In the title I dared more than I could afford, but that MY AFRICA, I hope makes it clear that the top 10 that will follow is a selection that is based on the part of the continent I know.
Africa is, in fact, a huge continent, 52 countries, probably of some of them I do not even know the name, some are not currently accessible due to unstable socio-political situations, and, realistically speaking, although I spent about 10 months in the continent, moving around by public transport, the times have been stretched so much so that Africa, or the Africas, of which I can tell about are not that many.
But of these Africas, though, I can narrate quite in detail the particulars since in each one of them I spent when one month when two months of travel, devoting the time to understand the country and to feel at ease.
I’m not a hit and run traveler, I’m a lover of the black continent, I learned to integrate myself in the local communities, if not in the families, I know how to move quite nimbly with all the improbable public transport of the countries visited, I waited sometimes for days in the heart of the desert expecting for a ride to get to the first village, I ate with the tribes, at times, making an endless effort to adapt well to this food, not always, it shows as tempting and delicious.
7 countries for a total of 10 months. A journey, indeed many journeys and a single goal: to discover the black continent and disprove the myths!
Rainy season in Botswana. I slowly move toward the border with Zambia. Got used to the goodbyes but still hard to do it without feeling sad. #Botswana #africa #african_portraits #passionpassport #nature #natgeotravel #natgeotravelpics #traveladdict #traveldeeper #worldtravel #worldwide #worldnomads #bbcafrica
Top 10 Africa
Ethiopia, Tanzania, Namibia, South Africa, Botswana , Zambia , Morocco
There is always increasing talk of Africa, the last frontier for travelers who now thirsty to discover new worlds begin to approach the black continent a bit with dread and fear but certainly with the desire to understand the dynamic complexes.
The ranking starts from position 10 until you get to my favorite spots.
I must also point out that according to my personal tastes, I am more geared to people and to society than to the scenarios and landscapes, of course, what follows is a questionable opinion and in any case all mine.
The African Tribes are NOT one Human Zoo
I want to emphasize this aspect because the rumors about the tribes and tours to the tribes are confused and very pessimistic.
I must then make an introduction in this respect anticipating that my stay with the tribes, in Ethiopia and in Namibia, have been anything but a visit to a human zoo.
With these tribes I had the chance to spend some days, to encamp within villages, and be treated as a member of the great families who live within the villages.
It’s true that those who visit the tribes hastily and devote just a few hours will have this impression, the village in which you are taken to on a tour is organized specifically for tourists, where the “show” of everyday life is not 100% real.
Precisely to avoid this deleterious impact, I prefer to do the safari in the bush or in the Savana trying to sight lions, I have always opted for different solutions.
Upon my arrival I have always looked for tribal guides who could introduce me to the community and would allow me to spend a few days in situations sometimes extreme (no bath, no shower, incredible discomfort and camping literally among the dung of the cow and goat), renting a car to reach tribes in most remote areas, leaving time to let myself be known without having the hurry to photograph and then rush off.
This persistence has helped to create a reverse situation. Leaving them to ask me to take pictures rather than me asking them but this has also meant that it were they who invited me to camp in the village without my asking, which is why I’ve always waited outside the fence hoping that the village chief would welcome me and put me in hands of one of the women.
Travelling in an ethical manner, especially in Africa, means actively supporting the communities, bring gifts (maize, milk, oil, the guides know very well what you can do and what not) , do not give money or candy to children, respecting the rules and hierarchies, be accompanied by local guides, know the customs and traditions of the people and treat them with respect and not like freaks.
A journey among the tribes is NOT a human safari if done with respect and discretion.
10# – Okavango Delta (Botswana) – Face to face with hippos
My arrival during the rainy season, which this year, unfortunately, has been scarce, made rather complicated my stay in the heart of the Okavango where I was booked in not far from lagoons inhabited by huge hippopotamuses.
The Okavango Delta is the second largest in the world and represents one of the most unusual ecosystems of the planet in which hundreds of species of mammals and birds, in addition to thousands of different species of plants, live and cohabit together.
In mokoro, the traditional canoe, passing through the small canals, is where it began for us to be left in the middle of nowhere, in a difficult position to locate geographically, where, after putting up the tent, the safari on foot looking for animals to spot, started.
Away from everything during days of torrential rains that did not break us down and a greeting to the sky that cleared up giving me a peaceful return crossing in a wonderful place in the heart of Africa.
