Regardless of where you grew up, we can pretty much guarantee you’ve heard the ‘poor kids in Africa’ story. Whether it was an attempt to get you to eat your veggies, or convince you to eat your dinner before dessert, this frequently used and somewhat globally popular story has established a very negative view of such a beautiful continent.
Here’s our list of amazing things your mama definitely wouldn’t have told you about Africa:
1) There’s so much more than the Big Five
The Big Five are the most dangerous animals on the African plains, however, they are also some of the most endangered. The Big Five include the African lion, African elephant, Cape buffalo, African leopard, and rhinoceros. But, there are hundreds, if not thousands of other unique and beautiful animals in Africa.
Due to the vastly different habitats found in the various countries on the African continent there are a number of animals you can see in their natural habitat or in rehabilitation programmes, some of which you may have only ever seen in a zoo or aquarium.
Here’s our list of must see wildlife:
South Africa: Great white shark, Southern Right Whale, Bottlenose dolphin, Cape fur seal, African Wild dog, Kudu, African porcupine, Ostrich, Zebra, Giraffe, Gemsbok, Crocodile, Hippopotamus, Warthog, Cheetah, Giant eland, African Penguin, Blue Crane, Cape vulture and the Chacma baboon.
Democratic Republic of Congo: Chimpanzee, African forest elephant, African manatee, Congo lion, Congo peacock, Eastern lowland gorilla, Giant forest hog, Kordofan giraffe, Masai giraffe, Mountain gorilla, Serval, Side-striped jackal, Spotted hyena and Western lowland gorilla
Namibia: Ground pangolin, Cape hyrax, Brown hyaena, African bush elephant, Oryx, Blackfaced impala Hartmann’s mountain zebra Wild horse, Secretary bird, Suricates and Namib dune gecko.
Kenya: Oribi, White-bearded wildebeest, East African lion, East African cheetah, Caracal, Flamingo, Masai ostrich, Bat-eared fox, Black-backed jackal, Golden jackal, Honey badger, Aardwolf, Greater galago and Aardvark.
2) Travellers are spoilt for choice
The African continent offers it’s guests a variety of landscapes and terrains to explore. Depending on what experience you’re looking for, you can visit the Democratic Republic of Congo and adventure through dense tropical rainforest, or explore the sandy dunes of the Namibian desert. Looking for a more traditional safari? Book a trip to Kenya or South Africa and explore the grassy plains.
3) Rich cultures and even richer histories
Wild life isn’t the only thing that is spectacular about the African continent. Did you know that there are a number of tribes who have their own rituals, beliefs and customs? Or that there are over 1500 languages spoken in Africa? South Africa alone has 11 official languages.
Due to colonisation and a variety of settlers and traders coming to Africa, the African continent is filled with rich history and many of the countries have truly unique traditions and cultures.
To get a real sense of how wonderfully different traditional African tribes are, we suggest you take the time to meet the following tribes:
- The Xhosa, a tribe traditionally known for their herding and farming abilities.
- The Zulu, one of the most well-known African tribes. The Zulu tribe are known for their fighting abilities, belief in ancestral spirits and their singing and dancing.
Democratic Republic of Congo:
- The Ba’aka, a nomadic pygmy tribe who are hunter gathers are known for their oral traditions.
- The Himba, a semi-nomadic tribe who are known for their beauty and for coating their skins with red ochre and fat to protect themselves from the harsh desert climate they live in.
- The Maasai, a warrior tribe who believe cattle are a gift from their god. The Maasai tribe are characteristically very tall and are known for their piercings and earlobe stretching.
4) The wine and beers are fantastic
Yes, you heard us. Africa has a number breweries and vineyards that produce award-winning beers and wines that are worth writing home about. Here are our suggestions:
- Carling Black Label
- Hansa Pilsner
- Castle Lager
- Cape Point Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc
- Boekenhoutskloof Stellenbosch Cabernet
- Nuy Red Muscadel
Democratic Republic of Congo:
- Bracongo Doppel Munich
- Simba Bière du Lion
- Turbo King
- Windhoek lager
- Tafel Lager
- Amstel Lager
- Paradise Flycatcher
- Tusker Lager
- White Cap Lager