Elephant shrews may in fact be one of the tiniest and cutest animals discovered in Africa. They are also known as jumping shrews. The elephant shrew has 19 species in total around Africa. They can survive in all kinds of habitats.  These include places like plantations, plains, mountains, and deserts.

These small mammals are adorable. Here are some fun facts about elephant shrews:

Only one Species of Elephant Shrew is Endangered

Among the 19 species of elephant shrew, the Golden Rumped elephant shrew is the only shrew that is an endangered species.  It is the biggest among all the elephant shrews.

It is endangered because of fragmented forest environments. They live all over the Arabuko-Sokoke forest in Kenya. They are victims of traps in their living areas. Other animals do not like them as prey because of their bad taste.

Elephant Shrews are not Rodents

Elephant shrews are compared to mice, but they are not rodents. They look like gerbils or mice because of their shape. They aren’t really shrews either, but are more similar to tenrecs and moles. The name “elephant” is because of their long flexible snout.

Elephant Shrews like to Feed on Bugs

The elephant shrew feeds on smaller bugs like termites, beetles, ants, millipedes, earthworms, and spiders.

Secret Africa - Facts about Elephant Shrews

These small animals only feed during the daytime. They also maintain insect populations. They create a series of small paths to catch their prey. The elephant shrew has a sensitive sense of smell, sight, and hearing to detect both predators and food.

Elephant Shrews are Faithful

Elephant shrews always travel around or live with partners. They are monogamous animals sticking to their own territory. They keep track of each other’s whereabouts through marking their scents.

Young Elephant Shrews become more Vulnerable when leaving their Parents

In a single year, the elephant shrew can give birth around four to five times. When their babies are born, they are already covered in fur. They are usually kept hidden in the first three weeks and obey their mother for a period of one week. After they become more independent and weaned, the babies will remain in the parents’ territory for another six weeks before moving to their ow  territory.

Elephant Shrews are not Friendly

Elephant shrews are tiny but fierce. They are intolerant of intruders and will viciously evict anyone who invades the sanctity of their peace. Destructive encounters will usually include sparring, shrieking, jerking and snapping. When this happens it can be a huge blur of animals fighting against each other on the forest floor.

Sometimes communication in Africa can be tough because of the local slang. Even English has its own flavour in South Africa! Africa has 1,500 to 2,000 different dialects. A lot of languages borrow from Afrikaans, as well as the many African languages.

But a few phrases can go a long way, and learning the basics is a sure win to cross cultural barriers. Most African nations have countless different greetings which represent different races and tribes.

In order to be well prepared for your visit to Africa, here are a few ways that you can say hello in various African languages:

 

Well-known Greetings

 

  • Heita – A rural and urban greeting used by many South Africans, which is a cheery slang way of saying “Hello”

 

  • Howzit – South African traditional greeting that translates as “Hello” or “How are you?”

 

  • Aweh – South African slang used to greet someone or acknowledge something. It is used mostly in the Coloured community.

 

  • Unjani – Another way to greet a friend or someone you know in isiZulu, translated as “Hello”.

 

  • Sawubona – a first person or singular way to greet someone in isiZulu, translated as “Greetings”

 

  • Thobela – standard way of greeting someone in Pedi, translated as “ How are you?”

 

  • Molo – this is another way to greet someone in Xhosa, translated as “How are you doing?”

 

  • Hoe gaan dit? – An Afrikaans translation, which means, “How are you?”

 

  • Dumela (Setswana) – this term is used by the Tswana people, which can also be used to greet someone in South Africa, meaning “Hello” or “How are you?”..

 

  • Sharp Fede – this is a South African township term used to greet someone, translated as, “Hello, how are you?”.

 

Transcend Cultural Barriers

These will help you communicate with the locals better, forming an instant connection. With a little practice, you could be perfecting these words and phrases before embarking on your adventure.

 

Kosi Bay is a series of four lakes interlinked in the Maputaland area of Kwazulu-Natal in South Africa. There’s no bay specifically, but the town, which is referred to as Kosi Bay is 30km away from the coast.

Maputaland is located in the northern part of Kwazulu-Natal which is nestled in between Mozambique, Swaziland, and all those gorgeous white beaches of the warm Indian Ocean coast. It’s a remote place of forests, lakes, bushes, and untouched beaches.

This secluded island paradise offers diverse tourist attractions including diving, hiking, and turtle tracking. The mild subtropical climate makes it a perfect location to visit all year round.. Tourists can explore and discover lakes and forests by foot, in a canoe, or by boat during the day. If you have ever been one to take interest in this beautiful place, here is a list of the best things to do in Kosi Bay.

Tracking Turtles

Turtle tracking is usually offered in the evening during the summer months. Some accommodation facilities offer transfers to and from the beach. These excursions will normally last 3 to 4 hours, ending late night. But it is worth all the effort!

