Category: Islands

Why You Should Visit Lusophone Africa

Posted By : Travel Africa Movement/ 11 0

Africa’s Lusophone countries are some of the least visited on the continent. Here’s why you should visit.

During the Scramble for Africa, European colonial powers divided up the continent amongst themselves and took control over 90% of the land. While France and the United Kingdom collectively controlled the majority, Portugal gained control of 5 nations: Mozambique (then Portuguese Mozambique), Angola (then Portuguese Angola), Guinea-Bissau (then Portuguese Guinea), Cape Verde (then Portuguese Cape Verde) and São Tomé and Príncipe (then Portuguese São Tomé and Príncipe). Today, Portuguese remains the lingua franca spoken by most residents. And while these Lusophone countries are some of the least visited countries on the continent, they offer beautiful landscapes, rich culture, and fascinating historical sites for the adventurous and intrepid traveler. Here’s why you should visit.

Angola

Marginal in Luanda, Angola
Photo credit: David Stanley, Flickr

Travelers are re-discovering Angola’s beauty and charm following a prolonged civil war that ended in 2002. Angola’s tourism industry is small but growing and centers on its culture, history, and natural environment, which includes tropical beaches, rainforests, mountains, sub-Saharan desert, rivers, waterfalls, mountains, and national parks.

Most travelers enter via Luanda, the capital, largest city and beating heart of Angola. Once known as the most expensive city in the world, downtown Luanda’s gleaming skyscrapers, grand colonial buildings, and palm tree lined streets showcase its considerable oil and diamond wealth. But the city is also full of stark contrasts with shantytowns lying just beyond the fancy buildings. The juxtaposition can be striking and highlights the inequality in Africa’s third largest economy.

Luanda’s best known attractions include the Marginal, a seafront promenade that runs along Luanda Bay; the mausoleum of Agostinho Neto, the first president; the Iron Palace, an iron building shipped from Paris in the late 1800s and rumored to be designed by Gustav Eiffel, creator of the Eiffel Tower; the Museum of Natural History; the National Museum of Anthropology; the Museum of Money; and the Museum of Armed Forces, located at Fort Sao Miguel. Fort Sao Miguel, a former fortress and slave port, is one of many forts that line the coastline, bearing witness to the country’s history as a former colony and trading post of Portugal. During the colonial era, the transatlantic slave trade in Angola was one of the longest, with more than 5 million slaves brought to Brazil, the Caribbean, and the USA. This history is detailed in the Angolan National Museum of Slavery, which is housed in the former property of Álvaro de Carvalho Matoso, one of Angola’s largest slave traders. The museum displays hundreds of items used in the slave trade and adjoins the Capela da Casa Grande, a 17th-century church where slaves were baptized before being loaded on slave ships.

Ilha do Cabo (locally called Ilha do Luanda or Ilha) is where everyone goes to relax and have fun on the weekend. The island, which is connected to the mainland by a bridge, is packed with beaches, restaurants and bars. Mussulo island is another popular escape for tourists and wealthy locals seeking to enjoy its tropical beaches and array of water sports. The island is about a 10-minute ride from Luanda by boat. Beach huts, restaurants and bars offer many opportunities for fresh seafood and drinks.

For nature and wildlife lovers, there are many outstanding sites. Just 2 hours south of Luanda, Quiçama National Park is Angola’s third largest national park with a growing wildlife population. Birdwatching is one of the most popular activities due to the vast array of birds in the park. Maiombe Forest, often called the “Amazon of Africa”, features rare flora and fauna, as well as gorillas, elephants, chimps, birds, butterflies, and other rare species. The Tundavala Gap is a huge abyss at the rim of the Serra da Leba mountain range that offers breathtaking panoramic views over Angola. And Kalandula Falls is the third highest waterfall in Africa and one of the largest by volume. 

Angola’s tourist infrastructure is underdeveloped, so it should be considered an off-the-beaten destination. If exploring outside of Luanda, a bilingual tour guide is highly recommended for safety and logistical purposes. English is not widely spoken, so learning a few Portuguese words will help considerably.