Rainy season in Botswana and I took al rain right when I didnt expect it. Camping in the bush in the Okavango Delta. Never came back so dirty and muggy after just 2 days out. Slept surrounded by hippos and elephants. Could hear them close at night. Despite the rain and the dark. Back to town. Took a shower. Still sleeping in a tent! #Botswana #africa #passionpassport #africancreativecities #african_portraits #natgeotravel #bbcafrica #bbctravel #travelwell #traveldeeper #traveladdict #traveling #travels #solotravel
9# Cape Town (South Africa) – Africa or Europe ?
Cape Town is one of the most beautiful cities in the world and the reason is given by the amazing location at the foot of the table mountain and the multiculturalism that today represents this city halfway between Europe and Africa.
Excellent starting point for discovering South Africa, the rainbow city is not only beautiful and in an envious position but it is also the nodal point and important to understand the complex history of South Africa.
3 days are not enough to discover Cape Town, but it takes little to be intrigued by the heterogeneous mixture that is created in this city, which could be a European capital, with the typical air of black Africa.
READ – GUIDE TO CAPE TOWN
8# – Sousselveil Desert (Namibia)
Together with the Sahara Desert this is the most photographed desert in the world. In the heart of southwestern Namibia, the surreal Deadveil is a magical place that borders on surrealism.
The journey in Sousselveil begins well before you reach the entrance gate of the park, in the hot Namibian summer temperatures that exceed 40 degrees and it’s too hot even for a nap.
Wake-up call at dawn, with the torch on the head, I undo the curtain in the while that the antelopes are fleeing perhaps frightened by the noise, but I see their eyes shining and I am more afraid than them.
The sun rises in that moment while we were waiting for it on a dune. Looking at sand artistically dug up, I lightly wonder how many snakes had crawled all night and how many of them are still there. In that piece of the world where there seems to be no life I feel I am not alone.
The silence of the desert and apparently static.
"The desert is natural. When you are out there, you can get in tune with your environment, something you lose when you live in the city" (r. Davidson) #namibia #desert #beautifuldestination #landscape #naturelover #instatravel #instagood #igers #nature #natgeocreative #natgeotravel #africa #travelblogger #travel #photooftheday #photographer #love #viaggi #viaggiatori #worldcapture #wanderlust #aroundtheworld #lonelyplanet #beauty #cool
7# – Sahara Desert (Morocco ) – Journey with the nomads
The Moroccan Sahara Desert is an amazing place where you can admire not only the starry sky illuminated by the milky way but where it is possible to live with the nomads, Berbers, discovering customs and traditions of the people of the desert.
A journey into the heart of the desert where the wind speaks and we have no choice but to listen mesmerized by the stars that shine in the thickest darkness.
There are 20 years of learning in the life of a nomad before they can make themselves independent, Mustafa tells me.
- Five years, the mother’s schooling
- Five years the father’s schooling
- 10 years the school of Life
At 20 any nomad is capable of taking care of his family and the needs of the caravan, knows how to cover a woman’s and a man’s role.
He is complete and ready to face the harsh life of the desert that when the sun goes down, gives quiet and coolness under the starry sky and the notes of percussions and Berber songs propagates to who knows where.
6# – Danakil Depression (Ethiopia ) – The most inhospitable place on earth
It is considered the most inhospitable place on earth because of its 115m below the sea level and the temperatures that would try even the most adventurous.
A trip into the boiling heart of the world, in exaggerated temperatures, where there is a life you would not expect.
A brutal heat, a descent to the underworld where the earth bubbles and the smell of sulfur, during the night hike, informs us in advance the vision of the imposing and scary Erte Ale.
A not very clement corner of the earth where man, however, has managed to create his own dimension , moving in the hot sun where there is no green, there seems to be no sign of life. Yet, right there, many things happen.
One of the most tiring and glorious trips of my on-the-road curriculum. Another place that makes Ethiopia so incredible and full of pleasant surprises.
5# – Wild Coast (South Africa) – The South Africa you do not expect
A touch of black Africa in South Africa beyond the usual travel circuits. The pearl still unknown by tourists and an ideal destination for the backpackers who want to live in full the nature and the traditions of South Africa that have never been lost.
Rural and slow, mountains that finish into the sea in which the water, the Indian Ocean, calls, where to wait for the waves along with dozens and dozens of children who do not know how to swim, basking in the sun .
A world light years away from the well known Garden Route that tells a piece of important history where traditions survive and the doors are always open.
4# – Victoria Falls (Zambia/Zimbabwe) and Flight in microflight
Imposing and violent the Victoria Falls are worth the trip, the best way to see them is from the air. I have always wanted to fly but I have also always been too afraid to do it.
