Top Five African Destinations Open and Ready to Welcome You Back

Published: 1 August 2021

While 2020 has turned out to be the most unexpected year to date, Africa is finally opening up to international travelers again. With low Covid-19 infection rates, and safety protocols based on what the World Health Organisation recommended before the virus reached Africa - it was late - borders are opening again, and we're ready to welcome you back.


To celebrate, I’m sharing my top five destinations you can visit right now. If you're hesitant to leave your borders, there’s no harm in dreaming about a possible 2021 or 2022 African bucket list adventure.


Tanzania

This East African country is known for its vast wilderness and Mount Kilimanjaro. Still, there's more to it than what you'll find on Google, and I know exactly where to take you. If you're wanting to experience a tailor-made African adventure within the next month, Tanzania is the place for you, due to no restrictions or quarantine periods in place.

Top Places to See:

1. Ngorongoro Crater

If you're after the classic Big Five safari, Ngorongoro is where you want to be. This ancient volcanic caldera is a UNESCO World Heritage Site filled with wildlife and abundant vegetation. It is said to hold one of the largest densities of mammals in Africa.

Best time to visit: June to September. If you want less crowds, visit during April and May.

2. Maasai People

The semi-nomadic tribe of the Massai people has called Northern Tanzania home for thousands of years. This proud warrior nation has kept its traditional customs and way of life through the centuries. A cultural trip is a must during your holiday.

3. Zanzibar Archipelago

Off the coast of Tanzania, you'll find Zanzibar located within calm, turquoise waters of the warm Indian Ocean. This region has stood still in time with colorful villages, aromatic spice markets, traditional architecture, fishing boats, unspoiled beaches, and a laid-back way of life.

Best time to visit: June to October, although it's tropical climate makes it a year-round destination.

4. Lake Victoria

Visit the largest lake in Africa, as well as the biggest tropical freshwater lake in the world. Lake Victoria offers a refreshing break from the dust of safari circuits and crowds with its quaint lakeside towns and friendly subsistence communities.

Best time to visit: July to September.

5. Selous Game Reserve

For birders, Selous is a paradise for our feathered friends. There are over 1000 species of birds to be seen, from the endemic Udzungwa forest-partridge to the Usambara eagle-owl. Selous offers spectacular sightings that also include the migratory birds from Europe and Northern Africa.

Best time to visit: November to April.

Seychelles

Africa isn't all safari and lakes; it's exotic Indian Ocean islands too. Seychelles is an alluring archipelago of 115 islands off East Africa. It's known for its picture-perfect beaches, coral reefs, and mountainous rainforests. Much like Tanzania, Seychelles is open to international travelers with no restrictions in place, meaning I can arrange for you to sip cocktails on this exotic island within a month. 

Top Things to See and Do:

1. Anse Source D-argent

In the south-west of La Digue Island lies one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. It's also one of the reasons why people flock to Seychelles - and with good reason. It's striking boulders, and azure waters make it a slice of heaven few get to experience.

Best time to visit: April and October when the trade winds stop.

2. Seychelles National Botanical Gardens

Home to the famous giant tortoises from Aldabra, with some over 150 years old, the Seychelles National Botanical Garden is one of the oldest National Monuments. Established in 1901, the botanical gardens have grown to include huge fruit bats, exotic and mature endemic plants, an orchid house, and manicured tropical gardens.

Best time to visit: Year-round

3. Divers Paradise

Seychelles is the perfect getaway if you're into snorkeling, swimming, and diving with its coral reefs and clear ocean waters. During October and November, the water temperature can reach 84 Degrees Fahrenheit (29 Degrees Celsius), with 30 meters plus visibility.

Best time to visit: Year-round but particularly October and November.

4. Morne Blanc

Don't spend all your time on the beach, take a hike up the Morne Blanc in the Morne Seychellois National Park. Admire sweeping views from the top as you look over the ocean, islands, sheer cliffs, tea plantations, and forests. Also, try not to stand on the world's smallest frog measuring in at 1cm.

Best time to visit: Year-round but hike in the morning before the afternoon mist rolls in.

5. Sailing

Suppose you prefer to view the beach from the ocean. In that case, many charter companies provide specialized craft, both skippered and bareboat. So take a Schooner or Catamaran out and explore the inner islands like the Phoenician traders, Polynesian adventurers, and pirates who navigated the archipelago since the 9th-century.

Best time to visit: Year-round.

Rwanda

With a devastating and not so distant past, Rwanda has surprised the world with its strides in conservation, promotion of human rights, and steady economic growth since the 1994 genocide. This peaceful destination is a hidden gem deserving of a place on your bucket list.

Top Places to See:

1. Volcanoes National Park

Go gorilla trekking through the Volcanoes National Park, home to 18 mountain gorilla families – and growing, thanks to conservation efforts since 1981. Most of the hike is spent trekking through bamboo forests until you meet the gorillas who are mostly apathetic to your presence.

Best time to visit: June to September and mid-December to mid-February during the dry seasons.

2. Kigali Genocide Museum

Almost three decades have passed since the Rwandan genocide, where 800 000 people lost their lives over 100 days. While this museum is emotionally charged and shocking to see, it's more than just necessary - it’s a must-see - to keep the memory alive and be a responsible tourist in Rwanda.