Cape Verde

Laginha Beach, Mindelo, Sao Vicente island
Photo credit: @thetravesista

Located just 350 miles off the coast of Senegal, Cape Verde is comprised of 10 islands in the Atlantic Ocean: Santiago, Sal, Boa Vista, Santo Antão, São Vicente, São Nicolau, Santa Luzia, Maio, Fogo, and Brava. Its capital and largest city is Praia on the main island of Santiago, where more than half of Cape Verde’s population lives. Most of the people are Creole, descending from the mixture of European settlers and African slaves who were brought to the islands to work on the plantations. Cape Verde has emerged from that storied history to become an increasingly popular tourist destination where sun, sand, and beach figure prominently. Each of the islands offers a different landscape and cultural vibe and visitors often island hop to visit several islands during one trip.

Sal is the tourist hub and most visited of the islands, popular with sea lovers and water sports enthusiasts. Espargos is Sal’s capital and the location of its international airport, while Santa Maria is the main tourist town with fancy resorts, restaurants and bars lining its beautiful sandy beaches. Sal’s most famous attractions are the Buracona (aka the Blue Eye), a natural pool that beams a bright turquoise color around midday, and the Pedra de Lume salt mines. Turtle watching, kitesurfing, snorkeling and scuba diving are also popular.

São Vicente is the cultural heart and its capital, Mindelo, is known for its music, nightlife, and annual Carnival. While all of the islands celebrate Carnival, the most popular one is here. Morna, the national music of Cape Verde, was born in Mindelo, as well as its most famous singer, Césaria Evora. Today, a museum and memorial are dedicated to the late singer, not far from her former home. In addition to the beautiful Laginha beach, the city contains a treasure-trove of colonial buildings painted in bright pastel colors.

Santiago is typically considered the most “African” of the islands and probably has the most diverse landscape, with sandy beaches, mountains, fertile valleys, and plateaus. Things to see include the colonial houses, the Nossa Senhora da Graça church, the food market, the palace of justice, the Museo Ethnográfico, the presidential palace, the parliament building, and the old town fortress of Bateira, which has spectacular ocean views.

Fogo is the volcanic island, home to Pico de Fogo, a live volcano that last erupted in 2014. You can enjoy beautiful views of Pico from the old craters that surround the mountain. Its largest city, São Filipe, is known for its black sand beaches.

Cape Verde has established tourist infrastructure and it is easy to travel between the islands by plane or ferry.

Guinea-Bissau

Fort Cacheu, Guinea Bissau
Fort Cacheu
Photo credit: Olivier Rohas, Flickr

Guinea-Bissau is one of the world’s least visited countries, seeing only about 30,000 tourists per year. Although tourists are few and far between, for the venturesome traveler this tropical country offers abundant culture, untouched natural environments, and great wildlife. Like other Lusophone African countries, Guinea-Bissau celebrates Carnival annually with vibrant street processions and displays of traditional grab, dancing, and drumming.

The capital and largest city is Bissau, a coastal town in the west-central portion of the country. Things to see there include Varela Beach, the Portuguese quarter, Cathedral, São José da Amura Fort, Presidential Palace, Bandim Market, and the ruins of Bolama, the former colonial capital.

The town of Cacheu, on the northwest coast, was the former colonial capital and the official slave trading point for the Portuguese in the upper Guinea region. Its most notable building is Fort Cacheau, which along with the slavery museum (Memorial da Escravatura e do Tráfico Negriero), memorializes the grim history of Portugal’s first settlement in sub-Saharan Africa. Other attractions in the area include the cultural center (Casa do Capitao Mor) and Tarrafes do Rio Cacheu Natural Park.

Jemberem, about 5 hours south of the capital, is a sprawling stretch of nature and wildlife. Cantanhez Natural Park, the largest remaining forest in Guinea-Bissau, is home to a community-based conservation project and features a wide variety of fauna, flora, and landscapes. The local community lives in close contact with chimpanzees living inside the park. The nearby town of Guilede has two interesting museums about the country’s liberation.

