With its ancient culture and history and wide range of wildlife, Africa is crammed full of World Heritage sites, although a great many of these are on UNESCO’s endangered list and are in need of immediate attention.
Tsodilo, Botswana Featuring more than 4,500 rock paintings, Tsodilo comprises four main hills of spiritual and cultural importance to the Kalahari San people. Paintings are still being discovered but the most famous include the Whale Painting, The Lion and Two Rhinos.
Harar, Ethiopia The fourth holiest city of Islam is home to more than 80 mosques, three of which date from the 10th century. The old town features 110 mosques and a lot more shrines. Each evening the hyenas are fed meat within the town; this event has become a long standing tourist attraction.
Lamu, Kenya The 14th century city of Lamu houses some impressive examples of Swahili architecture and is known to be the best preserved Swahili settlement in East Africa. The ethnically diverse narrow streets of Lamu were once a center for the slave trade and many locals still get around by donkey.
Valle de Mai Nature Reserve, Seychelles Made up of excellently preserved palm forest the Valle de Mai Reserve is home to an array of endemic wildlife including mammals, crustaceans, reptiles, snails and exotic birds. The prevalent coco de mer palm trees possess the largest seeds of any of the world’s plants and feature vast fronds.
Robben Island, South Africa Famously known for being the place where Nelson Mandela was incarcerated, Robben Island is now a popular tourist attraction that is home to a colony of penguins. The Moturu Kramat is a Muslim site of pilgrimage.
Richtersveld, South Africa The dramatic desert scenery of the Richtersveld is dominated by rugged volcanic rock mountains and the flourishing Orange River, which runs along the Namibian border. This lunar landscape is a popular tourist attraction and is home to an assortment of rare species.
Kilwa Kisiwani, Tanzania A major trading center since the 9th century, Kilwa Kisiwani was once East Africa’s most dominant city. The incredible remains are threatened by climate change but it is still possible to obtain a permit and visit the site.
Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe and Zambia Shared by Zimbabwe and Zambia, the incredibly beautiful Victoria Falls are home to some of the most varied wildlife of any of the world’s major waterfalls. Nicknamed Mosi-oa-Tunya (the smoke that thunders) by locals, the falls’ mists are visible from afar.
Mapungubwe, South Africa A thriving city in the 11th century, Mapungubwe is a sandstone hill whose name means ‘the place where jackals eat’ because of its abundance of human bones which attracted scavengers. The area is now a national park which features imposing sandstone rock formations and diverse wildlife.
Island of Mozambique, Mozambique Once an important Arab port, the Island of Mozambique has been a center of trade of slaves, gold and spices. Now home to a selection of museums, several mosques and a Hindu temple, the island is close to the stunning beach of Chocas Mar.