Secret Africa - Best Things to do in Kosi Bay

The turtles that are tracked include the giant leatherback and loggerhead turtles. These magnificent animals venture out of the oceans on land during the summer months of October toFebruary to lay their eggs in batches on the beach. Loggerhead turtles are endangered, so this is a once in a lifetime wildlife experience you shouldn’t miss.

Snorkeling and Scuba Diving

Kosi Bay is home to some of the best diving sites in South Africa. It’s filled with stunning coral reefs, crystal clear waters, and a rich colourful marine life.

Secret Africa - Best Things to do in Kosi Bay

There are a lot of places at Kosi Bay that offer diving lessons if you are still a beginner. If you do not want to go too deep or are not comfortable with diving, you can still appreciate the marine life by snorkeling near the shoreline.

Hiking at the Kosi Bay Trail

There are various Kosi Bay hiking trails to choose from, suitable for a variety of fitness levels.  There are trails that take roughly four days to complete, but there are also flexible trails suitable for those who prefer a more leisurely hiking experience to just appreciate the scenery.

Secret Africa

One of the most popular trails unfortunately fell into disrepair. It’s possible however to walk along the same route again, but the accommodation options have changed.  On average, if you choose to walk the entire trail, you’ll walk for at least three to four hours each day. If you are up for a little fun on the side, there’s also the option to go horse riding, canoeing, turtle tracking, or a boat cruise.

The trail will expose you to some of the most beautiful landscapes, dune forests, deserted beaches, open savannahs and wetlands.

Raffia Palm Forest Walk

Enjoy guided walks early in the morning or late in the afternoon through the beautiful Raffia Palm Forest during your Kwazulu-Natal Holiday. There’s all sorts of things to appreciate during this walk, which include the harmonious chirping of birds, or perhaps a glimpse of the rare palm nut vulture. It will all depend on the time of day you choose to go on a walk. This is a highly recommended activity.

The Takeaway

Kosi Bay is truly one of a kind. After exploring all these great activities, it’s impossible not to fall in love with the place. You will not regret booking a trip to Kosi Bay!

 

South Africa is home to a wide variety of edible indigenous plants. The Botanical Society of South Africa is responsible for encouraging indigenous gardening, conservation awareness, and the proper use of indigenous plants in Southern Africa.

Planting some of these edible delights in your garden will give you easy access to fresh ingredients. If you want to use these ingredients in the kitchen, it is important to know what part of the plant can be used for cooking and how it can be prepared because some of them are only edible after certain preparation and in certain seasons.

Spice up your recipes with these these garden-fresh ingredients. Here is a list of 12 Edible Indigenous South African Plants for you to experiment with.

Wild Garlic (Tulbaghia Violacea)

This edible plant is great if you love making a lot of stews and roasts. It will also add a burst of colour to your garden. The plant shoots out striking purple flowers on top. In addition, the plant can be used in various ways:

  • The leaves can be used as a substitute for spinach.
  • It can help with fighting esophageal cancer and sinus headaches.
  • The bulbs on the plant can be used as a substitute for regular garlic.
  • The plant can be used to ward off fleas, ticks, snakes and mosquitoes.

Confetti Bush (Coleonema Pulchellum)

This herb can be used to add more than just flavour to your cooking, it also adds a sweet aroma. Traditionally used as a deodorizer, the Confetti Bush can be used in any savoury or sweet dishes — strip the little leaves from the stems as you would with thyme.

Also known as False Buchu, this pretty little shrub grows up to one meter or even more in width and height. They also grow faster and healthier when placed in a little bit of compost, drained soil, and when under a lot of sunlight. Take note that a bark or a mulch of compost will keep the shallow root system cool, which is very beneficial to the growth of the plant.

Garlic Buchu (Agathosma Apiculata)

This edible plant is superb for those home chefs who love experimenting with infused oils and making vinegar. The Garlic Buchu is a densely leafy shrub, which forms a single stem from the base and grows into an upright and bushy shrub.

12 Edible Indigenous South African Plants - Confetti Bush

The branchlets are covered with many finer hairs. The younger stems are usually light brown but eventually turn into a darker colour as they start to mature with white flowers that sprout from the tip of the stems.

When any part of this plant is touched, it releases a powerful garlic scent, which is how it got its name. Since the plant is jam-packed with natural essential oils, the oils in the leaves are used to manufacture various cosmetics, medicines, and food colourants. You can also munch on the leaves to get a quick fix of its organic healing remedies.

African Wormwood (Artemesia Afra)

The African Wormwood is known for its strong flavour, which is why it’s widely used in a lot of cocktails, iced teas, and herbal drinks. This plant grows in clumps, with woody and ridged stems reaching up to 0.5 meters to 2 meters in height. The leaves are soft in texture with dark coloured green leaves, similar to the shape of a fern.

12 Edible Indigenous South African Plants - African Wormwood

This plant blooms late in the summer, and produces butter coloured flowers. The African Wormwood releases a sweet, pungent smell when crushed or bruised. Aside from it being used for cocktails, it can also treat colds, flu, fever, asthma, coughs, sore throats, headaches, and pneumonia.

