#AfriTravel: Top destinations to celebrate Africanness

2018-05-25 06:30 - Kavitha Pillay
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Photo: iStock

Africa, considered to be the home of human civilization, continues to allure travellers from across the world for its natural richness and cultural diversity.

The month of May is celebrated as Africa Month, with Friday, 25 May, known worldwide as Africa Day. According to Africa.com, celebrations on Africa Day commemorate the continent’s independence and freedom from colonialists.

On 25 May 1963, the first union of African countries reinforced this liberation by founding the Organisation of the African Unity (OAU) which is now known as the African Union (AU). The organisation now celebrates 55 years of aiming to unite African people, while continuing to strive for socio-economic freedom. 

SEE: #Indaba2018: Why does Africa move you?

Africa Day is also about rejoicing in being African and acknowledging our culture and heritage rooted in this continent despite whatever other differences we may have. It’s about celebrating Africa’s natural and geographic wonders, many vibrant cultures and of course, its people.

In celebration of Africa Day, we look with pride at some of the continent’s top destinations and what makes them stand out spectacularly. Check them out:

Botswana

Botswana is the perfect escape for nature-lovers, and the go-to country for a romantic, luxury bush-break.

Perhaps it’s the fact that the country does not believe in fencing-in wild animals and has zero-tolerance for hunting that allows it to flourish in an abundance of nature.

SEE: #AfriTravel: Why Botswana is the ultimate getaway for nature lovers

Whatever the reason may be, when you make your way through Botswana’s Chobe National Park expect to see the greenest and lushest flora, various species of animals by the dozens at a time, myriad of birdlife – all in a climate combining humidity and sunshine, with roaring grey clouds and sudden bursts of rainfall. It truly is an authentic experience in the wild.


Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe proves to be one of these countries with so much to offer its own people, as well as South Africans.

Rich in wildlife and nature experiences, bursting with African pride and welcoming of all people, Zimbabwe offers more than just a safari getaway – it offers a slice of an authentic African experience.

SEE: #AfriTravel: Delve into the natural and cultural beauty of Zimbabwe

From shopping at local markets and sleeping in the wild, to exploring a Natural Wonder of the World and being fully immersed in local cultural activities, there’s so much to do in this small region of Zimbabwe.

TRAVEL GUIDE: #AfriTravel: First-timer's guide to Victoria Falls

Mauritius

When it comes to island getaways, Mauritius certainly takes first prize as it’s ideally and almost centrally located in the warm Indian ocean, boasting blue skies, turquoise water, lush green mountains and colourful cultures.

The north of Mauritius, which is a hub of commercial and tourist activity, is renowned for its modern infrastructure coupled with rich natural abundance. However, while the north is constantly growing in its appeal for modern luxury travel, the south of the Indian Ocean island is quickly becoming the focal point of Mauritian authenticity - showing off a simpler way of life amid the rawness of nature coupled with rich historical and cultural heritage.

SEE: Luxury escapes await in undiscovered south-east Mauritius

The south-east of Mauritius in particular is an important part of the island, holding a deep heritage and history. Covered with sugar cane fields, with lush mountains and pristine beaches overlooking the horizon no matter which way you turn, the south-east is considered the “cradle of the nation”.

Tanzania

There’s a place in East Africa’s Tanzania that provides an isolated, luxury experience like no other in the African wilderness. Called Azura Selous, the luxury lodge is tucked away in the more quiet corner of one of the largest reserves in the world and there are no fences to keep wild animals from being curious.

SEE: Drinking champagne in a fenceless Tanzanian lodge where lions roam around your villa

The villas - half-built structure, half-tent - is distributed widely enough that you won't see or hear your neighbour, but this privacy also means that you have to be escorted by local Masai at night time. Locals are well-versed in scaring off the wildlife without anyone and anything getting hurt but seeing a fresh lion paw print while on your way to your accommodation may leave you wide awake at night.

Some villas face the Ruaha River where thousands of hippos communicate with each other through low laugh-sounding noises - after initially confusing it with a lion, the sounds become familiar very fast.

Mozambique

Mozambique serves as a breakaway to another world. Known as the Pearl of the Indian Ocean Mozambique’s beaches are a glorious expanse of crystal clear waters.

SEE: Get lit for Mozambique with these traveller tips

Boasting rich wildlife and a beautiful coastline on south-east Africa, it is easily accessible for South Africans. This getaway is located right at our doorsteps, just a short 1 hour and 30-mins flight or an 8-hour drive to Maputo from Johannesburg.

It is the place to go for romance, adventure, and ultimate relaxation.