Mother Nature’s credibility as a master architect is exemplified in the natural Seven Wonders of the World. These are: the Grand Canyon in the United States; the Rio de Janeiro harbour; Mount Everest in Nepal; the Paricutin volcano in Mexico; the Northern Lights; the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, and the Victoria Falls, which straddles the African countries of Zambia and Zimbabwe.
Although the list of wonders is sometimes disputed the locations – the seven major landmasses or continents that comprise the globe – are not. Famous for its contrastive, natural beauty Africa has its own list of seven wonders. So, if you’re planning a Cape to Cairo adventure you may want to plot your trip using the following list as a guide.
1.The Okavango Delta (Botswana)
As author, Alexander McCall-Smith aptly put it, “The Okavango Delta is an astonishing site: the great Okavango River, rather than flow towards the sea, flows inland into the sands of the Kalahari”. This spectacular natural anomaly, is caused by annual flooding, making it the largest inland delta on earth, which, with a variation of less than seven feet, is flat and vast. Swelling to three times its usual size, it attracts an enormous concentration of wildlife and provides opportunity for various on water activities.
2.Mount Kilimanjaro (Tanzania)
At a height of 5 895 metres, Kilimanjaro is the tallest mountain in Africa and the tallest freestanding mountain on earth. Climbing it has a lot to do with guts and determination as opposed to triathlon-like fitness. Those who have ventured up one or more of its seven routes have unanimously raved about the dichotomous snow covered peaks and deep green forest amid savannah at its base.
3.Ngorongoro Crater (Tanzania)
“Africa’s Garden of Eden”, is the site of the largest inactive and intact volcanic caldera in the world. Covering 260 square kilometers and approximately 600 metres deep, it shelters more than 25 000 animals, including the Big 5. Once rivalling Kilimanjaro in size, it was formed when the top of the mountain collapsed in on itself.
4.Serengeti Migration (Kenya and Tanzania)
‘Serengeti’ means endless plains and for good reason. Stretching 30 000 square kilometers and crossing Tanzania and Kenya, the annual wildlife exodus across the Serengeti is the longest and largest overland migration in the world. The event is subject to annual rain, so timing is critical. 5.Sahara Desert (Algeria – Chad, Egypt, Libya, Mali, Mauritania, Morocco, Niger, Western Sahara, Sudan, and Tunisia) Stretching across eleven countries – covering an area of more than 9 200 000 square kilometers – the Sahara Desert is the world’s largest hot desert. Think slow camel or 4X4 jeep, shifting sand sea dunes rising to 180 metres, sunset campfires, and the ultimate starry nights.
6.Nile River (Egypt)
The River Nile conjures every kind of fantasy from flesh-eating crocodiles to pyramids, temples, mummies and tombs. The two sources of the Nile flow from Uganda and Ethiopia to the Nile Delta in the north covering a distance of 6 650 kilometres. And, if you haven’t tried it, nothing beats a waft down the Nile in an Agatha Christie-style dahabiya.
7.The Red Sea Coral Reef (Egypt)
Covering more than 438 000 square kilometers, the Red Sea Coral Reef is approximately 2 250 metres long and approximately 355 kilometres at its widest. Of the more than 1 100 fish species, 1 in 10 can only be found in this spectacularly beautiful, coral-rich underwater world.