I dared and legs were trembling at the start. An insignificant belt kept me on the seat, I am hanging by a flying contraption, a helmet and a microphone.
He, the pilot, tells me to relax, to let myself go, to free my arms and fly, while tightening in my quivering legs. I’m afraid, and he knows it.
But at the first turn over the impressive waterfalls I free my arms and fly over one of the most impressive monuments of nature on earth.
I am flying over the Victoria Falls. And I do not care about anything else if not to live my minutes in the sky letting myself be invested by the early afternoon Zambian air.
3# – Northern Tanzania Safari Park (Tanzania) – Camping wild
In the Masai language the word Serengeti means “Endless Plains”, you just need to pass the entrance gate of the continent’s best-known African National Park to understand why.
Nearly 15,000 square kilometers of area where animals among which the best known predators in the world live in a placid manner basking in the sun conducting their lives undisturbed by the car engines, watching with a certain calm indifference and arrogance.
A journey of earth and sun, boundless spaces and silences interrupted by some hyena that roams at night around the camps, a roar every now and then and maybe some elephants in the distance.
During the day all is quiet but at night the savana seems to rejuvenate and the darkness makes it become mysterious and terrifying.
The animals cannot be seen but they can be heard.
And in the tent, in completely out in the open camps in the heart of the park, these noises on the first night, a little fear sets into even the most intrepid adventurers.
African beauty #african #africa #safari #tanzania #animals #naturelover #beautiful #beautifuldestination #aroundtheworldpics #worldcapture #natgeotravel #natgeocreative #bbctravel #travelblogger #traveldiary #instatravel #instagood #passionpassport #passportready #aroundtheworld #world #iger #lion #cool #amazing
The hippos play in the muddy water and the giraffes, elegant and timid, eat the leaves of the taller trees accompanied by herds of elephants and groups of dozens of zebras drinking with caution in the lake inhabited by crocodiles.
The beauty of the simple things, the understanding of the precise rules of nature that mark the life of the animals and only one rule: watch without interfering.
No interaction if not sightings in the distance without getting out from well-designed paths. If the animals are in the mood, they will come near, look at us with total indifference and go away.
We are guests. I wonder if we are desired.
READ – GUIDE TO SAFARI IN TANZANIA
2# – Opuwo (Namibia) – At the supermarket with the Himba
It was not easy to get to Opuwo, mostly due to the heat that I suffered during the long waits between a minibus and another. After 1 day of travel and fainting in the street because of low energy and dehydration despite drinking liters of water, I arrive in the world of tribes in which the line at the supermarket is done with naked women covered in sheepskins or women with Victorian dresses that are rather impressive (Herero).
A magical place and out of the common imagination, one of those where you do not expect to find yourself, or maybe you do not believe that there can exist.
My favorite destination in Namibia where it was difficult to arrive but, perhaps even more difficult to go away from.
Reluctantly today I left Opuwo. But I knew that the more time was passing the more difficult it would be to leave. I know myself well in these situations.
By chance, call it good karma or benevolent fate, I found a family that welcomed me as if I were one of the 20 members, and other new ones appeared until yesterday evening.
In Africa, you never know who is really brother to whom. They are all relatives, according to them. So I’m used to be called the “Aunt” (nickname that, strange coincidence, was always given to me from the tender age of 20 years, from my friends too).
Last night I waited four hours in the hospital to check that I did not have malaria.
Just a bit of flu and cold but I was told that it begins like this. Queuing from 9:30 pm until midnight and a half, the others who were waiting saw me making jokes and jokingly they tell me:
“You seem to feel well. Why do you insist on doing the checks? “
The truth is that I was there because even though I felt I did not have malaria but only a minor influenza the thought continues till now.
24 hours of travel and arrival kilometers and kilometers away from this town where they know me and I know them.
“Because if I really get sick I want it to happen where I am surrounded by those who are fond me, and can take care of me and not far away and alone shut up in a hotel room”
That’s why I waited four hours for my finger to be pierced and to hear the confirmation that I had the health of a lion. This morning at 6 Jimmy came to get me to take me to the station. The younger brother at 5am had preceded us to block the place on the minibus that will take me to Katima Mulilo .
The sun rises over Opuwo and the sky turns orange in the meanwhile I walk for the last time that street that I like so much.
I hear someone shouting in the street.
They are my little friends that at 7 am are going to go to school by foot and recognize me despite my being in the car.
I salute with my hand and cry HELLOOO!!
They do not know that I’m leaving for good.
