Best African Adventures: Top 10 Activities & Extreme Sports in Africa

Feb 02, 2024 BY Luke Rees

The best African adventures provide an exhilarating blend of natural beauty, cultural richness and unparalleled thrills. As a continent of diverse landscapes, vast wilderness and incredible wildlife, it is no surprise that the top 10 activities and extreme sports in Africa are some of the best in the world.

White Water rafting the Zambezi river one of the best activities and extreme sports in Africa Flickr CC image by Jason Shallcross

From scaling peaks to riding through rugged terrain, getting up close to wildlife to flowing down rampaging rapids or exploring the underwater world to surfing some of the planets top waves. There are a huge variety of unforgettable experiences in Africa.

Top 10 Activities & Extreme Sports in Africa

Best African Adventures

For each of the best activities and extreme sports in Africa below, we have chosen a few of the top locations for you to get involved:

Trekking

Trekking in Africa takes you through some of the world’s most stunning scenery. There are majestic 4,000m plus peaks to trek up, including Kilimanjaro and Meru in Tanzania, Toubkal in Morocco, Ras Dashen in Ethiopia, Stanley in Uganda/DR Congo and Mount Kenya.

But there are also rugged trails all over the continent without needing to summit a mountain. You can trek the Drakensberg, Rwenzori, Simien and Atlas ranges for breathtaking views and rare wildlife encounters. Plus almost every African country has trail options to get out into the wilderness for an adventure.

Climb Kilimanjaro? one of the best African adventures CC image by Wikimedia

Mountain Biking

Mountain biking in the Atlas Mountains of Morocco provides challenging terrains and spectacular landscapes. For something more relaxing, South Africa’s Western Cape offers diverse trails to explore the lush Winelands and the scenic Garden Route. Fish River Canyon in Namibia offers rugged and challenging riding for the more experienced.

Safari

No list of the best African adventures would be complete without a safari. The Serengeti in Tanzania and the Masai Mara in Kenya are iconic for witnessing the Great Migration. For a unique experience, explore Botswana’s Okavango Delta by mokoro or 4×4. Wildfoot Travel offer these wildlife experiences and much more.

Scuba Diving

The Red Sea in Egypt is renowned for its vibrant coral reefs and rich marine life, making it one of the best dive sites worldwide. Mozambique’s Tofo Beach is another gem, offering the chance to dive with whale sharks and manta rays in crystal clear waters. While the sardine run off South Africa brings together an incredible array of predators.

Surfing

Africa’s coastlines provide plenty of surf spots. South Africa’s Jeffrey’s Bay known as one of the world’s best right-hand point breaks worldwide. Surfing in Taghazout, Morocco also offers excellent waves, coupled with the charm of a sleepy fishing village turned surf hub. Ghana has recently been in the news as its female surf club is changing attitudes for the better.

Kitesurfing

For kitesurfing, the windy coasts of Dakhla in Western Sahara and Cape Town in South Africa are unparalleled. These destinations offer strong consistent winds and vast open waters, perfect for both beginners and advanced kitesurfers. Kitesurfing in Diani beach, Kenya is also very popular as are many Egyptian locations on the Red Sea.

Diani beach, Kenya kitesurfing one of the best activites and extreme sports in Africa Wikimedia CC image by Grierhh

Windsurfing

The same winds that make the above spots great for kitesurfing also create ideal conditions for windsurfing. Additionally, Lake Malawi in Malawi is a popular inland spot, particularly as there are no crocodiles or hippos. Essaouira in Morocco and the Cape Verde islands both have conditions suitable for all levels of kite and windsurfer to learn and improve.

White Water Rafting

The mighty Zambezi River on the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe offers some of the world’s most thrilling white-water rafting. With trips ranging from a few hours to a few days it’s easily one of the best African adventures. Uganda’s White Nile is another hotspot, with rapids that range from mild to wild. Also Ahansal River in Morocco and Omo River in Ethiopia are both popular.

Kayaking and Canoeing

Africa kayaking and canoeing adventures offer intimate wildlife encounters, exploration of remote areas and whitewater. Taking on the Zambezi rapids is without doubt one of the top extreme sports in Africa. At the other end of the scale, the Seychelles archipelago offers serene paddling among its picturesque islands. And Madagascar’s Nosy Be provides kayaking opportunities in crystal-clear waters with abundant marine life.

Overlanding

Overlanding across Africa offers a unique way to experience the continent’s vast landscapes and cultural diversity. And the best thing is you can take on many of the above adventures as you go! One of the longest overlanding holidays in Africa is to travel from Morocco down through western and central Africa to Cape Town, then back up through eastern Africa to Cairo.

Why Adventures in Africa?

Africa is the world’s second-largest continent. It’s a vast landmass spanning over 30 million square kilometers – around three times the size of Europe. It is composed of 54 countries, each with its own unique identity and heritage, making it a continent of cultural richness and historical depth.

Guide to morocco surfing holidays image courtesy of Surf Berbere

With ecosystems ranging from sprawling deserts to dense rainforests and towering mountains to expansive savannahs, Africa’s geography is as diverse as its culture. Home to the world’s largest desert, the Sahara, and the longest river in the world, the Nile.

Africa’s impressive 30,500 kilometers of coastline is lined with beautiful beaches, coral reefs and rugged cliffs. Large parts of the Atlantic and Indian ocean coastline are peppered with waves, and reliable winds. Others are more protected offering spectacular views and relaxing beaches.

 

The Great Rift Valley, runs from the Red Sea down through East Africa, is known for its rich archaeological sites and biodiversity. The African Great Lakes that have formed from the rift are home to diverse freshwater ecosystems, and a huge variety of activities and extreme sports in Africa.

Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, is the highest peak in Africa topping out at just under 6,000m, is one of six ranges topping 4,500 metres. While not as high, the iconic Table Mountain, overlooking Cape Town in South Africa, and the Atlas Mountains in Morocco draw adventurers from around the globe.

Best African Adventure Sports

Incorporating these top extreme sports and activities in Africa into any trip will elevate it to another level. You can still enjoy the culture, landscapes and wildlife, but add excitement, discovery and awe-inspiring fun.

Best African adventures: 7 best overland holidays worldwide image by Oasis Overland

Are you drawn to the thrill of water sports, the challenge of trekking, the joy of safari or all of the above? Whatever your preference Africa provides the ultimate adventure.

We hope you found this guide to the best African extreme sports useful. For more adventure activities in Africa go to: www.awe365.com/destination/africa

 
 

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