African Landmarks - 25 Famous Landmarks in Africa
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As the second-largest continent in the world, Africa is one of the most beautiful and fascinating places on Earth. This vast land comprises 57 counties and 144 UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
Africa's striking landscapes offers visitors rich history, unique physical features, diverse wildlife populations and preserved cultures. These features attract travellers who flock to the continent to see these famous landmarks in Africa every year.
The continent has famous African landmarks ranging from mountains, rivers, ancient architecture, rock formations, and waterfalls. As the cradle of humankind, evidence of the first humans fills Africa's glorious landscapes.
From the largest hot desert to the longest rivers, Africa has it all. While the northern region offers historical attractions, the southern part is rich in wildlife and natural wonders. Whether you're an outdoor enthusiast or city explorer, there is something for everyone to explore in Africa.
To help you figure out which of Africa's most famous landmarks you should visit, I have put together a list of the 25 most famous Africa Landmarks. Continue reading to learn more!
- 25 landmarks
25 Famous Africa Landmarks
- The Great Pyramids of Giza, Egypt
- The Nile River, Egypt
- The Valley of the Kings, Egypt
- Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe
- The Avenue of Baobabs, Madagascar
- Zanzibar, Tanzania
- Olduvai Gorge, Tanzania
- Serengeti National Park, Tanzania
- Mount Kilimanjaro, Tanzania
- Ngorongoro Crater, Tanzania
- Lalibela Rock-Hewn Churches, Ethiopia
- The Omo National Park and River Valley, Ethiopia
- Sossusvlei, Namibia
- Fish River Canyon, Namibia
- Timbuktu, Mali
- Sahara Desert, Morocco
- Chefchaouen, Morocco
- Medina of Marrakech, Morocco
- Kruger National Park, South Africa
- Table Mountain, South Africa
- Gorilla Tracking in Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda
- Maasai Mara National Reserve, Kenya
- Okavango Delta, Botswana
- Makgadikgadi Salt Pans, Botswana
- Reunification Monument, Cameroon
A map of landmarks. Use the map to explore all the landmarks.
The Great Pyramids of Giza, Egypt
The Great Pyramids of Giza are probably the first Egyptian landmark to come to mind when thinking about Egypt. These incredible African landmarks were constructed 4,500 years ago as a resting place for the Egyptian Pharaohs.
Found near the city of Cairo, the Giza Pyramids are the only one of the Ancient Seven Wonders of the World that remains almost unchanged since their construction.
The three most well-known pyramids are the Great Pyramid of Giza, the Pyramid of Khafre, and the Pyramid of Menkaure. The Great Sphinx of Giza, found right in front of the pyramids, is another popular attraction here.
A visit to the Great Pyramids of Giza is truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience and is one of the top things to do when in Cairo.
The Nile River, Egypt
The Nile River is the longest river on Earth, stretching for 6,650 kilometres. Located in the northeast part of Africa, the river passes through 11 countries before flowing into the Mediterranean Sea.
A popular way to discover the Nile is by taking a Nile River cruise, and it is a must on any Egypt itinerary! While on the cruise, you'll be able to see many famous attractions along the way. These include Egypt's ancient tombs and pyramids.
Some other activities that you can partake in on the Nile include jet boating, swimming, fishing, kayaking, and white-water rafting. For a more up-close experience with the Nile, you can visit its source in Uganda.
The Valley of the Kings, Egypt
As the name suggests, the Valley of the Kings is where many Egyptian Pharaohs were buried. These tombs are such an important relic of the ancient Egyptian empire that they have been designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
The Valley of the Kings is found on the West Bank of the River Nile in Luxor. In total, there are 63 beautifully painted royal tombs located here, including those of famous pharaohs like Tutankhamun.
Although videography and photography are not allowed on the site, the scenic view of these ancient monuments is one you'll remember for a lifetime.
Do note that it can get very hot in the Summer months when temperatures can reach 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Despite this, the Valley of the Kings is an African landmark that should be on every traveller's African bucket list no matter what time of year you visit!
Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe
Victoria Falls is one of the largest waterfalls on the planet, standing at 108 meters high and 1,708 meters wide. The waterfall is renowned for being one of the most beautiful landmarks in Africa.
Victoria Falls is found on the borders of Zambia and Zimbabwe, along the famous Zambezi River. Visitors to the falls will enjoy viewing the captivating misty spray from the falls that showers the surrounding rainforest. Watching the waterfalls cascading within its lush forest environment is breathtaking.
Visitors to the Zambian side of the falls can also swim and relax in the natural pools that lie beneath the waterfall. Anyone who visits Victoria Falls will immediately understand why the falls are listed among the seven natural wonders of the world!
