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Bucket list: The unforgettable African adventure

With its ancient monuments, exotic wildlife, vast deserts and huge mountains, Africa provides a whole host of once-in-a-lifetime experiences.             

In partnership with Lufthansa.

Discover Ancient Egypt

A trip to see the Pyramids of Giza is surely on most people’s bucket list – of the seven ancient wonders of the world, these phenomenal 4,500-year-old buildings are the sole remaining example. The biggest, the Great Pyramid, is estimated to be made of around two million stone blocks, some weighing up to 50 tonnes.

You can find the pyramids just outside Cairo in the north of Egypt – and once you’ve finishing gaping in awe at these ancient edifices, you might want to hop onto a cruise down the River Nile to see more of Egypt’s ancient wonders further south. The city of Luxor at the southern end of the country has been called the ‘world’s greatest open-air museum’ thanks to its phenomenal range of ancient treasures and temples, the most impressive of which is undoubtedly the Karnak temple complex just to the north.

The oldest parts of the vast complex date back around 4,000 years, but it was continually built on and revised throughout the era of the Ancient Egyptians. Only part of the complex is open to the public, but even so it provides a huge area to explore that’s is dominated by the so-called Hypostyle Hall. The hall covers around 5,000 square metres and features utterly enormous columns that are up to 10 metres in circumference and up to 24 metres tall – but you may have already seen them in the finale of Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen.

Go on an epic safari

Every year, millions of wildebeest, zebras and gazelles migrate through the Masai Mara in Kenya and the Serengeti in Tanzania in search of new feeding grounds. This great annual migration is one of nature’s great wonders, and many tour operators provide mobile camps to allow travellers to track the beasts as they wander the savanna.

Bear in mind that you’re most likely to spot the wildebeest migration in the Serengeti – the animals only venture further north into the Masai Mara if food is scarce. The animals can be found moving across the northern Serengeti between July and October, and in the southern Serengeti between December and March.

But wherever and whenever you go, you’re likely to encounter a whole panoply of amazing creatures, such as elephants, lions, cheetahs, crocodiles, hippos and even, if you’re lucky, a rare black rhino. And you could always round out the safari trip of a lifetime with a few relaxing days at the beach – Alfajiri Villas in Diani is just one of a number of luxury resorts that line the Kenyan coast.

Climb Mount Kilimanjaro

At nearly 6,000 metres above sea level, Kilimanjaro in Tanzania is Africa’s highest mountain. In fact it’s so high that its summit is almost continuously covered by snow, even though it’s just a short hop from the Equator.

Ascending this formidable mountain is the dream of a lifetime for many, and every year, thousands of people attempt to reach the peak. The climb itself isn’t too arduous, and doesn’t necessarily require specialised mountaineering training. But the biggest hurdle to overcome is altitude sickness due to the extreme elevation and relative lack of oxygen in the air. Most treks to the summit take around 6 to 7 days, usually with a day or so built in for climbers to adjust to the thin air.

Various operators run treks up the mountain, and when choosing one, be wary that a high ‘summit success rate’ doesn’t necessarily indicate a reputable operator: the best guides know when to turn back if their party is having difficulty adjusting to the lack of oxygen.

Explore fantastical Morocco

Travelling through Morocco is an absolutely unforgettable experience – the country is packed with ancient cities to explore and deserts to marvel at.

Marrakech is a good place to begin, with its twisting streets and amazing markets. The central square, Djemma El Fna, bustles with activity all day and all night, packed with date sellers, snake charmers, rug salesmen and stalls piled high with every spice you can imagine. Grab a seat at a rooftop café on the side of the square to watch the action unfold with a cup of ludicrously sweet mint tea in hand.

Just to the north of Marrakech, the ancient city of Fez is bristling with ancient mosques and medinas, and is perhaps most famous for the remarkable Choura Tannery, which has been operating in much the same way since the eleventh century. The stone vessels that hold the dye come in a range of beautiful colours that make for some dazzling photographs.

Further to the north still is Chefchouen, a tranquil hideaway made up of beautiful blue and white painted houses – and the perfect place to unwind after a hectic trip around the souks of Fez. Meanwhile, on the coast directly west of Marrakech lies Essaouira, a stunning coastal town with remarkable sea fortifications.

And of course, there’s the Sahara. Head to the far east of the country for an unforgettable trek into the desert on the back of a camel, followed by an overnight stay in a Bedouin tent under the stars.

See the amazing flora and fauna at the Cape of Africa

South Africa is home to many unique species of flora and fauna, not least the African penguins (also known as blackfoot penguins) that can be found all along the southern coast. Although people generally aren’t allowed near the penguin nesting grounds, Boulders Beach is an exception. By paying a conservation fee, visitors can enter to watch penguins waddling across the sand, and you can even dive into the water and swim alongside them.

And the Western Cape you’ll find the Cape Floristic Region, which is home to more than 9,000 plant species – around 70% of which are found nowhere else in the world. Among them is the king protea, South Africa’s national flower, which produces blooms up to 30 centimetres across.

But if you’re after big game, the nearly 20,000-square-kilometre Kruger National Park is the place to head. It’s home to nearly 150 species of large mammal – the greatest diversity of any African game reserve – among them elephants, lions, hippos, giraffes, leopards and the endangered black rhino.

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