Volunteering in Africa is a wonderful and rewarding experience. This experience can only be enhanced by adding a dash of adventure, wildlife and natural beauty. You’re not going to volunteer all the time, so make the most of your time off. You’ll find a treasure trove of things to do in Africa, whether you’re keen to bungee jump in Cape Town or sail in the Indian Ocean.
Top Ten Things to Do in Africa
There’s so much to see and do in Africa that it’s hard to narrow down your choices. Africa is huge, and what you can do depends a lot on where you’re volunteering. We’ve picked our top ten things to do in Africa, from the mellow to the adventurous. Many are located near our volunteer placements and some of our volunteer projects even include these amazing opportunities.
10. Spot Whales in South Africa
There are over 35 species of whale and dolphin off the southern coast of Africa. The area is famous as a calving region for Right and Humpback Whales. The area is also home to large populations of dolphins and many other species. There are a number of whale watching operators that offer trips to see these magnificent creatures, which are best seen from July to November.
9. Explore the Rainforest
To get a taste of the other Africa, discover one of Madagascar’s many national parks. Here you can find lush rainforests full of lemurs, sifakas and chameleons. You can also find an abundance of Baobab Trees, the interesting, upside-down looking national tree of Madagascar.
8. Raft the Zambezi
The Zambezi River is frequently rated one of the top white water rafting rivers in the world. Put in at the base of the colossal Victoria Falls, amid churning waters created by the 350 foot waterfall. Raft through intense class five rapids and drift down stretches of calm water, while scenic gorges surround you and crocodiles lurk below.
7. Meet the Maasai
The well known African tribes of the Maasai are an incredible and resilient people. They have managed to keep their traditions throughout the spread of western influences. They still dress in traditional garb, rich in colour and accented with jewellery. Unfortunately, much of what tourists see in a “traditional” Maasai village is staged, but there are ways to meet authentic Maasai people, and the effort is well worth the unique cultural experience.
6. Soak up the Sun on Zanzibar
There are many gorgeous beaches in Africa, and those on Zanzibar are no exception. Sparkling white sand beaches, flourishing palm trees and idyllic sapphire seas, all topped with the rich culture of the Spice Islands. You can spend all day soaking up the sun and by night get lost in the mysterious Stone Town or mingle with people of a rich culture of Arabic and Swahili. Only a hop, skip and a jump from mainland Tanzania, Zanzibar is the ideal beach getaway.
5. Wander the Marrakesh Bazaar
This bustling Moroccan marketplace is full of spectacle and intrigue. An exotic congregation of street vendors, acrobats and snake charmers, it captivates and excites the senses. Spend some time getting lost in the marketplace and finding colourful and electrifying bargains.
4. Climb Kilimanjaro
Imagine the feeling of achievement you would have upon scaling Africa’s tallest peak, the gem of Tanzania. Actually, climbing Kilimanjaro is not the epic feat you would assume of the tallest mountain in Africa, in fact, it is relatively easily accessible. Described as more of a hike than a climb, it requires no mountaineering skills and you need only be reasonably fit to reach the summit. However it is still a difficult trek, and 40% of people who set out turn back before they reach the top. Alternatively, you could climb Kilimanjaro’s smaller neighbour, Mt. Meru, or Mount Kenya to the north.
3. Dive Mozambique
Mozambique is home to some fantastic diving. With conditions comparable to the Caribbean, but not nearly as crowded, it is one of Africa’s best diving locations. Here you will be able to spot some of the ocean’s largest and most impressive fish, like manta rays and whale sharks.
2. Cruise the Nile
A popular tourist attraction is floating the Nile in a felucca. These boats carry tourists from Aswan to Luxor and stop at the major sights along the way. You’ll get an incredible view of ancient temples and rural villages while drifting along the longest river in the world. This scenic cruise will show you the breathtaking River Nile and archaeological wonders of Ancient Egypt.
1. Go on Safari
No trip to Africa would be complete without a search for the big five on the most famous African expedition. For many, a safari characterizes Africa, the endless plains and abundant wildlife. Safaris can be a few hours to several weeks, in a four wheel drive or on foot. No matter how you do it, it is sure to be an exhilarating and impressive experience.