The good auntie has gone.
I am going to miss Opuwo and my tribal friends in town. Its always hard to say goodbye. I cooked last meal for us, i bought some presents to the "babies that never cry" even when they are supposed to do it. Africa is a school of life. If it wont change you. You havent traveled it properly. #africa #love #passion #passionpassport #children #cute #travelwell #traveldeeper #traveling #aroundafrica #aroundtheworld #nomads #bbcafrica #bbctravel #natgeotravel
1# – Omo Valley ( Ethiopia ) – Face to face with the Hamar
Although the Himbas of Namibia are probably the best known, probably after the Masai, I have to say that the concentration of tribes of the Omo Valley and their peculiarities make of this region an incredible place to the south of Ethiopia, as well as my favorite of all.
It is not easy to get to, only some towns can be reached by means of transport, but the trip is definitely not a health walk nor ideal for those with little familiarity of the African public transport or have little time, but the prize of a trip to the region that confines with Kenya and with which shares the Turkana lake, is priceless.
First I had to travel following the market days. Only one bus a week arrives at Omorate, which is why I had to be in Arba Minch at least one day in advance to reserve a spot on that one bus that goes to the most southern village of the country.
Upon my arrival Abuda helps me to put the backpack on my shoulder and look for a room in one of the two dilapidated guest houses of the village.
Nothing is more essential and basic of Omorate in the entire country.
The toilet is a hole in the ground, the shower is outdoors in a tin box. Yet this village, fascinates me enough to stay there several days in the company of that black angel, who walks even 70km in a day, a shepherd half Ethiopian and Kenyan.
The concentration of tribes in the Omo Valley is without peer, from the well-known Mursi, with rings in the lips, up to the picturesque Caro and the elegant Hamar.
Nomadic and sedentary tribes. Whose traditions give way to the imagination, particularly the Hamar that are characterized by the Bull Jumping and the Evangadi, the night dance.
I was welcomed like one of the family despite the language barrier, I was offered food and coffee made from the husk of the beans, I let the village girls, who during the cold rainy nights felt cold, sleep in the tent with me.
A world that will disappear and that I was happy to have known from within the huts.
READ – JOURNEY TO THE OMO VALLEY
A bit of everything, a Continent that one never stops exploring that offers great travel rewards and also a lot of weariness.
A journey which were many, an Africa that tells numerous and never ceases to amaze. That, perhaps, is why I keep coming back.
Maybe I should have done as when in Tanzania on arrival to the border that confined with Malawi and I decided not to cross the border so as not to liquidate this country in 10 days.
Luck would have me arriving right here, and that Africa that for months I had been looking for presented itself wholly to me. I recognized it immediately.
I had arrived at the end of the journey and I start pulling the conclusions of these months.
Months of made of expectations in the desert, nights dividing the bed with Monica or Cheki, warm and then hot and warm, nights in tents under the “Great Flood” and the thunder so strong that I could not sleep for fear.
Of uncomfortable minibusses and the usual struggle to keep the window open – you’re not used to this climate the but we do not want the currents of air. So they close and I open. Sometimes for hours the silent battle for air per minutes did not give me respite.
Diarrhea and discomfort.
But this is the price to pay when you decide to travel Africa in my way.
Just as I think it is the only way I know to be able to get in touch with these people who have been brothers, sisters, mothers and children in more occasions.
Africa has kidnapped me. The 8 out of 12 months passed here speak more than I do. More than I had realized.
And no. It has nothing to do with the animals, the deserts or the mountains or the sea.
Perhaps in part.
It has to do instead also with these 40 people on the bus who surround me and make me feel one of them. Because bring me back to earth. Because when I think I’m pissed off with humanity and the progressive loss of values, they arrive with extreme simplicity to remind me that the values are the ones that I build myself and in which I decide to believe. And to fight for these.
Because they gave me time. I have re-taught me not to run that it is not true that we have to do everything at the speed of light. They gave me the space. Theirs.
I wanted so much to go back and today it squeezes my stomach. It presses me not knowing what will become of Justin the taxi driver or of Mildred or Kosmo. Of not being able to surprise them, as I always did, hugging them from behind. Of those without Facebook nor Whatssapp and from whom I went away from with a “come back soon.”
Yesterday I said to the German “I’m ready to go home.”
Today I feel it is partly true, but ….
I travel independently taking mainly public transport. A world trip began in 2011 is not yet finished, my mission is to explore the world and write about it. Travel consultant Galapagos, Argentina, Morocco, Ethiopia, Tanzania and Namibia.