What are your Must See Africa

Old Mar 1st, 2004, 08:54 PM
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What are your Must See Africa

Africa sounds exciting but it's an area I have no clue of. Which are the countries that are a must see for you and what are the must see sights and activitites that you recommend. Please be specific.

I'm planning a trip in 2005 and I have no idea which and what country to include. Would like to see migration of animals but i'm sure there are other interesting places and activities to do.
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Old Mar 1st, 2004, 10:09 PM
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Purplefish, if Africa was turned on its side, so that the distance from Cairo to Cape Town was measured from east to west rather than north to south, it would cover five time zones.

Very roughly speaking, there are destinations of very great historical and archaeological interest in North Africa (especially Egypt). Several of the Sub-Saharan countries offer wildlife safaris. A far from exhaustive list includes Kenya, Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Botswana and Namibia. This list of countries straddles a wide range of latitudes, so there is a good deal of variation in their weather at any given moment. Also, a given month may be a pleasant time of year in one region, while the very same month is an unpleasant time of year in another region. So advice regarding which country to visit varies according to the time of year during which you can travel.

Some African countries have beautiful beaches. The beaches that I know personally are in South Africa and Mozambique. I've heard Kenya has gorgeous beaches too, and Zanzibar is a popular destination.

The Seychelles is a group of islands that is said to be delightful. I've never been there, but one would go there for different reasons than one would go to the countries that offered wildlife safaris. I imagine visiting the Seychelles would be more like visiting some of the islands in the Pacific Ocean (just a guess on my part).

Of the Sub-Saharan countries, South Africa more than any other offers urban experiences. Cape Town and its wine growing hinterland have a mediterranean climate, and do not immediately look like posters that most people associate with Africa. I'm very fond of Cape Town, though, and do recommend it as a most pleasant destination.

While South Africa offers urban centres, it does have the classic game reserves as well.

So, with all that in mind, it would help the experienced Africa travellers if you could tell them a few things about your proposed trip, for instance:

* month
* duration of trip
* luxury, moderate, or very budget-conscious
* what activities you like doing, how active you are (how much walking and hiking you would want to do as opposed to driving)

While other details would not be as essential, they would be helpful:

* number of people in travel party
* age group(s) into which the travellers fall
* any other pertinent detail you can think of
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Old Mar 2nd, 2004, 01:14 AM
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Purplefish, I'll respond to this properly when I get home from work, but in the meantime you might enjoy:

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Old Mar 2nd, 2004, 11:33 AM
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Having been spending some serious time reading back issues of Travel Africa magazine recently (I now have the complete library from issue 1) I could create a great long long long list.

I'll try and list some of the ideas I gleaned from the various articles sometimes shortly.

I am going to be able to see some of my must-sees over coming months as I'm off to the Mara with my dad for a few days in April to attend a new wildlife festival and attend lectures, classes and workshops by a number of experts (I'm concentrating on photography stuff with Jonathan and Angie Scott and Mark Carwardine) and then in May my husband, Pete and I are off on our Grand Adventure. That covers some areas I can't wait to visit such as Cape Town and the Winelands, St Lucia Wetlands, Hluhluwe-Umfolozi, Kruger, the Savuti/ Linyanti area, more of the Okavango Delta, the Makgadikgadi Salt Pans and more of the NamibRand Nature Reserve. I cannot wait!

I'd also like to visit some of the less-visited parks in East Africa as well as a number of areas of Zambia.

I'd like to take a trip to see some of the ancient rock-art scattered around the continent.

I'm interested in visiting some of the historical monuments such as the Lalibela church in Ethiopia and the ancient city of Djenne in Mali.

I'd also like to take in some of the lakes, both in East Africa and also Malawi.

So much to do...

I'll write a better list after referring to my mags again this weekend!
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Old Mar 2nd, 2004, 12:58 PM
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There are so many amazing looking places:

Botswana - Moremi Game Reserve, Chobe Game Reserve, Linyati Game Reserve

Zambia - South Luangwa National Park, Lower Zambezi National Park, Kafue National Park, Victoria Falls.

Zimbabwe - Mana Pools (opposite Lower Zambezi NP in Zambia), Hwange, Lake Kariba, Matobo Hills, Victoria Falls.

South Africa - Kruger / Sabi Sand / Madikwe. Phinda. Non safari...Cape Town, Garden Route.

Tanzania - Tarangire, Lake Manyara, Ngorongoro Crater, Serengeti, Selous.

