This time for Africa? Top 5 destinations to visit in 2020
The only man I envy is the man who has not yet been to Africa, for he has so much to look forward to. - Richard Mullin
Indeed, those who have yet to visit Africa are up for a treat! From classic safaris to gorgeous beaches and the world's most magnificent star-spangled night sky, the African continent is guaranteed to leave you in awe! If you're currently searching for your next fav holiday spot on the continent, look no further! The list below boasts enough adventure and chill alike to fill your holiday schedule for the entire 2020 and beyond! Every experience mentioned is based on personal experience and among our own very top picks!
1. Likoma Island, Malawi
Known as the Warm Heart of Africa, few countries can match Malawi in terms of hospitality and warm-heartedness. Moreover, the small country can boast some of Africa's most untouched savannahs, a growing population of wild animals and, believe it or not, fantastic beach life! Don't let its landlocked borders fool you, the small nation is home to one of the World's most magnificent lakes - a stunning piece of nature known to host crystal clear waters and one of the globe's largest populations of colorful fish!
Fact is, few people I meet have ever heard of Malawi and even fewer have heard of Likoma - a tiny tropical island located on the Mozambican side of Lake Malawi. Visiting Likoma remains way off the beaten path: The tiny island hosts only a couple of accommodation options, both of which are built in complete harmony with nature as well as the local community. Venture on an adventure here, and you will stay busy for days scuba diving the clear waters, doing yoga while SUP paddling, kayaking the clean shores, enjoying world-class massage or simply relaxing on a gorgeous beach. The island is also known for magnificent sunsets, even by African standards!
If that wasn't enough, the small East African nation is slowly, but steadily gaining credentials as a top safari destination. In 2019, Majete Wildlife Reserve reintroduced cheetahs to their savannahs for the first time in decades and the gorgeous Liwonde National Park recently received 17 black rhinos from South Africa as a conservation effort! These recent developments make Malawi a new, untraditional, yet magical option for those looking for the classic Bush and Beach combination for their African holiday!
2. Matopo Hills, Zimbabwe
If someone told me a year back that one day, I would stand face to face with not just one, but several wild rhinos, I would have gasped in awe! No safari vehicle, no protection and no place to run - just me, my camera and the rhinos - on a plain open and dry savannah.
Walking with rhinos is an experience worthy of even the most avid adventurer's bucket list! It represents a revolutionary experience, a moment which goes down in your memory as one of the most beautiful and life-altering, where your respect for animals, nature and the harmony of it all comes together to forever alter the way you see life. Simply said, it is truly magical!
Before visiting Matopo Hills, I simply did not know that completely ethical and animal friendly walking safaris with wild rhinos were possible, but boy was I happy when I found out! However, even beyond the rhinos, Matopo Hills is a place of mesmerizing beauty! Astonishing rock formations, ancient cave paintings, breathtaking viewpoints and the grave of Cecil Rhodes; the infamous colonialist, are just some of the attractions worthy of attention! This experience is absolutely perfect for those who have already explored safaris across the continent and are looking for something different!
Psssst! If a rhino ever charges at you, make sure to jump sideways out of its field of sight! Their eyesight is miserable and they're likely to run straight passed you in case you move abruptly to either side.
3. Maasai Mara North Conservancy, Kenya
Visiting Africa's most splendid National Parks often comes with the side-effect of more people, more vehicles and more stress. Along the magnificent Serengeti in neighboring Tanzania, Kenya's Maasai Mara is such a park - splendid to the core, yet crowded. Full of animals, but also people! The high level of traffic, especially in the high season, makes experienced safari goers avoid the area, leaving behind some of the world's best game watching in favor of smaller parks scattered across less famous destinations. Although I love the Mara with all my heart, sadness comes to me when witnessing the busy seasons - a period unfavorable to animals and adventurers alike.
However, this is where the Mara North Conservancy comes in! With strict policies in terms of environmental conservation, land usage and tourism numbers, the 30 000-hectare area accommodates only 12 member camps and boasts one of the lowest tourist- and vehicle densities in the country. Every single camp within the area adheres to strict environmental and quality standards, making the Mara North Conservancy the perfect spot for eco-conscious travelers!
Hot tip: When visiting Africa's most visited National Parks, make sure to visit in the very borderline between high and low season. Although chances of rain increase, the weather mostly consists of sunny days with powerful thunderstorms in the afternoon. Honestly speaking, my very best sundowners have taken place during the few minutes before the rains set. The dramatic cloudscape in contrast to the flat plains of the African savannah represents one of the best photography moments of the whole wide world.
4. The most deserted beach in Mozambique?
If you're looking for lazy days on gorgeous, yet deserted white-sand beaches, Mozambique is the place for you! When arriving the busy airport of Maputo, don't let the first impression and chaotic mess fool you - the country is a beautiful hub for adventure and relaxation alike.
Undoubtedly, some of the most beautiful beaches I've ever laid eyes on were in Mozambique! Driving along the coastline from Maputo towards the border of South Africa will take you on a ride through beautiful landscapes, eventually landing you in Ponta Mamoli; a deserted pearl with a beach gorgeous enough to take your breath away!
When there, never miss the opportunity to get up at sunrise! The dramatic contrast between beach and ocean, ocean and sky look glorious in the morning light! With untouched nature on all sides, the coast of Ponta Mamoli provides gorgeous conditions for enjoying the wild waters and the diving experiences are amongst the best on the continent!
NB! Unless you speak Portuguese, communicating with locals can be a challenge even in the capital. Make sure to download a Portuguese language app and buy a local sim card at the airport upon arrival.
5. Bwindi impenetrable forest, Uganda
Despite the wonders of the places described above, Bwindi is something special! The contrasts between dense rainforests, volcanic landscapes and gorgeous lakes make this place a natural wonder, and thatâ€™s even before mentioning the gorillas! Canoeing across the great Mutanda Lake, trekking in the hills, hiking for golden monkeys and joining a local on a boda boda (motorbike) across the border to Congo are just some of the experiences worth embarking on while visiting the area.
Located at the very border between Uganda, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo, Bwindi remains a stronghold of wildness; a green citadel resting majestically on the hilly landscapes outlining the cross-border area between the three countries. Despite the awe-making beauty of the area itself, most people do visit for the gorillas - and with good reason! The moment you see them, tucked between thick branches and dense greenery, your jaw will drop in pure awe! The experience itself represents the adventure of a lifetime and never will you forget that small hour where you face the real King of the Jungle - The grand Silverback and his tribe. Bwindi is a certain winner which is well worth a spot at the very top of your bucket list.
The late John Hemingway once stated that if I have ever seen magic, it has been in Africa. We promise you that if you are so lucky to experience all above, no quote will ring truer in your ears than this one. Eager to get going? Contact us now to tailor-make your dream itinerary across Africa!