When we travel it is often to locales deemed “tourist friendly” : we gorge on ice cream from our favourite gelato shop in Naples, or canoodle on the sandy beaches of Roatan or, the more adventurous, take celebratory sips of Godfather beer in tin mugs on their last day of a hiking trip through northern India.
It’s almost as if we view the world we inhabit in two dimensions — the places that are safe and picture-worthy and the spaces we read salacious stories of corruption, violence and poverty in the news but would never fathom visiting without a guide (one that doubles as a security guard, preferably).
A road trip through Dakar, St-Louis and Ross-Bethio (in Senegal) or a drive through the Quiver Tree Forest or getting lost in the Giant’s Playground in Namibia sounds alluring but also fraught with danger.
The reality is that the beautiful and vast continent of Africa is a stunning amalgam of cultures, narratives, breath-taking sights and adventures. Better yet, it is no longer a destination for the bold traveller: rife with tour operators (as well as Airbnb rentals), countries like Ghana, Ethiopia and Benin, can be explored solo or professionally lead.
Here are just a few sights to fuel your Africa wanderlust.
(pictures from Fullsuitcase.com)
Deadvlei is a white clay pan located near the more famous salt pan of Sossusvlei, inside the Namib-Naukluft Park in Namibia. Also written DeadVlei or Dead Vlei, its name means “dead marsh” (from English dead, and Afrikaans vlei, a lake or marsh in a valley between the dunes).
Cape Cross is a protected area owned by the government of Namibia under the name Cape Cross Seal Reserve. The reserve is the home of one of the largest colonies of Cape fur seals in the world.
Walvis Bay (“Whale Bay”) is a city in Namibia and the name of the bay on which it lies. Being rich in plankton and marine life, these waters also drew large numbers of southern right whales (and flamingos!).
Touba (“Felicity”) is the second most populated Senegalese city after Dakar. It is the holy city of Mouridism and the burial place of its founder, Shaikh Aamadu Bàmba Mbàkke. Next to his tomb lies a large mosque, completed in 1963.
The House of Slaves (Maison des Esclaves) and its Door of No Return is a museum and memorial to the Atlantic slave trade on Gorée Island, 3 km off the coast of the city of Dakar, Senegal.
The Maasai are a Nilotic ethnic group inhabiting southern Kenya and northern Tanzania. Traditionally, the Maasai diet consisted of raw meat, raw milk, and raw blood from cattle.
Hot air balloons over The Serengeti National Park, a Tanzanian national park in the Serengeti ecosystem in the Mara and Simiyu regions. It is famous for its annual migration of over 1.5 million white-bearded (or brindled) wildebeest and 250,000 zebra and for its numerous Nile crocodile and honey badger.
Chefchaouen or Chaouen (“Horns”) is a city in northwest Morocco. It is the chief town of the province of the same name, and is noted for its buildings in shades of blue.
Erg Chebbi is one of Morocco’s two Saharan ergs – large seas of dunes formed by wind-blown sand. The dunes of Erg Chebbi reach a height of up to 150 meters in places and altogether it spans an area of 50 kilometers from north to south and up to 5–10 kilometers from east to west lining the Algerian border.
La Digue is the third largest inhabited island of the Seychelles in terms of population, lying east of Praslin and west of Felicite Island. Pictured, Anse Sous d’Argent beach.
Breathtaking sights, don’t you think?