Deep in the bush: Africa's most beautiful places beyond the standards

Africa beckons with a huge variety of landscapes and animal species. Here you can go on safari to see the Big Five, go on extensive hikes or stroll through enchanting cities like Cape Town and Swakopmund. We present the most beautiful places deep in the African bush.

Those who want to get to know the African wildlife on the Black Continent often opt for a guided safari tour in Kenya or Tanzania. Here, with a little luck, you can see the Big 5 - lion, leopard, elephant, rhino and Cape buffalo. But for a change, how about shipwrecks in the desert, a bona fide meteorite or the birthplace of the sun?

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Things to know about Namibia

Etosha National Park in Namibia is home to over a hundred different species of mammals and reptiles, as well as some 350 different birds - © FRASHO / franks-travelbox
© FRASHO / franks-travelbox

Namibia is where desert meets ocean. The West African country lies on the Atlantic coast and is known for its numerous shipwrecks and its species-rich fauna. Both the capital Windhoek and Swakopmund have buildings that bear witness to the German colonial era. A highlight is the Etosha National Park in the north, whose salt pan is a magnet for animals such as zebras, rhinos and giraffes.

The Hoba meteorite

The world's largest meteorite is located in the Otavi Mountains in northwestern Namibia. It was accidentally discovered in 1920 and has been an attraction ever since. The meteorite owes its name to the farm Hoba West, where it was found. The 60-tonne chunk of iron comes from the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter.

The shipwreck of the "Eduard Bohlen

The so-called Skeleton Coast stretches between the Namib Desert and the Atlantic Ocean. It has always been feared by seafarers because countless ships have crashed here. The "Eduard Bohlen", which ran aground here in September 1909, is no exception. The German steamer had rammed a sandbank, in which it got stuck. Over the years, the desert began to push back the Atlantic. Today, the wreck of the "Eduard Bohlen" is in the middle of the desert.

Things to know about South Africa

Once feared by ships for its treacherous cliffs, the Cape of Good Hope is now a breathtaking natural paradise, South Africa - © Denis Mironov / Shutterstock
© Denis Mironov / Shutterstock

Located at the southern tip of Africa, South Africa offers a wealth of natural beauty and cultural attractions. In the south runs the famous Garden Route, along which picturesque coastal towns such as Knysna or Plettenberg Bay are lined up. The sophisticated Cape Town forms a stark contrast to the partly untouched landscapes in the interior of the country. Highlights include the many beaches with their crystal-clear water.

Adam's calendar

South African shamans refer to the stone ring in Ehlanzeni as the "birthplace of the sun". Discovered by bush pilot Johan Heine in 2003, Adam's Calendar is believed to be a sacred site. The age of Adam's calendar is estimated to be between 75,000 and 300,000 years.

Howick Falls

The most popular observation point of the waterfall is from its foot, but via a narrow hiking trail you can also get to its top, South Africa - © Ilko Iliev / Shutterstock
© Ilko Iliev / Shutterstock

With a deafening roar, the 119 m high waterfall pours into a pool where, according to Zulu myths, a snake-like monster resides. Howick Falls is located in the province of Kwazulu-Natal and is easily accessible to visitors. Surrounding the waterfall is the Umgeni Valley Nature Reserve, which is home to 250 different bird species as well as animal species such as zebra, giraffe and antelope.

Tswaing

Once again, it's about meteorites: Tswaing, the "place of salt", is an impact crater near the South African capital Pretoria. The crater contains a deep blue lake fed by rainwater and groundwater. The crater is surrounded by a nature reserve and can be explored on foot in about one and a half hours.

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Sanipass

The Sani Pass in the Drakensberg runs along the border between South Africa and Lesotho. A gravel road winds in countless serpentines to the highest pub in Africa, where you can enjoy some well-deserved refreshment after a long hike.

Things to know about Tanzania

"Serengeti" comes from the Maasai language and means something like "the endless land", Tanzania - © Galyna Andrushko / Shutterstock
© Galyna Andrushko / Shutterstock

The East African country on the Indian Ocean is a popular travel destination, where round trips can include safaris in unique nature as well as relaxed beach holidays on Zanzibar.

Tanzania is famous above all for its numerous national parks, where you can observe various animal species. In the north-east of Tanzania rises Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest mountain on the African continent.

Until 1974, the capital of Tanzania was Dar es Salaam, before this status was given to Dodoma, located in the heart of the country.