Crushed leaves can be used as a poultice for wounds and sores, while rolled up fresh leaves can be inserted in the ear for a quick earache remedy.

Wild Sorrel (Oxalis Pes-Caprae)

Also known as the Bermuda Buttercup, Cape Sorrel, English Weed, Goat’s Foot, Sourgrass, Soursob, and Buttercup Oxalis. This effervescent yellow plant can also be found all over California. The good news is, the entire plant is edible and tastes a little bit like lemon, which makes it a great addition to fresh salad ingredients.

Wood Sorrel - 12 EDIBLE INDIGENOUS SOUTH AFRICAN PLANTS

Technically, this plant is considered a weed so it will spread like wild fire in your garden if not maintained properly. It has a reputation for being hard to eliminate once it has taken over an area of land. Although it is difficult to maintain, it  will still make a wonderful edition to your garden.

Take note that the plant is sour because of the oxalic acid present in the petals, so it’s best not to eat too much of it as it can be hazardous to your health when taken in large quantities.

Num-Num (Carissa Macrocarpa)

The Carissa Macrocarpa is a shrub commonly known in South Africa as the Natal Plum or the Num-Num. The berries are what makes this plant unique, and why it was given the interesting nickname. It’s full of delightful flavours, which is why it is used for making jams. The berries can be eaten raw and taste a little like cranberries.

For better growth, the plant should be exposed to salty wind or planted in a coastal area. Other than the fruit that grows from the plant, some have claimed that the plant itself is actually poisonous to humans and dogs. The berries can also be used to improve nutrition, and is very rich in Vitamin C.

Balderjan (Mentha Longifolia)

Otherwise known as Horsemint, the Balderjan is known for its peppermint aroma. You can use this plant as an alternative to mint leaves. You can add it to raw or fruity salads for an interesting blend of flavours, or mix up a batch of homemade syrups with it. Like all other mint leaves, the Balderjan has a creeping rhizome, with creeping erect stems 40 to 120 cm tall. The flowers are 3 to 5 mm long, purplish in color or white on tall-branched spikes.

This plant will grow well and thrive in damp areas like marshes. It has been known to help alleviate a number of health issues like asthma, respiratory ailments, and colic stomachs. It can also help with stinky breath, teeth whitening, a stuffy nose, and dandruff.

Sour Figs (Carpobrotus Edulis)

Also known as the Hottentot-fig, Highway Ice Plant, or the Pig Face. The Sour Fig is a creeping, succulent, mat-forming species. Although it is loved in South Africa, other parts of the world consider this plant as invasive especially in Australia, California and the Mediterranean, which all have very similar climates as the Cape.

At the top of it’s moist leaves sprout bright flowers which make it a pretty sight to enjoy in your garden. There are approximately 30 species of this plant and it grows delicious fruits that are excellent for homemade jams. The leaves are also used to cure a number of health related issues like sores. The juice from the leaves can be used as an antiseptic, or can be consumed for treating a sore throat and stomach issues.

Many-Petalled Jasmine (Jasminum Multipartritum)

Also known as the Starry Wild Jasmine or the Imfohlafohlane. It is a crawler and can grow in areas where there is a lot of sunlight or semi-shade. The plant produces a lot of white, star shaped flowers that are scented like a perfume.

The flower that grows from this plant is used for different teas as a flavouring, salad ingredients, and it can also be used for baking and potpourri. If you are looking to impress your dinner guests, the flowers make a nice garnish on top of a mouth watering dish. But it can discolour easily, so it has to be used quickly and fresh.

Aromatic Sage (Salvia Africana)

The Aromatic Sage is a aromatic heavy-branched shrub that is native to the Cape provinces, along the coast of South Africa. This plant can be found on rock hills and coastal dunes. It can grow up to 60 to 90 cm, with grayish round stems covered with hairs. When touched, the plant releases a strong scent.

Aromatic Sage - 12 EDIBLE INDIGENOUS SOUTH AFRICAN PLANTS

A delectable herb to use in the kitchen. It works well with pasta, vegetable dishes, sauces, roasts, stews, and chicken. When eaten alone it is quite bitter, so only add a little bit of this herb into your dishes to add a dash of interesting flavour. To get rid of some of the bitterness, you can dry the leaves and store it inside a glass jar or you can add a little salt to the mix. If you are feeling creative, you can use the flowers as a garnish on your salads.

Wild Malva (Pelargonium Culullatum)

Otherwise known as Hooded Leaf Pelargonium, but more commonly called the Wild Malva. It is a species of plant from the Geraniaceae family. In the summer, this attractive plant produces masses of purple and pink flowers, which has been used to create a number of Pelargonium hybrids.

The Wild Malva is a fast growing shrub, which can reach up to heights of over a meter. The leaves grow in an upward direction and forms circular bowls with red tipped edges. The flower gives off a natural sweet scent.

