Being the second largest continent on Earth, Africa is not short of incredible experiences for both locals and visitors to enjoy. Some are nice and relaxing, others are edgy and fraught with danger, but all are guaranteed to create unforgettable memories.
Cage Dive With Sharks
When you ask people of about their bucket list, diving with sharks will invariably come up. It’s a addiction that many people want to try out.If this kind of adrenaline sport is for you, look no further than the beautiful coastline of South Africa. Famous for being of the shark capital of the world, you’ll find no shortage of groups offering deals on cage diving excursions. Out in the water, you’ll have a totally unique experience. As the massive, 5 metre, great white swims by your now suddenly flimsy feeling cage, jaw wide, rows of teeth glistening, its menacing figure disappearing into the murky distance. You’ll be struck by the elegance, beauty and raw power of this incredible beast. While there might be more unusual and lesser known experiences, but you’ll be hard pushed to find one as primal and striking as this.
Visit Kruger National Park
You can’t really justify a journey to Africa that doesn’t include a safari trip. Another true bucket list experience, safaris are available in many African nations, including Malawi, South Africa and Kenya. Featuring a vast array of unique animals, this an absolute must for nature lovers. While there are indeed many to choose from, the most exciting place to visit is undoubtedly Kruger National Park in South Africa. One of the largest game reserves in Africa, it is home to over 200,000 animals, sweeping plains, beautiful mountain ranges and breathtaking ravines. You wouldn’t want to miss it.
Canoe Through Crocodile Infested Waters
Somewhat similar to a safari, canoe tours offer an exciting, if not slightly perilous, way of viewing Africa’s amazing natural world. While you can do this along many rivers, the Zambezi is a firm favourite thanks to its gentle current and stunning location. While out on the canoe you’ll encounter wildlife in a way like never before. Expect elephants drinking from river banks, hippos wallowing in the mud and crocodiles slowly floating across the surface. If you want to experience the thrill, excitement and encounters that come hand in hand with a canoe tour then go for it, but ensure you book with a reputable and knowledgeable tour guide, and of-course, make sure you know the risks before you set the canoe adrift. Good luck.
The tallest lone mountain in the world, to climb Kilimanjaro is not only an exhilarating experience, but also a great achievement, with only 45% of climbers ever reaching the top. The trick is to climb it slowly, allowing your body to adjust to the altitude. If you make it to the summit, the sights to be seen from the top are unlike any other on Earth. Plus you can take a epic selfie with the famous Kilimanjaro summit sign.
Swim to the edge of Victoria Falls
If coming nose to nose with the fearsome Great White Shark, or being metres away from a ravenous crocodile, isn’t scary enough for you, then you might want to try out this next experience. Located along the Zambezi river, on the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe, you’ll find Victoria Falls. Water running down the river faces a sheer 108m drop into the devil’s pools below. Twice as high as Niagara Falls, it is awe-inspiring sight to behold from the river banks. But, what if you fancied a different view? Tour groups will offer to take you out on a boat and allow you to swim right to the very edge of the falls. At certain places, a thick rock wall causes the current to become very gentle and protects you from being swept over the edge. From here you can sit on the wall and enjoy the sites of this enormous waterfall. Remember though, while safer than swimming up to the edge of Niagara, this is definitely not without its risks. Enjoy and keep safe.
Not every activity in Africa has to be perilous, in Namibia, you can escape to the sandy dunes for something really special. For decades now, locals and tourist groups have been utilizing the area in a very unusual way. Given the steep angles, great height and smoothness of the dunes, skiing has become a favourite pastime in this blisteringly hot part of the world. Just like normal skiing, you barrel down the side of a dune, weaving in and out making tracks in the sand, except now instead of wrapping up in heavy winter clothing, you’re in shorts and t-shirts soaking up the heat of the blazing sun. Very much, a unique experience.
Popular throughout Africa, volunteering promises to be a life changing experience for anything who decides to take part. Volunteers not only report extreme feelings of empathy, pride in what they are doing, a sense of self-worth and changed perspective, but also experiences of great joy, laughter with locals and a sense of community not found in other parts of the world. To make things better, not only does volunteering promise to be an amazing experience for you, but also for the people you help. Whether its educating communities, helping build homes or taking care of the wounded, you can make more of a difference to a person’s life than you ever could have imagined.
Marc Crouch, owner and founder of Naturally Africa Volunteers, invites you to visit Africa by volunteering in struggling communities. Not only will you get the chance to experience the highs of volunteering, but also many of the other activities during your down time.