Category: South Africa

Why You Should Visit Lusophone Africa

Posted By : Travel Africa Movement/ 53 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/ 295

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: ZIMBABWE

Posted By : Travel Africa Movement/ 120 0

Zimbabwe is Africa’s 26th largest country and it has more official languages than any other African nation. Learn more fun facts about this fascinating country.

Fast Facts:

1. It’s a landlocked country in southern Africa and it’s the 26th largest country on the continent.

2. It’s capital and largest city is Harare.

3. It has 16 official languages, the most of any African country. English, Shona and Ndbele are the most widely spoken.

4. Major ethnic groups: Shona (70%), Ndebele (20%)

5. Major religions: Christianity (84%), None (10%), Traditional and other religions (6%)

6. It gained independence from the United Kingdom in April 1980.

7. The name “Zimbabwe” comes from the local Shona language meaning “a great house of stone.”

8. It has the world’s 3rd largest platinum reserves and significant other mineral resources, including diamonds, gold, chrome, and lithium.

9. It has 5 UNESCO World Heritage sites: Mosi-oa-Tunya/Victoria Falls, Ruins of Great Zimbabwe, Khami Ruins, Mana Pools and Matobo Hills.

10. Mosi-oa-Tunya Falls (aka Victoria Falls) are one of the Seven Wonders of the World and are shared by Zambia and Zimbabwe. During the wet season, spray from the falls can be seen as far as 30 miles (50 km) away.

11. Great Ruins of Zimbabwe are the remains of an ancient city which was once the center of a vast empire known as the Munhumutapa Empire.

12. Tourism centers around wildlife, nature, cultural, and historical activities. Zimbabwe is one of the few African nations that is home to the Big 5 wild game.

13. Popular attractions include Chinhoyi Caves, Bulawayo, rock formations of Matobo, ancient cave paintings in Domboshawa, Eastern Highlands, bungee jumping on Victoria Falls bridge, white water rafting or cruising on the Zambezi River, Mutarazi Falls skywalk and zipline, and safari in Hwange National Park.

14. Things to see and do in Harare include: National Art Gallery, National Archives, African Unity Square, National Heroes Acre, Harare Botanical Gardens, Chapangu Sculpture Park, Mukuvisi Woodlands, Mbare market, and Jason Moyo Avenue.

Photo credit: beautifulworld.com
Video credit: Tourism Zimbabwe
Video credit: Top Tourist Places
Video credit: Discover Africa New Channel

Country Highlight: ZAMBIA

Posted By : Travel Africa Movement/ 139 0

Zambia is Africa’s 17th largest country and the only one where you can swim at the edge of a waterfall. Learn more fun facts about this beautiful country.

Fast Facts:

1. It is a landlocked country in southern Africa and it’s the 17th largest country on the continent.

2. Its capital and largest city is Lusaka.

3. Major languages: English (official), Bemba, Nyanja, Tonga

4. Major ethnic groups:  Bemba (21%), Tonga (14%), Chewa (7%), Lozi (6%), Nsenga (5%) Tumbuka (4%), Ngoni (4%)

5. Major religions: Christianity (97%), Baha’i (1.5%), Islam (1%)

6. It gained independence from the United Kingdom in 1964.

7. Its name is derived from the Zambezi River, which flows through western Zambia and forms its southern border with Zimbabwe.

8. It is home to Mosi-oa-Tunya Falls (Victoria Falls) – the world’s largest curtain of falling water – which it shares with Zimbabwe. Mosi-ao-Tunya means “the smoke that thunders”.

9. Its most daring attraction is the Devil’s Pool, a natural pool at the edge of Mosi-oa-Tunya Falls, where visitors can swim during the dry season from mid-August to mid-January.

10. It has 20 national parks and reserves, 34 Game Management Areas and protects over 30% of its land.

11. Tourism centers around wildlife, nature, cultural and adventure activities.

12. Popular attractions include: Siavonga, Blue Lagoon National Park, Kalambo Falls, walking safaris in South Luangwa National Park, white water rafting or cruising on the Zambezi River, high tea at the Royal Livingstone Hotel, hot air ballooning over Kafue National Park, taking a microflight or bungee jumping over Mosi-oa-Tunya Falls, hiking at Mafinga Hills, swimming in the Monkey Pools, and watching the annual bat migration at Kasanka National Park.

13. Things to see and do in Lusaka include: Lusaka National Museum, Livingstone Museum, Railway Museum, Lusaka City Market, Kabwata Cultural Village, Lilayi Elephant Nursery, Kalimba Reptile Park, Nembo Scenic Park, Pakati Sunday Market, and Cathedral of the Holy Cross.

