Africa is a continent known for its stunning natural beauty and diverse ecosystems. From towering mountains to vast deserts and majestic waterfalls, Africa is home to some of the world’s most spectacular natural landmarks.
These African natural landmarks are not only visually impressive but also play an important role in the continent’s ecosystem, providing habitats for a wide range of plant and animal species.
Fun Fact: Victoria Falls is not only the largest waterfall in the world, but also one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World. Cool, huh?
What to See or Do: Obviously, you have to check out the falls themselves, but you can also go on a sunset cruise down the Zambezi River or take a helicopter ride for an epic view.
Highlight: For an adrenaline rush like no other, take a dip in the Devil’s Pool – a natural pool right at the edge of the falls where you can swim right up to the edge and peer over the edge.
Travel Tips: You’re gonna get wet, so bring a waterproof camera and wear quick-drying clothes or a poncho. Visit during the shoulder season (April-May or September-November) to avoid the crowds.
Located In/Near: Victoria Falls straddles the border of Zambia and Zimbabwe, so you can easily explore both sides.
Fun Fact: Mount Kilimanjaro is the highest peak in Africa and the tallest freestanding mountain in the world.
What to See or Do: Obviously, climbing the mountain is the main event, but if that’s not your thing, you can still explore the surrounding forests and wildlife.
Highlight: Uh, reaching the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro is a pretty epic feat, don’t you think?
Travel Tips: Get in shape beforehand and acclimate to the altitude as best you can. Consider hiring a guide to help you navigate the climb.
Located In/Near: Mount Kilimanjaro is in Tanzania, close to the border with Kenya.
Fun Fact: The Sahara is the largest hot desert in the world, spanning an area of over 3.6 million square miles.
What to See or Do: Camel trekking, sandboarding, stargazing, and exploring ancient ruins are just a few of the activities you can do in the desert.
Highlight: Seeing the sun set over the dunes is an unforgettable experience.
Travel Tips: Bring plenty of water and sun protection, and dress in light, loose clothing. Consider hiring a guide to help you navigate the vast expanse of the desert.
Located In/Near: The Sahara spans across several countries in North Africa, including Morocco, Egypt, and Algeria.
Fun Fact: The Nile River is the longest river in the world, stretching over 4,000 miles.
What to See or Do: Take a Nile River cruise to explore ancient temples, tombs, and ruins, or try your hand at whitewater rafting or kayaking.
Highlight: Visiting the Valley of the Kings and exploring the temples of Luxor and Karnak are must-dos for any history buff.
Travel Tips: Stay hydrated and bring plenty of sunscreen. Consider hiring a guide or joining a tour group to fully experience the historical and cultural significance of the river.
Located In/Near: The Nile River flows through several countries in North Africa, including Egypt, Sudan, and Ethiopia.
Serengeti National Park
Fun Fact: The Serengeti is home to the largest animal migration in the world, with over a million wildebeest and zebras making the trek each year.
What to See or Do: Go on a safari to spot the Big Five (lions, leopards, elephants, rhinos, and buffalo) and witness the epic wildlife migration.
Highlight: Watching a cheetah hunt its prey or seeing a lion pride lazing in the sun are once-in-a-lifetime experiences.
Travel tips: Visit during the dry season from June to October for the best wildlife viewing opportunities. Be prepared for long drives and bumpy roads during your safari tours. Bring warm clothing as it can get cold at night.
Movie/book references: The Serengeti is featured in numerous nature documentaries, including the BBC’s “Planet Earth” and Disney’s “The Lion King.”
Located in/near: Tanzania, East Africa. The Serengeti is a wild and beautiful place that should be on every adventurer’s bucket list.
Fun fact: Did you know that Table Mountain is over 260 million years old? It’s one of the oldest mountains in the world!
What to see or do: Hike to the top of Table Mountain for stunning views of Cape Town and the ocean. Take the cable car up for a faster ride and breathtaking views. Try rock climbing or abseiling for an adrenaline rush.
Highlight: The views from the top of Table Mountain are truly unforgettable. It’s a must-visit spot in Cape Town.
Travel tips: Check the weather before heading up to the mountain. Bring plenty of water and snacks for the hike. Be aware of the baboons that can sometimes be found on the trails.
Movie/book references: Table Mountain is featured in the movie “Safe House” and the book “Disgrace” by J.M. Coetzee.
Located in/near: Cape Town, South Africa. Table Mountain is an iconic landmark that shouldn’t be missed when visiting Cape Town.
Fun fact: The Namib Desert is one of the oldest deserts in the world, with some areas having been around for over 55 million years!
What to see or do: Take a hot air balloon ride over the dunes for stunning views of the desert. Visit the Sossusvlei salt and clay pan, one of the most popular tourist spots in the desert. Go on a safari tour to spot desert-adapted wildlife like oryx, springbok, and ostriches.
Highlight: The towering red sand dunes are a highlight of the Namib Desert. They’re some of the tallest in the world and make for a surreal and beautiful sight.
