10 places to visit in Africa in 2017

Buffaloes in Africa
Buffaloes roam in one of Africa’s top national parks. PHOTO/FILE
Celebrated for its rich natural and cultural resources as well as the world’s friendliest people, Africa has an array of remarkable experiences to offer tourists.

From abundant wildlife, spectacular sceneries, diverse aquatic life, white sand beaches to the history and culture rich museums, there is an abundance of choice for all categories of travellers.

Here are the top ten most popular tourist destinations in Africa.

1.) South Africa
Rich with golden beaches, wildlife parks and enormous plant diversity, South Africa is the continent’s most preferred destination among international tourists.

It is home to the big five – elephant, lion, buffalo, rhino and leopard – which can be seen in most national parks including the malaria free Madikwe Game Reserve.

The country’s main attractions include Cape Town and Durban’s pristine beaches, Table Mountains, Krugler National Park, God’s Window and historical sites such as the Apartheid Museum and Robben Island where Nelson Mandela spent most of his years in prison.

2.) Morocco
Best known for its rich culture and heritage, Morocco is home to ancient imperial cities full of bustling markets and intriguing architecture.

Tucked between the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean, the country has a 3, 500-kilometre coastline giving it fascinating long white sand beaches.

The Atlas Mountain, the Rif Mountains and the Erg Chebbi desert give Morocco some of the continent’s most stunning sceneries.

A visit to morocco is never complete without touring Djmaa el Fna, an exhilarating town square in the heart of the capital Marrakesh for tribal drummers, snake charmers, lady-boy dancers, henna painters and the world’s best street food.

3.) Seychelles
Located about 1,500 kilometres off East Africa in the Indian Ocean, Seychelles is a paradise on earth made up of 115 islands.

It is a favourite of many due to its raw beauty free of human destruction coupled with the warm tropical climate suitable for all year visitation.

Despite its small size, Seychelles has an array of spectacular attractions including national parks and reserves, museums, art galleries, craft villages for handmade souvenirs not forgetting its world famous beaches.

Of the sixteen islands that offer accommodation, Mahe, Praslin and La Digue islands are the most visited since they are large and the most developed with five star resorts and lodges.

There are great opportunities for swimming, sun bathing, snorkelling, glass bottom boat rides, guided nature tours and scuba diving.

4.) Kenya
Renowned for its abundant wildlife, Kenya is the ideal destination for classic safaris and family holidays.

It has a wealth of amazing national parks including the Nairobi National Park, which is located a few minutes’ drive from the Nairobi CBD and the Masai Mara where one of the world’s greatest wonders, the wildebeest migration, occurs.

The Kenyan coast is simply breath-taking with its sandy white beaches where the diversity of fun activities visitors can engage in is dazzling, including sun bathing, surfing, deep sea diving and snorkelling.

Besides having gorgeous beaches, the coastal towns of Mombasa, Wasini, Malindi and Lamu are a melting point of cultures full of Swahili history and cuisines with historical sites such as Fort Jesus, Gede Ruins and Hindu Temples for history lovers.

The Tsavo National Park, Masai Mara Game Reserve, the Rift Valley lakes, Mt Kenya and the beautiful beaches are some of the country’s most popular tourist attractions.

5.) Mauritius
The paradise island has become a dream destination for tourists seeking a high end holiday in the tropics.

It is appreciated by travellers for its nice warm temperature suitable for all year round trips and adventures in its numerous attraction sites.

From beautiful white sand beaches, stunning turquoise Indian Ocean waters, wild waterfalls, botanical gardens, to UNESCO world heritage sites, the island is riddled with both natural and man-made attractions backed up by top notch hotels and resorts all for the indulgence of holidaymakers.

Some of the sites to include in your bucket list when visiting Mauritius include; Mauritius Botanical Garden, Port Louis, Charamel Park, Black River Gorges National Park and the Ile aux Cerfs Island (deer island).

6.) Botswana
With its formidable wildlife and spectacular landscapes, Botswana is among the best destinations in Africa for an amazing safari holiday.

The endless stretches of the Kalahari Desert provide a striking contrast to the lilies filled waterways of the Okavango Delta, the largest inland river delta in the world, studded with a large variety of animal and bird life.

The best places to visit in Botswana include the Moremi Game Reserve, the Central Kalahari Game Reserve and the Chobe National Park for photographic and hunting safaris.

7.) Namibia
Namibia is a southwest African country popular for its vast, magnificent landscape as well as diverse wildlife.

The sun baked country is home to three of Africa’s biggest game reserves characterised by volumes of wildlife including Africa’s big five – lion, rhino, leopard cheetah and elephant.

The Namib Desert, the oldest desert in the world, has millions years-old sand dunes where visitors can enjoy dune driving tours, dune skiing, dune boarding and desert sight-seeing tours.

Hiking lovers can visit the Fish River Canyon, one of the country’s most famous hiking trails for breath-taking sceneries of remarkable geographical features. Fish River is the world’s second largest canyon after the Arizona Grand Canyon.

8.) Egypt
With a history dating back to over 4,000 years ago, this home of ancient Pharaohs is one of the most revered destinations in Africa.

The great Pyramids of Giza, the Karnak & Abu Simbel Temples, the Valley of Kings, and the lion bodied Sphinx top the list of the most popular attractions in Egypt.

The Red Sea and the south Sinai regions are the centre for beach fun in Egypt and are home to some of the world’s best diving destinations.

For history lovers, Cairo’s Egyptian museum had a large variety of Pharaonic world exhibits including the royal mummies.

9.) Tunisia
Tunisia is viewed mostly as a beach destination for travellers seeking to relax and unwind since it is bordered by the Mediterranean on two sides.

However, off the golden sandy beaches, Tunisia has a lot to offer the adventure seeking visitors in its mammoth ancient ruins, vast Sahara dunes and exotic cities.

Tunisia is home to the famous El Jem Amphitheatre where some of world renowned movies such as Gladiator were staged as well as ancient cities such as Matmata, which have been used as filming locations by the star wars set.

Shopping enthusiasts will have the time of their life in the medinas (market) which are filled with crafts and cultured souvenirs with the best one being the Sousse Medina.

The Bardo Museum has some of the world’s most elaborate and most beautiful mosaics which should be in the itinerary of any art lover visiting Tunisia.

10.) Zanzibar
The 50-island archipelago located in the Indian Ocean off the coast of Tanzania offers sea, sand, and abundant sun to holiday makers.

The east coast part of Zanzibar is lined with stunning powder white beaches and magnificent palm trees while its turquoise blue waters provide for world class water sports such as water skiing, snorkelling, scuba diving wind surfing and kayaking.

The major islands are very fertile and are laced with lush tropical vegetation and fruit and spice gardens which fill the air with unique fragrances.

Off the main islands, there are smaller islands which are perfect for people who want privacy especially those on honey moon.

A visit to Zanzibar would be incomplete without a tour of the Stone Town which is a world heritage site characterised by narrow streets and culture and history rich sites.

The best time to visit Zanzibar is during the dry season which starts from June all through to February. This could be combined with a safari in Tanzania since they have the same weather patterns.