The Bijagos Archipelago is a beautiful group of 88 islands off the coast. This UNESCO World Heritage Biosphere reserve offers excellent swimming, diving, and fishing, as well as opportunities to see pygmy hippos, sharks, manatees, turtles, and a myriad of migratory birds. Orango National Park, in the southern part of the archipelago, is its crown jewel.

Guinea-Bissau’s tourist infrastructure is underdeveloped, so it should be considered an off-the-beaten destination. It’s recommended to partner with a guide or local resident familiar with the landscape.

Mozambique

Goa island, Mozambique
Goa island near Ilha de Mozambique
Photo credit: @thetravelsista

Mozambique is a diamond in the rough that has yet to realize its full tourism potential. But while this country may be underexplored by tourists, it offers excellent eco-tourism opportunities. Mozambique boasts the 4th longest coastline in Africa, lined with many beach towns and numerous islands off its coast. It also has some of the best coral reefs in the world, with excellent diving and snorkeling opportunities. For wildlife fans, several parks provide safari experiences, including Gorongosa National Park, the Maputo Elephant Reserve, Niassa Reserve, and Limpopo National Park.

Mozambique’s capital and largest city is Maputo, situated on Maputo Bay on the Indian Ocean. Though visitors often bypass the city for the northern beaches, it’s worth a visit for a few days. Maputo’s most popular attractions include the Central Market, the Central Railway Station, FEIMA Arts and Crafts Market, National Arts Museum, Casa do Ferro, Museum of Natural History, and National Money Museum. Maputo also has a lively arts and music scene, with many restaurants doubling as entertainment venues on nights and weekends. Art afficionados will enjoy the Fundação Fernando Leite Couto Cultural Center and Nucleo de Arte, both of which offer art galleries and live music performances. Bairro Mafalala, one of the more impoverished areas of the city, holds significant relevance to Maputo’s historical and cultural roots. It was the home base of the Mozambican independence movement and many important artists, intellectuals, cultural and political figures hailed from there. The neighborhood has a museum to preserve its historical and cultural legacy and residents also host walking tours.

Catembe, located on the southern side of Maputo Bay, offers a relaxed atmosphere, beaches, and great views of Maputo’s skyline. It’s easily accessible by ferry or private boat from downtown. The nearby Inhaca Island, an important marine research center, is known for its coral reefs and snorkeling. It’s popular for day trips or weekend getaways from the mainland. But the best beaches and water activities are found outside the environs of Maputo and the multitude of coastal beach towns will make any water lover happy.

In southern Mozambique, Ponta do Ouro, Bilene, Xai-Xai Beach, and Tofo Beach offer turquoise waters and spectacular snorkeling and diving. Vilankulo (aka Vilanculos) is the Mozambican capital of watersports and the gateway to the Bazaruto Archipelago, a group of 6 islands which arguably boast some of the best beaches in the country. The largest island, Bazaruto, is beautiful resort and underwater marine park geared to high-end tourism; it offers great scuba diving, snorkeling and deep-sea fishing. Coral reefs surround Magaruque and Santa Carolina islands, which are also popular with snorkelers and divers. More than 1,200 species of fish have been identified in the archipelago.

In northern Mozambique, Ilha de Mozambique is the former Portuguese capital and a UNESCO World Heritage site. Pemba, another popular beach destination, is also the gateway to the Quirimbas Archipelago, a chain of 32 islands in the Indian Ocean. The Quirimbas, as the islands are called, have some of Mozambique’s most secluded and stunning beaches. Many of the islands are part of Quirimbas National Park, renowned for its coral reefs and waters inhabited by dolphins, whales, and dugongs (endangered sea cows). Vamizi Island is the most exclusive private island, known for its luxury amenities, world class fishing, and deep-sea diving.

Quelimane, in east-central Mozambique, holds the country’s biggest annual Carnival in February/March. It has been dubbed “Little Brazil” and attracts many visitors across Mozambique and the world. Carnival features street parades with floats, live bands, dancers, and a food fair.

