I have been a travel blogger since 2017. In my experience, Africa is the least visited continent. The more I dwelled into Africa, the more I discovered as incredible with fantastic lesser known tourist attractions in Africa.
It is clear Africa is not fully explored by travelers. I won’t say there are hidden gems to be revealed. As a matter of fact, they are blatantly open and everybody can see them but obviously did not see.
Even regular travelers to Africa are only interested in safaris, taste exotic African cuisine and rush back home in a hurry.
Africa travel means, serious and genuine interactions with the native Africans who have real understanding of the nature in true sense. Their knowledge of nature is incomparable.
11 Lesser Known Tourist Attractions in Africa
In this blog post, I will cover several spectaculars of Africa that have no match. I should rather say, “I will uncover”….
Let us peruse a list of lesser known tourist attractions in Africa that few have visited.
Namaqualand is not just a place but it is a region spread over South Africa and Namibia. I am sure this is the first time you are hearing about Namaqualand.
It is known for stunning wilderness, breathtaking waterfalls, a plethora of colourful wildflowers, and of course the African wildlife.
Namaqualand is more famously known as the “land of wildflowers” than for its wildlife.
Here is a peep into the breathtaking colors of wildflowers in all sizes, shapes, and colors.
The wildflower season is short and lasts a little more than a month beginning from the last week of August and ending in September.
I don’t know who counted the number of species of wildflowers in that vacation spot but it is baffling to know that, there are as many as 4000 species out of which, an impressive 1000 wildflowers are not seen anywhere else in the world.
Important places in Namaqualand to see the wildflowers.
When you plan for your memorable trip to Namaqualand, remember to go to Orange River estuary, Olifants River Valley, Lamberts Bay, and Alexander Bay. These two places are great to see thousands of wildflowers.
Wouldn’t you want to see this fantastic vacation spot in Africa?
Know that Cape Town in South Africa is the gateway to Namaqualand. It will be about 500 km between the two points.
Choose Springbok town to stay. You will find plenty of hotels.
This is the Giraffe Manor in which you will stay. You must be wondering what is so special about this place as a rare vacation spot in Africa.
As the name suggests, it is a large park where the gentle giants-Giraffe freely roam. They are accustomed to human presence and thus we don’t scare them away even when we try to feed them.
Well, isn’t it an experience that is rare?
Giraffe Manor is in Kenya’s Nairobi city.
It is bliss to stay in such a place. See, the Giraffe Manor is not a hidden gem but it is not made very popular among the travelers to Africa.
Here, watch a video and you will be stunned how the giraffes meet you at your dining table inside the manor.
I am sure it will be a lifetime experience to stay in the Giraffe Manor, one of the finest African destinations.
The word High Atlas must have piqued your interest-right? High Atlas is a mountain range with awesome views and incredible geography that includes the Draa Valley, one of the rare African destinations but lesser known one.
High Atlas is in Morocco, North Africa. The mountain range is quite long and you can see both the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean, when you are standing in the summit at an altitude of 13,600 feet!
One end of the High Atlas is the gateway to the dreaded Sahara Desert. The mountain descends in the south west to form a great valley of untold beauties and diverse geography.
Such a long range of mountain is bound to have a canyon. The High Atlas has two canyons namely the Dades, and the Todra.
If you wish to make it as one of your vacation spots in Africa, you have to stay in the city of Marrakesh, Morocco. From Marrakesh, you have to hire a cab. The driving duration to the High Atlas is 4 hours.
There are a few spectacular waterfalls that you can see if you take a guided hiking tour on the Atlas Mountains. The Draa Valley is a beautiful place to camp.
Again, this is the first time you are coming across-right? While Garden Route is already popular and one of the well-known African attractions, the Panorama Route is a lesser-known tourist spot in Africa but not lacking in surprising natural elements.
Panorama Route is part of Mpumalanga Province in South Africa. If you have already visited the breathtaking Blyde Canyon, your travel guide would have egged you on to take at least a short drive through the Panorama Route.