Unguja Ukuu

Lonely stretch of beach on the dream island of Nosy Boraha in the Indian Ocean, a few kilometres from the north-east coast of Madagascar - © ste67 / Fotolia
© ste67 / Fotolia

The village of Unguja Ukuu is located on the island of Unguja, which belongs to the Zanzibar archipelago. Archaeological excavations have proven that centuries ago this was an important transhipment point for goods from all over the world. Today, in Unguja Ukuu, you can stroll along the fine-sand white beaches, relax in the shade of the palm trees or explore the colourful underwater world on a diving tour.

The ruins of Engaruka

Located halfway between Lake Manyara and Lake Natron, the ruined site of Engaruka in northern Tanzania remains a mystery to archaeologists to this day. The village is home to an elaborate irrigation system built in the 17th century. Researchers assume that the inhabitants of Engaruka must have left their village in the course of the 18th century.

The sand dunes of the Ngorongoro Crater

 An adult male lion protects his prey from lurking scavengers in the Ngorongoro Crater, Tanzania - © Gary C. Tognoni / Shutterstock
© Gary C. Tognoni / Shutterstock

Near Olduvai Gorge in the Ngorongoro Crater are two large, crescent-shaped sand dunes. The "shifting sands" stand out from the rest of the desert thanks to their dark colouring. Each of the dunes moves about 10 m per year.

Actually, the black sand is the ash of the Oldoinyo Lengai volcano, the sacred mountain of the Maasai. Due to its high iron content, the volcanic sand exerts a magnetic force. If you pick up a handful of sand and throw it into the air, it collects again on the dune.

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Mount Meru

From the summit of the 4,566 m high mountain in Arusha National Park, there is a magnificent view over the savannah and Mount Kilimanjaro. The quiet trails of Mount Meru lead through forests, heaths and moorland. During the ascent you can observe the animals living here. The hike starts at Momella Gate and ends at Socialist Peak.

Ruaha National Park

The endangered African wild dog found one of its last retreats in the Selous Game Reserve in Tanzania - © Attila JANDI / Shutterstock
© Attila JANDI / Shutterstock

Far away from the popular tourist routes lies the Ruaha National Park. Its name is derived from the river of the same name, which forms the south-eastern border of the national park. On an area of more than 20,000 square kilometres, you can admire hippos, elephants, African wild dogs, antelopes, zebras and giraffes, among others.

Pemba Island

Anegada the second largest of the British Virgin Islands is only about 15km long and 5km wide and offers beautiful white sandy beaches - © Ethan Daniels / Shutterstock
© Ethan Daniels / Shutterstock

The northernmost island of the Zanzibar archipelago attracts visitors with its light blue, crystal-clear water and enchanting beaches. Around Pemba Island are numerous small islands surrounded by colourful coral reefs. Here, snorkellers and divers get their money's worth. In the interior, Pemba Island is hilly and thus a true paradise for mountain bikers and hikers.

Selous Game Reserve

Three young elephant bulls in the Selous Game Reserve in Tanzania, the largest protected area in Africa - © / Shutterstock
© / Shutterstock

Selous Game Reserve, the largest game reserve in Africa, occupies about 5% of Tanzania's land area. It is crossed by the Rufiji River and provides shelter for around 350 different bird species. A boat trip on the Rufiji River is an ideal opportunity to observe the many aquatic animals.

Lake Victoria

Lake Victoria is divided between the states of Tanzania, Uganda and Kenya. Despite its fame as Africa's largest lake, its Tanzanian part is little visited. The towns of Bukoba, Musoma and Mwanza on the shore are suitable starting points for tours around Lake Victoria. Rubondo Island National Park is located on an island in the western part of the lake.

Gombe Stream National Park

In the lush jungle and river landscapes of Conkouati-Douli National Park, chimpanzees still live completely undisturbed - © Sergey Uryadnikov/Shutterstock
© Sergey Uryadnikov/Shutterstock

With its area of 52 square kilometres, Gombe Stream National Park, located on the eastern shore of Lake Tanganyika, is one of the smallest national parks in Tanzania. The narrow strip of mountain forest is broken by deep valleys. The chimpanzees living here feel particularly at home in this environment.

The national park became famous thanks to the work of researcher Jane Goodall, who has been studying the behaviour of the apes since the 1960s. On a guided walk you can observe the chimpanzees in the wild from a safe distance.

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