Cultural and Historical Safari
Cultural and Historical Safari
It’s easy to focus on the wildlife in Africa and forget about this vast continent’s history and culture. However, if you’re not particularly interested in seeing elephants, giraffes or lions, don’t rule out Africa as a destination. Read on…In Kenya, northwest of Malindi is the spectacular Marafa Depression, locally known as Nyari and popularly known as Hell’s Kitchen. An extensive series of sandstone gorges and sheer gullies, this unique and otherworldly landscape has become part of local folklore.The thick jungles of the Arabuko Sokoke Forest Reserve hide a world of wonders. In the cool of the forest, winding paths will take you in search of rare birds and mammals and visiting herds of elephant.However, the forest holds another secret, the lost town of Gedi, a deserted trading Swahili town hidden deep in the forests, whose winding passages and crumbling walls tell of a long and mysterious past. Walk through the forest, explore the mangroves by boat, dive on the reef or try your hand at big game fishing. Addis Ababa, Ethiopia’s sprawling capital, is the country’s commercial and cultural hub. Its National Museum displays prehistoric fossils, including replicas of the famous early hominid known as Lucy, along with Ethiopian art and traditional crafts. The burial place of the 20th-century emperor Haile Selassie is here in the copper-domed Holy Trinity Cathedral.Gondar is a royal and ancient historical city and was the home of many emperors and princesses who led the country from the 12th century to the last decade of the 20th century. Gondar Castle, called the Ethiopian Camelot, is not a single castle, but is the name given to the entire complex of castles and palaces in the area. The ruins of the ancient city of Aksum are found close to Ethiopia's northern border. The massive ruins, dating from between the 1st and the 13th century AD, include monolithic obelisks, royal tombs and the ruins of ancient castles. Lalibela is a town in northern Ethiopia famous for monolithic rock-cut churches. Lalibela is one of Ethiopia's holiest cities, second only to Aksum, and a centre of pilgrimage. Unlike Aksum, the population of Lalibela is almost completely Ethiopian Orthodox Christian.Many visitors to South Africa are interested in the Anglo-Boer War (also called the South African War) and the Battlefields Route in the Free State province takes history buffs on a journey through the areas where fierce fighting waged between the British and Boers at the start of the 20th century. Zululand, in South Africa's KwaZulu-Natal province, is rooted in the legacy of the great Zulu nation, providing ample opportunity to explore this fascinating culture. A visit to Shakaland or Dumazulu will allow you to become part of an authentic Zulu wedding, assist with the daily chores around the village or visit a local sangoma (traditional African healer). You can also take a township tour – to see shebeens (pubs) and traditional medicine shops and to learn how the locals have adapted their age-old traditions to suit modern living. And no visit to Cape Town is complete without a visit to Robben Island where former President of South Africa, Nelson Mandela, was incarcerated. Here you will learn plenty about this magnificent country and its troubled history.This is just a brief flavour of the amount of historical and cultural sites that can be visited on this vast and varied continent. So, if giraffes and elephants don’t do it for you, let us come up with an alternative Africa, an itinerary that shows off this vast and lovely land.