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10 of the most beautiful places in Africa

Africa naturally evokes visions of the wide open savannah dotted with acacia trees, as the sun settles over the horizon.  While this type of landscape is typical of African safari destinations, the continent is incredibly diverse with hidden gems in nearly every corner.  This article reveals a varied selection of ten of the most beautiful landscapes in all of Africa. 1. Sossusvlei Dunes & Deadvlei, Namibia There is a stillness in Sossuvlei that cannot be captured in words.  As the sun rises, the east facing side of the dunes are illuminated while the west remains in shadow.  Iconic and inherently photogenic, the dunes are also a wonderful place to be at dawn when the silence seems to last forever.  Read our other blog post on how to capture the sunrise in Sossusvlei. 2. Ngorongoro Crater, Tanzania Ngorongoro is an inactive caldera which has attracted a huge diversity of wildlife species resident to the crater floor.  The views from the crater rim are magnificent, and a game drive within the crater awards travelers with a surprising and delightful diversity of ecosystems. 3. Table Mountain, South Africa  Flat-topped Table Mountain has become an iconic symbol of Cape Town, and of South Africa.  An unusual diversity of flora lives within the Table Mountain National Park, and the views from the top are out of this world – a must see for any visitor to Cape Town. 4. Virunga National Park, DRC One of the most biologically diverse parks in the world, Virunga is also a UNESCO world heritage site.  Several families of habituated gorillas live amongst the lush mountains, making it an ideal destination for primate encounters. 5. Giza Pyramids, Egypt The oldest of the 7 world wonders, the Giza Pyramids have the unique allure of being one of the only remnants of ancient civilization.  An enriching journey to the pyramids would include reading stories of ancient Egypt and the pharaohs for whom they were built. 6. Okavango Delta, Botswana The Okavango Delta is a massive wildlife-rich oasis in the middle of an otherwise arid country.  Home to an impressive and concentrated diversity of wildlife, the delta is also brilliant for birding safaris. 7. Blyde River Canyon, South Africa The second largest canyon in South Africa (after the Fish River Canyon), Blyde River Canyon is a magnificent work of art by Mother Nature.  Blyde River Canyon is enjoyed from “Three Rondavels” viewpoint to really soak in the magnificence of the landscape. 8. Franschhoek, South Africa Franschhoek Valley is a rich and verdant farming region best known for its New World wines and charming pseudo-French culture, which is attributed to the Huguenots.  In the quaint little village, world-class restaurants and boutiques provide ample opportunity for exploration.  Further afield in the surrounding foothills, jaw-dropping views are the ideal backdrop for wine tasting on a balmy summer’s day. 9. Serengeti National Park, Tanzania An ideal wildlife habitat, Serengeti National Park provides the iconic African backdrop to one of the most magnificent animal encounters on the planet – the wildebeest migration.  The Serengeti and Masai Mara together are the typical African landscape of wide open savannah dotted with Acacia Trees. 10. Zanzibar, Tanzania The hub of the ancient Spice Route, Zanzibar enjoys post-card perfect turquoise seas with dhows sailing in the trade winds.  A kind of tropical paradise, the island has a sultry warmth and an enduring history that calls visitors to its balmy shores year after year. Have you ever visited a breathtaking landscape in Africa?  Let us know in the comments! Willow Constantine is the Founder of Bespoke Safari Co. Bespoke Safari Co. is a boutique travel agency offering cutting edge curated travel experiences in Africa. If you would like to be a guest blogger on A Luxury Travel Blog in order to raise your profile, please contact us.

Willow Constantine

Willow Constantine is the founder and director of Bespoke Safari Co., a travel agency specializing in curated African experiences. Bespoke Safari Co. designs itineraries as a synergy of craft and travel, including private villa retreats in which clients escape the din of daily life to enjoy slow travel while observing wildlife in its natural habitat. As part of the Bespoke Safari Co. family, clients enjoy the privilege of travelling like a local. Whether exploring the hidden corners of Cape Town, camping with primates in Mahale, or quietly tracking leopard through the kopjes of Southern Tanzania, a Bespoke Safari experience will remain etched in one’s memory forever – we only curate the most unforgettable travel experiences. Willow researches each destination thoroughly for recent weather patterns, discovering any changes to wildlife migration and behavior. She also personally visits each lodge and villa she recommends, ensuring lodges are delivering only the best – at every price level.

