Africa Travel Adventures on the Dark Continent

Why should you travel to sub-Saharan Africa? Because in sub-Saharan Africa it is still possible to come face to face with ancient mystery and danger. Therefore, Africa travel adventures reveal what very few people in the developed world have experienced. It is a sense of accomplishment and it is the ultimate reward of global travel.

This missing link to happiness and satisfaction is yours for the taking, just reach out and grab it. This is what makes sub-Saharan Africa the best adventure travel destination in the world.

SW African Cultural Introduction
Find the world’s few remaining mysteries in sub-Saharan Africa.

The Source of Sub-Saharan Africa Travel Adventures

For millennia, Africa was an inaccessible destination. Large formidable geographical obstacles such as the Sahara desert prevented cultural and environmental integration with the European continent. As a result, this geographical isolation has preserved the world’s most diverse cultures, wildlife and landscapes.

Furthermore, the unnavigable Congo river created regional isolation that further segmented sub-Saharan Africa. Indeed, the Congo river is extremely powerful and remains impossible to navigate. As a result, geographical barriers, sealed off Africa from within and unique distinctions formed in close proximity to each other. These relics of prehistory have remained sealed off from the world for millennia.

However, modern travel technologies unlock much of this ancient mystery and reveal it to those with a spirit of adventure. Nonetheless, sub-Saharan Africa travel adventures remain mysterious compared to the rest of the world.

In the post below, I have compiled a few of my favorite Africa travel adventures in sub-Saharan Africa. Additionally, you will find a plethora of additional photos and travel documentary covering the African experience at Global Travel Press.

Colonialist Legacy of Corruption

Much of sub-Saharan Africa remains mired in corruption post independence. Unfortunately, this European legacy has been exposed in all of their former colonies. Indeed, the rape of sub-Saharan Africa continues to this day. However, the magnitude has been reduced to a more politically correct level. 

Fortunately, the corruption and chaos is slowly diminishing. Indeed, development is finally reaching the local population. As a result, the introduction of modern technology such as 3g wireless internet and cell phones is accessible to the indigenous population and travelers.

Madagascar, Africa Travel Adventures

Millions of years of isolation has created the most unique biodiversity in the world for Madagascar. Indeed, Madagascar has endured 88 million years of isolation. As a result, endemic species such as the lemur have evolved into 100 different species. Additionally, hundreds of species of orchid and unique trees such as the baobab and banyan thrive on the island.

Madagascar, Africa Travel Adventures
Unique Geographical landscape in Southern Madagascar – Isalo National Park.

Madagascar is a former French colony which has since gained independence. Nonetheless, much of the French architecture remains in locations such as the capital city of Antananarivo. Therefore, visitors can enjoy a blend of European and Malagasy cultures when they visit.

Unique Cultural Diversity in Madagascar

Did you know that 90% of the indigenous population of Madagascar can trace their genetic origins to East Africa and also SE Asia?

Indeed, many of the Malagasy have genetic roots in the island archipelago of Indonesia. This distinctly separates their heritage from the African continent.

This disparity was revealed by DNA testing of the Malagasy people. This is a very unique characteristic that reflects the diversity which defines Madagascar so well.

Malagasy woman
Malagasy people in Anakao Village

The Unique Desert Environment of Namibia

The African continent has long had formidable geographical obstacles. However, Namibia geography is more unique than the rest of the continent. The disparity arises from the weather inversions created by the ice cold Belguela current that flows northward up the coastline.

The cold water is nutrient rich, however the weather inversions have a profound effect on the geography. As a result, the Namib desert landscape was created across the entire western half of the country.

The extreme desert environment in Namibia has evolved over 20 million years. See the most prolific examples at the giant sand dunes at Sossusvlei.

This desert environment has existed for over 20 million years making it the oldest desert in the world. The Benguela phenomenon creates fantastic self tour safari opportunities such as the Cape Cross Seal Reserve, Sossusvlei, the giant coastal sand dunes and unique desert wildlife.

Fortunately for us, this formidable landscape makes Namibia the undisputed #1 self tour safari destination in the world. Indeed, Africa travel adventures are best appreciated using self tour safari options when available.

Unique Culture of Namibia

Furthermore, this inhospitable environment kept the European colonialists at bay and this helped to preserve the cultural environment of Namibia. The San Bushman from the interior referred to the inhospitable coastal region of Namibia as “The Land God Made in Anger”.

Namibia culture

Inevitably, Namibia would be colonized by the Germans in the late 19th century. However, local cultures of the Himba, San Bushman, Herero and others still exist today.

South Africa Travel Adventures

South Africa is the southern neighbor of Namibia. The European colonists had a strong interest in the southern tip of Africa beginning in the 15th century. Prior to the creation of the Suez Canal, Europeans had to sail around the southern tip of Africa to reach their colonies in East Africa and Asia. This created a formidable logistics issue and the European colonists were keen to resolve it.

