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where to travel in west africa

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West AfricaWest AfricaWest Africa is the westernmost region of Africa. The United Nations defines Western Africa as the 16 countries of Benin, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, The Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Ivory Coast, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania, the Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Togo, as we…en.wikipedia.org’s best destinations include top attractions inMali, Niger, Senegal, Ghana, Cameroon, and GabonGabonGabon, officially the Gabonese Republic, is a country on the west coast of Central Africa. Located on the equator, Gabon is bordered by Equatorial Guinea to the northwest, Cameroon to the north, the Republic of the Congo on the east and south, and the Gulf of Guinea to the west. It …en.wikipedia.org. West Africa is famous for its cultural diversity and rich history. Unique mud architecture and landscapes dominate Niger and Mali’s major sights.

What are the best cities to visit in Africa?

Popular Destinations — AfricaMarrakech,Morocco. The “Red City” of Marrakesh is a magical place,brimming with markets,gardens,palaces,and mosques.Nairobi,Kenya. Known as the safari capital of Africa,Nairobi is an energetic,modern city that serves as a fascinating introduction to both wildlife and nightlife.Fes,Morocco. …Mauritius,Africa. …Essaouira,Morocco. …More items…

What are the safest places to visit in Africa?

Top 9 Safest? ?Places? ?to? ?Visit? ?in? ?Africa? ?for the First Time TravelersNamibia. If you love the desert climate and wish to go somewhere far from urban areas,Namibia is the place to go.Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe is another one of the safest places to visit in Africa. …Botswana. Another great country to visit in the southern parts of Africa is Botswana. …Mauritius. …Ghana. …Swaziland. …Mozambique. …Kenya. …Rwanda. …

What are the best places to visit in the west?

Best of the West: Top Tourist Destinations. From celebrity-filled Los Angeles and neon-lit Las Vegas to the abundant natural wonders of the Grand Canyon, Yosemite , and Canyonlands, the western United States has something to satisfy the interests of virtually every traveler.

Where is the best place to go in Africa?

Top 10 Destinations in Africa for a First-Time VisitorMarrakesh,Morocco. …Cape Town,South Africa. …Victoria Falls,Zimbabwe. …Mount Kilimanjaro,Tanzania. …Serengeti National Park,Tanzania. …Okavango Delta,Botswana. …Volcanoes National Park,Rwanda. …River Nile,Egypt. …Sossusvlei,Namibia. …Nosy Be,Madagascar. …

What are the best places to visit in West Africa?

Ghana is obviously on our list of the best countries to visit in West Africa. This country is the poster child of Africa when it comes to economic development. The tourism industry has developed tremendously in the last decade. Additionally, the Year of Return campaign in 2019 encouraged Afro-Americans to visit Ghana , boosting tourism. The capital city Accra is an excellent example of African modernity with luxurious high-rise buildings as well as fancy restaurants, hotels, and museums. The coast of Ghana is dotted with ancient European forts used during the slave trade. They are testimonials of the horror that the captives had to undergo. The best conserved forts are the ones in Cape Coast and Elmina, both UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The coast is also where you can find beautiful beaches and soak in the sun.

How many countries are there in West Africa?

West Africa comprises 16 countries. Each of them has plenty to offer, mostly off the beaten track activities. Many of these countries are small, which means you could visit several on the same trip. Here is our take on some of the best countries to visit in West Africa (in alphabetical order).

What are some examples of traditional African architecture?

In the north, the Somba people live in mud houses that resemble miniature castles, a perfect example of traditional African architecture. Further north, the Pendjari and W National Parks offer some of the best wildlife adventures in West Africa with chances to spot elephants, lions, antelopes, monkeys, buffaloes, cheetahs, and other mammals.

What is the capital of Togo?

Nicknamed a miniature Africa, Togo is another tiny country that offers various attractions. Togo is also known for its delicious cuisine. Lomé, the capital city, is one of the liveliest cities of Africa with its massive golden sand beaches, big open-air markets, street vendors, and busy nightlife. Lake Togo offers relaxing and nautical activities. Togoville, located on the shores of the lake, is a mystical village where the locals worship idols, and voodoo priests perform traditional ceremonies.

What is the wildlife of Gambia?