Travel tips: Visit during the cooler months of May to September for more comfortable temperatures. Bring plenty of water and sunscreen. Book tours in advance as they can fill up quickly.
Movie/book references: The Namib Desert is featured in the movies “Mad Max: Fury Road” and “The Flight of the Phoenix” as well as the book “The Sheltering Sky” by Paul Bowles.
Located in/near: Namibia, Southwest Africa. The Namib Desert is a stunning natural wonder that should be on any traveler’s list.
Fun fact: Lake Victoria is the largest lake in Africa and the second-largest freshwater lake in the world!
What to see or do: Take a boat tour to visit the numerous islands on the lake, including the Ssese Islands and the Buvuma Islands. Go fishing for Nile perch or tilapia, which are abundant in the lake. Visit the city of Kisumu, which sits on the shores of the lake and has a bustling market.
Highlight: The islands on Lake Victoria are a highlight, offering a chance to relax and experience local culture.
Travel tips: Be cautious of waterborne diseases like bilharzia and bring mosquito repellent as the lake is surrounded by swamps. Be respectful of local customs and dress modestly.
Movie/book references: Lake Victoria is featured in the book “The White Nile” by Alan Moorehead.
Located in/near: Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, East Africa. Lake Victoria is a massive and beautiful lake that’s well worth a visit when exploring East Africa.
Fun fact: The Okavango Delta is the world’s largest inland delta, covering an area of over 16,000 square kilometers.
What to see or do: Take a traditional mokoro (canoe) ride through the waterways to spot elephants, hippos, and other wildlife. Go on a walking safari to see the smaller creatures that call the delta home.
Highlight: The abundance of wildlife in the delta makes it a top destination for safari enthusiasts.
Travel tips: Pack light and bring waterproof gear, as the delta can get quite wet. Book a guided tour to make the most of your visit.
Movie/book references: “The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency” by Alexander McCall Smith is set in Botswana and features the Okavango Delta. Located in/near: Botswana, Southern Africa
Fun fact: The Drakensberg Mountains, also known as the Dragon Mountains, are the highest mountain range in South Africa.
What to see or do: Hike to the top of the mountain to catch a breathtaking view of the surrounding landscape. Visit the ancient rock art sites to learn about the history and culture of the indigenous people.
Highlight: The Drakensberg Mountains are a UNESCO World Heritage Site and are known for their unique geological formations and stunning natural beauty.
Travel tips: Be sure to bring warm clothing as temperatures can drop quickly in the higher elevations. Book a guide or tour for a safe and enjoyable experience.
Movie/book references: “Cry, the Beloved Country” by Alan Paton is a classic novel set in the Drakensberg Mountains.
Blyde River Canyon
Fun fact: Blyde River Canyon is one of the largest canyons in the world and is located in Mpumalanga, South Africa.
What to see or do: Take a scenic drive or hike along the Panorama Route to see stunning views of the canyon and surrounding landscape. Visit the Three Rondavels, three towering rock formations that resemble traditional African huts.
Highlight: Blyde River Canyon is known for its dramatic cliffs and panoramic views, making it a popular destination for photographers.
Travel tips: Bring plenty of water and sun protection, as the sun can be intense in this region. Consider hiring a local guide for an immersive experience.
Movie/book references: “The Lost World” by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle is a classic adventure novel that features the Blyde River Canyon.
Located in/near: Mpumalanga, South Africa.
Fun fact: The Ngorongoro Crater in Tanzania is the world’s largest inactive volcanic caldera and is home to a wide variety of wildlife.
What to see or do: Go on a safari to see the “Big Five” (lions, elephants, leopards, rhinoceroses, and buffalo) as well as zebras, giraffes, and other animals. Visit Olduvai Gorge to learn about the region’s rich archaeological history.
Highlight: The Ngorongoro Crater is a unique ecosystem that is home to thousands of animals and is considered one of Africa’s most spectacular natural wonders.
Travel tips: Book a guided tour for a safe and enjoyable experience. Be sure to bring warm clothing as temperatures can drop quickly at higher elevations.
Movie/book references: “The Tree Where Man Was Born” by Peter Matthiessen is a classic travelogue that explores the wildlife and landscapes of East Africa, including the Ngorongoro Crater.
Located in/near: Tanzania, East Africa.
Fish River Canyon
Fun fact: Fish River Canyon in Namibia is one of the largest canyons in the world, second only to the Grand Canyon in the United States.
What to see or do: Hike the Fish River Canyon trail to see stunning views of the canyon and surrounding landscape. Visit the Ai-Ais Hot Springs for a relaxing soak.
Highlight: Fish River Canyon is known for its unique geological formations and stunning natural beauty, making it a popular destination for hikers and outdoor enthusiasts.
Travel tips: Bring plenty of water and sun protection, as temperatures can get very high in this region. Book a guided tour or hire a local guide for a safe and enjoyable experience.
Movie/book references: “The Sheltering Desert” by Henno Martin is a memoir that recounts the author’s experiences surviving in the Namibian wilderness, including the Fish River Canyon.