The Avenue of Baobabs, Madagascar
Although locals see the Avenue of Baobabs as just a dirt road with neatly-lined Baobab trees, travellers value this site as a picture-perfect destination.
The Avenue of Baobabs is one of Madagascar's tourist attractions that helped increase its popularity as a tourist destination. Today, the avenue alone attracts thousands of visitors every year.
The Avenue of Baobabs is found in Menabe on the western island of Madagascar. This stunning collection of Baobab trees has been growing here for over 2,800 years.
The trees are unique to Madagascar and cannot be found anywhere else in the world. The Baobabs stand at 30 meters tall, stretching up into the sky and creating a fascinating image.
While there are no other attractions in the area, it's well worth a trip here to take some breathtaking photographs. If possible, visit the area at sunrise or sunset. The combination of the tall trees and an orange-pink sky makes for a breathtaking scene.
The magical Zanzibar is an archipelago of islands located off the Tanzanian coast. This destination has much to offer, including blissful sunsets and incredible beaches. Visitors to Zanzibar will also get to enjoy delicious dishes and a vibrant culture.
Without a doubt, Zanzibar is a dream beach getaway destination. The island's white sandy beaches and crystal waters attract millions of tourists every year. It's a perfect location for water activities, too, including diving and snorkelling. The well-known Stone City is found in Zanzibar as well.
Additionally, the island is home to many animal and bird species. This includes the Zanzibar Servaline genet, the Pemba flying fox, and the Red colobus monkey. The range of unique wildlife found here makes it an excellent spot for animal lovers.
While Zanzibar is an incredible island, it is a popular tourist destination, so it can get quite busy. If looking for a more remote getaway, the neighbouring islands of Pemba and Mafia are great options. You may even have these beautiful beaches in Zanzibar all to yourself!
Olduvai Gorge, Tanzania
Olduvai Gorge is a famous paleoanthropological site in Africa. Located in the northern part of Tanzania, it's a must-visit site when on holiday in East Africa.
Set between the Serengeti National Park and the Ngorongoro Crater, Olduvai Gorge is a great stop to add to your to-do list when in the area. This UNESCO World Heritage Site notably holds the oldest evidence of the evolution of humankind in the world.
At the site, you'll see plant and animal fossils as well as many ancient stone tools. Olduvai Gorge also offers visitors a museum to visit. While exploring the museum, you'll learn more about the site's history and Earth's earliest life forms. If you're lucky, you may even see an actual excavation during your trip!
Serengeti National Park, Tanzania
The Serengeti National Park is a large conservation area in northern Tanzania. This magnificent park covers 5,700 square miles and is home to a range of protected African animals.
Serengeti Park is known for having the highest number of large mammals in the world. It is especially famous for having the world's largest population of lions.
While touring the Serengeti, you'll get to see all types of creatures. Animals you may spot include predators such as hyenas, lions, and other big cats, as well as elephants, zebra, and more! You can also enjoy birdwatching early in the morning or late in the evening.
One of the most magical sights you will see while in the Serengeti is the Great Wildebeest Migration. This natural event sees more than one million wildebeests, gazelles, and zebras traverse the Serengeti plains searching for pasture.
While visiting Serengeti National Park on safari, many travellers will opt to camp overnight. This is particularly memorable because you will get to listen to the wild sounds of the Serengeti late into the night.
Mount Kilimanjaro, Tanzania
You cannot talk about African landmarks without mentioning Mount Kilimanjaro! Lying on the border between Kenya and Tanzania, Mt. Kilimanjaro is the highest mountain in Africa. It's also one of the Seven Summits, a list of the world's highest mountains.
The beautiful snow-capped mountain stands at 19,340-feet and is found in Kilimanjaro National Park. This is a popular mountain to climb for experienced and novice hikers, with over 300,000 hikers attempting the climb each year.
Its popularity with hikers is due to the mountain's relatively easy terrain and the fact that no equipment is needed to climb it. Those who reach the peak will enjoy the most incredible views of Tanzania and the countryside surrounding the mountain.
While in Kilimanjaro National Park, you will also be able to see many wild animals. This includes the critically endangered black rhinoceros that is protected in the park.
Even if you don't want to climb Mount Kilimanjaro, it's still recommended that you plan a visit to the park. Seeing the stunning snowy mountain rising above the surrounding grasslands is truly breathtaking.
Ngorongoro Crater, Tanzania
Situated in the Ngorongoro Conservation Area in the Great Rift Valley in northern Tanzania, the Ngorongoro Crater is one of the world's most outstanding geological features.
This landmark is a natural volcanic caldera that was formed after a large volcano erupted and collapsed on itself over two million years ago. The crater is 19 kilometres wide and has a depth of 600 meters.
