Africa is one of my favorite continents to visit for many reasons including its natural beauty and amazing wildlife viewing opportunities. Going on safari in Africa is at the top of many travel bucket lists and rightly so but there are more incredible things to see and do in Africa. To get you started I’ve created this epic guide containing 50+ of the best African adventures, experiences, things to do and places to visit (both on and off the beaten path!) which are perfect for any Africa Bucket List.
Some of these are places I have visited and things I have experienced myself and the rest are places, experiences and adventures that I have researched and added to my personal Africa bucket list.
Whether thinking of traveling to Africa independently on a budget or interested in luxury tours, you will find inspiration and ideas for your dream African vacation.
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Top Africa Bucket List Experiences
These are my top 5 things to do in Africa and are at the very top of my Africa travel bucket list.
Go on a Safari.
You can’t visit Africa and not do a safari. Some of the best and most popular safari destinations in Africa include Maasai Mara National Reserve in Kenya, Serengeti National Park in Tanzania, Kruger National Park in South Africa, Etosha National Park in Namibia and Chobe National Park in Botswana but there are many more places to view wildlife. You can read about and compare different safari options here.
For those interested road tripping, Kruger National Park and Etosha National Park are the best parks for self-driving. To find the lowest price, compare rates between different car rental companies on www.discovercars.com.
If you are short on time and money, you can even do a safari as a day trip. You can book a day tour to Kruger National Park or Pilanesberg Game Reserve from Johannesburg or a one day safari to Chobe from Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe or Livingstone, Zambia.
See the Wildebeest Migration.
Every year (usually during June to September), thousands of wildebeest and zebras cross over from Maasai Mara in Kenya to the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania. You can even see the migration from a sunrise hot air balloon ride above Serengeti National Park. Read more about seeing the Wildebeest Migration here.
See Victoria Falls.
One of the best places to visit in Africa is Mosi-oa-Tunya – the local name for Victoria Falls which means the smoke that thunders. You can see Victoria Falls from either Zambia or Zimbabwe but if possible try to visit from both sides.
Victoria Falls is also a convenient base for safari day trips to Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe and Chobe National Park in Botswana.
If you enjoy adventure, you will find tons of adventure activities in the area including bungee jumping and whitewater rafting on the lower Zambezi River. You can also take a scenic microlight flight or helicopter flight over Victoria Falls to see the falls from above. During certain times of the year, you can even swim in the Devil’s Pool in the falls.
Trek Mountain Gorillas.
There are less than 1,000 endangered mountain gorillas left in the world and you can only see them in the wild in 3 African countries (Rwanda, Uganda and DRC). Read more about gorilla trekking here.
You need a permit in order to trek gorillas and it is not cheap. Rwanda is the most expensive at $1,500 per person while the cost for a permit in Uganda is $700. Trekking in the Democratic Republic of the Congo is the most affordable at $400 but the region is less stable making it harder to visit.
While you can purchase your own permit and arrange your own transportation, if you book a safari trip with a tour company they will get permits for you and make all travel arrangements.
Below are the best affordable short tour options that will arrange gorilla permits and transportation:
1 Day Gorilla Trekking Uganda
2 Days Gorilla Trekking Safari in Uganda
3 Days Gorilla Trekking tour in Uganda
1 day Gorilla Safari in Rwanda
2 Days Gorilla trekking in Rwanda Tour
How would you like to eat breakfast with giraffes? Giraffe Manor is a bucket list worthy hotel located right outside of Nairobi where guests can feed the resident Rothschild giraffes that poke their long necks through the windows during breakfast. Staying at Giraffe Manor is pricey so if your budget does not allow you to stay here, you can still get close to and feed giraffes at the nearby Giraffe Centre.
Epic African Adventures
- Climb Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest mountain in Africa.
- Go sandboarding on the dunes of Namibia.
- Go grade 5 white water rafting on the Nile River at Jinja, Uganda.
- Bungee jump off the Bloukrans Bridge, the highest bungee from a bridge in the world.
- Go cage diving with great white sharks in South Africa. You can book a day tour from Cape Town.
- Swim with manta rays and whale sharks or go scuba diving at Tofo, Mozambique.
- Go scuba diving in the Red Sea.
Best Places to Visit in Africa
These are some of the best cities and places to visit in Africa – perfect for any Africa bucket list:
- The red-sand dunes of Sossusvlei in Namibia.
- Visit the Maasai Mara National Reserve in Kenya, one of the best safari destinations in Africa.
- Visit the Ngorongoro Crater Conservation area, the largest unbroken caldera in the world, which serves as a protected habitat for thousands of animals.
- Chefchaouen, known as Morocco’s blue city because of the blue-washed buildings of its old town. You can visit on a day tour from Fez, from Tanzier or from Rabat.
- See the Rock-Hewn Churches of Lalibela in Ethiopia. Here is a guide to Lalibela.
- The colorful Danakil Depression in Ethiopia.
- Seven Coloured Earths in Mauritius, sand dunes of seven distinct colours.
- See hundreds of elephants at Chobe National Park in Bostwana. You can visit Chobe on a day trip from Victoria Falls.
