The Best of Africa

Africa Travel Adventures Demystify the Dark Continent

Africa was for thousands of years considered to be an inaccessible global travel destination. Large formidable geographical obstacles such as the Sahara desert prevented cultural and environmental integration with the European continent. As a result, this geographical isolation has produced the world’s most diverse cultures and wildlife. In addition, it is compounded by rivers such as the Congo which are so powerful that for millennia they were impossible to navigate. As a result, Africa travel adventures are some of the best in the world. Therefore, I have compiled a list of my 6 best Africa Travel Adventures.

Africa Travel Adventures in Madagascar

Vezo Villager Madagascar Africa Travel Adventures

Millions of years of isolation has created the most unique biodiversity in the world for Madagascar. For 88 million years, the island has been isolated. As a result, endemic species such as the lemur have evolved into 100 different species. Additionally, hundreds of species of orchid and unique trees such as the baobab and banyan thrive on the island. Madagascar was colonized by the French and has since gained independence. Similar to other countries in Sub-Saharan Africa Madagascar remains mired in corruption and inequality post independence. Although 90% of the population are Malagasy their DNA suggests they have genetic origins in both East Africa and also Southeast Asia. This is a very unique characteristic that reflects the diversity which defines Madagascar so well.

Additionally, the country offers the most unique Africa travel adventures in the world.

Africa Travel Adventures - zebu cart leaving Toliara Madagascar
The unique plants and animals of Madagascar can be seen only on the island. The same obstacles that preserve and create natural diversity can also act as barriers to limit self tour opportunities. As a result, it is sometimes necessary to acquire a local guide and/or transportation to experience the unique Africa travel adventures that exist there.

Namibia – The World’s #1 Self Tour Safari Destination

Africa Travel Adventures - Sossusvlei giant red sand dunes

The African continent has long had formidable geographical obstacles however, Namibia is more unique than the rest of the continent. The disparity arises from the weather inversions created by the ice cold Belguela current that flows northward up the coastline. The cold water is nutrient rich although the weather inversions have a profound effect on the landscape. As a result, the Namib desert was created and it covers the western half of the entire country from north to south.

Sossusvlei photos
This desert environment has existed for over 20 million years making it the oldest desert in the world. The Benguela phenomenon creates fantastic self tour safari destinations such as the Cape Cross Seal Reserve, the giant coastal sand dunes and unique desert wildlife. Furthermore, this inhospitable environment kept the European colonialists at bay and this helped to preserve the cultural environment of Namibia. The San Bushman from the interior referred to the inhospitable coastal region of Namibia as

“The Land God Made in Anger”

Shipwreck Photo Skeleton Coast Namibia

Fortunately for us, this formidable landscape makes Namibia the undisputed #1 self tour safari destination in the world. Africa travel adventures are definitely best appreciated from the perspective of a self tour safari. Although the country was eventually colonized by the Germans in the late 19th century, the unique cultural characteristics of the Himba and San Bushman are still practiced today.

South Africa Travel Adventures

Cape of Good Hope South Africa
South Africa is the southern neighbor of Namibia and the European colonists had a keen interest in this region starting in the 15th century. Prior to the creation of the Suez canal Europeans had to sail around the southern tip of Africa to reach their colonies in East Africa and Asia. Therefore, Cape Town was established as a victualing station for ships to stock up before rounding the Cape of Good Hope to reach the Indian Ocean. Although the Dutch controlled South Africa for many years the British finally gained control after the 2nd Boer War.

However, the Dutch Afrikaner still has a presence in South Africa today. Native inhabitants of South Africa such as the Xhosa and Zulu gained independence from Apartheid in the late 20th century. In modern times, South Africa is still racked by corruption and inequality even though the democratically elected African National Congress has had political control for several decades. South Africa travel adventures for the best global travel include self tour safari opportunities in Hluhluwe-Imfolozi, world class surfing and beautiful beaches.

