1. Diversity in the Land
As the second largest continent in the world, Africa is also an expanse of divergent lands and cultures. Comprised of over fifty independent states, the African landscape offers hot deserts (Kalahari Desert in Botswana), sprawling Savanna grasslands, majestic rivers and waterfalls (Zambezi River and Victoria Falls), amazing coastlines, mountains (Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania), and rich history. It is a land of wonder and mystery. Interestingly, although many people associate Africa with hot weather, there is in fact snow skiing in Morocco.
2. The People, Culture, Traditions
Each culture is different, with many languages, savory food, and exciting traditions. Unquestionably, interacting with the people will be one of the greatest rewards on your journey to Africa. Experts document that there are probably more than seven thousand different tribes in Africa. A sampling of their names are Bachokwe, Dengese, Guerze, Tussian and Zulu.
Because of the influence of other nations, French, English, Spanish, Portuguese and Arabic are spoken in many places. Additionally, various tribes have their own unique languages comprised of both verbal and non-verbal communications. Amazingly, it has been estimated that Africa has close to two thousand different languages, examples of which include Narrow Bantu, Banda, Swahili, Monokutuba, Wolof, Xhosa, Afrikaans, and Chishona. Indeed, the continent of Africa is a linguist’s paradise!
4. History and Archeology
Due to the size of Africa, much history abounds. For each individual state or country, the struggle for democracy can be chronicled, and in some instances, the fight to be independent and free from the control of other nations is apparent. Ethiopia, a major coffee bean producer, is considered to be the oldest country in Africa. Kenya dates back to 45AD and illustrates the influence of European, Indian, Chinese and Arabian settlers on present day Africa. What is particularly significant about Africa, the continent, is that it is believed to be the place where mankind began. In fact, science seems to bear this out, as the oldest human fossils are found in this land. Even as recently as 2008, an archaeological dig in Johannesburg, South Africa, produced bones that were two million years old and demonstrate a trail of evolution in the human species.
5. The Pyramids and the Nile Valley
Egypt holds the key to the past. Incredible feats of human strength are found on the beautiful Giza Plateau. Very close to Cairo, it is the home of one of the seven ancient wonders, but it is the only one remaining, which makes it all that more important to travelers. The Great Pyramids of Giza , the Great Sphinx, and the Pyramids of Khafre and Menkaure are all found here. The Nile Valley area is perfect for tourists since it so much. Short day cruises on boat or longer seven-day adventures allow guests to see the indigenous people at work, the birds at flight, ancient monuments, and the countryside from a new perspective.
6. African Art
African art is hugely significant to the modern world, as it speaks to us from older times. The art is steeped in tradition and tells many stories. It is the history of the people, their customs, and their cultures. Their journeys, their beliefs and their daily lives are interpreted through
masks and statues. Each piece has meaning and can be attributed to a particular tribe. Further, the art provides a window into Egyptian gods and goddesses, lesser deities, pharaohs, and prophecies.
7. Animals and Reserves
Wild animals are probably one of the first things people think of when asked about Africa. Seeing all the documentaries on television, we can only wonder and watch in awe as these mighty creatures roam the plains and jungles. Many are now protected in reserves and tourists can venture out on varying safaris to watch them in their nature habitats. What an incredible experience for both the amateur and professional photographer! Zambia holds the most natural of parks because the area is not accessible between November and March due to the waterways. Since the animals, plants, birds, and other natural elements are left alone, the area is truly spectacular when viewed each year after this rejuvenation period.
8. Pristine Beaches, Oceans, Seas
Surrounded by the Atlantic and Indian Oceans, as well as the Mediterranean, Red and Arabian Seas, Africa has several areas that are classified as excellent beach vacation locations. Mozambique in the southeast, Mauritania in the northwest, and the island of Zanzibar are all known to have wonderful beaches and attract the most ardent enthusiasts. You might even catch a glimpse of some whales or penguins depending on which waters you visit!
If weather is important to traveling, because of Africa’s diverse land structure and natural surroundings, it is possible to find the temperature that best suits any vacation.