The tourism infrastructure in Mozambique is underdeveloped, so travel can be long and tiring. But it’s so worth it. Check out our Mozambique Travel Guide for more detailed info and English speaking tour guides.

São Tomé and Príncipe

Beach at Sao Tome
Beach at São Tomé
Photo credit: Miss Helena, Flickr

The country of São Tomé and Príncipe includes the 2 islands of São Tomé and Príncipe, and several rocky islets, including Rôlas, Caroço, Pedras, and Tenhosas. It sits in the Gulf of Guinea, off the coast of Gabon, and is known for its many beautiful beaches, waterfalls, rainforests, natural landscapes, history, and ecotourism opportunities. The capital and largest city is São Tomé on the island of São Tomé, which sees most of the country’s tourism.

São Tomé and Príncipe was a vital center for the transatlantic slave trade and coffee, sugar and cocoa were cultivated on the 800+ plantations (roças) there. Today most lie in ruins, but several remain standing and are open to tourists. Roça Água Izé is one of the most visited and still actively produces cocoa beans. Roça Nova Moca is also still in use and grows most of the country’s coffee for export. Roça Agostinho Neto, once the largest on the island, is now an informal settlement and provincial government post. Though much of the site is crumbling, the former mansion, now a museum, and the hospital, gardens and some houses still exist and are worth a visit. Other attractions on São Tomé include the Fort de São Sebastião, a former fortress which houses a museum containing religious art and colonial-era artifacts; Boca de Inferno, a natural blowhole; Lagoa Azul, a small bay and popular diving spot; Cascada São Nicolãu waterfalls; Pico de São Tomé mountain; Obo National Park; Corallo Chocolate Factory; Central Market; rum factories; dolphin and humpback whale watching; bird watching; black sand beaches; and water activities, including deep sea fishing, snorkeling and diving.

The island of Príncipe is about a 35-minute flight from São Tomé and is the smaller and more tranquil of the two islands. Its attractions include the colonial architecture in Santo António, Roça Sundy, Pico Papagaio Mountain, Baía das Alguhas (Bay of Needles), Bom Bom island, Príncipe Ecological Zone, bird watching, sea turtles, rainforests, and secluded beaches that you’ll likely enjoy to yourself.

20 of Africa's Best Views: Farafra Desert, Egypt

20 of Africa’s Best Natural Views

Posted By : Travel Africa Movement/ 158

Need some travel inspiration? Well look no further. Here are 20 of the best natural views in Africa.

Need some travel inspiration? Africa will wow you like no other with its million dollar views. Here are 20 of the best natural views in Africa.

Oceans, Lakes and Waterfalls

1. Lake Malawi

Lake Malawi is the third largest and second deepest lake in Africa. It’s located between Malawi, Mozambique and Tanzania.

20 of Africa's Best Natural Views
Photo credit: Olisa Gravney

2. Lake Retba

Lake Retba (aka Lac Rose or Pink Lake) is named for its pink waters caused by Dunaliella salina algae and is known for its high salt content, up to 40% in some areas. It’s located in Senegal.

Photo credit: @thetravelsista

3. Mosi Oa Tunya Falls

Mosi Oa Tunya Falls (aka Victoria Falls) is a waterfall on the Zambezi River, located on the border between Zimbabwe and Zambia. It is one of the 7 Natural Wonders in the World and is considered the world’s largest waterfall.

Photo credit: Paul Balfe, Flickr

4. Murchison Falls

Murchison Falls (aka Kabalega Falls) is a waterfall on the lower Victoria Nile River in Uganda.

Photo credit: @placestogetlost.de

5. Cascades d’Ouzoud

Cascades d’Ouzoud (aka Ouzoud Waterfalls) is the name for a collection of waterfalls in the High Atlas Mountains. The falls tumble 361 feet (110 meters) through a red rock gorge of the El Abid River. They are Morocco‘s highest and Africa’s second highest waterfalls.

Photo credit: Freed eXplore, Flickr

6. Chutes de Kambadaga

The Chutes de Kambadaga (aka Kambadaga Falls) are made up of three successive waterfalls on the Kokulo River, in the Fouta-Djalon highland region of Guinea.

