Prowling big cats, toothy crocs, thundering elephants and many more of their exotic neighbours make a visit to the continent a once-in-a-lifetimer.
1. Safari, Tanzania
Tanzania is considered one of the top picks for a safari all-rounder, especially if you’ve got a long list of must-sees to tick off during your trip. For a start, the eastern African country is home to more than five national parks, Africa’s highest peak Mount Kilimanjaro, and the plains of the Serengeti, meaning you’re likely to be as dazzled by the sweeping landscapes as you are by the animals themselves.
There’s a decent chance of seeing all of the ‘Big Five’ (buffalo, elephant, lion, leopard and rhinoceros) here in the Serengeti, alongside baboons, antelope and a whole host of other wild critters in their natural environment.
One of the most famous Serengeti sights is the famous great migration, when 1.5 million wildebeest and around 200,000 zebras move en masse across 1200 miles of grasslands, hills and parks as they follow the rains they need for survival. Their fairly predictable path takes them across the Serengeti and onto Kenya’s Maasai Mara National Reserve.
The best time to catch a glimpse of this natural phenomenon in Tanzania is the short rainy season of November and December, and for many travellers, seeing those herds of wildebeest stampede is the hands-down highlight of the trip.
Another Tanzanian safari hotspot is the Ngorongoro Crater, the site of a huge volcano that collapsed millions of years ago. Lake Magadi stretches along the lowest part of the crater, and here you’ll be able to see thousands of pink flamingos splashing about in the water.
Sound like somewhere you want to be? Start saving, and make sure to fit it in before that bucket list deadline.
2. Beaches, Seychelles
Is there ever a gloomy, drizzly, miserable day in the Seychelles? Are you kidding?
No postcard or holiday brochure could do the 115 islands in the Indian Ocean justice, with their pristine white sands, bright blue sea and endless, gently swaying palms. Best of all, there are so many to choose from, most beaches here never get overcrowded, meaning it could be just you, paradise and a pina colada. Fancy it?
3. Table Mountain, South Africa
The imposing, flat-topped natural wonder, Table Mountain, is one of Africa’s most iconic sights.
Looming large over sunny Cape Town, this giant is scalable by foot if you’ve got the puff or by cable car if you fancy treating yourself to an easy ride. Once you get up to the top, there are winding paths to explore and the sprawling city to gaze down at. Check the weather before you go as the cable car doesn’t run in strong winds.
4. Maasai Tribes, Kenya
The Maasai tribespeople are well known for their distinctive look, with massive ear piercings and bright red traditional dress.
Getting a chance to learn about the lifestyle of this semi-nomadic people could include anything from watching one of the famous jumping dances, trying the local cuisine or finding out about their traditional cattle farming practises. Make sure to choose a community-conscious, sustainable tour operator to visit with.
5. Victoria Falls, Zambia
On the Zambezi River, bordering Zambia and Zimbabwe, Victoria Falls is one of the seven natural wonders of the world.
The sight’s indigenous name, Mosi-oa-Tunya, should give you some idea of the drama of this spectacle, as it literally means “the smoke that thunders”, with an average flow of one million litres per second. If you’re brave enough to get involved, you can bungee jump, white water raft, jet boat, kayak, canoe and horseback ride through the waters near the foot of the falls.
Photos: Thinksotck; Getty