These are The Favourite Spots on the Africa Continent This Year
As the Academy Awards celebration approaches, the buzz around the world is getting stronger. The excitement to see favourite stars in glamourous outfits, incredible movies being recognized for cinema excellence, and historic performance being honoured for lifetime achievement. With this massive array of festivities filling the streets, screens, and social channels, travellers also wanted to honour their favourite spots around the world by nominating them for a Travel Oscar per se. You have seen the nominees for Oceania, South and Central America. Here are the nominees for favourite spots on the Africa continent.
Danakil Depression, a low desert sandwiched between Ethiopia and Eritrea, was the Best Destination I visited in 2017. Danakil Depression is home to the 6th lowest place and the hottest inhabited place on earth. Due to border disputes, the only way to visit this place is by tour group with Afar guards armed with ancient AK-47s. The tours of 2-4 days visit some of the most unusual locations on earth. First up is the salt lake, a shallow lake of salt with amazing reflections and sunsets. Watch the camel trains go by with their daily load of salt, mined by brute force. The next day you get to visit Dallol.
You will not believe the incredible shapes and the yellow and green colors of this mineral deposit – unbelievable these colors are 100% natural. But the most incredible site in the Danakil Depression is the Erte Ale volcano. One of only six active lava lakes in the world. It’s an adventure just to get there – first driving a bumpy 1.5 hours over 12 km of dried lava to base camp, then a hike of 10 km over sand and lava to reach the rim. Another 20 minutes hiking over fresh lava from a January 2017 eruption gets you to the view of the churning hot lava below. After viewing the crater at midnight, you get a few hours of sleep at the windy top before descending to base camp.
Cape Town, South Africa
Nominated by James of Worldwide Shopping Guide, Facebook
When it comes to destinations with things to do, few destinations can come close to what Cape Town offers. Cape Town itself is well deserving of your time, and you’ll easily be able to spend a few days exploring attractions like the Bo-Kaap, the Castle of Good Hope, Robben Island, the District Six Museum, and the South African National Gallery.
Where Cape Town really stands out, however, is with the attractions on the periphery of the city centre. The Winelands region of Paarl and Constantia, for example, are a fantastic destination for activities like hiking, mountain biking, wine tasting, chocolate tasting, and even crocodile diving.
Then there’s the Cape Peninsula, just a short drive from Cape Town’s City Centre, and again another great place for activities like hiking, sandboarding, penguin watching, and diving with Great White Sharks.
My favourite Cape Town attraction, and the one that really makes it stand out from all other destinations, is Table Mountain. With more than 900 different routes to the top, this one attraction could keep you entertained for the entire duration of your trip. Routes vary in terms of difficulty, from moderate right up to strenuous routes that are a hurdle for some of the most serious walkers. But as challenging as it can be, the climb is definitely worth it – both for the views from the top, but also for the experience in getting there.
When it comes to destinations with plenty of things to do, Cape Town sits head and shoulders above the rest.
For the 2018 travel destination Oscars I am nominating Essaouira. A coastal city in the North African country of Morocco. Long wide golden sand beach attracts surfers and water sports enthusiasts. Stretching at one end into dessert like sand dunes at the other the walled fort like Medina. Behind the tall clay brick walls, clean white and deep blues give a serenity to the narrow cobbled street. Restaurants fill the air with the fragrant scent of middle eastern spices.
The souks in many other Moroccan cities are a labyrinth of alleys just waiting to disorientated the enthusiastic traveller. In Essaouira, the Souks are an easy to navigate grid. Here you’ll find laid-back vibe and friendly shopkeepers happy to stop and chat. Prices are undoubtedly cheaper than nearby Marrakesh. Often a fair price is displayed, making haggling unnecessary in many instances.
Being a port town fresh seafood is always readily available. Head to the fish market in the morning to see the fisherman bringing in their haul. The herd of small blue wooden boats bobbing in the small harbour makes a great photo. Tented restaurants line the dock. Choose your favourite seafood to be barbecued and devoured by hand with a good squeeze of sun-ripened lemon.
With more than 300 days of sunshine anytime of year is suitable to visit Essaouira. The Atlantic freshens the air during the summer and keeps the temperatures mild in the winter.