Photo credit: @ibrohimhotep

7. Indian Ocean

The Indian Ocean is the world’s third largest major ocean, touching the continents of Asia, Australia, and Africa and offering spectacular views of turquoise waters for miles on end. It runs along Africa’s southern and eastern coastline, in South Africa, Mozambique, Kenya, Tanzania, Somalia, and surrounds the island nations of Madagascar, Comoros, Mauritius, and Seychelles.

Deserts, Canyons and Caves

8. Blyde River Canyon

Blyde River Canyon is the largest green canyon and third largest canyon in the world. It is part of the Panoramic Route, a scenic road connecting several natural points of interest, and is located in Mpumalanga Province, South Africa.

Photo credit: @thetravelsista

9. Fish River Canyon

Fish River Canyon is the world’s second largest canyon. It consists of an upper and lower canyon formed by erosion of the Fish River and is located in southern Namibia.

Photo credit: @thetravelsista

10. Namib Desert

The Namib Desert is the world’s oldest desert, spanning primarily across Namibia, as well as parts of Angola and South Africa. Its massive red sand dunes are some of the largest on earth.

Photo credit: Monica Guy, Flickr

11. Sudwala Caves

The Sudwala Caves are the oldest known caves in the world, believed to be more than 240 million years old. They are located in Mpumalanga Province, South Africa.

Photo credit: @tamcursmith

Depressions and Geological Formations

12. Farafra Depression

The Farafra Depression is located in the White Desert National Park in Egypt. The park is the site of cliffs, sand dunes, oases, and large white chalk rock formations, created through erosion by wind and sand.

Photo credit: @pierreschuester

13. Danakil Depression

The Danakil Depression, known as the hottest place on earth, is a geological depression caused by the continent drift of three tectonic plates. Its alien-like environment is home to salt lakes, lava lakes, volcanoes and colorful acid springs. It’s located in northern Ethiopia.

Photo credit: Achilli Family, Flickr

14. Seven Colored Earths

The Seven Colored Earths are a small area of striped sand dunes comprised of seven distinct colors (red, brown, violet, green, blue, purple and yellow). It is located in Chamarel in southwestern Mauritius.

Photo credit: Shankar S., Flickr

Jungles and Forests

15. Congo Rainforest

The Congo Rainforest is the world’s second largest tropical forest, known for its high levels of biodiversity which includes more than 600 tree species and 10,000 animal species. It spans six countries: Cameroon, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Republic of the Congo, Equatorial Guinea and Gabon.

Kahuzi-Biege National Park, Democratic Republic of the Congo
Photo credit: USDA Forest Service

16. Upper Guinea Forest

The Upper Guinea Forest is a tropical forest region of West Africa, extending from Guinea and Sierra Leone through Liberia, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Togo and Benin.

Tai National Park, Ivory Coast
Photo credit: @fantasticafrica

17. Avenue of the Baobabs

The Avenue of Baobabs is a group of baobab trees lining the dirt road linking Morondava and Belo Tsiribihina in western Madagascar. The trees are more than 800 years old, reaching heights of up to 100 feet (30 m) with trunks as big as 10 feet (3 m) in diameter. They are a legacy of the dense tropical forests that once thrived on the island.

Photo credit: Rod Waddington, Flickr

Mountains and Volcanos

18. Mount Kilimanjaro

Mount Kilimanjaro is a dormant volcano in Tanzania. It is the highest mountain in Africa and the highest single free-standing mountain in the world.

Photo credit: Erik Cleves Kristensen, Flickr

19. Mount Nyiragongo

Mount Nyiragongo is stratovolcano in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, located near Lake Kivu at the eastern border of Rwanda. Its summit caldera contains the world’s largest and most active lava lake.

Photo credit: Nina R, Flickr

20. Table Mountain

Table Mountain is a flat topped mountain overlooking the city of Cape Town, South Africa. It is the country’s most iconic and photographed landmark.

