Top Picks for Travel to The ContinentMay 25, 2020 | By Kemi Adewumi
As the world’s second-largest and second-most-populous continent, it’s no surprise that Africa has lots to offer in terms of culture, terrain, and history. With travel to the continent on the rise over the last few years, you may have already heard of what countries like Ghana, South Africa, Kenya, and Nigeria have to offer. Here’s a short list of some additional African countries that you’ll surely want to add to your “to Travel to” list.
Located on the west coast of Africa, right under Mauritania, Senegal’s rich history and culture date back to prehistoric times. With various ethnic groups throughout the country you’ll learn about the Wolof & Serer people from the west of the country, the Fula people of the north, and the Jola people of the south. For a crash course in Senegalese history head to Place du Souvenir Africain (Place of African Remembrance) or The Musée des Civilisations Noires (Museum of Black Civilisations) in Dakar.
Visit one of Senegal’s UNESCO World Heritage Sites, Goree island, which houses the IFAN Historical Museum, with exhibits on Senegal’s past. Also located on Goree island is the Henriette Bathily Women’s Museum which considers the role of women in West African society.
For a more interactive history lesson, plan to watch a Serer wrestling match and learn how this ancient tradition prepared the Serer men for war.
And if history through textiles is your thing, visit some of the most popular markets including Soumbedioune Village market, HLM market, Kermel Market, and Marche Colobane.
If you’re looking for an adventure, Ivory Coast is where you can get your fill. Hike through Mount Tonkou where you’ll get views of Liberia and Guinea, and amazing landscapes. To get your adrenaline going, slide down La Cascade, a breath-taking waterfall, and crash into the bamboo forest below. There’s also the Comoe National Park where you can witness lions, waterbuck, and hippos in their natural habitat.
Journey to Benin for a deep dive into ancient religion. Benin is considered to be the birthplace of the Vodun (Voodoo) religion. Part of this worship predates many religions by 10,000 years. A festival is held each year in January in the town of Ouidah and attracts thousands of devotees and tourists every year. After delving into the rich religious culture of Benin, be sure to visit Cotonou, the country’s largest city and economic capital. Here you’ll find markets, art, beach life, and museums.
Despite being one of the smallest African countries, Rwanda is a vibrant country with lots to offer, especially for nature lovers. The capital, Kigali, will give you a good sense as to why Rwanda is known as the land of a thousand hills. Although a bustling city, Kigali has plenty of green spaces, including parks and gardens, that will set you up for more of the countries amazing landscapes.
Mount Bisoke is good for a day hike. It’s an extinct volcano with a crater lake at the top that straddles Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. You can also hike through Nyungwe Forest National Park with the only canopy walkway in East Africa that takes you 200 feet above the park.
Lake Burera is perfect for scenic landscapes and relaxing hikes. People rave about camping in the area to breathe in the crisp mountain air and witness spectacular sunrises. Another lake, Kivu, is a great place for kayaking along a picturesque coastline.
Mozambique has become the place for tropical island vacations where you’ll want beaches and seafood dining to take up most of your time. With 2500 km of Indian Ocean coastline it’ll be hard to pick a favorite amongst Mozambique’s many beautiful beaches.
Located in the southeastern part of the country Tofo beach is a great spot for sunbathing, diving, and keeping the good times going with a small but lively nightlife.
Inhaca Island, just off the coast of Maputo, is a secluded paradise with fine sand beaches, coral reefs, and a laid back atmosphere for a relaxing getaway.
For more island hopping head to any one of the six islands of the Bazaruto Archipelagos for clear blue waters, unspoiled coral reefs, and luxury accommodations.
Mozambique’s capital Maputo is home to some of the best seafood restaurants we’ve had the pleasure of dining in. Enjoy Afro-Luso cuisine at Zambi, with indoor & outdoor seating, international wines, and views of the Indian Ocean.
Not a formal restaurant, but a must-visit place nonetheless, head to Mercado de Peixe (Maputo Fish Market) where you can purchase just about anything that lives in the sea at amazing prices, and have it cooked as you like at a nearby stall with drinks and sides.
Wherever you end up dining in Mozambique be sure to taste the country’s signature dish: sizzling peri-peri prawns and Laurentina beer.