As a part of the conservation area, Ngorongoro Crater is home to over 30,000 land mammals. Animals you may see include leopards, lions, elephants, and warthogs. Notably, you may be able to spot the endangered black-maned male lion and black rhino.
The vast number of animals plus the incredible scenery make this area a fantastic safari destination. Along with many animal inhabitants, the site is home to the indigenous Maasai people who have an impressive cultural heritage.
Additionally, the area was a filming location for the Oscar-winning movie Out of Africa. If looking for a movie-worthy safari destination, then a visit to the Ngorongoro Crater is an absolute must!
Lalibela Rock-Hewn Churches, Ethiopia
Ethiopia is one of the most beautiful countries in Africa. It boasts a diverse culture, delicious cuisine, beautiful natural scenery, and historical architecture. A particularly popular attraction in Ethiopia lies deep within the Ethiopian mountains in the mystical town of Lalibela.
In this quaint town, visitors will discover a group of rock-hewn churches. There are 11 spectacular churches to be seen in total that have been carved directly out of the surrounding rock faces.
These rock-hewn churches are one of the most unique and interesting African monuments. They are built without any blocks or support and date back to the 13th century.
The site remains a sacred location to Christians to this day, with the churches still being used by a small community of priests and monks. If visiting Ethiopia, then a visit to this fascinating African landmark should be added to the top of your travel itinerary!
The Omo National Park and River Valley, Ethiopia
Located in southwestern Ethiopia, the Omo River Valley and the surrounding national park are inhabited by a colourful mix of more than 50 indigenous tribes.
Along with the magnificent natural environment, it's the area's inhabitants that attract thousands of tourists to Ethiopia every year. The motivation for most travellers visiting the Omo Valley is to get a glimpse of the indigenous communities.
This remote and secluded place allows travellers to explore the depths of the preserved African culture. The tribes living here are pastoralists, small-scale cattle herders, and subsistence farmers.
When visiting Omo River Valley, many opt to meet the Karo tribe, who are expert body painters. Tourists in the area also visit the Hamar and Mursi tribes.
Within the national park, there are many animals to be spotted too. These include topi, lions, leopards, cheetahs, and zebras. The best time to visit is between September and the end of April and travelling with a tour guide is recommended.
Sossusvlei is one of the best-known tourist attractions in Namibia. This area is characterised by vast clay and salt pans and tall red dunes. Sossusvlei is found within Namibia Naukluft National Park, which is a large conservation area.
The name Sossusvlei translates to "dead-end marsh." This is because the area cuts off the Tsauchab River and is extremely dry throughout the year. Sossusvlei is popular with tourists due to the unique landscape it offers. Along with miles of clay and salt pans, Sossusvlei's dunes reach 300 meters in height.
The combination of tall red dunes, white pans, and clear blue sky creates an iconic view. Due to its beauty, this site is a dream for landscape photographers. Besides taking in the views, visitors can take hot air balloon rides over the area offering amazing birds-eye views.
Fish River Canyon, Namibia
The Fish River Canyon is the second largest canyon in the world after the Grand Canyon in the USA. Located in the southwestern part of Namibia, Fish River is one of the most visited tourist attractions in the country, along with Sossusvlei.
The canyon is part of Ais-Ais Richtersveld Transfrontier Park. The park is home to many animals like zebras, kudus antelopes, wild horses, and over 60 different species of birds. This makes it an ideal place to spot wildlife ad birdwatch.
Along with the incredible views and wildlife sightings, tourists visit the canyon to hike the Fish Canyon trail. Some do consider this the most challenging hike in Africa. Therefore, if you want to attempt the hike, make sure you're prepared!
You'll also be able to swim in the river and relax in natural hot springs found at the top of the canyon. Additionally, if you stay in the evening, you'll be able to enjoy the bright starry sky. A trip to the Fish River Canyon is a must for hikers and lovers of wildlife and incredible scenery.
Timbuktu is a city in Mali located on the southern threshold of the Sahara Desert. This exotic-sounding city has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1998 and is becoming a popular tourist destination.
This legendary Malian town was previously an important trading centre. It was also an intellectual and spiritual centre of Islam in Africa during the 15th and 16th centuries.
Timbuktu is additionally known for being home to the Mosque of Sankore and the famous Djinguereber Mosque. This desert town is full of culture and history and is a great up-and-coming tourist destination.
Sahara Desert, Morocco
The Sahara Desert is the largest and hottest desert on Earth. It's also one of the most famous natural landmarks in Africa. The desert is characterised by many dunes tourists visit to partake in activities like sand duning and quad biking.
