As travel restrictions gradually ease around the globe, many prospective travellers are finding themselves experiencing the onset of intense ‘wandermust’ – a heightened thirst for travel after many, many months of having to stay put. The question is, is it safe to venture out of travel ‘hibernation’ just yet? The answer, in short, is ‘yes.’
COVID-19 is still a very real concern, but it’s easy to travel responsibly if you know what to do (and what not to do). For example, to allow for social distancing, it’s recommended to steer clear of popular tourist ‘hotspots’ when visiting a new location, going in search of hidden gems and memorable adventures that only the locals know about instead.
With that in mind, here’s a round-up of 7 of Africa’s most bucket-list-worthy adventures that you’ve probably never heard of.
Spend a night next to the Cape Columbine Lighthouse in Paternoster
Located just outside of Paternoster – a charming fishing village in the Western Cape – the Cape Columbine Lighthouse is one of just four lighthouses in South Africa that offer accommodation. You’ll have a choice between three cosy cottages situated right next to the lighthouse itself, all complemented with dazzling views of the surrounding ocean. Still functioning as a guiding light for vessels passing by, and standing at 15 metres tall, painted white, and with a bright red lantern house, the lighthouse is absolutely beautiful and is sure to make for the perfect background for a memorable Instagram snap.
Find snow in the Drakensberg
“For travellers hankering after snow, the Drakensberg mountains are often blanketed with snow in June, July, and August,” says Sue Garrett, General Manager, Supply, Pricing and Marketing at the Flight Centre Travel Group. “The Drakensberg is South Africa’s answer to the Alps. But the Berg is also a year-round destination. Some in the know say September is particularly special when the flowers bloom for spring.”
“The weather can be unpredictable in the Berg so be sure to pack for all weather conditions,” advises Garrett.
Snap a selfie with a 6000-year-old Baobab tree in Duiwelskloof
There’s a 6000-year-old Baobab tree in Duiwelskloof called ‘The Sunland Baobab’ – simply taking in the majesty of the tree will be more than enough to make the trip worthwhile. It towers above your head at just under 22 metres high, with a total circumference of 47 meters, making it one of the largest of its kind in South Africa and the widest in Africa.
Uncover the mystery of Adam’s Calendar in Ehlanzeni
Discovered by pilot, Johan Heine, not too long ago in 2003, and often referred to as ‘Africa’s Stonehenge’ or the ‘Birthplace of the Sun’, Adam’s Calendar in Ehlanzeni, Mpumalanga is surprisingly one of the province’s lesser-known attractions. There are many experts out there who believe that the series of stones is the oldest man-made structure on Earth. While the true purpose and exact age of Adam’s Calendar remains predominantly a mystery, it is thought that the puzzling stones and circle are the world’s only example of an intact monolithic stone calendar. A must-see, for sure!
Revel in the book lovers’ paradise that is the Collectors’ Treasury in Johannesburg
It’s the largest bookshop in Southern Africa, spanning eight storeys and with floor-to-ceiling bookshelves crammed to the brim with second-hand, collectible, and antique books – many of which cannot be found anywhere else in the world. If you spend enough time scoping out the real gems, you might just be lucky enough to come across a few first edition prints.
Climb the highest sand dune in the world in ‘Deadvlei’ in Namibia
Tucked away in the heart of the Namib Desert, ‘Deadvlei’ is a valley that has been completely cut off from the Tsauchab River as a result of towering sand dunes. The outcome is an expanse of dead camelthorn trees that boast a haunting beauty and draw in clued-up photographers from around the globe. The main reason why the valley is so mesmerising is the fact that these hundreds of dead trees have been perfectly preserved due to the desert’s dry climate, thus warding off any decay.
Along with the trees, the valley is also home to the ‘Big Daddy’, one of the highest sand dunes in the world, which takes approximately two hours to climb.
“Rest assured that your efforts will be generously rewarded with unimaginable and unforgettable vistas by the time you reach the top!” comments Garrett.
Stay on a houseboat inside Chobe National Park in Botswana
There are plenty of ways to appreciate the abundance of wildlife inside Botswana’s Chobe National Park. However, the most creative and enthralling way is undoubtedly onboard the Zambezi Queen houseboat. This ultra-luxe houseboat promises a leisurely river safari, followed by a wonderful night’s stay inside one of its 14 plush suites, each promising a private balcony for mesmerising views of the water and the distant African landscape, cosy king-sized beds, and air conditioning for optimal comfort. The best part? You’re just a stone’s throw away from the Zimbabwean border, which means that you’ll be able to hop over and witness the iconic Victoria Falls as the cherry on top of your getaway.
Make your bucket list your ‘to-do’ today list by taking action and booking the holiday of your dreams. As you can see, endless adventures await.