#AfriTravel: Which tourist attraction is Africa’s best?

2018-06-29 22:00 - Kavitha Pillay
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Africa may be renowned and loved for its richness in natural diversity, but the continent boasts a plethora of culture, man-made marvels and unique festivals that are all worth experiencing.

From ancient landmarks like the Pyramids of Giza and natural wonders such as Mount Kilimanjaro, to historic sites such as Robben Island, the continent is filled with enough destinations and sites to tug on the wanderlust of any type of traveller.

SEE: #AfriTravel: 3 Things to get up to in each of these 8 top African cities

Nominees in the category of Africa’s Leading Tourist Attraction, in the 2018 World Travel Awards, includes just a few of the continent’s most popular destinations for local and international tourists.

The World Travel Awards serves as a hallmark of travel industry excellence and rewards the best facilities, businesses and destinations across sectors of the travel, tourism and hospitality industries.

ALSO SEE: #AfriTravel: A map of Africa's hot spot destinations

Here are Africa’s top attraction nominees:

Robben Island, South Africa

Robben Island is one of South Africa’s most prominent historic landmarks. Nelson Mandela and many other political activists were imprisoned on this island off the Western Cape coast, which is now a World Heritage site and museum. It reminds all people about South Africa's difficult past and the price these struggle heroes paid for our freedom.

SEE: Get your proudly SA #Madiba100 t-shirt and be part of these Mandela centenary celebrations in Mzansi

Table Mountain, South Africa

A visit to Cape Town is incomplete without a trek up to Table Mountain. The majestic site which can be seen from almost every part of the city was named one of the official new 7 Wonders of Nature in 2017.

The cableway, which opened in 1929, has been re-branded in 2017 and serves as the link to the 'go-to' attraction for tourists. However, the more adventurous travellers can choose to hike up the mountain. 

ALSO SEE: Experience these SA attractions on Red Bull’s 101 global adventures bucket-list

V&A Waterfront, South Africa

One of the most visited destinations in South Africa, the V&A Waterfront is more than just a shopping mall at a harbour. The entire vicinity boasts world class museums and hotels, historic sites – including the portal to Robben Island, designer craft shops, food stalls, exclusive stores, entertainment offerings for people of all ages, an aquarium and more.

There are even new audio tours with VoiceMaps that will allow you to make the most of exploring this man-made marvel.

MUST-SEE: Discover V&A Waterfront's secrets with a new audio tour

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Mount Kilimanjaro, Tanzania

A UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the Seven Natural Wonders of Africa, Mount Kilimanjaro is the highest mountain in Africa surrounded by lush game and forest reserve.

Climbing the mountain is said to be “a journey from the tropics to the Arctic” as the vegetation zones change with height.

MUST-SEE: #AfriTravel: These are Africa’s top private islands - and they’re pretty accessible for South Africans

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Ngorongoro Crater, Tanzania

Believed to have the highest density of wildlife in Africa, the Ngorongoro Crater is one of the Seven Natural Wonders of Africa.

This deep, volcanic crater is the largest un-flooded and unbroken caldera in the world, spanning 20kms across, 600 meters deep and 300 square-kms in area.

HAVE YOU SEEN? #AfriTravel: Why Kruger is among the top national parks in Africa

Pyramids of Giza, Egypt

The Pyramids of Giza is a must-see ancient Egyptian landmark which is one of the Seven Wonders of the ancient world.

Ancient Egyptian cultural sites continue to amaze people from all over the world boasting over 7000 years of historical influence, and places like the Great Pyramids of Giza and the Sphinx burst with art, literature and culture.

The public can vote for the nominees until midnight on 19 August 2018. The Africa and Indian Ocean segment of the World Travel Awards ceremony is set to take place in Durban, for the third time, on 6 October 2018.

ALSO SEE: SA cruise ports nominated for World Travel Award + get planning for 2018/2019 cruise season

While three of Cape Town’s top tourist spots have been nominated as leading attractions in Africa, there are so many more across SA that deserve to be on the list.