3. Nyungwe Forest National Park

Nyungwe Forest National Park is one of the most critical forest conservation areas in Africa. It contains a spectacular 1 068 plant species, 322 bird species, and 75 types of mammals. However, most visitors come to track the chimpanzees, which have been habituated by park rangers.

Best time to visit: June to September and mid-December to mid-February during the dry seasons.

4. Gorilla Guardians Village

Run by reformed poachers, Gorilla Guardians is a non-profit cultural village outside of Volcanoes National Park. Immerse yourself in Rwandan local culture, meet locals and try your hand at famous crafts and activities while watching traditional dancers put on a show.

5. Lake Kivu

After gorilla and chimpanzee trekking, you may need a place to put up your feet and relax. Lake Kivu is Rwanda's largest lake. It offers you the chance to relax on its shoreline or explore its bustling waterfront, sandy beach, and kayak into the sunset with singing fishermen alongside you.

Best time to visit: June to September and mid-December to mid-February during the dry seasons.

Kenya

This East African country has it all, but before thinking of idyllic safaris, there's a range of other things to include. From coastal treasures to a melting pot of cultures and cuisines, this friendly nation is a must-see.

Top Places to See:

1. Great Migration

The grounds are shaking across the Serengeti Plains and Masai Mara National Reserve as millions of wildebeest, antelope, and zebra migrate - with predators in hot pursuit. While Nile crocodiles enjoy a hearty feast, the rich grazing plains fill with game.

Best time to visit: July to October.

2. Lake Nakuru

Lake Nakuru lies in Kenya's Great Rift Valley with its pink hues from the thousands of flamingos who call it 'home,' along with more than 240 other bird species. Surrounding the lake rhinos graze and lions wait in the hopes of catching their next meal - a feast for the eyes and cameras.

Best time to visit: Dry-hot season in January and February.

3. Mount Kenya

As Kilimanjaro's toughest competition, Mount Kenya rises over 17 000 feet, making it the second-highest African peak. Its summit trails are less crowded than its snowy counterpart, and it will take you five days from start to finish to summit this wonderous landmark.

Best time to visit: Open all year-round, but January to March and June to October are best as they miss the rainy seasons.

4. Giraffe Manor

Get kissed by giraffes - literally - at Nairobi's Giraffe Manor and experience the most memorable breakfast in the world. Set on 12 acres of private land within indigenous forests, this boutique hotel has Rothschild's giraffes poking their necks through windows and joining you for breakfast.

Best time to visit: Year-round, although closed for maintenance from mid-April to mid-May.

5. Diani, Watamu and Malindi

Diani Beach, Watamu, and Malindi offer powdery white beaches, azure waters protected by a coral reef, and trendy beachfront bars serving delicious cocktails. These beach destinations along Kenya's southern shoreline give you the chance to go deep-sea fishing, diving, and snorkeling – the perfect escape after a dusty safari.

Best time to visit: During the cooler months of July to September, but if you want scorching dry weather, January to early March is best.

Zambia

Zambia is a landlocked country in Southern Africa covered in rugged terrain, exciting wildlife and famous parks and safaris that attract tourists from the world over.

Top Places to See:

1. South Luangwa National Park

This is the best spot to view big game on foot during a once in a lifetime guided walking safari in Zambia's Luangwa River valley. Learn to identify animals from their spoor in sandy riverbeds, and be amazed at how much you can learn from piles of animal dung.

Best time to visit: July to October during the dry season.

2. Victoria Falls

Almost everyone longs to see the Victoria Falls, or 'The Smoke That Thunders' as it's known to locals. Stand on Knife-Edge Bridge and be soaked by the spray, or swim in the world's highest and most dangerous infinity pool at the precipice of the falls - Devil's Swimming Pool - during low water levels.

Best time to visit: February to May during peak flow.

3. Lower Zambezi River

Canoe safari anyone? Drift along the Lower Zambezi River and float past the resident hippos and knobbly crocodiles who bask on its riverbanks. Get the best – and closest – view of buffalo and elephants who politely ignore your presence as they drink from the water's edge.

Best time to visit: July to October during the dry season.

4. Busanga Plains of Kafue National Park

Leave the crowds and enter the remote Busanga Plains of Kafue National Park - one of the least visited parks in Zambia. Kafue is still wild, unspoiled, and untouched. Its game drives, boat rides, walking safaris, and fishing spots will make you feel like you're the only human there.

Best time to visit: July to October during the dry season.

5. Kapishya Hot Springs

Take a dip in this secluded natural oasis hidden deep in a rainforest on the sprawling 20th-century colonial estate of Shiwa Ng-andu, along the banks of the Mansha River. This hot spring has natural, sulfur-free water that tempts you with its luxurious 107 degrees Fahrenheit (41 degrees Celsius) surface temperature.

Best time to visit: Year-round.

It's hard to choose, but if one of these destinations piqued your interest, reach out for a tailored itinerary that fits your needs, budget, and interests. If you'd just like to find out more, please do not hesitate to contact me so that I can share my love for Africa with you.

Email: kirsty@anywhereinafrica.com
Tel: +27 21 671 2880
Mobile: +27 79 474 5119
Skype: kirsty-gordon