In Africa, there are just too many magnificent sites for any one list to encompass all. We’ve had a go and tried to cover as many different types of place as possible. So here’s a rundown of amazing antiquities, stunning towns, and spectacular and sublime natural features from around this incredible continent.
On the Zambezi River and the border between Zimbabwe and Zambia, Victoria Falls was named by the explorer David Livingstone for Queen Victoria. But its native African name is much more expressive, Mosi-oa-Tunya, the ‘Smoke that Thunders’, is a reference to the immense spray and rumbling that the Falls generate. With a width of 1,700 meters and a depth of 108 meters, the Falls are twice the height of Niagara Falls. And they’re surrounded by the savannah, which is full of rhinos, hippos and lions.
Pyramids of Giza
We sometimes overlook how extraordinary the Pyramids of Giza are because the image of them is commonplace today. The work of thousands and thousands of laborers, the Pyramids and the Sphinx at Giza is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and they were known to the ancients as a Wonder of the World. The Giza Complex just outside Cairo on the fringes of the Libyan Desert is sublime and mysterious, built to house the dead pharaohs and all the items they would need to rule the afterlife.
Djenné in Mali is a remarkable site, composed up of thousands of adobe buildings made from earth baked hard in the African sun and reinforced with palm fronds. The ancient town dates back to the 3rd century and beyond, but it really grew with the Saharan trade routes when slaves, gold and salt were transported across the desert to the Levant. The unspoiled earth buildings, particularly the Great Mosque built in 1907 by the French colonial authorities, make Djenné a unique place to explore and to see. The Old Town is, of course, another UNESCO World Heritage Site
The Zanzibar Archipelago is a tropical paradise off the coast of Tanzania in the Indian Ocean. Golden beaches, cerulean waters, and swaying palm trees make for an amazingly beautiful place. There are four main islands, Unguja, Pemba, Mafia and the uninhabited Latham Islands, along with many smaller islands that surround them. You’ll find Zanzibar City, famous for its historic Stone Town area and its connection to the spice and slave trades in the 19th century, on Unguja Island
The Sahara stretches from Egypt in the east, all the way across North Africa to Morocco in the west. It’s at its most spectacular and romantic in Morocco, close to the border with Algeria, where you’ll find the Erg Chebbi, a sand sea made up of undulating dunes formed by the blowing of the winds, which has been much photographed and filmed. The ideal base to explore the sands is at the village of Merzouga from which groups head out on the backs of camels to see the unspoiled desert sands