November 29, 2013

My Favorite Things to Do in Africa

There’s just something about Africa that hooked you as soon as you set foot on the continent. It’s a place of such vastness, intensity, and diversity that you can’t just visit once. Katie, a travel addicted blogger from the UK shares just a few of her favorite experiences in Africa so far.

Camping and camels

One of the most unique tours I’ve ever been on, traveling by camel in Morocco is an unforgettable experience. It’s part of a two-day trip, which was fairly pricey at 130 euros, but it was all worth it. Setting off from Diabat, which sits between Casablanca and Essouira, we ride through eucalyptus and mimosa forests, before camping overlooking the sea. One of the camels wanders over when we’re finished and we give him some leftover bread. The next morning, we head to Essaouira for a ride across the sands. The infamous winds here pick up as we ride, keeping us cool and providing perfect conditions for the kitesurfers we can see whizzing across the waves.

Snorkeling in Sharm el Sheikh

I’m a bit of a water baby so I’m in heaven during a trip to Egypt’s Sharm el Sheikh. Most of the hotels here have their own private beach, but so long as you pay for your sun lounger and have a drink there, you can usually use them. The Red Sea is as warm as bath water and less than 20 yards from the shore, I spot an amazing array of marine life, including a stingray which swims right beneath me, spiky lionfish and strange looking parrot fish.

Up in the clouds

In Cape Town, I head to the city’s most iconic landmark, Table Mountain. It takes around four hours to get to the top on foot, but I take the cable car, soaring across the city. From the top, you can see the whole of Cape Town, including Signal Hill and the Atlantic Ocean below. There are walking trails and viewing points at the top, along with a cafĂ©. I’m lucky enough to see lizards basking in the sun and a dassie, which looks a bit like a giant guinea pig, darting into the undergrowth. After I get back down, I see the famous cloud, known as the tablecloth, descend onto the mountain.

A picnic with penguins

Boulders beach must be the only place in the world where you can sit in the sunshine eating your picnic, while penguins stand within touching distance. Boulder’s Beach near Simon’s Town in South Africa is home to thousands of little African penguins. You can see them from a wooden walkway. But, if you walk across the first beach you enter and clamber over, or under, some giant boulders, you’ll be one of just a handful of people sharing this space with the penguins. We watch captivated as they waddle their way down to the water looking clownlike, before plunging into the freezing waters and swimming like bullets under the water.

The Egyptian Museum

In Cairo, I’ve visited the world’s most famous attractions, climbing down claustrophobic staircases into the pyramids and standing with crowds staring at the Spinx. But, my favorite attraction is the Egyptian Museum of Antiquities. Thankfully not there during the uprising, I gaze upon the Tutankhamun treasures, stunned to see such famous finds close up. But, it’s not just these standout pieces that make this place something special. It’s the myriad of smaller artifacts, the crowds, the dust, the handwritten signs. It’s just as a museum should be. I spend around three hours there but must have only seen a quarter of what was there.

It’s an analogy for Africa really. No matter how much time you spend here, there will always be more to discover. It’s no wonder that Africa becomes something of an addiction.

1 comment: