8 Destinations in Southern Africa You Should Visit
Southern Africa is the most far south area of the African continent and is full of culture, national parks, big game wildlife and more, such as traditional dance, wooden masks, orange-hued sand dunes in the Namib desert and of course, the warm African sun.
Angola is a hybrid haven of warm African climate and sandy beaches that face the Atlantic Ocean, with winding rivers and hectares upon hectares of national park. Mostly untouched by tourists, Angola is the destination to see if you are the adventure type. Visit the Kissama National Park and be whisked into a world of real African bush, complete with roaming wildlife and baobab trees, amongst other flora and fauna. The Kunene River flows from the Angolan highlands into neighbouring Namibia, creating a liquid connection between the two countries. Located in Luanda, the Fortress of São Miguel, built in 1576, tells a tale of military and slave history. See the tumbling, gushing water of the Kalandula Falls - at 105 metres high, it is one of the largest in Africa.
Surrounded by the Okavango Delta and the Kalahari Desert, Botswana is a landlocked country. However, do not let that deter you; the landscapes of this country are rich with wildlife. Discover the towering Tswapong Hills, standing at a towering 400 metres above the ground, and the Lotsane River that borders the northern side of the hills, creating a splendid wet and dry terrain. The Chobe National Park, the first in Botswana, is alive with many variations of game – one of the highest concentrations of game in Africa to be exact – so you can be sure that you’ll be experiencing the big 5 in their natural habitat!
Democratic Republic of Congo
Rich in natural resources, the French-speaking Democratic Republic of Congo is the second largest country in the African continent. The biodiversity of this country is simply amazing; 5 of its national parks are World Heritage sites, and the rainforests boast many rare species of wildlife. Explore the Congo River by boat, being the world’s deepest at 220 metres, or visit the Okapi Nature Reserve. With its rare animal species such as the okapi, rare plant species and the Mbuti and Efe pygmies, or ‘forest people’, this nature reserve is certainly one of a kind. The Garumba National Park is one of the oldest national parks in Africa, featuring a large range of elephant and buffalo. Take the game drive that is offered by the park to truly experience the animals first-hand.
Lesotho is a very unique country; not only is it one of three remaining monarchies in Africa, it also is completely encompassed by the country of South Africa. The landscapes are populated mostly by towering mountains, with the highest Thabana Ntlenyana, standing tall at an impressive 3,482 metres high. If hiking and sightseeing is your favourite thing to do, the Mountain Kingdom is the perfect place to go. Enlist the help of a guide and go pony trekking across the terrain, or grab a mountain bike and go exploring. The Katse Dam is one that cannot be missed, especially if you would like to go kayaking!
Home of the lemurs, Madagascar is covered in rich plant life such as rainforests, reef and warm, sunny beaches. The Avenue of the Baobabs is a must-see; it is an old dirt road that is lined with baobab trees that are hundreds of years old. Learn about the royal history of Madagascar and visit the Rova of Antananarivo, a UNESCO World Heritage 17 century royal palace that once housed the kings and queens of Madagascar. Take a boat to the nearby Nosy Mangabe Special Reserve and observe the rare aye-aye lemur. Originally a trading post, the Nosy Mangabe island is now dedicated to preserving the rich land and rare wildlife; go hiking to discover rock inscriptions from the Dutch or old graves from early inhabitants of the island.
What springs to mind when thinking about Namibia, is the stunning colour and height of its sand dunes in the Namib Desert, or the hike through Fish River Canyon. The capital city of Windhoek has buildings reminiscent of the German colonial era, as well as a bustling nightlife, and a number of great restaurants to choose from.
Small in size but mighty in scenery, game reserves and golf, Swaziland has just as much diversity as some of the biggest African countries. To experience authentic Swazi lifestyle, visit the Shewula Mountain Camp, situated in the Shewula Mountain Reserve. Here you can take a walk through the village and hear the singing, dancing and daily interactions. You can even stay overnight in a hut (there’s hot showers available, don’t worry) and have authentic Swazi cuisine. Go white water rafting down the Usutu River, or take a trip to Hlane National Park to experience the game drive and see the big 5!
Tanzania is home to numerous national parks, as well as the highest mountain in Africa – the well-known Mount Kilimanjaro. Visit the Serengeti National Park, famous for its large herds of wildebeest that migrate there annually.