Africa is a huge continent with a variety of landscapes, sceneries, and natural landmarks. Nonetheless, it still has an undeveloped tourism industry and high costs of traveling in most countries.
The continent is also home to many of the world’s most impressive natural wonders, including powerful waterfalls, deserts, mountains, canyons, and national parks.
Africa is a continent that boasts of its rich history, diverse landscapes, and magnificent natural landmarks. Despite its beauty, many travelers overlook Africa due to its undeveloped tourism industry and high travel costs in most countries.
For those who have the opportunity to visit this magnificent continent, they are in for a real treat. Africa is home to many of the world’s most incredible wonders, including mountains, deserts, waterfalls, canyons, and national parks. In this article, we bring to you the 8 Incredible Natural Wonders of Africa that should not be missed.
1. Victoria Falls
One of Africa’s most famous wonders, Victoria Falls is a sight that can’t be missed. Located on the border between Zimbabwe and Zambia, this UNESCO World Heritage site is known locally as Mosi-oa-Tunya, meaning “the smoke that thunders.”
The spectacular curtain of water that makes up Victoria Falls is considered the largest in the world. During heavy rains, more than five hundred million cubic meters of water per minute cascade over the edge into a gorge over two kilometers wide.
The mighty Zambezi River forms the natural border between Zimbabwe and Zambia and is the perfect setting for adventure activities, such as white-water rafting, bungee jumping, zip-lining, and game drives in Hwange National Park. Guests can also take sunset boat cruises on the upper Zambezi River, to see elephants and hippos grazing at the water’s edge.
2. Murchison Falls
The mighty Nile River plunges through a seven-meter gap on the edge of the escarpment in Murchison Falls. It’s one of Africa’s world-famous wonders, and it’s a sight that will leave you speechless.
There are many things to see and do at Murchison Falls, including game drives and boat safaris along the Nile. But the main attraction is the Falls themselves.
The Nile plunges through a narrow chasm in the rocks, forcing the water to push its way through a narrow space and create an incredible waterfall. You can even take a hike to the top of the falls and get an unforgettable view of the Nile’s forceful cascade.
3. Simien Mountains
The Simien Mountains is not just the park that has kept it special. UNESCO listed the Simien Mountains as one of its World Heritage Sites in 1978 and this has helped ensure that the number of visitors has remained low, giving intrepid travelers a real sense of getting off the beaten track and into the wild.
The unique flora of the Simien Mountains is another reason that makes this national park so special. There are three main zones of vegetation within the mountains: Montane forest, Ericaceous belt, and Afro-alpine zone.
Despite its high altitude, the climate in the Simien Mountains does not vary significantly throughout the seasons, although it can get pretty cold at higher elevations. This is why it’s important to pack thermal activewear and decent hiking boots.
4. The Great Wildebeest Migration
Millions of wildebeest, zebra, and gazelles move across the plains of East Africa every year. These large mammals follow the rains, eating nutrient-rich grasses while keeping watch for predators.
The great migration is a circular journey, following the seasonal rains, of nearly two million animals between Tanzania‘s Serengeti and Kenya‘s Masai Mara. It is a dangerous trek with deadly consequences for the herds.
They pass through rocky desert landscapes, climb hills, and cross rivers where lions, cheetahs, and hyenas wait. It is a strenuous and dangerous trek, and many wildebeest and zebras die along the way.
5. The Albertine Rift
The Albertine Rift is a geological marvel that is part of the Great East African Rift. It has produced fractures that have filled up with water creating major lakes in Tanganyika and Malawi.
This has resulted in an incredible variety of landscapes, ranging from mountains to valleys and rivers to forests and lakes. The rift region is the most diverse of all of the African ecosystems and is home to a large number of endemic birds and mammals.
This rift valley has become an important conservation focus for Africa, with several species listed as endangered or globally threatened and numerous protected areas in place. However, the area is highly populated and has a high degree of biodiversity conservation threats from forestry, mining, and grazing, which require careful planning to protect endangered species in the long term.
6. The Great Rift Valley
The Great Rift Valley, named by British explorer John Walter Gregory, refers to the East African Rift, a 6000 km (approximately 3700 miles) geological trough that is part of Africa’s rift system. The rift is where tectonic plates are separating and spreading, giving rise to new continents and oceans.
The rift is a hub of active movement, with blocks shifting about 1 to 10 centimeters a year. These movements are driven by the Earth’s tectonic forces, volcanoes, and earthquakes.
One of the most beautiful sections of this rift is in Kenya, where some of the world’s deepest lakes are found and surrounded by Africa’s highest mountains. Several national parks are situated in this area. They provide ideal habitats for wildlife and bird species. Lake Nakuru National Park, for example, is renowned for its Rothschild’s giraffes and tree-climbing lions.
7. Lake Malawi
The aptly named Lake Malawi is Africa’s most famous wonder. Its crystal clear waters are home to a diverse ecosystem that supports fishing, tourism, and local farming.
The lake’s water chemistry is very alkaline and highly mineralized. These qualities make it ideal for swimming, diving, and snorkeling.
A visit to this spectacular and incredibly beautiful freshwater lake is an essential part of any trip to Malawi. It’s also the perfect place to explore its rich cichlid fish fauna, many of which are endemic and can be found only here.
The lake’s shores are full of tiny beach villages, resorts, and lodges that offer the visitor a variety of activities to enjoy. From sailing and kayaking to camping and birdwatching, there’s something for everyone on this pristine lake.
8. The Niger River
If you want to see Africa at its most beautiful, you need to take a boat trip down the Niger River. Not only will you get to experience one of Africa’s most famous wonders, but you’ll also have a chance to see hippos, giraffes, and more!
The Niger River rises in Guinea 150 miles (240 kilometers) from the Atlantic Ocean and flows northeastward, passing through Mali. It then turns southeast and enters Nigeria, where it forms a large delta before entering the sea.
For centuries, Niger’s unique route baffled European geographers. It formed a boomerang shape, running directly away from the sea, then turned sharply into the Sahara Desert and then took a south-easterly turn to head towards the Nigerian coast.
Africa is a land of breathtaking beauty and wonder that is often overlooked. These natural wonders highlighted in this article showcase the diversity and magnificence of this incredible continent. From the spectacular Victoria Falls to the Great Wildebeest Migration, Africa offers a unique and memorable travel experience.
Whether you’re an adrenaline junkie or simply someone looking to escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life, Africa has something to offer everyone. So, pack your bags, grab your passport, and head to this magnificent continent for a journey of a lifetime.