Therefore, Cape Town was established as a victualing station. This was imperative for ships to stock up before rounding the Cape of Good Hope to reach the Indian Ocean. As a result, control of South Africa was fiercely fought over by the colonists for centuries.

The city of Cape Town, South Africa seen from the summit of Table Mountain.

Although the Dutch controlled South Africa for many years, the British finally gained control after the 2nd Boer War. Therefore, Cape Town has retained much of the British influence in their legal system and also architecture. 

However, it is the Dutch Afrikaner who still has the dominant European presence in South Africa today. Native inhabitants of South Africa such as the Xhosa and Zulu gained independence from Apartheid in the late 20th century.

Cape of Good Hope
Photo of the Cape of Good Hope, many ships were lost in these treacherous waters.

In modern times, South Africa is still racked by corruption and inequality even though the democratically elected African National Congress has had political control for several decades.

Although the colonial Europeans created many injustices to the native inhabitants, their infrastructure remains. As a result, it is the most developed country in sub-Saharan Africa and it is an excellent launching pad for Africa Travel adventures. 

African Travel Adventures in Kenya

The construction of the Suez Canal was completed in 1869 and this opened up East Africa to the European Colonists. As a result, traveling around the Cape of Good Hope or through North Africa to get there was no longer necessary.

Kenya’s original colonists were the Germans however, control was handed over to the British in 1890. The British had a keen interest in the agricultural quality of the land. Indeed, the influence of the British colonialists on Kenya’s agricultural production remains post independence.

Culture and Safari in Kenya

Due to the late arrival of the Europeans Kenya enjoyed some of the same cultural protection as Namibia. Therefore, many indigenous tribes such as the Maasai at Maasai Mara still practice their centuries old traditions.

Maasai Tribal area in SW Kenya

However, far and away the most interesting aspect of Kenya is the safari. Additionally, a visit to Maasai Mara can be combined with a cultural tour to the traditional Maasai village.

Indeed, Kenya has the best safari viewing opportunities in the world. Unfortunately, self tour safari opportunities are limited. However, this can help to preserve the country’s wildlife resources and boost local revenue from guided safari tourism.

Amboseli Africa travel adventures
Mt Kilimanjaro is a classic African landscape for a safari experience at Amboseli.

Kenya achieved independence from the British colonists in the second half of the 20th Century. However, Kenya has borrowed heavily from the British and retained English as the national language. Additionally, Kenyans retained the British legal and political system post independence. Plus, the British influence on the agricultural production of tea remains.

Similar to other countries in sub-Saharan Africa, Kenya remains mired in corruption and inequality many years after achieving independence.

Mozambique is Africa’s “Tip of Gold”

This mysterious African country lies off the SE coast of Africa. Mozambique was discovered by the Portuguese explorers searching for natural resources. As a result, they named their first point of landfall “Ponta do Ouro” which translates as “tip of gold” in English.

Mozambique Africa Travel adventures
The sunrise at Ponta Do Ouro in Mozambique looks like a “tip of gold”.

The gold digging Portuguese colonialists never found the payload they were looking for. However, they did still colonize the country and a heavy Portuguese influence still remains there to this day. As a result, Portuguese is still widely spoken by the native inhabitants and their colonial architecture can still be found.

Independence monument seen in Tofinho, Mozambique.

Unfortunately, Mozambique became mired in a brutal civil war post independence. As a result, the country still suffers from the devastation that resulted. Additionally, much of the countries unique African wildlife was killed duding the war.

Reserva de Maputo

However, in the southern tip of Mozambique there is a special reserve called the “Reserva de Maputo”. It is a special enclave where an adventurous solo traveler can find elephants, crocodiles, hippos and much more. Additionally, the world renown Kruger National Park can be found on the southern border with South Africa.

Both Reserva de Maputo and also Kruger National Park are accessible for self tour safari. As a result, Mozambique has two of the best solo Africa travel adventures. Indeed, Reserva de Maputo is a true experience on the African frontier. Additionally, the land borders from South Africa are easily accessible for land crossings.

Hippos at Reserva de Maputo
Photos of a herd of hippopotamus I discovered while on safari at Reserva de Maputo

Similar to all countries in sub-Saharan Africa, Mozambique still remains mired in corruption and poverty post independence. Indeed, the recent “Ematum” tuna boat scandal resulted in the misappropriation of hundreds of millions by the government of Mozambique. This is Africa!

Enjoy the Best Africa Travel Adventures

European colonization over the last several centuries revealed Africa to the world. Fortunately, exploitation finally gave in to the rise of independent nations. However, independence often revealed deep divisions in the country which resulted in civil war and many years of internal strife.

Nonetheless, Africa has emerged in the 21st century with a more stable political landscape. As a result, modern Africa is more safe and accessible for Africa travel adventures.


Africa’s Future: Darkness to Destiny by Duncan Clarke