For many, traveling to Africa means visiting the pyramids in Egypt and spending a week on the Mediterranean beaches of Tunisia. Africa, in turn, is way more than just its most famous landmarks – it is an entire continent with its unique features (not to mention its unique wildlife) that is waiting for you to explore it. You have probably gone through many lists of five African countries you need to visit and their most significant landmarks (usually man-made) but today, let’s take a look at some amazing places you absolutely need to see that were made by Mother Nature herself.
Aloba Arch, Chad
There are many natural arches carved in stone by erosion in North America and China but they are pretty rare in other parts of the world – this is what makes Aloba Arch unique. It’s the largest natural arch outside the United States – it is 120 meters (around 394 feet) tall and has an approximately 76 meter (250 feet) span. It is located in Chad’s Ennedi Plateau, an area with a geology similar to the Colorado Plateau. It is a remarkable display of the elements’ tireless work, something you must see if you happen to be in the area.
Zuma Rock, Nigeria
The Zuma Rock is one of the most recognizable landmarks in Nigeria – especially because its likeness is printed on the 100 naira note. It is a 725-meter (2379 feet) monolith towering above Abuja, the capital city of the country. Legend has it that during the rainy season, the apex of the rock sometimes catches fire. Zuma Rock is one of the highest monoliths in the world, higher than Australia’s Uluru and the Rock of Gibraltar.
Fish River Canyon, Namibia
While it may not be as large and grandiose as the Grand Canyon, Namibia’s Fish River Canyon is perhaps even more picturesque. Yet don’t imagine it as just any other small crack in the ground: it has a maximum depth of around 550 meters (around 1800 feet) and a maximum width of 27 kilometers (almost 17 miles) and a length of about 160 kilometers (100 miles). On its bottom, there’s the river that’s only a river for a while – in most of the year, it’s just a string of long and narrow pools on the bottom of the ridge. It is an amazing place for hiking, sightseeing, even running – it is home to the Fish River Canyon Ultra Marathon since 2011.
Avenue of the Baobabs, Madagascar
Between Morondava and Belon’i Tsiribihina in Western Madagascar, there is a dirt road lined with some of the most interesting trees in the world: baobabs. These massive trees are the most famous of Madagascar’s endemic trees – they are massive, with heights that can reach 100 feet (around 30 meters) and trunks that are three meters (10 feet) across. The Avenue of the Baobabs is one of the most breathtaking sights in Madagascar, soon to be declared the island’s first natural monument.
Virunga Mountains, East Africa
The Virunga Mountains is one of the most amazing mountain ranges in the world, consisting of eight major volcanoes, all but two of them dormant. It stretches across three countries and three national parks – the Virunga National Park in Congo, the Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda, and the Mgahinga Gorilla National Park in Uganda, where visitors can meet the critically endangered mountain gorillas native to the area.