Some interesting facts about the Panorama Route:
- It is one the scenic roads in the world.
- It is 160 km long.
- It starts from Long Tom Pass. When the descent meets the border of Mpumalanga and Limpopo provinces, the picturesque road ends.
- Though you can cover the 160 km distance in about two hours, in order to see all natural spectaculars along the road, you need anywhere between 1 to 3 days! Imagine what you can expect to see and why the Panorama Route is such a hotspot in Africa.
- The list of beautiful sightseeing landmarks along the Panorama Route includes the Blyde Canyon, White River, Bridal Veil Falls, God’s Window, Lisbon Falls, Echo Caves, Great Escarpment, and Pinnacle. I have shortened the list deliberately as I felt it would take away the charm from you when you personally drive through the Panorama Route.
- Sudwala Caves are considered as the oldest caves in the world.
When you enter the dark caves, remember you are entering a place that was naturally formed 3000 million years ago. However, they were discovered only in 1960!
You must go along with a local guide who will show you several historical and cultural landmarks in the small towns that you will pass by
I think I must compose a blog post dedicated exclusively to Mpumalanga province, South Africa.
Watch a short video clip showing the highlights of Panorama Route, South Africa.
If you want to see all the faces of Mother Nature during your road trip through Panorama Route, you must stay in one of hotels or rustic lodges.
The relaxed atmosphere, the pure food, and some great views will make your stay pleasant and memorable. Surely, Mpumalanga province is a wonderful vacation spot in Africa.
The video of Otter Trail will blow your mind in just 40 seconds though the duration of the video is 4 minutes and 25 seconds.
You don’t have to take my word for granted, buddy. See it for yourself.
Isn’t it the world’s most beautiful hiking trail? Doesn’t it deserve to be in the list of lesser-known African destinations?
Otter Trail is a part of another extremely scenic road known as the “Garden Route” in South Africa. As you walk through the trail, you are likely to find Otters that have no claws.
Otter Trail is only 44 km long but it possesses some awesome views and incredible flora. The trail begins from the mouth of Storms River.
To enjoy the nature to the hilt, you must stay in small camps overnight and resume your hiking. From start to end, you will have to walk 5 days.
Otter Trail is one of the must-visit vacation spots in Africa.
Tsitsikamma National Park
This national park is in South Africa and it is from here, the Otter Trail begins.
If you are impressed with the beauty of Otter Trail, you must be wondering, if there are any more trails in the vicinity of Storms River.
The Tsitsikamma National Park is wayside attraction in the Garden Route.
Yes, there are a few more picturesque trails that are sadly less trodden. After seeing them, you will realize it is no wonder why South Africa is the world’s ultimate holiday destination.
Must-see landmarks in the national park:
- Natures Valley Holiday Resort facing the Atlantic Ocean
- Bloukrans Bridge-it is a haven for bungee jumping enthusiasts because, the height from which the adventurers jump is over 200 feet! I think even to look down from the bridge will be dizzying to the majority of us. The Tsitsikamma River flows at the bottom of the Bloukrans Bridge.
- Lookout Trail
- Waterfall Trail
- Blue Duiker Trail
- Lourie Trail
- Tsitsikamma Mountains
- Tsitsikamma Forest-this is simply a breathtaking fores, iconic of real Africa
Now, in our chase of finest African destinations, we have come to Mozambique, one of Africa’s proudest wildlife viewing country.
Niassa Reserve is a protected area that comprises a staggering one million acres! It is located some 1600+ km from Maputo, the capital of Mozambique, one of the dream vacation spots in Africa and a coveted one.
Mozambique’s neighbours are also owners envy. They include, Tanzania, Malawi, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Eswatini, and South Africa. Do you know that the country Eswatini was once called Swaziland?
The major part of the Niassa Reserve comprises savannah. Some parts of the Niassa Reserve are covered with Miombo forest.