Photo credit: beautifulworld.com
Video credit: bestdestination
Video credit: Top Tourist Places

Country Highlight: ESWATINI (formerly SWAZILAND)

Posted By : Travel Africa Movement/ 270 0

Eswatini is Africa’s 7th smallest country and its last absolute monarchy. Learn more fun facts about this unique country.

Fast Facts:

1. It is a landlocked country in Southern Africa and is the 7th smallest country on the continent.

2. It has two capitals: Mbabane (administrative) and Lobamba (royal and legislative). Mbabane is the largest city.

3. It gained independence from Britain in September 1968.

4. It was formerly named and still is commonly known as Swaziland but was renamed Eswatini in 2018.

5. Major languages: Swazi, English

6. Major ethnic groups: Swazi (84%), Zulu (10%), European (3%)

7. Major religions: Christianity (89%), None (7%), Traditional and other religions (4%)

8. It is Africa’s last absolute monarchy and one of the few in the world. King Mswati III, who assumed the throne at age 18, has ruled Eswatini since 1986.

9. Umhlanga, the reed dance held in August/September, and Incwala, the kingship dance held in December/January, are the nation’s most important events.

10. Sibebe Rock, located near Mbabane, is the largest rock in Africa and the world’s second largest monolith (single piece of rock).

11. Execution Rock is one of its most infamous attractions and according to legend, it was so named because criminals and Swazis suspected of witchcraft were forced to walk off the edge at spear-point, plunging to their death.

12. The Bushfire Festival, one of Africa’s most popular music and arts festivals, is held annually in May.

13. House on Fire, the eclectic Bushfire venue, is a must-see attraction with unique artwork and sculptures adorning the property, coupled with spectacular mountain views. 

14. Things to see and do include: Mantenga Nature Reserve and Falls, Swazi Cultural Village, Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary, Malolotja Nature Reserve, Hlane Royal National Park, House on Fire, Gone Rural, Ngwenya Glass, Swazi Candles Centre, King Sobhuza II Memorial Park, Swaziland National Museum, and a variety of adventure activities, including caving, white water rafting, and zip lining.

Photo credit: wikimedia commons https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Eswatini_Regions_map.png
Video credit: Eswatini/Swaziland Tourism
Video credit: Displore
Video credit: Yuliy Showreel

Country Highlight: SOUTH AFRICA

Posted By : Travel Africa Movement/ 134 0

South Africa is the 9th largest and most southernmost country on the continent. Learn more fun facts about this beautiful country.

Fast Facts:

1. It’s located in southern Africa and is the southernmost country on the continent.

2. It is the 9th largest country in Africa and the 24th largest country in the world.

3. It has 3 capitals: Pretoria (executive), Bloemfontein (judicial), and Cape Town (legislative). Its largest and most visited city is Johannesburg.

4. It has 11 official languages: English, isiZulu, isiXhosa, Afrikaans, Sepedi, Setswana, Sesotho, Xitsonga, siSwati, Tshivenda and isiNdebele

5. Major ethnic groups: Black (81%), Coloured (indigenous/mixed race) (9%), White (8%), Asian (2%)

6. Major religions: Christianity (78%), No religion (11%), Traditional and other religions (7%), Islam (2%)

7. It is extremely rich in minerals and holds nearly 90% of all Platinum metals and 41% of the world’s Gold.

8. It’s known for its history of apartheid, a legal system of discrimination and race, which officially ended in 1994 when Nelson Mandela was elected president in South Africa’s first universal elections.

9. The Bloukrans Bridge is the site of the highest commercial bungee jump in the world, at 710 feet.

10. Boulders Beach in Cape Town is home to a colony of African penguins and is one of the few places where they can be seen in the wild.

11. Route 62, which runs through the Cape Winelands, is the world’s longest wine route, with more than 500 wineries.

12. Table Mountain, one its most iconic landmarks, is believed to be one of the world’s oldest mountains.

13. It has 9 UNESCO World Heritage sites: Fossil Hominid sites of Sterkfontein, Mapungubwe Cultural Landscape, Richtersveld Landscape, Robben Island, Cape Floral Region, iSimangaliso Wetland Park, Vredefort crater, uKhahlamba-Drakensberg Park, Khomani Cultural Landscape, and Barberton Makhonjwa Mountains.

14. There are a plethora of things to see and places to visit. Among them are: Soweto, Vilakazi Street, Apartheid Museum, Sun City, Robben Island, Cape of Good Hope, Cape Winelands, Durban’s Golden Mile, the Valley of 1000 Hills, the Panorama Route, the Garden Route, the Wild Coast, Sudwala Caves, Kruger National Park and the Blyde River Canyon.

