Africa Bucket List: Top 12 Things to Do

Written by
Maria O'Sullivan

Africa is an incredible continent that offers countless unforgettable experiences.

Whether a helicopter safari or a hot air balloon ride is your thing, Africa has something for everyone.

From meeting native tribes to tracking endangered species, take a look at our pick of the top 12 things to do in Africa.

Hot Air Balloon
over Blyde River Canyon
Take a Dhow
from Benguerra Island
Walk with elephants
in Botswana

1) Meet the bushmen of Botswana

The chance to experience the culture of the native bushmen, along with the central Kalahari’s surreal landscape of vast salt pans and grass plains, is what makes this region so special.

Kalahari, Botswana, San holds up bow and arrow in the susnet, about to shoot

Visit the bushmen tribes to listen to their stories, rituals and traditions, find out how they use the land’s plants for food and healing, and join them on a hunt.

Native tribespeople, campfire, Kalahari, Botswana, Africa
Humpback whale, Baleine à bosse

2) Go whale watching in South Africa

Southeast of Cape Town, along the Atlantic shoreline, the Whale Coast encompasses coves and bays of white sand with wild surf, mountains, peaceful valleys and nature reserves.

Whale watching, South Africa

Grootbos Private Nature Reserve is positioned on the headland between two bays, from where trips go out to see the nurseries of Southern Right Whales.

Mara Expedition Camp, Hot Air Balloon, Kenya

3) Hot air balloon over Kenya

On the northwest side of the Maasai Mara Game Reserve, Richard’s Camp is an intimate tented safari camp from where game such as big cats, elephant and hippo can be spotted.

Maasai Mara Hot Air Balloon, Kenya

In addition to game drives and bush walks, you can take a hot air balloon flight at dawn for an unbeatable view of the Mara Plains.

Ostriches in straight line, South Africa

The best of the rest

4) Walking safari in Zambia

The South Luangwa National Park is a game-rich sanctuary that was set aside as a conservation effort, and home to the original walking safari, with 60 different animal species and over 600 bird species to spot.

Olivers Camp Walking Safari, Africa

5) Track gorillas in Uganda

The Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, situated in the Great Rift Valley at the southern point of Uganda, is home to a great wealth of mammal species, small cats, birds and butterflies, as well as a number of primates, including 350 of the endangered mountain gorillas, which a team of expert trackers and guides will help you seek out.


6) Travel through the continent by rail

Restored to 1920s and 1930s colonial style, the Rovos Rail Journey offers five-star luxury travel through the scenic landscape from Cape Town to Pretoria, adding a touch of glamour to your journey with its opulent silver service dining cars, lounges, suites and an observation car.

Rovos Rail Journey, South Africa

7) Meet the Himba people in Namibia

From its remote setting on the banks of the Kunene River in Hartmann’s Valley, Serra Cafema features riverside canvas and thatched villas, from where guests have the unique opportunity to visit a local village and meet the nomadic Himba people in this dry and starkly beautiful landscape.

Two native women by a dwelling, Serra Cafema, Kunene River, Harmann's Valley, Namibia

8) Sail a dhow from Benguerra Island

Bazaruto Archipelago National Marine Park, off the coast of Mozambique, is the location of Benguerra Island, from where guests can take to the warm turquoise waters in a traditional Dhow boat at sunset, before returning to the ultra-luxurious thatched huts along the island’s shores.

Dhow, Benguerra Island, Mozambique, Africa

9) Walk with elephants in Botswana

From its private concession on the Okavango Delta, Stanley’s Camp, an enclave of colonial-style tented pavilions, hosts elephant walking tours as a part of the Living with the Elephants Project, giving guests the chance to interact with these majestic animals.

Walking with elephants, Stanley's Camp, Botswana, Africa

10) Tour Cape Town by helicopter

See the iconic landscape of Table Mountain, the cape and the city’s waterfront from a different perspective by flying over in your own private helicopter tour. The panoramic views will simply take your breath away.

Cape Town Table Mountain Helicopter, South Africa

11) Freedive with dolphins in Mozambique

Stretching for more than 60 miles, the Quirimbas archipelago, off the northern coast of Mozambique, boasts private islands of white sand beaches merging into the crystal clear waters with pristine reef – the perfect spot to join record-breaking freediver Hanli Prinsloo for some frolicking with everyone’s favourite sea creatures.


12) Track desert elephants and lions along the Skeleton Coast

Namibia’s desert-dwelling elephants are so rare as to have been designated as top priority for protection by the IUCN (International Union for the Conservation of Nature). Track them along Namibia‘s striking coast for a truly unique safari experience – and you’ll probably spot lions into the bargain.

Elephant safari, Skeleton Coast, Hoanib, Namibia

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