The River Gambia National Park comprises small forested river islands. Wildlife in the park includes crocodiles, hippos, primates, and numerous bird species. The main attraction of the park is the Chimpanzee Rehabilitation Project. More than 100 chimps live on the islands and can be observed from the river. The river islands of Albreda, Juffureh, and Kunta Kinteh are a UNESCO World Heritage Site. They host the National Museum of Albreda, dedicated to the slave trade.

Which country is the smallest in Africa?

Although it is the smallest country in Africa, The Gambia made it to our list of best countries to visit in West Africa. Surrounded by Senegal, The Gambia has been enjoying great touristic activities for decades, primarily on the coast, where beach resorts developed. This is a great place for sunbathing and partying.

What is the food scene in Abidjan?

Abidjan is one of the most exciting African cities, with a spectacular skyline. The food scene, be it from restaurants or street food, is to die for. Attiéké, made from granulated cassava with tomato sauce and meat or fish, is a must-try. The city exhibits some of the finest contemporary African art in its galleries and museums.

What are the best places to visit in Congo?

Having undergone massive investment and now boasting three superb jungle camps that are about the only luxury accommodation in the entire country, Parc National d’Odzala is the jewel in Congo’s crown. A near-wilderness that includes rainforest, savannah and rushing rivers, here you can track lowland mountain gorillas and chimpanzees, see forest elephants drinking at the many bais (clearings with watering holes where animals gather to drink), spot hundreds of bird species, and meet local Bantu people and forest dwellers (so-called Pygmies) who also call this magical place home.

What is Northwestern Benin?

There’s a lot to love about this area: the captivating culture and traditions of the animist Betamaribé people, the eye-catching architecture of the tata somba houses (round-tiered huts), and utterly beautiful hills that offer plenty of breathtaking panoramas. It’s still a secretive world with a peculiar appeal, and it begs exploration. You can base yourself in Natitingou or, even better, stay in villages.

What are the animals that live in West Africa?

Famed for the large herds of elephant that wander the saffron savannah, the park is also home to antelopes, warthogs, monkeys, crocodiles and thousands of birds, all of which you’ll be able to see at a fraction of the cost of a ‘traditional’ safari. Both the park’s hotels have pools, perfect for whiling away the midday hours between morning and afternoon wildlife excursions.

What is West Africa’s musical tradition?

West Africa’s musical tradition is one of extraordinary depth and richness. Youssou N’Dour, Tinariwen and other musicians may have been ‘discovered’ in recent decades, but the region’s music is so much more than mere performance. The griots of ancient African empires – Mali’s master kora player Toumani Diabaté is a 71st-generation griot – bestowed upon West Africa’s musicians the gift of storytelling as much as the power to entertain. They do both exceptionally well and their ability to make you dance or learn something new about the region may just rank among your most memorable travel experiences.

What is West Africa?

From the Sahara to tropical rainforests, from volcanic outcrops to stony depressions in the desert’s heart, West Africa is an extraordinary sweep of iconic African terrain. There are many West African views that will define your journey: an oasis-like clearing in the heart of a rainforest; stirring sand dunes sculpted to perfection by the wind; a gloriously deserted arc of sand along a gloriously deserted coastline; and improbably shaped rocky outcrops in the heart of the Sahel. And through it all runs one of Africa’s longest rivers, the Niger.

Where is the sacred grove?

The Sacred Grove is a large area of rainforest on the outskirts of Oshogbo. Within the forest is the beautiful Shrine of Oshuno, the River Goddess. In addition to natural beauty, there are many stunning sculptures by Suzanne Wenger (known locally as Aduni Olosa, the ‘Adored One’), an Austrian painter and sculptor who came here in the 1950s.

Is Abuko rare?

Abuko is rare among African wildlife reserves: it’s tiny, it’s easy to reach and you don’t need a car to go in. With amazing diversity of vegetation and…

What should you pack?

Many people are under the impression that a trip to Africa must involve over-the-top safari gear. You know, khaki bush jackets, moisture wicking pants and all that crap. You are welcome to bring safari gear of course, but there’s really no reason to do so. For one, West Africa is known less for its game reserves than it is for its cultures and history. In addition, you will probably feel like an idiot in safari gear.

What is there to do in West Africa anyway?

That’s kind of a stupid question really. Anywhere with this many cultures, climates and shear land area is going to have plenty to see and do. You’ll get specifics in the stories or tips category, along with the country guides, but here are some basics:

What empires flourished in West Africa before the era of colonialism?