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  1. I think the Pyramids, well to be more exact, Cairo will be moving up the rankings this year. A couple of months ago, on A Luxury Blog, I read about a new Egyptology Museum opening up later in the year. It sounded vast and perhaps more importantly air-conditioned. A facility like that close to the Pyramids will totally transform tourism. If I remember rightly it’s scheduled opening date is late 2020, though those of us who’ve had extensions built onto our houses have learnt to take builder’s time estimates with a shovel full of salt!

    1. The Great Egyptian Museum in Cairo should be opening at the end of this year, around December. It’s extremely exciting, as the museum features never before seen antiquities from King Tut and also uses technology to enhance the experience. An amazing trip to Egypt would start with reading some ancient Egyptian history, visiting the GEM, and then going into the pyramids. An integrative, in depth experience – the best kind!

  2. It’s no surprise that there a lot of the expected big names in this list. You would expect the likes of the Okavango Delta, Franschhoek, Table Mountain, the Ngorongoro Crater and Zanzibar but there are a couple that I had never heard of which are going to make me go away and find out a bit more. Blyde River Canon and Virunga National Park we’re both new to me.

    1. Thank you for pointing this out. I debated whether to include the regulars, but to be honest some of these areas are so incredibly beautiful that I would have felt remiss in leaving them out. Let me know if you discover any other hidden African gems I should know about!

  3. Well, you asked for suggestions on beautiful African scenes. To be honest, I’m not suggesting that this one will make it in to an African Top Ten and it is also many years ago. As we all know the memory plays tricks on us, so today this view may be very different to the one I remember over three decades ago. Who knows with global warming the snow may have ling gone in Morocco.

    I wax walking back towards my hotel in the foothills of the High Atlas Mountains, an ochre castellated creation, the sun was beginning to set and the storks were flying back to their nests for the night. Crowning it all were the snow topped peaks of the mountains in the background. I know that you didn’t ask for smells but I think there was also the sweet aroma of orange blossom on the warming spring breeze.

    1. What an incredibly vivid and evocative memory, Andy. Thank you so much for sharing! It seems like the Atlas Mountains still get snow….and Morocco is tops on the beautiful countries list, but somehow I was struggling to choose just one landmark as to me the allure of Morocco is the holistic experience (as you describe) – the sounds, smells, architecture, the people and culture.

  4. When I was a teenager Africa was so far away. It was the sort of exotic place that none of us could even dream of visiting. For me and for so many of my generation our first view of Africa was via Hollywood. I can remember queueing to get into the cinema to watch “Out of Africa” with Meryl Streep playing the Danish writer Karen Blixen saying “I had a faaarm in Aaafrica” to Robert Redford. I always like to think that the key scenes overlooking the plain were filmed at Voi in Kenya. At the time it would have seemed incredible that around a dozen years later my husband and i would go to Voi as part of our honeymoon and of course we acted out the scene from the film.

    1. Sharon, you and your husband sound like a fun couple! I would have loved to be a fly on the wall to witness your rendition of ‘Out of Africa.’ Kenya is incredibly romantic – did you enjoy your honeymoon there?

    2. God, I loved that film. It was all so romantic. I’m sure it must be showing somewhere on satellite TV. Now you’ve mentioned it I want to watch it again. I’ve still not got to Africa but I’ve been to the Karen Blixen Museum in Copenhagen in Denmark. I suppose that’s a step in the right direction …

    3. If you loved that film, I do hope you can get to Africa and enjoy an iconic sunset over the savannah…one day soon…

    4. I did the catering for the shooting of Out Of Africa film with the late Rolf Schmidt, owner of the Horseman, Le Chevalier and now Rolfs Palace Hotel in Kenya. There several scenic virgin caves within the Aberdare Ranges in Central Kenya awaiting camera shooters on 4×4 wheels with really tough winches.

    1. Oh I like that idea, Moya! Brilliant suggestion for the February blog post…watch this space!

  5. So once upon a time there was a volcano in that part of Tanzania that folded into itself to form that caldera, I wonder when that happened? I’m not sure whether you pronounce the N in Ngorongoro but it’s fascinating how there’s such wildlife now in that crater. From something that was once powerful and active and pretty scary, to something so peaceful and serene.

    I’ve heard of Virunga National Park before for being the most naturally diverse places on Earth. Am I right in thinking there are active volcanos in that region? While I’m a little hesitant with that, I love the idea of exploring there and seeing the gorillas in their natural habitat. It’s so very sad when you know they’re endangered which is why having a park protected like this is so important.

  6. Rachel thank you. The Ngorongoro Crater used to be the height of Mt. Kilimanjaro, but a massive explosion 2 million years ago caused it to collapse in on itself and create an inactive caldera. There is excellent resident wildlife on the crater floor.