Photo credit: @tamcursmith

Country Highlight: SEYCHELLES

Posted By : Travel Africa Movement/ 117 0

The Seychelles is comprised of 115 islands and is the smallest sovereign African nation. Learn more fun facts about this beautiful country.

Fast Facts:

1. Seychelles is an African island nation, comprised of 115 islands in the Indian Ocean. There are 42 inner granite islands and 73 outer coral islands.

2. Its capital and largest city is Victoria, situated on Mahé island. 90% of the population lives on Mahé.

3. It’s the smallest sovereign African nation by size and population.

4. Major languages: English, French and Seychellois Creole

5. Major ethnic groups: Seychellois Creoles (mixed race) (93%), British, Indian, Chinese

6. Major religions: Christianity (89%), Hinduism (2%), Islam (2%), Traditional and other (6%), None (1%)

7. It gained independence from the United Kingdom in 1976.

8. The Seychelles are the world’s only granite islands.

9. The rare Coco de Mer palm tree (aka double coconut tree) grows naturally in only 2 places in the world: Praslin and Curieuse islands. Its large nut can grow to more than 19 inches (50 cm) in diameter and weigh up to 90 pounds.

10. It has 2 UNESCO World Heritage sites: Vallée de Mai, a protected forest, and Aldabra Atoll, the world’s largest coral atoll which is home to more than 150,000 giant tortoises.

11. It is known for its nature reserves, wildlife, hiking trails, water sports, and beautiful beaches.

12. The largest and most popular islands are Mahé, La Digue, and Praslin. Activities there include: Anse Source d’Argent beach, Seychelles National Botanical Gardens, Le Jardin du Roi Spice Garden, Anse Georgette, Anse Intendance, Anse Lazio, Beau Vallon, Anse Volbert, Copolia Trail, Victoria Market, and Shark Bank.

13. Other visited islands include Curieuse, Cousine, Grande Soeur, Petite Soeur, St. Pierre, Silhouette, Denis, Cerf and Fregate.

Photo credit: britannica.com
Video credit: Top Tourist Places
Video credit: Displore

Country Highlight: SÃO TOMÉ AND PRÍNCIPE

Posted By : Travel Africa Movement/ 135 0

São Tomé and Príncipe is one of Africa’s island nations and its second smallest sovereign state. Learn more fun facts about this alluring country.

Fast Facts:

1. It’s an island nation in the Gulf of Guinea, located off the coast of Gabon, and is Africa’s second smallest sovereign state by size and population.

2. It consists of the 2 volcanic islands of São Tomé (the largest) and Príncipe, and several rocky islets, including Rôlas, Caroço, Pedras, and Tenhosas.

3. The capital and largest city is São Tomé.

4. Major languages: Portuguese (official), Forro, Angolar, Principense

5.Major ethnic groups: Forros, Angolares, Mestico, European

6. Major religions: Christianity (73%), Traditional and other religions (6%), No religion (19%), Islam (2%)          

7. It gained independence from Portugal in July 1975.

8. It was a vital center for the transatlantic slave trade and coffee, sugar and cocoa were cultivated on the 800+ plantations there.

9. Today, cocoa is the main crop and it represents 95% of its agricultural exports.

10. It is one of Africa’s least visited countries, but its tourism industry is steadily growing.    

11. It is known for its many beautiful beaches, natural landscapes and ecotourism opportunities.

12. Things to see and do on São Tomé include: Boca de Inferno blowhole, Cascada São Nicolãu waterfalls, Lagoa Azul, Pico de São Tomé mountain, Obo National Park, Fort São Sebastião, Central Market, Agostinho Neto and plantations, Corallo Chocolate Factory, dolphin and humpback whale watching, bird watching, black sand beaches, and water activities, including deep sea fishing, snorkeling and diving.

13. Things to see and do on Príncipe include: colonial architecture in Santo António, Pico Papagaio mountain, Baía das Alguhas, Príncipe Ecological Zone, bird watching, and beaches.

Photo credit: ontheworldmap.com
Video credit: Top Tourist Places
Video credit: Destination Africa

Country Highlight: MAURITIUS

Posted By : Travel Africa Movement/ 159 0

Mauritius is one of Africa’s island nations and was the home of the extinct dodo bird. Learn more fun facts about this beautiful island.