Lounge with a family in their living room after a big lunch. History/Archaeology – Multiple empires flourished in West Africa before the era of colonialism. The Ashanti Kingdom in Ghana, the Dahomey Empire in Benin, the Songhai and Bambara empires in Mali and beyond.

What is West Africa’s greatest asset?

Culture is West Africa’s greatest asset – Hundreds of languages spoken, countless musical styles, specific local customs like “joking cousins” (a hilarious system in certain countries of insulting people based on their family names that’s also used to strengthen the social fabric and defuse tensions), strong communities and plenty of good things to eat. Travel slowly and you’ll find it easier to appreciate the culture here. Learn a bit of the local language. See some music. Drink a few beers in a maquis. Lounge with a family in their living room after a big lunch.

What to bring to West Africa?

A telephone – if you have an unlocked phone, bring it. If you don’t have an unlocked phone, budget some money to buy one once you arrive. With a local sim card, you can easily coordinate with new friends. If you have a smartphone, apps like maps.me are incredibly helpful. For our full list of helpful apps for traveling West Africa, see this article.

What is the greatest threat to your safety in West Africa?

The greatest threat to your safety in West Africa is on the roadways. Unfortunately, road safety is not taken seriously by many vehicle owners and even many government officials. Roads in some places may be in very poor condition and the same can be said for many vehicles.

Why do we recommend World Nomads?

We recommend World Nomads because they deliver on claims, have very helpful customer service and their coverage is easily renewed and extended even while you are traveling. This is the insurance we use whenever we are on the road. Click here to get a free quote.

How many homes have been bulldozed in Abuja?

Abuja’s Toge, Lagos’ Makoko and slums in other cities do not portray a pretty picture of Nigerian city life. In fact, Nigerian authorities bulldozed at least 800,000 homes in the slums of Abuja since 2003.

Why do Nigerian cities flood?

Nigerian cities suffer from environmental pollution. The lack of infrastructure causes cities to be littered with solid waste from households and sewage lagoons resulting in the exposure of disposed sewage to the open air. Flooding also occurs because of a lack of drainage systems.

Why does Nigeria have floods?

Flooding also occurs because of a lack of drainage systems. Additionally, city life in Nigeria includes dealing with pollution resulting from oil and industry. Air pollution is a result of industry, and oil spillage is caused by poorly functioning oil lines.

What is the city life of Nigeria?

City Life in Nigeria (Photo: ) Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country, is West Africa’s political and financial center. As one of Africa’s largest cities and Nigeria’s former capital, Lagos, stands out from other smaller cities in Nigeria such as its new capital, Abuja, and Kano, West Africa’s oldest city. Regardless of where you travel …

What to do before leaving West Africa?

Before leaving for West Africa, check with the US Department of State and read any current travel advisories for the region. If a conflict breaks out or escalates you are abroad, make your way to the nearest US Embassy and inquire as to whether it remains safe in the country.

What is the most common crime in West Africa?

Crime is rampant in West Africa, both in the cities and in rural regions. The most common mode of crime in West African cities is simple theft; purse snatching, street scams, and pick-pocketing abound. Incidents of armed robbery have increased in rural regions, and the US State Department recommends travelers avoid communal taxis for this reason.

How many square miles are there in the Sahara?

Covering nearly 2 million square miles, these 19 countries vary widely in culture, wealth and safety.

Where to find waterfalls in Dogon Country?

You don’t need to go all the way to Dogon Country to find waterfalls and towering plateaus of red earth. Just 45 kilometers west of Bamako is the village of Siby, the gateway to Manding country and some serious natural beauty. It is in fact from this part of the country that the Dogon people […]

Where is Oussouye in Guinea?

on December 11, 2018. Just a short drive from Ziguinchor, the capital of the Casamance, you will find a collection of villages that make up the Oussouye department. This tiny commune, sandwiched between the border of Guinea-Bissau and the Casamance river, is one of the most unique in the entire region.

When is Casamance 2019?

Getting to and from the Casamance. on February 11, 2019. We enjoy traveling throughout West Africa, but we are often stuck in the orbit of Senegal’s southern province. The Casamance is naturally beautiful, culturally fascinating and incredibly easy to travel given the limited tourist infrastructure.

