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Home > Bucket List Activities in Africa

5 Unforgettable Activities to Top Your Africa Bucket List

Africa is a vast continent—the second largest in the world, in fact. It comprises 54 countries, countless different landscapes, and a myriad of unique ethnic groups. With that in mind, it's almost impossible to pick a top 5 list of things to do in Africa, but we've come up with a few of the most iconic options for your vacation. From wildlife adventures to helping the community, this is your ultimate African bucket list.

Go on Safari

The word "safari" means "to journey" in Swahili. Fittingly, going on a wildlife safari is one of the main reasons people travel to Africa. East and Southern Africa are the most popular safari destinations. In East Africa, ​you can witness the annual Great Migration of millions of wildebeest from a hot-air balloon, or track endangered mountain gorillas through the rainforests of Uganda and Rwanda. Southern Africa offers plenty of opportunities for spotting the Big Five (in a game vehicle, on foot or from the water). Keep things affordable by booking a self-drive safari in South Africa or Namibia. ​

Ruaha National Park, Tanzania
African beach

Relax on a beach

North Africa's beach resorts have attracted European sun-seekers to their shores for decades. But if you want to escape the crowds, head further south. Africa's east coast offers the beach-lover everything from budget huts on the idyllic Indian Ocean in Zanzibar, to ultra-luxurious private islands in the Seychelles. Africa's west coast is lined with thousands of miles of palm-fringed beaches. The currents make swimming a little challenging at times, but the surfing is fantastic. In South Africa, you can even bump into penguins on the beach or go diving with great white sharks.

Hike a Mountain

Africa offers wonderful hiking and trekking opportunities. The obvious choices for mountain enthusiasts are Mount Kilimanjaro, Mount Kenya, and Morocco's Atlas Mountains. But South Africa's Drakensberg Mountains are an absolute delight for a half-day hike or a longer multi-day trek. Uganda's Rwenzori Mountains and Ethiopia's Simien Mountains are lesser known but offer several of Africa's highest peaks. If you don't feel the urge to conquer a mountain but love to walk, excellent hikes include the famous walking safaris in Zambia's South Luangwa National Park.

Safari cycle

Explore on Two Wheels

For those that enjoy a challenge, exploring Africa by bike is a great way to discover the continent. Riding a bike puts you in direct contact with the people, landscapes, and wildlife that make Africa special; while the slower pace allows you enough time to soak it all in. Whether you want the thrill of a cross-continent cycling adventure, or the more sedate excitement of half a day spent exploring Cape Town, there's an African bike tour that's perfect for you. There are also several motorbike tours available, from motorcycle safaris in Tanzania to Triumph tours of the South African coast.

Make a difference volunteering

Volunteering lets you scratch below the surface and gain an appreciation of a culture very different from your own. Spending time teaching, working and living alongside a community also leads to a deeper understanding ​of yourself, what you take for granted and what you should appreciate back home. It's a great way to experience Africa at a level beyond a consumer or voyeur. There are lots of options, from helping out for a few days to volunteering for several months. Many of these programs are fundraising initiatives for charities, so expect to pay a fee for your experience.

Volunteering Africa