Fast Facts:

1. Mauritius is an island nation in the Indian Ocean about 2,000 km (1,200 mi) off the southeast coast of the African continent.

2. It includes the main island of Mauritius and the Rodrigues, Agaléga, and Cargados Carajos Shoals (St. Brandon) islands, which are collectively called the Mascarene Islands. Mauritius also claims sovereignty over the disputed Chagos Islands.

3. The capital and largest city, Port Louis, is located on Mauritius island, where 40% of the population lives.

4. Major languages: Mauritian Creole, Bhojpuri, French, English

5. Major ethnic groups: Indo-Pakistani, Creole (descended from African slaves), Chinese, French

6. Major religions: Hinduism (49%), Christianity (33%), Islam (17%), Other (1%)

7. It gained independence from the United Kingdom in March 1968.

8. The national flag, adopted at independence, is known as the Four Bands. It consists of red, blue, yellow and green bands representing:

Red: the bloodshed at the time of slavery and colonization.

Blue: the Indian Ocean surrounding the island.

Yellow: the new light of independence and the bright future.

Green: the lush vegetation of the island.

9. It was the former home of the extinct dodo bird.

10. There are two UNESCO World Heritage sites, Aapravasi Ghat and Le Morne Cultural Landscape.

11. It has many world-famous public beaches including the whimsically-named Flic en Flac, Pereybere, Tamarin, Blue Bay, La Morne, Belle Mare, and Grand Bay.

12. The Seven Colored Earths is a popular tourist attraction. This geological formation of seven colors of sand spontaneously settles in different layers, giving the dunes a surrealistic, striped appearance.

13. Things to see and do include: the colonial capital of Port Louis, Champs de Mars (one of the oldest horseracing tracks in the world), Pamplemousses botanical gardens, the Blue Penny Museum (home to one of the world’s rarest stamps), the Black River Gorges National Park, and the Casela Wildlife Park.

Photo credit: worldweather.wmo.int
Video credit: Top Tourist Places
Video credit: indian-ocean.com

Country Highlight: MADAGASCAR

Posted By : Travel Africa Movement/ 174 0

Madagascar is one of Africa’s six sovereign island nations and its 22nd largest country. Learn more fun facts about this fascinating country.

Fast Facts:

1. It’s an island nation in the Indian Ocean off the coast of East Africa. It is one of Africa’s six sovereign island nations.

2. It is Africa’s 22nd largest country and the 2nd largest island country in the world.        

3. Its capital and largest city is Antananarivo.

4. Malagasy and French are official languages.

5. Major ethnic groups: Merina (26%), Betsimisaraka (15%), Betsileo (12%), Tsimihety (7%), Sakalava (6%), Antaisaka (5%), Antandroy (5%), Chinese/Indian/Comoran/French/Other (24%)

6. Major religions: Christianity (85%), Traditional religions (5%), Islam (3%), Other or no religion (7%)

7. Madagascar gained independence from France in October 1960.

8. It is one of the most undeveloped countries in the world.

9. It is a biodiversity hotspot and more than 90% of its plants and wildlife is found nowhere else on earth.

10. Lemurs are the most well-known mammal species of Madagascar and more than 103 species and subspecies live on the island.

11. The Avenue of the Baobabs is a popular attraction and one of the most visited sites. This aisle of trees features baobabs more than 800 years old and 30 meters (98 feet) tall.

12. Tourism is a young, but growing industry and centers largely around nature and outdoor activities. Things to do include Tsingy de Bemaraha (the largest nature reserve), Tsingy de Ankarana reserve, Morondava, Ranomafana National Park, Masoala National Park, Isalo National Park (the Malagasy Grand Canyon), Andasibe Park, whale watching on Ile Ste Marie, Royal Hill of Ambohimanga (a historical village), Nosy Be island, Lemurs Park, swimming and surfing on the great beaches.