    You are right about Virunga – the name even means Volcanoes, and there are 8 volcanoes in the area. Tourism goes a LONG way to support protection of all endangered species, but particularly gorilla as it is more beneficial financially to protect these species as they have become a major draw for tourists.

  7. Some really good tips Willow, although I think a lot of them, whilst beautiful are having this beauty eroded by over tourism. The Ngorongoro being a classic example. A few alternatives which offer beauty without the crowds:
    Mahali Mountains National Park, Tanzania
    Laikipia, Kenya
    Ol Donyo Lengai, Tanzania
    Damaraland, Namibia
    Katavi National Park, Tanzania
    Mana Pools, Zimbabwe
    Murchison Falls, Uganda
    The Quirimbas Archipelago, Mozambique
    The Wild Coast, South Africa
    Kafue National Park, Zambia

    1. Alastair, I like your additional beautiful places. Some of them are definitely best suited to second time safari travelers due to complicated logistics or a wildness that is too out there for some (e.g. Katavi), but I am personally a fan of getting off the beaten track whenever possible so I love your suggestions.

    2. Hello,I would recommend Zanzibar,and for more out of the way areas,Kafue,Selous and Ruaha,in Tanzania.
      Franschoek looks appealing,Can you reach there from Cape Town
      I need to give my thumbs up to South Luangwa and its camps..and walking

    3. Yes those southern parks in Tanzania are amazing, but definitely geared towards more the second time safari traveller. But I love them too!

  8. Ngorongro Crater is amazing! I’ve had the great opportunity to join safari tour to this place and I saw a lot of animals that included elephants, rhinoceroses, buffalo, zebras, and wildebeests. Also, a guide told us that this place had the densest population of lions in the world. This trip actually made me want to explore other safaris expecially the Okavango Delta. I’ve watched so many documentaries about this place that it’s hard not to dream about being able to visit. I would make this a project trip this year.

    1. If you have already been to Serengeti, Okavango would be an ideal second safari. The ecosystem and weather patterns are quote complex in Botswana, and they have been in the midst of a long drought season.

      Please reach out to me when you do decide to visit the Okavango and I am very happy to help ensure you visit the right areas at the right time of year.

    2. Some more suggestions: Simien mountains national park, Dallol depression, Erta Ale and the Blue Nile falls all in Ethiopia.

  9. The highest mountain in Africa not on the list it should be on the list. The Mt. Kilimanjaro, Tanzania

    1. Yes it was hard to decide as Africa has so much beauty. Perhaps next I will do the 20 Most Beautiful places!

    1. Bwindi Impenetrable Forest Uganda is part of the Virunga Mountains. Will correct the typo to put ‘Virunga Mountains’ instead of park, thank you!

  10. Loved our time at the Ngorongoro Crater but I understand it’s got rather busy/commercialised nowadays, to the point of being exceptionally crowded on occasion. Is this true?

    If so, it’s a great shame as I would have loved to have gone back…

    1. It has become really busy, if I am totally honest. However, COVID has put a spanner in the works because there are so few travellers. It’s a pretty exceptional time to go on safari, actually….if you are willing to deal with the risks which are huge. Fascinating times

    1. You will love it, Simon! The best times of year are June until August, when the trails are mostly dry due to less rainfall. During the rest of the year, you may encounter wet muddy conditions on the trail which isn’t ideal!

  11. I echo the comments regarding Victoria Falls. Good to see Namibia in the list also. Another one to consider for a top 20 would be Todra Gorge in Morocco… thanks for the great list, Willow!

    1. Yes absolutely. Africa is so rich with amazing places – perhaps I need to do another top 10!

  12. How incredibly diverse is the African continent?! Breathtaking. Even the last two places of Serengeti and Zanzibar, both in Tanzania, opposites in terms of landscape but equally natural and beautiful. Great post. I think of all these places, Botswana is up there as my number one place to visit in Africa (and your picture of Botswana is stunning)!

  13. We’ve never been to Africa and that it is one of our great travel regrets, a real case of FOMO! So glad that we came across this post when we’re doing our research. We’re determined to make up for lost time.

    1. It’s good to have a bucket list! If you do decide to come to Africa, feel free to reach out to me – info@bespokesafarico.com – and I will be happy to help you create the adventure of a lifetime!

    1. Thank you for these amazing suggestions, Magdalene! I think I need to do another post about the most off the beaten track places!

  14. The huge number of comments that this post attracted shows how much the world loves these lists.

    Of course anything involving choice and personal preferences is going to be controversial but we all love some healthy debate.

    Could it be a time for a follow-up post? Possibly “Another 10 beautiful African places to visit”?

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