Africa Travel Adventures in Kenya

mamba village crocodile farm
The construction of the Suez Canal was completed in 1869 and this opened up East Africa to the European Colonists. Until then, foreign explorers had to round the Cape of Good Hope or travel through Northern Africa to get there. The original colonists of Kenya were the Germans however, control was handed over to the British in 1890. The British had a keen interest in the agricultural quality of the land. As a result, tea remains as a key agricultural export to this day. Due to the late arrival of the Europeans Kenya enjoyed some of the same cultural protection as Namibia. Therefore, many indigenous tribes such as the Maasai at Maasai Mara still practice their centuries old traditions. As a result, Kenya is also one of the top Africa travel adventures!

Maasai Village in Kenya

lion skin from maasai hunt

Kenya achieved independence in the second half of the 20th Century. Although Kenya has the best safari viewing opportunities in the world, self tour safari opportunities are limited. This helps to preserve the country’s natural reserves and may boost revenue from safari tourism. Kenya, has borrowed heavily from the British and retained the British legal and political system post independence. Additionally, most Kenyans speak very good English. Similar to other African countries, Kenya remains mired in corruption and inequality many years after achieving independence.

Mozambique Africa’s “Tip of Gold”

Ponta do Ouro Mozambique

This mysterious African country lies off the SE coast of Africa. Mozambique was discovered very early on by the Portuguese explorers who were looking for natural resources. In fact, they named their first point of landfall Ponta do Ouro which means

“Tip of Gold”

Unfortunately for them they never found the payload they were looking for. However, they did still colonize the country and a heavy Portuguese influence still remains there to this day. As a result, Portuguese is still widely spoken by the native inhabitants and colonial architecture can still be found. Mozambique became mired in a brutal civil war post independence and the country still suffers from the devastation that resulted. However, the country is openly accessible for self tour safari and it is one of the best of the Africa travel adventures. Additionally, the land borders from South Africa are easily accessible for land crossings.

hippopotamus lagoa chingute
Although the wildlife resources were severely depleted during the civil war, some excellent Africa travel adventures still exist in Mozambique. For example, safari opportunities still exist in Kruger Park and also Reserva de Maputo. Additionally, Mozambique still remains mired in corruption and poverty post independence. Even when aid and finances are made available corruption still wins the day. Most recently, the “Ematum” tuna boat scandal resulted in hundreds of millions of dollars being misappropriated by the government of Mozambique.

Africa Travel Adventures in Mauritius

The island republic lies over a thousand kilometers to the east of Africa in the Indian Ocean. However, it is considered part of East Africa nonetheless. Although Mauritius is not a destination for African safari it is a very nice tropical island to visit after traveling through the African continent. The island still has adventurous avenues to explore due to its undeveloped nature. Additionally, Mauritius was the former habitat of the infamous dodo bird.

dodo-bird mauritius

The dodo bird was endemic to Mauritius and was found nowhere else on earth. As a result, I think that some of the native inhabitants of the island may have traces of dodo DNA. However, it is still possible to have a nice visit to the island and the deep sea fishing is certainly one of the world class Africa travel adventures.

Post Independence Africa Travel Adventures

European colonization over the last several centuries introduced Africa to the world. Eventually, hundreds of years of exploitation gave rise to independent nations. After battles for independence they then faced internal strife that descended into civil war. As a result, the continent that has emerged is a more stable political landscape and makes modern Africa more safe and accessible for Africa travel adventures.

After centuries of European colonization, Africa is now the 2nd most populous continent in the world. Therefore, all of the wildlife and unique geographical landscapes are combined with the remnants of a diverse cultural landscape. Africa is the most accessible country in the world for the adventure traveler and it creates great opportunities for sustainable world travel. Therefore, the Dark Continent is no longer an inaccessible mystery!

Adventure Wonderland

White Elephant Safari

Sub-Saharan Africa is the best travel adventure destination in the world. My experiences with the diverse wildlife, cultural and geographical landscapes are covered in extensive detail below. I traveled extensively in Namibia, Mozambique, Madagascar, South Africa, Mauritius and Kenya. I have posted information about my Africa travel adventures here including many photos and HD video. Get inspired and head out for your own safari!

Africa’s Future: Darkness to Destiny by Duncan Clarke |