Photo credit: ontheworldmap.com
Video credit: Displore
Video credit: NdaniTV
Video credit: NdaniTV

Country Highlight: NAMIBIA

Posted By : Travel Africa Movement/ 178 0

Namibia is Africa’s 15th largest country and home to the world’s second largest canyon. Learn more fun facts about this spectacular country.

Fast Facts:

1. It’s located in southern Africa and it’s the 15th largest country on the continent.

2. Its capital and largest city is Windhoek.

3. Major languages: English, Afrikaans, German, Otjiherero, Khoekhoegowab, Oshiwambo, RuKwangali, Setswana, siLozi       

4. Major ethnic groups: Ovambo (50%), Kavango (9%), Coloureds (8%), Herero (7%), Damara (7%), Whites (7%), Nama (5%), Lozi (3.5%), San (3%), Tswana (1%)

5. Major religions: Christianity (90%), Traditional and other (8.5%), None (1.5%)

6. It gained independence from South Africa in March 1990, following a protracted 24-year war. Prior to South Africa, it was colonized by Germany, which perpetrated a genocide against the Herero and Nama people.

7. It is one of two African countries, along with South Africa, that was subject to apartheid.

8. The name “Namibia” is derived from the Namib Desert, the world’s oldest desert. Some of the tallest sand dunes in the world are found there.

9. It’s the driest country in sub-Saharan Africa and one of the most sparsely populated countries in the world.

10. It is home to some of Africa’s oldest and unique ethnic groups, including the San, Nama, and Himba people.

11. It is home to the world’s second largest canyon, Fish River Canyon.

12. It is a popular tourism destination and has a myriad of activities including wildlife reserves, adventure activities, natural landmarks, historical sites, and cultural

13. Places to visit include the capital city of Windhoek, Caprivi Strip, Fish River Canyon, Sossusvlei and the sand dunes, the Skeleton Coast, Sesriem Canyon, Etosha National Park, Epupa Falls, and the coastal towns of Swakopmund, Walvis Bay and Lüderitz.

Photo credit: African Pride
Video credit: Displore
Video credit: Jazzyjon30

Country Highlight: MOZAMBIQUE

Posted By : Travel Africa Movement/ 207 0

Mozambique is Africa’s 16th largest country and the only country in the world with a modern weapon on its national flag. Learn more fun facts about this beautiful country.

Fast Facts:

1. It’s located in southeast Africa and is the 16th largest country on the continent.

2. Its capital and largest city is Maputo.

3. Major languages: Portuguese (official), Swahili, Mwani, Chewa, Tsonga, Makhuwa, Sena

4. Major ethnic groups: Makua, Sena, Shona, Tsonga, Shangaan    

5. Major religions: Christianity (56%), Islam (18%), Traditional and other (8%), None (18%)

6. It was colonized for nearly 500 years, before gaining independence from Portugal in June 1975 after a long civil war.

7. Mozambique’s flag, adopted at independence, is full of symbolism. The feature colors of red, green, black and yellow were derived from the flags of the African National Congress in South Africa and FRELIMO, the Mozambican liberation movement party. The star stands for Marxism and internationalism, the book stands for the importance of education, the hoe stands for the country’s agriculture, and the AK-47 rifle stands for defiance and vigilance. It is the world’s only national flag with a modern weapon.

8. Some of the scenes from the movie Blood Diamond were shot in Maputo.          

9. It has extensive natural resources, including aluminum, oil and natural gas, but it is one of the poorest and most undeveloped countries in the world.

10. Its tourism industry is small, but growing. Its natural beauty, beaches, national parks and wildlife reserves, cultural heritage and abundant seafood provide excellent eco-tourism opportunities for the adventurous.

11. It has the 4th longest coastline in Africa and numerous islands. The coast is 1,535 miles (2,470 km) long and is lined with beach towns. Popular destinations include Maputo, Inhaca Island, Ponta d’Ouro, Xai Xai beach, Tofo beach, Vilanculos, Bazaruto Archipelago, Inhambane, Ilha de Mozambique, Pemba and the Quirimbas islands.

12. It has some of the best coral reefs in the world, especially in the Bazaruto Archipelago. Over 1,200 species of fish have been identified there.

13. Gorongosa National Park, the Maputo Elephant Reserve, and Limpopo National Park provide wildlife safari experiences.

14. Things to do in Maputo include: the Central Market, the Train Station, FEIMA Arts and Crafts market, National Arts Museum, Casa do Ferro, Nucleo de Arte, Museum of Natural History, National Money Museum, and the Fundação Fernando Leite Couto Cultural Center.