- See elephants and hippos from a traditional dugout wooden canoe (mokoro) at the Okavango Delta in Botswana.
- Visit Makgadikgadi Pans in Botswana, one of the largest salt flats in the world.
- See wildlife at Etosha National Park in Namibia. Not only can you spot wildlife during drives but you can see animals around the waterholes from your camp.
- See Kolmanskop, a ghost town in the Namib in southern Namibia.
- Visit Spitzkoppe, a group of bald granite peaks in Namibia.
- The beautiful Drakensberg Mountains in South Africa and Lesotho.
- Lake Abbe in Djibouti, a salt lake covered with steaming tall limestone chimneys.
- Go on a walking safari in South Luangwa National Park, Zambia. This park is famous for its large leopard population and is one of the most affordable places for a safari.
- Go swimming or snorkeling in Lake Malawi, the third largest lake in Africa.
- Relax at La Digue in the Seychelles which is known for the large granite rocks on the beach.
- Relax in Sidi Bou Said, a picturesque town in northern Tunisia that resembles the Greek island of Santorini.
- Enjoy the beautiful sand bars and white sands at Vilanculos, Mozambique.
- See the spectacular Kalandula Waterfalls in Angola, one of the largest waterfalls in Africa.
- Visit the pyramids in Egypt.
- Sleep in the underwater room at The Manta Resort in Pemba Island, Zanzibar.
- See the Agadez Grand Mosque, a mosque built of clay in Niger.
- Visit Porto-Novo, the capital of Benin. Don’t miss its beautiful church-shaped mosque.
- Visit the beach town of Ouidah, Benin, learn about the history of the slave trade. It is considered the voodoo capital of Benin.
- Visit Djenne in Mali, famous for its buildings made from mud.
Incredible Things to Do in Africa
- Visit the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust (DSWT) Elephant Nursery in Nairobi which rescues and rehabilitates orphaned baby elephants. The nursery is open to the public for one hour every day from 11am to noon. Sponsors can visit the baby elephants by appointment at 5:00pm which needs to be booked well in advance.
- Go on a desert safari at the Sahara Desert in Morocco.
- Stay in a riad (traditional Moroccan house or palace with an interior garden or courtyard) in Morocco.
- Trek Ethiopia’s Simien Mountains.
- Float in Lake Assal, a stunning lake in Djibouti that is saltier than the Dead Sea.
- See the penguins in Boulder’s Beach, South Africa.
- Hike or take the cable car to the top of Table Mountain, the most iconic landmark in Cape Town.
- Drive the Garden Route in South Africa, one of the best road trips in the world.
- Drink wine in the Cape Winelands in South Africa. Two of the most popular regions are Stellenbosch or Franschhoek and they can be reached in only an hour from Cape Town.
- Go trekking to see the endangered Golden Monkeys in the Virungas.
- Go chimpanzee tracking in Uganda.
- Hike to the top Mount Nyiragongo in the DRC, an active volcano home to the largest lava lake in the world.
- See thousands of pink flamingos at Lake Bogoria.
- Learn about about African slavery at Cape Coast Castle, Ghana.
- Do a walking safari next to elephants at Mole National Park in Ghana.
- See Laas Geel, rock paintings in Somaliland.
- Walk along Avenue of the Baobabs in Madagascar. This group of baobab trees lines the dirt road between Morondava and Belon’i Tsiribihina in the Menabe region of western Madagascar and is most photogenic at sunset and sunrise.
- See lemurs and other unique wildlife in Madagascar.
So there you have it – the ultimate Africa bucket list. If there is an experience or place you think I should include please let me know in the comments below!
Need more travel inspiration? Check out some of my other travel bucket lists:
- Travel Goals: 100 Things to Do Before You Die
- USA Travel Bucket List: 100+ Best Places to Visit in USA
- Europe Bucket List: 100+ Epic Things to Do in Europe
- Southeast Asia Bucket List: 100+ Epic Things to Do in Southeast Asia
- South America Bucket List: 50+ Epic Things to Do and Places to Visit in South America
- Hotel Bucket List: 10 Hotels You Need to Visit
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Many of those things are on my Africa bucket list. I like that most of them combine a bit of adventure with nature. I have always wanted to sleep in an underwater room like at The Manta Resort in Pemba Island, Zanzibar!
This is awesome! I can tick off a few experiences in South Africa, Madagascar and Mauritius but top of my list to do at the moment are Sossuvlei, Lake Victoria, and the Rift Valley in Malawi.
I have been to Kenya only but the other things you mentioned here are on my list too. Next I am really looking forward to trek with the gorillas. Also seeing the chimpanzees in Uganda and getting lost in the Sahara desert of Morocco. So many things to do! So many places to visit!
The mokoro experience in Botswana sounds like something that would top my list on a trip to Africa. This is an amazing compilation of travel ideas for a massive continent so thank you for sharing!
I am not adventurous so that microlight flight would scare me to death but I bet it will be super exhilarating! So I think, I’ll stick with seeing penguins and pink flamingoes if I go to Africa 😉