Nominated by Campbell & Alya of Stingy Nomads, Facebook
Sossusvlei is an area in the Namib Desert and part of the Naukluft Park in Namibia. This must be one of the most surrealistic places on Earth and one of the most beautiful deserts in the world; definitely a must-see place when travelling through Namibia. The combination of red sand dunes, white salt pan, blue sky and black petrified trees is absolutely incredible. Add to this scorching heat and burning sun and you’ll feel like being inside one of Dali’s paintings or somewhere on a different planet.
Originally name Sossusvlei referred only to the clay pan between the dunes nowadays it refers to the whole area. The highlights of the park; Sossusvlei – a dry salt pan with petrified trees surrounded by red sand dunes; Dune 45 – a huge 80m high dune and a popular sunrise spot; Big Daddy Dune – offers a great view over the pan. The park is one of the few places in Namibia where you can actually drive between sand-dunes of the Namib, climb some of them and explore the surrounding area. The best time of the day to visit Sossusvlei is early morning; first to see the sunrise from Dune 45, second, to get best photos of the dunes with deep shadows and third, to have a chance to walk around and climb on dunes before it gets too hot. From 11 am it gets so hot that despite the surrounding beauty you want only two things; to drink ice cold water and jump in a car with AC. Cool things to do; climbing up a dune, it’s quite a mission; running down the Big Daddy Dune or Dune 45 sinking knee-deep in hot sand; jumping photo on the top of Dune 45 with sunrise; walking through Sesriem canyon.
Mauritius is more than just a popular honeymoon destination for newlyweds from around the globe. One steps off the plane as friendly faces wait to show off their island. There is something for all travellers be it families, solo travellers, and couples looking for the perfect Destination weddings backdrop. A large number of resorts can be found on every coast of the island, suiting all budgets.
Travellers are truly spoilt with all the food choices. Imagine fresh tropical fruits and the best seafood ever served on your tropical vacation. The cuisine is a fusion created by Mauritian people and include elements of French, Chinese, African and Indian cuisines. One of the most popular street foods is Dhal Puri – an Indian stuffed bread roll with spiced pickles and delicious potato curry.
Places to include on your itinerary:
1 – Port Louis
2- Seven Coloured Earth
3- Charmarel Falls
4- Ganga Talao
5- Caudan Waterfront in Port Louis.
6- Pamplemousse Botanical Gardens.
The laid back vibe of the island is a fantastic place to sip on cocktails while on the beach one day to dancing the night away with the local Sega Dancers.
Our nomination goes to the capital of Senegal: Dakar. This city might not be on everyone’s travel list, but it has plenty of reasons why you should make your way to this Westafrican destination very soon.
At first Dakar seems chaotic, it’s crowded, the traffic is intense and, well, smog might just be one of the many things that you smell on one day out in the city. However, quickly this will change into the unique charm of this place and then you will see what makes Dakar so special: The streets are filled with Senegalese women in colourful traditional dresses carrying lot and lots of things on their head. They maneuver themselves along the dusty street, right through vendors and typical Nescafé stalls. Doing so, they ignore the constant honking of taxis passing by, offering them help.
Apart from its very authentic street life, Dakar also has a bustling seaside. Did you know that some of the best waves break right here? It’s only a short taxi ride, until you reach the shiny sea, where you can not only watch local surfers hit the waves, but also enjoy a picturesque sunset while sipping on an ice cold beer.
Feeling like getting out of town? Another thing that is super easy in Dakar: small day trips, that don’t even make you leave Dakar. Simply hop on a ferry and enjoy a 20-minute ride over to the former slavery island, Île de Ngor. This island feels like a sweet little holiday. No cars are allowed here, the curvy little alleys make you want to get lost and all those different colours of cute houses will calm you down immediately.
Dakar really does have it all: chaotic markets, a calm seaside, historic spots and locals with bright smiles. No wonder, that this is our nomination, right?
Africa has such a diverse culture and environment offering a wealth of experiences for travellers. One moment you have rugged terrain, another moment you have wildlife that will take your breath away before relaxing at poolside. Where in Africa would you go?
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Fill My Passport collaborated with other travel writers on this post. All opinions are our own and none was influenced by Fill My Passport.