Is Guinea a weak country?

Guinea, often called Guinea-Conakry to distinguish it from its neighbor to the west, is not known for its infrastructure. Despite a proliferation of road projects manned by Chinese companies, the transport network remains one of the weakest in the region. This does not mean that you should avoid Guinea. Depending on your travel outlook, you […]

Is West Africa intra-regional?

on July 3, 2019. You would think that with the large distances between most capital cities in West Africa, intra-regional air travel would be thriving. In fact, it is the opposite. There are not many carriers, operational costs are high, and most people living in the region can’t afford the tickets.

How many islands are there in the Seychelles?

A grouping of 115 islands in the Indian Ocean, the Seychelles has long attracted those looking for a truly relaxing getaway. Spend your days lounging on pristine, crowd-free beaches like Anse Volbert and Anse Lazio. Or, head deep into the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Vallée de Mai nature reserve to gaze at its unique flora and fauna. Keep in mind that lodging here is expensive (especially at the luxury resorts), so it’s best to save up and book in advance.

What to do in Zanzibar?

Zanzibar offers something for everyone, whether you’re in search of beautiful beaches or an unforgettable adventure. After trekking to this Indian Ocean destination off of the eastern coast of Africa, you’ll instantly feel at ease as you lounge on quiet beaches like Matemwe and Pongwe. Once you’ve gotten your fill of the archipelago’s beaches, visit Zanzibar City’s UNESCO World Heritage-listed Stone Town, where you’ll find the ruins of a 15th-century palace and a graveyard with ties to Zanzibar’s former Arab royals. No trip would be complete without taking a spice tour in the countryside and exploring Jozani-Chwaka Bay National Park.

What is the name of the square in the heart of the Medina of Marrakech?

Marrakech. Like other historic Moroccan cities, Marrakech buzzes with life: Performers vie for your attention in Jemaa El-Fna (an open-air square in the heart of the Medina of Marrakesh) while vendors hawk aromatic spices, homemade textiles, ornate lanterns and more at the bazaars along the alleyways.

What animals are in Masai Mara National Reserve?

Home to cheetahs, elephants, lions, wildebeests, hippos and more, Masai Mara National Reserve is one of Kenya’s premier spots to see wildlife. Sign up for a safari to explore this protected area’s 373,100 acres of rolling grasslands. For an extra dose of adventure, opt for a horseback riding safari excursion or hot air balloon safari. To increase your chances of spotting the big five (lions, leopards, rhinos, elephants and buffaloes) and other migrating animals, time your visit between mid-July and mid-September.

What is the best place to visit in Africa?

Malawi. #13 in Best Places to Visit in Africa. Despite its small size and landlocked location in southeastern Africa, Malawi draws visitors with its gorgeous lake, diverse wildlife and friendly people. At Lake Malawi, Africa’s third-largest lake, travelers can enjoy water sports activities like kayaking and sailing, …

What is the main attraction of Mauritius?

Mauritius. Mauritius appeals to vacationers in search of a bit of everything. Though its main draws are its powdery sands and luxe resorts, this small island nation east of Madagascar equally charms visitors with its mix of Dutch, French and British colonial architecture; friendly locals; and tasty teas and rums.

What is the best time to visit Cairo?

Though winter offers the most pleasant weather of the year (with daytime temperatures in the 60s and 70s), it’s also the busiest season, so consider visiting in spring or fall when room rates are lower, temps are bearable and attraction crowds thin out.

Traveling in West Africa is All About the People

Currently I’m living in rural Sierra Leone in a village called Kailahun. The country is small to start with, and Kailahun is even smaller.

Relationships Are King

Here, knowledge is stored minds, not in books. For example, if you go to Sierra Leone to hike Mount Bintumani (the highest peak in West Africa), you will have to talk to people.

People Will Stare

If you look like me (light skinned), people will stare. It can be uncomfortable to have people staring at you, but this part of the world is hardly visited by outsiders. Which is part of the draw!

Figure Out the Language

It’s very important when traveling in West Africa to figure out if you’ll be able to speak the language. The people in most African countries can either speak English or French — at least in the city.

Ditch Google, Ask a Local

If you want to go somewhere or do something, ask a local. Don’t try to Google everything you want to do. In West Africa, it likely won’t be on the internet, and if it is, it will likely be wrong.