Located in/near: Namibia, Southern Africa.
Simien Mountains National Park
Fun fact: Simien Mountains National Park is often referred to as the “Roof of Africa” due to its high elevation and stunning views.
What to see or do: Trek through the park’s jagged mountains and spot some of Ethiopia’s endemic wildlife, including the gelada baboon and Ethiopian wolf. Marvel at the park’s breathtaking landscapes, including the Simien escarpment and Jinbar Waterfall.
Highlight: The Simien escarpment, which offers panoramic views of the surrounding mountains and valleys, is a must-see highlight of the park.
Travel tips: Be prepared for high altitudes and unpredictable weather conditions, and make sure to hire a local guide to lead you through the park.
Movie/book references: The park was featured in the documentary “The Wildest Dream: Conquest of Everest,” which explored the life of mountaineer George Mallory.
Located in/near: The Simien Mountains National Park is located in northern Ethiopia, near the city of Gondar.
Lake Nakuru is famous for its large population of flamingos, which can number up to two million at certain times of the year.
What to see or do: Take a safari through the Lake Nakuru National Park to see the flamingos, as well as other wildlife such as rhinos, lions, and giraffes.
Highlight: The view of the lake from Baboon Cliff is a stunning highlight of the park.
Travel tips: Visit during the dry season (January to March) for the best chance to see the flamingos. Be aware of the park’s strict rules against getting out of your vehicle.
Movie/book references: The park was featured in the book “Out of Africa” by Karen Blixen.
Located in/near: Lake Nakuru is located in central Kenya, near the town of Nakuru.
Tsingy de Bemaraha National Park
Fun fact: Tsingy de Bemaraha National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site known for its unique karst limestone formations.
What to see or do: Explore the park’s otherworldly landscape, including its towering pinnacles, underground rivers, and canyons. Look out for the park’s endemic wildlife, including the Madame Berthe’s mouse lemur, the world’s smallest primate.
Highlight: The park’s Great Tsingy, a network of jagged limestone pinnacles that can reach up to 50 meters high, is a breathtaking highlight of the park.
Travel tips: The park is only accessible during the dry season (April to November) and requires a high level of physical fitness to navigate its rugged terrain. Hire a local guide for the best experience.
Movie/book references: The park was featured in the documentary “Island of Lemurs: Madagascar,” which explored the park’s unique wildlife.
Located in/near: Tsingy de Bemaraha National Park is located in western Madagascar.
Fun fact: Sossusvlei is a salt and clay pan surrounded by some of the highest sand dunes in the world, reaching up to 300 meters in height.
What to see or do: Hike to the top of the dunes for stunning views of the surrounding desert landscape. Explore the eerie Deadvlei, a white clay pan filled with the blackened remains of ancient camel thorn trees.
Highlight: The sunrise over the dunes is a stunning highlight of Sossusvlei.
Travel tips: Visit during the cooler months (May to September) for more comfortable hiking conditions. Bring plenty of water and sunscreen, as the desert sun can be intense.
Movie/book references: Sossusvlei was featured in the documentary “Skeleton Coast”
fun fact: Lake Malawi is home to more species of fish than any other lake in the world, including over 1000 species of cichlids.
what to see or do: Go for a swim in the clear blue waters, relax on the white sand beaches, and explore the nearby villages.
highlight: Snorkeling or scuba diving to see the diverse array of fish species.
travel tips: Be aware of bilharzia, a parasitic disease, and avoid swimming in areas with stagnant water. Also, be respectful of local traditions and customs.
movie/book references: “The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind” by William Kamkwamba, a memoir about a young Malawian boy who built a windmill to bring electricity to his village.
located in/near: Malawi, in southeastern Africa.
Kafue National Park
fun fact: Kafue National Park is the oldest and largest national park in Zambia.
what to see or do: Go on a game drive or a boat safari to spot the park’s diverse wildlife, including elephants, lions, leopards, and hippos.
highlight: Kafue National Park is less touristy than other parks in Africa, so visitors can enjoy a more authentic and off-the-beaten-path experience.
travel tips: Be prepared for rough roads and basic accommodations, and be respectful of the park’s conservation efforts.
movie/book references: “The Old Drift” by Namwali Serpell, a novel that explores the history and politics of Zambia, including its national parks.
located in/near: Zambia, in southern Africa.
fun fact: The Omo Valley is home to several different tribes, each with their own unique customs and traditions.
what to see or do: Visit the local tribes, such as the Mursi, Hamar, and Karo, to learn about their way of life and see their traditional dress and body adornments.
highlight: The Omo Valley is a fascinating and unique cultural destination, offering visitors a glimpse into a way of life that has remained largely unchanged for centuries.
travel tips: Be respectful of the local tribes and their customs, and be aware that some tribes may charge a fee for taking photos.
movie/book references: “Before They Pass Away” by Jimmy Nelson, a photography book that showcases the beauty and diversity of indigenous cultures around the world, including those in the Omo Valley.
located in/near: Ethiopia, in eastern Africa.