When diffused, the leaves of this plant turn into a tea which can be used to treat stomach issues, while the crushed leaves turn into a poultice to treat sores and wounds. The leaves can also be used to treat earache when inserted into the ear. But be careful to not insert it too deep.

Aside from being a remedy for internal health related issues, the leaves can also be used to create a relaxing and fragrant bath to relieve tired muscles. Or add joy to your taste buds when making a salad or baked goods.

Tassel Berry (Antidesma Venosum)

The Tassel Berry is a shrub-like tree that grows up to 4 m tall with a roundish crown. The old stems are buffy grey in colour, while the smaller branches are scattered with brown pale grey lenticels with hairy twigs. The fruits are edible but not easily digested and taste slightly acidic and sweet, similar to mulberries. This plant is very decorative and is a great addition to your garden.

Berry - 12 EDIBLE INDIGENOUS SOUTH AFRICAN PLANTS

The Tassel Berry also has a number of other uses:

  • The wood of the plant can be used for building huts and fuel.
  • The fruits, bark, and leaves can help cure stomach issues
  • The roots have been said to be toxic to humans, but if you include the roots of the Tassel Berry plant into your bath it will help cure bodily aches and pains.

The wildebeest, also known as the Antelope of the African plains, is a mammal that lives all over the eastern, southern, and central parts of Africa. They are also called the gnu, which is sometimes referred to as the “fool of the veld” or the “poor man’s buffalo.” These marvelous, rugged, and graceful creatures prefer to hang out in grassy plains or wide open spaces. Every year many wildebeest take part in the great migration through the Serengeti, across Northern Tanzania and Kenya.

Secret Africa - Five Fun Facts about Wildebeest

There’s more to this animal than meets the eye and we are prepared to feed your curiosity more with a bunch of fun facts! Here are five awesome fun facts about wildebeest.

Fun Fact #1: Wildebeest are Playful and Intelligent Animals

Wildebeest are one of the bravest animals in Africa. They are always moving and never stay in one place for too long. Wildebeest like to graze around during the day or night. They also like taking naps, while some keep watch for potential predators.

Fun Fact # 2: There are Two Species of Wildebeest

There are two species of these magnificent animals — the black wildebeest, and the more common blue wildebeest.  The black wildebeest or otherwise known as the white tailed gnu has a long white, horse-like tail. It also has a dark brown to black coat and long, dark, coloured hair found under its belly and forelegs.

The blue wildebeest is also known as the white bearded wildebeest. Another name for it is the brindled gnu and it’s considered a large antelope. The blue wildebeest has broad shoulders, muscular chest, and a distinctive muzzle.

Fun Fact # 3: They live in Huge Herds

Wildebeest like to live in large herds, with adults of both sexes and their offspring. Life in the herd allows all members to feel protected against potential threats. So, when they are asleep or taking a nap during the day, some wildebeest keep watch.

Fun Fact #4: Wildebeest are Feisty Lovers

Wildebeest reproduce quickly and produce about 150 offspring every spring season. The herd is segregated into several smaller groups. Some of the most dominant males in the group perform elaborate mating rituals to impress all the females. Male wildebeest are referred to as the “clowns of the savannah.” This is because they perform many weird antics while trying to impress the females.

Five Fun Facts about Wildebeest

They attract their mates by rubbing their scent into the ground, or urinate and defecate to mark their breeding territory. This also keeps other male wildebeest away.

Fun Fact #5: Pregnancy Ends with a Single Baby

When female wildebeest get pregnant, their pregnancies last for 8.5 months. They give birth in the middle of the herd. 80% of calves are born 2 to 3 weeks before the rainy season.

Calves can walk very soon after being born. And just a few days after birth, they start running with the rest of the herd. During their first few months, they will suckle milk from their mothers. Their diets are milk based with grass 10 days after birth.

The rhino is the second largest among all land mammals. Unlike the elephant, it’s considered one of the most aggressive. However, despite its status as being one of the biggest bullies on the African planes when it comes to humans, rhinos are incredibly vulnerable.

These amazing animals are threatened by poaching and habitat loss. Conservationists are putting in their best effort to save them from extinction. There are many things to love about rhinos, and finding out even more information about them will give you more to appreciate.

Secret Africa - Five Interesting Facts about Rhinos

Here are five interesting facts about rhinos, nature’s knight in shining armor.

Rhinos are Thick Skinned

A rhino’s skin is relatively sensitive, this is why it has a lot of layers. It’s like wrapping yourself in a bunch of soft blankets when you’re feeling very cold.

One layer will not really do much to protect you from the cold, but thick layers of blanket can keep you warm with protective padding. The same goes for the rhino, it has layers of skin to keep it protected.

There are Five Species of Rhino

Our planet is home to five different species of rhino. There’s the White Rhino and the Black Rhino which are both found in Africa, the Sumatran Rhino found in India (also known as the Greater One Horned Rhino), and the Javan Rhino which can be found in swamps and tropical forests around Asia.

