For anyone who has been watching the incredible ‘Africa’ series on the BBC, you’ll be aware of the wonders of Africa – official or not. The African continent is incredibly diverse, supporting a range of distinct and rare wildlife in its many different landscapes. The New Seven Wonders of Africa were announced earlier this week, so let’s take a look at the incredible places that made the list!
Serengeti National Park
The largest and most famous of Tanzania’s national parks, the Serengeti is known the world over for its astounding wildlife. The Serengeti ecosystem actually extends beyond the borders of the park to include other conservation areas and reserves, including the famous Masai Mara in Kenya.
This giant area makes it possible for that most impressive of natural events – the Great Migration – to take place. Millions of wildebeest, zebra and other animals complete their circulatory migration each year in search of greener pasture, setting in motion an ecological event whose effects are felt by every level of the food chain.
Visit the Serengeti and see these amazing creatures for real!
The Ngorongoro Crater is a caldera (an ancient volcanic crater) which is some 20km wide. With a permanent water and pasture source, the crater is host to almost every species of African animal. The crater lies within the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, which itself includes highland plains, scrub bush and forests covering thousands of square kilometres.
This is prime game-viewing country, where you’re sure to see the Big Five in all their glory – and their smaller neighbours too.
The highest free-standing mountain in the world, Mount Kilimanjaro is also the highest peak in Africa, with Uhuru Peak reaching a height of 5895m. An enormous stratovolcano that began forming millions of years ago, two of its peaks are extinct, though Kibo is dormant and could erupt again.
Kili (as it is often known) is the highest mountain that tourists can climb without advanced mountain-climbing equipment or previous experience of such heights. But altitude sickness is still a major problem for many climbers, with less than half the amount of oxygen at sea level available at the summit. It’s not for the faint-hearted, but summiting Kilimanjaro will have you feeling on top of the world!
The Nile River
At 6650 km long, the Nile River is the longest river in the world. From its sources in central Africa to the Nile Delta in Egypt, the river flows through 11 countries, eventually making its way to the Mediterranean Sea. From Sudan into Egypt, the river flows through desert, and the inhabitants of this region have depended on its waters for survival since ancient times. The vast majority of Egypt’s population, and nearly all the sites of historic interest are found along the Nile’s banks.
Silt deposits from The Nile made agriculture possible for the ancient Egyptians, as the river overflowed its banks annually. It was also a convenient means of transporting goods, particularly when it came to constructing the elaborate monuments, temples and tombs that we still marvel at in modern times.
The Red Sea Reef
Known across the world as one of the best spots to go diving, the Red Sea Reef stretches over 1240 miles along the coast of Egypt, Sudan and Eritrea. Nearly 1100 species of fish call the reef home, and nearly 10% of these are only found in this region. Dive the Red Sea in Egypt!
The world’s hottest desert, The Sahara isn’t (contrary to popular belief) the world’s largest desert, coming in third after the Antarctic and The Arctic. Who knew they were deserts? Nonetheless, the Sahara is pretty darn enormous, covering most of North Africa. Temperatures here regularly exceed the 50 degree mark, and in the coldest regions at night the mercury drops to near freezing. The dunes here are enormous too, some of them reach up to 180 meters high!
See the Sahara yourself on our tours of Morocco.
The world’s largest inland delta, the waters of the Okavango Delta are teeming with life and studded with exotic islands. Produced by seasonal flooding, the deltas waters don’t flow to the sea, but are instead evaporated. When the delta swells in the peak months, it’s two to three times its regular size, drawing animals from miles around and creating one of Africa’s greatest concentrations of wildlife.
The best way to get around the Okavango Delta is in a makoro, a dug-out canoe manoeuvred through the water by local guides who ‘pole’ them through the reeds.
Find out more about these and other African natural wonders.