forest and tea plantations spread out across the earth beneath to breath-taking waterfalls and pools. With well-defined trails and a collection of well-maintained huts along the trails in which travellers can spend the night, the mountain provides excellent hiking and rock climbing opportunities.
Chances are, you’ve not even heard of this country. Smack right in the middle of the Gulf of Tadjoura between Ethiopia, Eritrea and Somalia it is one of the smallest countries in Africa, but packing a big punch with lots of things to do!
The country offers intrepid travelers a new frontier offering otherworldly landscapes thanks to its unique geological makeup. From volcanic salt lakes, sunken plains, rocky canyons, limestone pillars belching out sulphuric steam.
The capital of Djibouti City is a fantastic place to explore the local markets and eat plenty of delicious fresh food. Be sure to take the two-day jeep trip to Lake Abbe (which has a terrain that will make you think you’ve landed on Mars!) and stay overnight in the nomad encampment. Finally, head back via Lake Assal, which is the second lowest place in the world and perfect for floating as it is saltier than the Dead Sea.
These are just five underrated African travel destinations worth a visit — there are so many more hidden gems to explore! Let me know what you think of these choices, or if there are any you think I’ve missed.