The vast and beautiful continent of Africa is widely viewed as one of the best places in the world for wildlife-watching, boasting an incredible variety of intriguing and diverse animals, including some species endemic to their particular region. Cruise getaways to Africa are a fantastic way to see a broad range of the continent’s spectacular wildlife up close, calling in some of the region’s most verdant and unspoilt destinations. This blog will take a look at our top five African destinations for wildlife lovers, so you know where to go to see some of the planet’s most impressive and endearing creatures.
Cape Town, South Africa
There are several magnificent wildlife parks and nature reserves located near to the South African city of Cape Town, home to perhaps Africa’s most famous residents – the big five game. The big five game animals are the rhinoceros, lion, African elephant, Cape buffalo and leopard and all five can be found within the beautiful natural landscape that surrounds Cape Town.
Safari excursions are often available as part of a cruise itinerary to the region as the city is close to many excellent protected reserves, including the Aquilla Private Game Reserve, InverDoorn, Kagga Kamma Private Game Reserve and Fairy Glen, the last of which is only one hour’s drives from the city.
Madagascar’s isolation – which went uninterrupted for around 88 million years – is reflected in the fascinating and truly unique collection of wildlife found on the island. The island’s flora and fauna boasts many endemic species that can be found nowhere else on Earth. Madagascar’s ecology is truly amazing and visitors should take time to appreciate it upon arrival in the port of Mahajanga.
The lemurs are Madagascar’s most famous endemic species and have thrived on the island after years of no competition from more recognizable primates such as monkeys and apes. This is the only place in the world to see these distinctive creatures in their natural habitat, so don’t miss the opportunity to observe them.
Walvis Bay, Namibia
Walvis Bay is a popular city on the coast of Namibia, home to a terrific collection of African wildlife and a diverse range of wonderful species. The area is particularly popular with a number of terrific avian species, including flamingos and pelicans that congregate in the region’s lagoons, and are joined by around 200,000 other birds during the migratory season.
Walvis Bay is perhaps best known, however, for its population of seals, who gather in their numbers on the city’s beaches and bays. Kayak and boat trips are a great way to see the seals frolicking in their natural environment and can create memories to last a lifetime.
Praia, Cape Verde Islands
In contrast to the other destinations on this list, Cape Verde does not boast a great selection of land animals. To see the island’s incredible range of creatures, visitors will have to travel out into the oceans that surround it, either as part of a boat or diving excursion. The waters around Cape Verde contain a number of fantastic and fascinating species, which is one of the reasons why seafood is the region’s most popular dish!
Divers and cruisers heading out to the seas of Cape Verde will get the chance to spot some of Africa’s most impressive and intriguing underwater species, including sharks, barracudas, moray eels, manta rays and five different species of marine turtle. Lucky travellers may also catch a glimpse of one of the world’s rarest birds – the razo lark.
The vibrant nation of Gambia, accessible via the country’s main port and capital of Banjul, is a hotbed for many amazing and diverse animal species. Visitors will have opportunity to observe a variety of mammals, birds and fish as well as many beautiful types of flora. Gambia contains seven areas that have been protected for their wildlife, including Niumi National Park and the Tanbi Wetland Complex.
Just some of the marvellous animals to spot across Gambia include elephants, aardvarks, bats, leopards and hyenas as well as ocean-dwelling creatures such as whales and dolphins. Gambia is home to a wealth of wonderful wildlife.
If you would like to visit any of these exceptional destinations on a cruise getaway, give our Cruise Concierge team a call and let them help you find your ideal voyage to Africa.
Ikiwaner – wikimedia.org
Steven Gerner – flickr.com