Secret Africa,Five Interesting Facts about Rhinos

They are Considered one of the Largest Animals in the World

The rhino is considered one of the biggest mammals in the world. The biggest among the five species is the White Rhino, which can grow up to 1.8m high and weigh 2 500kg.

Rhinos Love Mud

When it’s very hot and the sun is at its highest, rhinos can be found under the shade sleeping or wallowing in a muddy pool to cool off. They love mud, and can spend almost the entire day in it! The mud protects their skin from the sun and prevents irritation – kind of like a natural sunblock. It also wards off unwanted bugs that might land on their skin.

Rhinos don’t like being Social

Rhinos are not very sociable animals; most of them prefer to spend their time alone and try to avoid one another.  However, the white rhino lives in a group which is called a “crash.” These groups are usually made up of a group of white rhino females, along with her calves. Sometimes adult females, which are called cows, can be seen socializing with each other too.

Rhinos do not have any Enemies

Since rhinos have strong horns, huge bodies and thick skin — no other animal wants to prey on them.

Five Interesting Facts about Rhinos

They do not have any natural predators. However, they get frightened easily. When they feel they are being threatened, their instinct is to directly charge at whatever it is that spooked them – whether it’s an animal or a harmless object. They will do this to humans as well when they feel they are being threatened.

The Number of Rhinos are Slowly Depleting

Sadly, it’s projected that there are only 29,000 rhinos left on our planet. At the beginning of the century, there were a total of 500,000 rhinos. Illegal hunting is the biggest threat to this animal, which is why they are slowly decreasing in number. Their horns are used in traditional folk medicine in Asia, which is why they are so sought-after. Their horns are also sold for various decorative pieces, similar to an elephant’s tusk that is valuable because it is used for ivory.

At first glance, seaweed might not seem like much. A slimy shrub floating in the water we see at times floating in the ocean, or washed up on the beach. Many people are repulsed by it, refusing to swim with it. Don’t be fooled though, these marine plants are completely harmless and essentially very beneficial to our health in many ways.

Rich in nutrients, seaweed contains many trace minerals and cancer fighting compounds that is said to heal the body and rejuvenate the skin. With the help of scientists, we are learning that seaweed is far more precious than we originally thought.

In fact, a lot of people now are finding different ways to include seaweed in their diets and skin care regiments. Don’t believe the hype? Here are some interesting facts about seaweed that might change your mind.

Seaweeds are not Plants

Seaweed is actually a type of algae not a plant. They have no leaves, stems, or roots to transport water or nutrients. As an alternative however, each cell develops what it needs directly from the seawater around it. The only similarity land plants and seaweed have with one another, is that both rely on sunlight for energy through photosynthesis.

Most of the Oxygen We Breathe comes from Seaweed

You may want to give a silent thank you to seaweed the next time you take a deep breath, because of the glorious oxygen it provides for all of us. Seaweed, kelp, phytoplankton, and algal plankton produce 70% of the air we breathe, which is why they are very important.

Secret Africa, Interesting Facts about Seaweed

Believe it or not, the rain-forest only produces 28% of our oxygen, while the remaining 2% comes from other sources. Surprising, right? This is one of the reasons why we need to protect our oceans and keep them free of pollution.

Seaweed is Used with many Asian Dishes

Interesting Facts about Seaweed, Asian Dishes

Kombu, Nori, and Wakame are all well-known seaweed ingredients used in most Asian countries as an add-on or an actual ingredient in food. Asia consumes around 2 million tons of seaweed every year to use in their complex fusion of culinary dishes. This is why we love seaweed so much, because it is both nutritious and a great snack.

Seaweed can be used in Many Skincare and Healthcare Regiments

Seaweed has been used for many centuries to cure all kinds of illnesses. Seaweed can help cure tuberculosis, prevent obesity, and ovarian cysts. Another good reason why the Japanese are extremely healthy is because they include a lot of natural seaweed in their diets. The ancient Romans used seaweed to treat burns, wounds, and rashes. Today, many hospitals also use seaweed as a form of wound dressing.

Seaweed Comes in Many Shapes and Sizes

Seaweed can come in many shapes and sizes. There are the microscopic micro seaweeds and the large macro seaweeds. The smaller ones are those you can see that are washed up on shore at the beach, while the bigger ones are those you can find covering large rocks or carried to shore by large waves.

Seaweed Has Over 12,000 Species

Seaweed does not refer to just one plant alone but rather it is a common name for many other species of marine plants and algae. There is still no formal term for this though, but seaweed is grouped into three main categories which include brown, red, and green algae.

Interesting Facts about Seaweed - Seaweed Has Over 12,000 Species

It is also considered a super food and can provide your body with many health benefits starting with lowering the risk of breast cancer to fighting off deadly diseases. Seaweed is in reality considered the kale of the ocean and can be used in many different ways to help us become more intentional with our health.

Seaweed Can Make a Great Substitute for Bacon

Have you ever considered becoming a vegetarian? But you’re big fan of bacon and will sorely miss it? You’re in luck then, because seaweed can actually taste like bacon when it is served fried. Not only does it taste wonderful but this unproved strain of seaweed has more nutritional value than kale.

