Acknowledged as the very Cradle of Humankind, the great Continent of Africa has untold treasures to reveal to those who take the time to come on a journey of discovery. From the ancient temples, pyramids and tombs of Egypt, to the stunning natural wonders and wildlife in Uganda, Kenya, Botswana and Namibia, we have some great suggestions for 12 astonishing “must see” places in Africa to include in your itinerary.
Abu Simbel – Egypt
The two temples at Abu Simbel are best known for their dazzling magnificence and their historic relocation from their original setting on a sandstone cliff near the Nile River. The temples were originally carved out of sandstone over three millenniums ago, during the reign of the great Pharaoh Ramesses II and were dedicated to him and the Egyptian gods. (image by Nick)
Rising to 19,340 ft above the plains of Africa, Kili (as Mount Kilimanjaro is popularly known) is the highest mountain in Africa. Unusually for such a lofty peak, the highest point, Uhuru peak is accessible to anyone who is moderately fit, and many make the pilgrimage to climb Kili every year, and it will be one of the highlights of a trip to Tanzania.The experience of being on the roof of Africa is, to say the least, exhilarating! The scenery at the peak is breathtaking, with the huge glaciers forming a heavenly white landscape. To make this an even more desirable destination, the region around the base of Mount Kilimanjaro is home to some of Africa’s premier wildlife parks and reserves, so it is easy to see why a visit to Kili is indeed an African “must-do”.
Victoria Falls on the Zambia – Zimbabwe & Zambia Border
The grandiose Victoria Falls are located on the mighty Zambezi River, at the border of Zambia and Zimbabwe. These waterfalls are the largest moving body of water on Earth, and photos cannot do them justice – you have to be there to see them for yourself! The locals call them “Mosi-oa-Tunya”, which means the “smoke that thunders” – a most apt description for the columns of spray that can be seen (and heard!) from miles away.
The Victoria Falls are a definite “must-see” in Africa because of their unusual form and their sheer size! As a bonus, there is a great diversity of wildlife and many adventure activities to be enjoyed near-by. On the Zambian side of the Falls it is possible to swim in relative safety in the natural pools at the top of the falls, but you will need nerves of steel!
The Great Pyramids at Giza – Egypt
The Great Pyramids at Giza need no introduction! They are the most recognizable icon of Egypt, together with the Sphinx. Most of the pyramids (there are over 100 pyramids in Egypt) were built as tombs to preserve the mummified bodies of the dead pharaohs, and keep them safe and undisturbed in their after-life. In these massive resting places their mortal remains would continue to receive food offerings long after they had been interred. Their most treasured possessions were buried with them for comfort in the after-life, and in some cases animals and slaves accompanied them for company on their journey.
Valley of the Kings – Egypt
This is where the mighty Kings of Egypt and their attending elite were laid to rest for over 500 years, between the 16th and 11th centuries BC. Situated near Luxor, on the west bank of the Nile River, this part of the desert valley is known to contain at least 63 tombs, many of which contained priceless Egyptian antiquities. Unfortunately, the tombs were repeatedly plundered over a period of time and most of these gems have been stolen. The Valley of the Kings rose to fame after the 1922 discovery of the intact tomb of Tutankhamun, and today is one of the most famous archaeological sites in the world. It is quite possible that many more tombs may be unearthed in the future. (image by Eugene Regis)
Related post: Cities that Beckon the Traveler in You
Feature image wbirt