On Thursday, TIME released its second annual list of the World’s Greatest Places, which highlights 100 destinations around the world that are breaking new ground, leading industry trends and offering visitors an extraordinary experience.
To curate their list, they request nominations for a range of categories – restaurants, theme parks and hotels, to name a few – from their editors and correspondents around the world as well as dozens of industry experts. Then they evaluate each one based on key factors, including quality, originality, innovation, sustainability and influence.
The final list is as diverse as the world it reflects with entries stretching all across the globe. It highlights a broad range of experiences for travellers and locals to immerse themselves in – from Camp Adventure in Denmark which offers people the opportunity to climb above the forest canopy for panoramic views of the lush forest surroundings to the VAC Library in Vietnam, a fascinating self-sustaining ecosystem on a miniature scale.
Here are the 7 African countries boasting truly unique experiences that have made it onto the list:
Gorongosa National Park, Sofala, Mozambique
Gorongosa National Park is a preserved area in the Great Rift Valley of central Mozambique. Its forests and savannahs are home to lions, hippos and elephants.
Red Sea Mountain Trail, Red Sea Mountains, Egypt
The Red Sea Mountain Trail is a community tourism initiative. It is managed by a tribal organisation headed by a Bedouin Sheikh – Sheikh Merayi Abu Musallem – and its operation is harnessed to community goals.
The project seeks to create economic support for marginalised Bedouin communities whilst preserving their endangered cultural heritage and empowering them to take a leading role in developing sustainable adventure tourism in their areas.
Zakouma National Park,Chad
Zakouma National Park is a 1158-square-mile National Park in southeastern Chad’s Salamat Region. Zakouma is the nation’s oldest national park, declared a national park in 1963 by presidential decree, giving it the highest form of protection available under the nation’s laws.
Museum of Black Civilizations, Dakar, Senegal
The Museum of Black Civilisations is a museum in Dakar, Senegal. Opened in December 2018 it is the realisation of Léopold Sédar Senghor, Senegal’s first President, vision to create a museum that would represent the histories and contemporary cultures of Black people everywhere.
Lekkerwater Beach Lodge, De Hoop Nature Reserve, South Africa
Lekkerwater Beach Lodge at De Hoop is a small and intimate property. Their environmental footprint is small, and so is their team. Whether you’re hiking the mountains, exploring the rock pools, or sipping a drink on the deck as you soak up the outlook, by the end of a stay here it feels as though you’re bidding farewell to family.
Wolfgat, Paternoster, South Africa
A new Strandveld eatery, showcasing the seasonal veldkos and seafood of the West Coast.
Omaanda, Windhoek East, Namibia
Composed of ten huts inspired by traditional Owambo architecture, Omaanda is an exceptionally beautiful lodge, whose discrete elegance and timeless appeal takes visitors on an unforgettable journey. From here, you can discover the singular beauty of the Namibian savannah, in the very heart of a private animal reserve of over 9000 hectares surrounding the capital Windhoek.
Leopard Hill, Mara Naboisho Conservancy, Kenya
Leopard Hill is a new and modern camp in the midst of the African wilderness. Whilst soaking up the sun on the deck of your tent, the animals are so close it feels like you can reach out and touch them, adding to the sense that you are at one with the greatness of the savannah.
SACHA VAN NIEKERK