Seaweed is also gluten free, a low carbohydrate, sustainable, and organic. All thanks to seaweed, you can now have a healthier alternative to bacon without the guilt.

Rwanda is considered as one of the smallest countries of Africa. It is located just a few degrees south of the equator. The country is bordered by Uganda, Burundi, Tanzania, and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Mutilated by perhaps the most ruthless post-war genocide and political drama of the 20th century, Rwanda has come a long way since its rough past. Today, despite many claims of low-key exploitation and human rights abuse, the country remains a reinforcement of hope for other central African countries trying to recover from an agonizing past.

Rwanda is considered Africa’s kick ass come-back country. Two decades after the genocide, the country has made extensive effort to promote harmony and opulence amongst the people, inspire clean streets, and enrich the country back to its illustrious natural beauty.

With its awe-inspiring landscapes, captivating wildlife, and lush green forests — it’s impossible not to fall in love with the place. Here’s our top travel picks for Rwanda:

Kigali Memorial Centre Genocide Memorial

The Kigali Memorial Centre is not a very scenic site but holds great historic significance. The somber building with gardens and a concrete mass of graves marks one of the largest massacres sites. You should consider visiting it to truly understand the impact of Rwanda’s terrible past, and how the country has recovered from it.

Kigali Memorial Centre Genocide Memorial

The display is thought-provoking, depicting the horror of the three-month long genocide, which wrecked the country in 1994. Personal photography, film footage, and personal accounts of the historic moment were all captured. 99.9% of the population was affected by the genocide — a painful past that makes the present kindness and positivity of the locals more significant.

Congo Nile Hiking Trail

One of the best ways to experience Rwanda in all its natural beauty is through a quick hike. The Congo Nile Hiking Trail is a famous route taking you to the edge of the country’s most alluring stretch of crystal clear water, Lake Kivu. While on the trail, you will experience thick forest vegetation, intense landscapes and rolling hills, which is how Rwanda got its nickname, “Land of a Thousand Hills”.

Volcano National Park

The Best Places to Visit in Rwanda - Volcano National Park

If you want to experience seeing mountain gorillas up close, Volcano National Park is an excellent choice. This small park is considered the safe haven for these critically endangered animals. The park is home to 10 habituated gorilla families existing in different parts of the park. Other than the mountain gorillas you will also get to see over 75 species of different mammals like buffaloes, elephants, giant forest hogs, bush bucks, and spotted hyenas.

It is also home to over 180 species of birds and 26 of these you can find in the Rwenzori and Virunga mountains. Other than wide variety of animals you’ll see in this park there is also the Dian Fossey Grave, Mount Bisoke, and Mount Karisimbi.

Related: Interesting Facts About Mountain Gorillas

King’s Palace Museum

This palace was the residence of King Mutara III Rudahigwa until his death in 1959. It’s located in Nyanza, about 88km south of Kigali City. It was built by the Belgium Government in 1932. The museum is considered a cultural center that sheds light on Rwanda’s monarchy practice of the past 200 years.

King’s Palace Museum

Inside, tourists can view the king’s traditional seat. Unfortunately many of the other objects and materials of tradition were destroyed or stolen in 1994 during the genocide. In order to rebuild it back to its former 19th century state, other materials of traditional heritage had to be added. These include traditional cows also known as “lnyambo”, which represents the Rwandese culture. The museum also allows you to view the burial grounds of King Mutara III and his wife Rosalie Gicanda on the neighbouring hill of Mwima.

Did you know that the famous waterfall has a little town tucked away close by, with the same name? In Lozi ( the local dialect ) the falls are called “The Smoke that Thunders” and thousands of people flock to admire the magnificent waterfall every year. It’s 1,708 metres wide and 108 metres high, creating a majestic sight to behold.

If you’ve travelled to Zimbabwe to admire the waterfall, and you’re staying over at one of the fantastic Victoria Falls hotels, there’s a lot of other activities to indulge in after you’ve seen (and felt) the thunderous waters. We’ve gathered the Top 10 Things to Do at Victoria Falls for you.

#1 Zambezi River White Water Rafting

Top 10 Things to Do at Victoria Falls - White Water Rafting

Not only can you stand and admire the Victoria Falls, you can also ride the “waves” created by it. Below the falls the Zambezi River offers you top-notch white water rafting opportunities. It’s some of the best in the world. There are 24 thrilling rapids to conquer. Right after the falls lies an intense stretch of the river with a channel of high volume water. A truly unforgettable experience!

Average cost: US$ 120 p/p

Suggested companies: Wild Horizons or Shearwater

#2 Bungee Jumping

Bungee Jump Victoria Falls Top 10 Things To Do In Victoria Falls

If you don’t like the idea of the water slapping you in the face on a raft, why not get your adrenaline shot from jumping off the Victoria Falls bridge? It is 111 metres high, guaranteed to give you the thrill of a lifetime.