These are some of Mzansi’s attractions worth exploring:

Kruger National Park

This 2-million-hectare park is home to the Big Five together with thousands of bird and animal species that roam freely. Apart from being a reserve for SA’s rich and abundant natural heritage, the park also has sites of historic and archaeological value such as the Albasini ruins which are the archaeological remains of a trading post built in 1845, 500-year-old Thulamela site, and a late Iron Age site called Masorini.

Managed by South African National Parks (SANParks), Kruger offers visitors authentic bush experiences. While luxury accommodation and game drives are available, explorers can be fully immersed in the raw wilderness of the Park by staying in rustic camps with only the bare essentials and opt for guided walking trails through the remote bush.

SEE: What you need to know about visiting Kruger and CapeNature parks during school holidays

Panorama Route

Mpumalanga’s Panorama Route boasts spectacular waterfalls, vast mountains covered in lush greenery, Blyde River Canyon – which is the largest green canyon in the world and mind-blowing rock formations at Bourke’s Luck Potholes.

If that’s not enough, a road-trip through this natural marvel will allow you to take a peek through God’s Window and explore the sights and sounds of wildlife as well as a mix of cultures.

SEE: #FindYourEscape: Exploring the best of the Panorama Route

Drakensberg Mountains

SA’s highest mountain range is an adventure-seeker’s paradise for hiking, camping, mountain biking and exploring caves.

Apart from hiking to see amazing views of the iconic Amphitheatre, you can also check out Tugela Falls - the world's second tallest falls and highest in Africa, plunging 948 metres - and then do some plunging of your own with the King Swing – a 17-meter free-fall from a treetop platform.

SEE: WATCH: This drone in the Drakensberg will make you pack your hiking bag, stat!

iSimangaliso Wetland Park

Discover diversity below the ocean along KwaZulu-Natal’s northern coast by snorkelling among the beautiful coral and sea life at St Lucia, Sodwana and Kosi Bay at iSimangaliso Wetland Park.

The Park is a World Heritage Site which is home to some of the oldest species of ocean animal life, and prehistoric fish species called coelacanths were recently rediscovered in these waters at depths of over 100m.

SEE: 34 pics of iSimangaliso like you’ve never seen it before

Garden Route

Known for its abundant natural beauty, the Garden Route continues to thrive almost a year after the devastating fires ravaged through the lush landscape.

A road -trip exploring the route is perfect for families to discover the region’s unique leisure activities - from venturing through lush forests, spending quality time fishing with family at stunning locations, setting sail in the sunshine, browsing through local markets, journeying on iconic hiking trails and seeing stunning landscapes across two SA provinces.

SEE: #LoveSA: Garden Route festivals perfect for long weekend escapes

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Cango Caves

Explore Oudtshoorn’s 20-million-year-old limestone caves - an underground wonder of the Klein Karoo. Swartberg Mountains forms the backdrop of these dripstone caves, which visitors can explore through heritage or adventure tours.

SEE:  10 Unique Route 62 experiences

Wine Route

Western Cape is paradise for wine connoisseurs, priding itself on numerous wine routes in every region of the province. Stellenbosch, Franschhoek, Paarl, Robertson Valley, Overberg and Cape Town’s Constantia Valley are all renowned for their wine production, together with many pairing and tasting options that add flavour to travels.

Also be sure to plan a road trip through the longest wine route in the world - the Cape Route 62. Spanning 850km, it starts in Western Cape’s Wellington and passes Tulbagh, Worcester, Robertson and the Klein Karoo, ending at the last town in Humansdorp in the Eastern Cape.

SEE: #FindYourEscape: Celebrate 333 years of winemaking with Constantia Wine Route

There are many more South African attractions worth visiting. Which do you think deserve to be added to this list? Let us know by emailing info@Traveller24.comor contact us on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram - @Traveller24_SA.