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    Africa Is A Dream Destination For Nature Lovers — Here Are 14 Countries That Are Especially Worth Exploring

    We asked experts for their starter recommendations — and they delivered.

    Home to 54 countries, the continent of Africa has everything an avid traveler could ask for.

    Camps Bay, Cape Town, South Africa
    Dhoxax / Getty Images

    Including — but not limited to — glittering beaches, breathtaking mountains, historical landmarks, gorgeous architecture, and of course, food to write home about.

    And despite travel looking very different right now, I think I speak for many of us when I say that I can wait until we're able to safely travel and go on vacations abroad again. Until then, let's get into Future Planning Mode, shall we?

    To help avid nature lovers figure out their next African destination, I spoke to two experts.

    Brian Siambi, Justice Lufuma

    Jessica Nabongo is the first Black woman to visit every country in the world and document it. She details her experiences in a forthcoming book to be published by National Geographic next year. She was born and raised in Detroit, Michigan, to parents from Uganda.

    Justice Lufuma is the founder of My Premium Travel, a travel agency that curates travel experiences across Europe and Africa. She was was born in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and is now based in Berlin.

    Here are some of their top recommendations for nature lovers:

    And as a reminder, all these destinations can be enjoyed even more if you spent some time in the neighboring cities beforehand. As Nabongo says, "People miss so much by relegating Africa to nature only. There's so much culture, cuisine, and city vibes that people miss out on by not spending time in the cities."

    1. Senegal

    2. Tanzania

    View of snow-capped Mount Kiliminjaro with white clouds surrounding the peak.
    Apocalypse_low / Getty Images/500px

    Home to Kilimanjaro — the highest peak in all of Africa and the highest free-standing mountain in the world — Tanzania is popular with veteran hikers and anyone willing to climb 5,800 meters. For everyone else, says Lufuma, don't forget about Lake Victoria, the largest lake in Africa. "The cool thing about Victoria Lake is that you can see hippos on the water," she said.

    3. South Africa

    View from a safari car of a Rhino stalling the dusty trail ahead.
    Jeff R Clow / Getty Images

    Safaris are one of the most popular touristy activities here, and while they can get expensive, you can also find plenty of affordable options. For a three-day tour, Lufuma says she paid $280, including lodging. The most frequented national parks will grant you views to the big five (lion, leopard, rhino, African elephant, and Cape buffalo), though if you're like me, you'll be giddy to see any wildlife up close and personal. 

    4. Egypt

    5. Ghana

    6. Kenya

    7. Democratic Republic of the Congo

    Two gorillas, one large and one small, sit on a leafy area of a forest.
    Guenterguni / Getty Images

    If you're curious about rain forests, explore the Democratic Republic of the Congo's (not to be confused by its neighboring Republic of the Congo) Kahuzi-Biega National Park. Here, you can take a gorilla or chimpanzee tracking tour, or simply wander through all the rich biodiversity that makes it one of the most ecologically diverse regions in the whole continent and a UNESCO World Heritage Site

    8. Uganda

    A group of friends white water rafting; they smile as they hurdle down a thunderous part of the river.
    Ozgurdonmaz / Getty Images

    Nothing will give you a better adrenaline high than white water rafting in the Nile, the longest river in the world, which Lufama says is also a good way to take in all the nature. Imagine being on a water ride, except here, the boat plunges suddenly into dips and curves, and sometimes even flips over completely. If you're a first-timer, you can also opt for the easier courses, which avoid the big falls. 

    9. Namibia

    Large dead trees in the desert foreground a star-speckled sky.
    Simonskafar / Getty Images

    If gorgeous sand dunes are more your thing, head over to Namibia, where you can check out the highest dunes in the world at Sossusvlei. The highest peak here is called Big Daddy, and anyone with the leg muscles can attempt a climb. Even more impressive is Dead Vlei, where 1,000-year-old trees that have been dried out in the sun (since it's too dry for them to decompose), stand tall like beautiful sculptures in the desert.  

    If you want to take your desert fanaticism to another level, you can do a multi-day hike in Fish River Canyon, the world's second biggest canyon after the US's Grand Canyon. Here, you can walk on rocks as old as 1.8 billion years and trek through dramatic desert scenery that feels spiritual in its beauty. 

    10. Malawi

    11. Gabon

    12. Madagascar

    13. São Tomé and Príncipe

    A crystal clear blue beach.
    Imagebroker / Getty Images/imageBROKER RF

    Even though this two-island nation is the second smallest in Africa, it also has the status of being at the center of the world (or extremely close to it). You can find sparkling beaches, untouched beaches, "lots of palm trees," and guided tours through the country's rain forests. And I really mean it when we say untouched: The country is one of the least-visited in the world and guarantees isolation and quiet. 

    14. Mauritania

    Disclaimer: This article was written to provide travel recommendations or suggestions; however, it’s important to keep in mind your own health, community health, and exposure risk.

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