Average Cost: US$ 160 p/p

Suggested Companies: Shearwater Bungee

#3 Swim in Devil’s Pool

Top 10 Things to Do at Victoria Falls - Devils Pool

Another option if you like being adventurous, but still prefer to stay on the safe side of thrill seeking. The rocky bathing pool is on the Zambian side of Victoria Falls and offers an extremely unique swimming opportunity. With the assistance of a local guide you can scoot to the edge of the pool to stand in awe of the 108m drop. But beware, the water is quite icy.

Average Cost: US$ 110 – 175 p/p

Suggested Companies: Victoria Falls Guide (official tour guide provider of Devil’s Pool swims)

#4 A Guided Tour of Victoria Falls

Top 10 Things to Do at Victoria Falls

The waterfall is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. You can explore on your own, but a guided tour can give you the inside scoop on interesting little-known facts, delving into the history of the Falls. There are various viewpoints along the way to admire the waterfall from different angles.

Average Cost: US$ 23 p/p (excl. US$30 National Parks fee)

Suggested Companies: Visit Victoria Falls or Shearwater

#5 Tiger Fishing on the Zambezi River

Top 10 Things to Do at Victoria Falls

Photo by yellowdogflyfishing.com

Tiger Fish are feisty little buggers, ranking among the top fighting fish in the world. Sit next to the Zambezi River, soaking up the serene surroundings, awaiting a bite, and then get ready to work hard to haul out one of these mighty fish. In the fast-flowing waters of the Zambezi, they can grow to weigh up to 10kg, with the smallest ones weighing around 2kg.

Average Cost: US$ 145 p/p

Suggested Companies: compare packages on Tiger Fishing Zambezi

#6 A Sunset Cruise

Top 10 Things to Do at Victoria Falls

Watching the sun sink below the horizon from the leisure of a riverboat is a once in a life time experience. With the thunderous falls in the background, you can enjoy the constant flow of the river pushing you along while you soak up the vibe.

Average Cost: US$ 55 – 85

Suggested Companies: Wild Horizons or Raikane

#7 Historical Tour of the Victoria Falls Bridge

Top 10 Things to Do at Victoria Falls

Photo by Ilala Lodge

Challenge your tolerance for heights to learn more about the great architectural feat bridging the gap between the two sides of the river. The tour includes walking along the catwalks below the bridge, which were used in the construction process. The informative presentation will leave you with a greater appreciation of the formidable bridge.

Average Cost: US$ 65

Suggested Companies: Pure Africa Experiences or Shearwater

#8 High Tea at Victoria Falls Hotel

Top 10 Things to Do at Victoria Falls

A visit to the Victoria Falls Hotel will transport you back to colonial times. Sip tea and pretend you are one of the early explorers of the country. You don’t have to stay at the hotel to indulge in the tea drinking ceremony. It’s not every day that your cup of tea is accompanied by a view of one of the most magnificent waterfalls in the world. Keep an eye out for the rainbows forming in the spray. The High Tea is hosted from 3 to 5PM.

Average Cost: dependent on menu selection

Suggested Companies: Victoria Falls Hotel

#9 Flight of Angels

Top 10 Things to Do at Victoria Falls

Another great safe thrill-seeking option. Experience the Victoria Falls from a completely different angle, soaring about the roaring waters. David Livingstone coined the saying after writing about the area, “a sight so wonderful that Angels must have gazed down on it in flight”. The helicopters used for the aerial exploration have a special structure that offers each passenger unhindered views of the formidable falls. There are 15- and 30-minute flights available throughout the day.

Average Cost: US$ 150 – 290 (excl. US$15 National Park Fees)

Suggested Companies: Zambezi Helicopters or Wild Horizons

#10 Local Village Tour

Top 10 Things to Do at Victoria Falls

When you are visiting a foreign country, it’s great to immerge yourself in its culture. The area around the Victoria Falls is rich with fascinating history, stories date back to over 700 years. The local guides will give you a glimpse into the daily lives of the people who call this area home. Try the local cuisine and learn more about the traditions of the communities staying close to the waterfall.

Average Cost: US$ 50

Suggested Companies: Wild Horizons or Pure Africa Experiences

If you are pausing at the O.R Tambo International Airport during your travels, you don’t have to stay stuck at the airport. The Gautrain is a great way to travel to the city from the airport. The airport is situated 25km (15.53 mi) from the city centre. This great train service can help you to travel quicker into the city, without worrying about traffic.

We’ve got a few ideas for you to consider during your layover, depending on how much time you have available between your flights.

Using the Gautrain to Travel into the City

You will need to buy a travel card, costing R16, to use the train. You can top up your card at the various stations. The Gautrain station is situated at the top of the airport, above the International Arrivals hall. To use the train to Sandton, it will cost you R158, to the Rosebank and Park stations it costs R170.

During peak hours (Monday to Friday from 06:00 to 08:30, and 15:30 and 18:00) the train departs every 10 minutes. During off-peak times it departs every 20 minutes. On weekends and public holidays the train departs every 30 minutes

Visit www.gautrain.co.za for more information.