The main wildlife of this protected area:
- Wild Dog
- Sable Antelope
- Elephants-as many as 16,000 elephants live in the Niassa Reserve
- Cape Buffalo
- Wildebeest-one of the main mammals that take part in the Great Migration
Include the Niassa Reserve in your bucket list of African destinations to visit.
Lake Kivu is a world wonder. Its geography is such that the lake erupts once in a way!
Yes, it is an erupting lake. No lava or fire will come out of the lake but gas. A thick cloud of carbon-di-oxide emanates from the lake’s bottom and it proved to be fatal for the living beings that happen to be near the lake when the catastrophe occurs.
In order to see the Lake Kivu, you have to go to either Rwanda or Congo. The 90 km long lake is part of both the African countries. It occupies a huge area of land measuring 2700 sq. km!
Surprisingly, the Lake Kivu is situated at an altitude of nearly 5000 feet!
Its eruption is known as ‘limiric’. The miracle geological occurrence can be seen only once in a millennium.
Fish River Canyon
Do canyons invoke your curiosity? Does their sheer wilderness make your mouth agape?
Fish River Canyon is in Namibia, another African nation known for great game parks and long stretches of Savannah.
This is not one of the lesser-known African destinations. In fact, it is one of the highly visited places un Africa but certainly an underrated wonder of Africa.
As a gorge, this is larger than the Blyde Canyon. Its awesome measurements pull visitors in truckloads. Naturally, it is the second highest visited vacation spot in Africa.
By length, it measures 160 km but its width that is pretty big at 27 km. And look at the ravine’s depth that is recorded as 1800 feet! Obviously, the cause of the formation of such a large canyon is the erosion caused by the Fish River.
Surprisingly, there are natural hot fountains in the river bed. Numerous hot water springs with medicinal properties paved way for the development of a resort. It is interesting to note that some part of the Fish River canyon is a private property. I wonder who bought such an arid area and for what purpose!
Similar to other canyons in the world, the Fish River Canyon also has numerous hiking trails with intermitted viewing platforms.
Hell’s gate National Park
To explore this African national park, we must go to Kenya, the host of Masai Mara, the biggest wildlife viewing game park in the world. Kenya is also rated as the number one vacation spot in Africa.
Kenya’s tourist attractions are just too many that demand more than two weeks of our time.
Hells’ gate National Park is not very far off from Nairobi, the capital of Kenya. The park is not as big as Masai Mara but it is very rich in flora and fauna. The forest is rather thick, paving way for stunningly scenic spots and awesome trees and plants.
The park’s altitude of over 6200 feet makes it the coolest game park in all of Africa. It also acts as the entrance to the great Lake Naivasha, a fresh water lake.
Another big attraction in Hell’s Gate NP are two volcanoes but they are not active now. Still, climbing a volcano would give anyone some goosebumps.
The third big attraction in this NP is its own canyon known as Hell’s Gate Canyon.
Wildlife you can spot in Hell’s gate National Park:
- Bearded Vulture
- Thomson’s Gazelle
- Klipspinger Antelope
Staying near the game park is popular among adventure seekers. There are camps, ranchstays, and forest lodges on the banks of Naivasha Lake.
If you search for the best place to see rare birds of Africa, you won’t come across the Nzulezo because it is an underrated and lesser-known haven for bird watching. In addition, prior to buying your cheap flight tickets to Ghana, where Nzulezo is located, you must go through a long list of birds along with their photos, that live here. Then only you can identify at least half of the list.
The nearest city to Nzulezo village is Takoradi. From Accra, the capital of Ghana, our coveted vacation spot in Africa is 330 km west.
Africa is vast with the most diverse geography, flora and fauna, incredible marine lives, exotic food, and above all, the home to umpteen numbers of tribes.
I covered only a small portion of rare lesser known tourist attractions in Africa that make wonderful vacation spots in Africa.