Photo credit: nationsonline.org
Video credit: Mojo Travels
Video credit: Top Tourist Places
Video credit: Sweet Sour Travel

Country Highlight: COMOROS

Posted By : Travel Africa Movement/ 260 0

Comoros is the 4th smallest African country and one of Africa’s 6 island nations. Learn more fun facts about these remote islands.

Fast Facts:

1. The Comoros are a group of islands in the Indian Ocean, located about 180 miles (290 km) off the eastern coast of Africa, between northern Mozambique and northern Madagascar. Its the 4th smallest African country.

2. The three Comoros islands are: Grande Comoro (Ngazidja), Anjouan (Nzwani), Mohéli (Mwali). A fourth island, Mayotte, is claimed by Comoros, but is a French overseas territory.

3. The capital and largest city is Moroni on Grande Comoro island.

4. The population consists almost entirely of persons of mixed African, Malagasy, Malay, and Arab descent. Major ethnic groups: Antalote, Cafre, Makoa, Oimatsaha, Sakalava and Shirazi.

5. Major languages: French, Arabic and Comorian (aka Shikomori). Comorian is spoken by 97% of the population, typically as a first language.

6. Major religions: Islam (98%), Christianity (2%)

7. Comoros is the only majority Muslim country in southern Africa.

8. The Comoros islands were colonized by France in the late 19th century.

9. Comoros gained independence from France in 1975 (except Mayotte, which voted to remain under French rule). It’s had more than 20 attempted or actual coups since independence.

10. Comoros is one of the world’s poorest countries, with an economy based largely on subsistence agriculture and fishing.

11. The Comoros are known as the Perfume Islands due to the ever-present smell of vanilla, cloves and other spices. The Comoros are one of the world’s largest producers of Ylang-Ylang essence for perfume.

12. Mount Karthala, an active volcano, is the highest point at 7746 feet (2631 meters) above sea level. Its last eruption was in January 2007.

13. The Comoros are a remote destination, with a small tourism industry and minimal tourism infrastructure (outside of Mayotte). The main tourist attractions are its beaches, underwater fishing, mountain scenery, and the medina, mosque and Vola Vola market in the capital.

Photo credit: britannica.com
Video by CBX Studios
Video by Aline Escalon

Country Highlight: CAPE VERDE

Posted By : Travel Africa Movement/ 301 0

Cape Verde is Africa’s 5th smallest country and one of its 6 island nations. Learn more fun facts about this beautiful country.

Fun Facts:

1. It’s an island nation comprised of 10 islands in the Atlantic Ocean, located about 350 miles west of Senegal. The 10 islands are: Santiago, Sal, Boa Vista, Santo Antão, São Vicente, São Nicolau, Santa Luzia, Maio, Fogo, and Brava.

2. It’s the 5th smallest nation in Africa and the 30th smallest in the world.

3. Its capital and largest city is Praia on the main island of Santiago.

4. More than half of Cape Verde’s population lives on Santiago Island.

5. Major languages: Portuguese and Cape Verdean Creole (aka Kriolu).

6. Major religions: Christianity (95%), Islam (2%), Traditional and other religions (2%)

7. Most of the population is Creole, descending from the mixture of European settlers and African slaves who were brought to the islands to work on Portuguese plantations.

8. It gained its independence from Portugal in July 1975.

9. More Cape Verdeans live abroad (nearly 1 million) than in the country itself (about 500,000).

10. The national music is the Morna, typically sung in Kriolu. Cesária Évora, known as the Queen of Morna, was the best-known Cape Verdean singer in the world. She passed in 2011 but left a big legacy.

11. Cape Verde has a spectacular Carnival held annually on Shrove Tuesday. While all of the islands celebrate, the most popular one is in Mindelo on São Vicente island.

12. Tourism is fast becoming one of Cape Verde’s biggest sectors. Visitors are drawn to the variety of landscapes and activities, including white and black sand beaches, water sports, mountain trekking, hiking, historical sites and architecture, street art, music, local cuisine and wines, and even an active volcano.

Photo credit: researchgate.net
Video credit: Top Tourist Places
Video credit: Roggy Douglas