Photo credit: mapsofworld.com
Video credit: Top Tourist Places
Video credit: Displore
Video credit: Moises Aires

Country Highlight: MALAWI

Posted By : Travel Africa Movement/ 227 0

Malawi is the 36th largest country in Africa and is known as “The Warm Heart of Africa”. Learn more fun facts about this beautiful country.

Fast Facts:

1. It is a landlocked country located in southeastern Africa and is the 36th largest country on the continent.

2. Its capital and largest city is Lilongwe.

3. It gained independence from the United Kingdom in 1964.

4. It is nicknamed “The Warm Heart of Africa” because of the friendliness of its people.

5. Major ethnic groups: Chewa (34%), Lomwe (19%), Yao (13%), Ngoni (10%), Tumbuka (9%), Sena (4%), Mang’anja (3%)

6. Major languages: English, Chewa (official); Yao, Tumbuka, Tonga, Sena, Lomwe, Ngonde, Lambya (national)

7. Major religions: Christianity (77%), Islam (14%), Traditional and other (7%), None (2%)

8. Dance is an important part of Malawi’s culture. Traditional dances and music can be seen as an initiation rite, and are used during rituals and marriage celebrations and ceremonies.

9. This relatively little-known gem has much to offer tourists, including wildlife, culture, adventure activities, stunning scenery, national parks, and the third largest lake in Africa.

10. Malawi has two sites listed on the UNESCO World Heritage List: Lake Malawi National Park and the Chongoni Rock Art Area, a site of stone age rock art and paintings.

11. Lake Malawi, also known as Lake Nyasa, takes up about 1/3 of Malawi’s area.

12. The annual Lake of Stars Festival, a 3-day outdoor festival with live music, talks, poetry, theatre, film, and wellness activities, is held on the shores of Lake Malawi.

13. Things to see and do in Lilongwe include the Lilongwe Market, Old Town, New Town, Lilongwe Nature Sanctuary, Lilongwe Wildlife Centre, Kamuzu Mausoleum, Parliament Building, the Tobacco Auction Floors, Kumbali Cultural Village, Tindoz d’Afrique, art galleries, bars, cafes, restaurants, crafts shop and nightlife.

Photo credit: mapsof.net
Video credit: Malawi Tourism
Video credit: Motion Images

Country Highlight: LESOTHO

Posted By : Travel Africa Movement/ 224 0

Lesotho is Africa’s 12th smallest country, known as the Mountain Kingdom due to its mountainous terrain. Learn more fun facts about this fascinating country.

Fast Facts:

1. It is Africa’s 12th smallest country, located in southern Africa and completely surrounded by South Africa.

2. Its capital and largest city is Maseru.

3. Official languages: Sesotho and English

4. Major ethnic groups: Basotho (99.7%), Others (0.3%)

5. Major religions: Christianity (95%), Traditional religions (4%), Other or no religion (1%)

6. The name Lesotho means the land of the people who speak Sesotho.

7. It is called the Mountain Kingdom because its terrain is extremely mountainous and the entire country is over 1000 meters (3280 feet) in altitude. Eighty percent of the country lies above 1,800 meters (5,906 feet).

8. The legendary Sani Pass provides the only road link between KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa and Lesotho. The steep gravel road, which can only be driven by 4 x 4 vehicles, starts at 1545 meters (5066 feet) and climbs to an altitude of 2876 meters (9436 feet).

9. The Basotho blanket is a wool tribal blanket worn by the people for warmth, but also as a status symbol and cultural identification. The blankets have distinctive designs and more intricate designs indicate a higher class of blanket.

10. The Basotho pony is a national source of pride and the main mode of transport over Lesotho’s rugged terrain.

11. Water and diamonds are Lesotho’s significant natural resources.

12. It’s home to the “Highest Pub in Africa”, located at 2874 meters (9429 feet), at the Sani Mountain Lodge. This is a popular tourist stop.

13. Tourism largely centers around nature, adventure sports, history, and culture.

14. Things to see/do include: Thabana Ntlenyana, the highest point in Lesotho at 3482 meters (11,424 feet); Afriski Mountain Resort, a luxury resort which offers activities for skiers, snow boarders, mountain bikers, hikers, off-road enthusiasts and more; Liphofung Caves and ancient San rock art; Maletsuyane Falls; Katse Dam; and Thaba Bosiu National Monument and Cultural Village.

Photo credit: countryreports.org
Video: Top Tourist Places
Video credit: Trygve Roberts