Luggage Storage at the O.R Tambo International Airport

While you are exploring the city, you don’t want to be lugging your baggage along. If you are switching airlines, rather book your luggage in at A-Teck and collect before your departure. Their rates are R70 for up to 5 hours, R80 for 5 to 12 hours, and R90 for 12 to 24 hours.

3 Hours

The Gautrain is your best option for travelling quickly, without worrying about getting stuck in the city traffic. If you are adventurous and don’t mind rushing a bit, you can use it to go explore one of the Johannesburg malls. There are two options for you, the Sandton City mall (travel time with the train, 29 minutes, one way) or the Rosebank mall (travel time with the train, 35 minutes, one way)

At the Sandton City mall you can get a great selfie with the 20 foot tall bronze Nelson Mandela statue in the Nelson Mandela Square. It’s a 10 minute walk from the Gautrain station to the mall. The Rosebank mall is located closer to the Gautrain station. There is a Starbucks located 10 minutes’ walk from southern exit of the station.

nelson mandela square What to Do on a Layover at the Johannesburg International Airport

Photo by Pathfinda

5 Hours

Travel time from the airport: 48 minutes (one way)
Tour prices: from R80 to R100

This gives you a bit more leeway with your travel time in and out of the city. You can visit Constitution Hill from the Gautrain Park Station. It’s a 20 minute walk, or you can take an Uber. View the South African Constitutional Court and the old military fort which was also a prison. A few of the famous prisoners that spend time here include Nelson Mandela, Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, and Mahatma Gandhi. There are guided tours of the Old Fort, courthouse, Women’s Jail, and Number Four. You can also do a self-guided tour using the app. This is a great place to learn more about the challenging political history of South Africa.

Book your ticket now

constitution hill What to Do on a Layover at the Johannesburg International Airport

Alternative Option

Travel time from the airport: 1 hour 13 minutes (one way)
Entrance Fees: R55 (kids) | R90 (adults)

Another great activity in the city, is the Johannesburg Zoo. You will be travelling with the train and the bus to reach it, with a 20 minutes’ walk from the bus stop. Alternatively, you can Uber from the Rosebank Gautrain station, which will take you 10 minutes. This option will shorten your travel time with about half an hour. The zoo was founded in 1904 and covers 55 hectares of land.

7 Hours

Travel time from the airport: 56 minutes (one way)

We all know shopping and restaurant hopping always takes longer than expected, so with a bit more time at your disposal, a trip to Maboneng is the perfect activity for your layover in Johannesburg. This gentrified neighbourhood buzzes with art and culture inspiration. It will give you a great feel for the Joburg city life. Pop in at the curio shops to buy the ultimate African souvenir. Grab some local cuisine at Pata Pata or mix it up at Mama Mexicana. Finish it off with a rooftop cocktail at Living Room for epic panoramic views of the city.

Alternative Option

Travel time from the airport: 57 minutes (one way)

Experience a different side of the city, with a more laidback suburbia feel at 44 Stanley. From the Park Gautrain Station, you will be taking the bus, and then walking about 10 minutes to reach it. Alternatively you can Uber from the Park station, which will take about 15 minutes. It’s a mixture of downtown urbanism and subtle sophistication. There’s a wide variety of restaurants to choose from including chic coffee shops, fine dining, and fancy fast food. The restaurants are complemented by various bespoke stores from stylish clothes, to quirky gifts and books. All of these are tucked away in little courtyard nooks, with olive trees as well as a central fountain feature.

44 stanley What to Do on a Layover at the Johannesburg International Airport

12 Hours

Travel time from the airport: 35 minutes (one way)

The City Sightseeing Johannesburg tour starts at the Rosebank mall. After you’ve travelled with the Gautrain to the Rosebank station, you can join the tour from @ The Zone. You can also buy bus tickets at the airport to save time. This is a great way to soak up the city vibe, from the comfort of the famous red double-decker tour bus, seen in various major cities across the world. There are two tour routes to choose from, the Green Suburbs Loop or the Red City Tour Loop. If you have enough time, you could do both. Stops include Zoo Lake, the Military Museum, Constitution Hill, Apartheid Museum, SAB World of Beer, and more. You can also opt to do a township tour of Soweto.

Alternative Option

If you prefer to rather dictate your own tour through the city, you can contact Explore Sideways. They specialise in special curated immersive tours. You can choose to book their Johannesburg Bucket List tour, or request your own customized tour. The Bucket List tour includes a walking tour of the artsy Maboneng Precinct, plus a visit to HAZARD Gallery and The Cosmopolitan to view inspiring contemporary African art. Next more shopping and lunch at the trendy 44 Stanley, before heading over to Victoria Yards, a uniquely integrated urban complex. And the tour ends with the Keyes Art Mile of Rosebank with famous galleries such as Everard Read, Circa, SMAC, Gallery MOMA and more.