You should really plan your trip around which month you plan to visit and whether or not you want strictly safari or want to include non-safari activities, as well. Also, your budget may determine where you may or may not visit, as the South African Rand is very strong against the dollar right now, in case you are an American. If that is a concern, you may be better off with Zambia or Tanzania, both places that price out their lodges in US Dollars rather than South African Rand.

I do suggest that you do a lot of research and buy yourself both an Eastern Africa travel guide, as well as a Southern Africa travel guide to see what appeals most to you.

Good luck.
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Old Mar 2nd, 2004, 01:01 PM
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Some day I'll start on the southern AFrican sights. But in April I head to Reunion for the first time. It sounds like a terrific place from a mountainous scenery standpoint (not many animals).
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Old Mar 2nd, 2004, 06:42 PM
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Thanks for the initial inputs. I guess what I was planning to do was check out first what are the interesting sights/countries and based on that plan the when, where, how and budget of my trip.

We normally travel shoulder season in any country we pick. We're quite flexible with schedule. We also like to do trips on a 3 week duration since anything more than that seems too much for our senses. We're in our early 30's. We enjoy sights with historical/architectural significance but we also like to experience new sights and activities very distinct to the country we are visiting.

Just to give you an idea of how we travel, our trip for this year is Peru. We will be spending 11 days covering lima, cusco, machu picchu and amazon. We're not into hiking but we'll hike if we need to get to a certain place. We're not doing 3 day hike to Machu Picchu but we're looking forward to going around the ruins.

We don't enjoy tours that herd you into sights. We prefer doing travel at our own pace with a private or semi-private guide.

We enjoy a mix of luxury and moderate accomodations. On our last trip to Europe we stayed in accomodations ranging from $150 to $500. We try to average down the cost of our acocmodation. Budget is a consideration but we try not to let it hamper the experience.

I know Africa is huge and i guess that's why I'm a bit lost on where to start researching on. I've been to Egypt a few years ago but I'm thinking that Egypt is not your typical African country just because that sights there are geared towards the sights are structured on the advanced civilization that they possessed at that time which is not the case in most of the african countries.

I look forward to reading additional inputs you have based on what I've mentioned above.
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Old Mar 3rd, 2004, 04:20 AM
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purplefish -

Do know that when doing Safari in any of these countries, your rate per day will include your accommodation - lodge/camp, 3-meals daily, and your game drives (vehicle, guide & in some countries a tracker) so prices might seem high compared to just a hotel room night.

When staying in cities in most of these countries - Nairobi, Arusha, Cape Town - your rate will cover room and usually breakfast. If you pick up a full-day tour, lunch is often included.

As suggested by previous posters, time of year can determine prices, and yes shoulder season can be advantageous. But there are often negatives to shoulder season - rain, less ideal game viewing opportunities, just too hot!

Migration in Kenya at the Masai Mari occur anytime between Aug - Oct and rates can be higher, but worth the experience. Likewise, Migration in Tanzania in the Serengeti occurs during the months of Jan - Feb and too the prices are higher. But both are worth the experience.

We've always tried to travel off-season to avoid crowds and are willing to put up with a brief shower during "short rains" like in Kenya during November. Likewise, in SA, in June-Aug which is great game viewing time in places like Kruger, the weather in Cape Town can be wet and cooler - it is technically winter in the Southern Hemisphere.

So a good guidebook that cover the various countries should be a worthwhile purchase, and should be helpful in making your decision.
Old Mar 3rd, 2004, 07:33 AM
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I feel your pain of planning -- last fall we knew we wanted to visit Africa and the bush, but had no idea where to start. As you can see from above that's no small task from reading the postings. There's a book my Nolting, Africa's Top Wildlife Countries. While it doesn't get as much into the historical side of things as the wildlife, it's much better than the other two books I bought prior to the trip about Africa.

If you're interested in history, you can still immerse that with animals by visiting Shifting Sands and Olduvai Gorge in Tanzania. As for being ushered as part of a group, some tour operators limit the number of people in your group to no more than 6 -- sometimes that means you'll be the only person in your group, and if not at least it's a small group that could change at your next stop. A visit to South Africa could combine history, wildlife, and architecture along with wine. I'd also suggest searching through past issues of travel magazines for ideas and recommendations - Africa Travel as mentioned by Kavey provides some great info (though it may be tricky to find).
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