Visitors to the Sahara Desert can enjoy other unique experiences too. These include camel trekking and desert camping. Despite not being the most hospitable environment, there are some animals to spot while in the Sahara. These include oryx, Barbary sheep, and the Dama gazelle.
A visit to the Sahara Desert will offer an out-of-this-world vacation experience and is highly recommended for anyone travelling in Morocco.
Chefchaouen is one of the oldest and most spectacular towns to visit in Morocco, drawing thousands of tourists each year. The city is known for its Islamic and Andalusian architecture.
The town is also well-known as everything in this Moroccan mountain town is painted in bright blue. Due to Chefchaouen's location, the blue city cascades down the mountain it sits on like a blue waterfall.
This unique design has made the city a famous photography location, especially for those looking to get the perfect Instagram shot!
Chefchaouen is also a popular shopping destination. The city's steep lanes are notably lined with many weaving and leather workshops. You'll also find a range of unique shops selling fantastic souvenirs and handmade leather goods.
Medina of Marrakech, Morocco
The Medina of Marrakech (Marrakesh) in Morocco is a day and night market. The vibrant and colourful market sells everything from spices and dried fruits to clothing and souvenirs. It has even been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1985.
The Medina is found in the middle of the city of Marrakesh. Tourism here revolves around Djemaa El Fna, the largest mosque in the town. The surrounding market is an explosion of colours and scents. If you want to experience a more relaxed Moroccan medina, head to Essaouira.
You'll discover all types of market stalls here. Whether you want some authentic Moroccan spices, leather goods, pottery, or a host of other items, you can find it at the market. Bartering is encouraged here so you can get some great deals.
While exploring this ancient mosque square, you'll also encounter fortune-tellers, monkey tamers, and snake charmers. With an incredible bustling atmosphere and a vast selection of items for sale, the Medina of Marrakech cannot be missed!
Kruger National Park, South Africa
Kruger National Park is one of Africa's largest game reserves and is found on the northeastern side of Johannesburg in South Africa. Kruger offers tourists access to the 'Big Five Game Animals' - the African elephant, African lion, African leopard, black rhino, and Cape buffalo.
There are many other animals to see here, too, along with a variety of rare bird species. The Parks' savanna environment also features trees such as giant baobabs, marula, and fever trees. As a result, the park is known for offering one of Africa's best wildlife exploration experiences.
The park additionally features many archaeological sites, such as the Albasini ruins which are the ruins of major Portuguese trading posts. Game drives and safaris are the most popular activity at Kruger National Park. Many experienced guides will ensure you get to see as many animals as possible.
Bushwalking is also a popular activity. There are lots of great trails to explore, such as the Wolhuter trail. Other activities include horseback riding, mountain biking, and golf. If looking to go on safari, doing so in Kruger National Park is one of the best options in Africa.
Table Mountain, South Africa
With an altitude of 1,084 meters, Table Mountain stands majestically over the beautiful city of Cape Town, South Africa. The mountain is understandably a very popular attraction and is one of the most photographed natural landmarks in Africa.
Table Mountain is also one of the oldest mountains globally, being approximately 60 million years old. Visitors that want to go to the top of the mountain can take a cable car or hike. At the top, you'll enjoy the most stunning panoramic views of Cape Town.
Once you've enjoyed Table Mountain, another site you should consider visiting in the area is the Cape of Good Hope, which stands as the most southern point on the African continent. Both are worthy of a stop of your South Africa itinerary!
Gorilla Tracking in Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda
While there are many fantastic safari destinations in Africa, such as Kenya and Tanzania, Rwanda offers the best primate tracking experience in the world.
The country's dense rainforest environment makes the perfect habitat for gorillas. There are approximately 1,000 mountain gorillas in Rwanda, accounting for half of the global mountain gorilla population.
While in Rwanda, the best place to see gorillas is at Volcanoes National Park. This park is home to 12 gorilla families that are highly protected.
Despite being very well protected, there are opportunities for tourists to see the gorillas. Expert gorilla trackers will take groups on daily tours to view the gorillas in their habitat.
Although only one hour a day of human contact with the gorillas is allowed, the up-close encounter will be highly memorable.
You may also see a range of other wildlife while in the park, including golden monkeys and elephants. A great time to visit Volcanoes National Park is during the annual Kwita Izina gorilla-naming ceremony.
At the ceremony, newly born gorillas are given their names. There is also a big evening celebration that includes music and dancing.
Despite its turbulent past, Rwanda is now a safe destination to visit. If you're looking for a memorable wildlife experience, you should definitely consider Gorilla tracking in Rwanda.
Maasai Mara National Reserve, Kenya
Maasai Mara National Reserve, in southwestern Kenya, is an expansive wilderness famous for its vast array of wildlife. The park receives around 30,0000 tourists each year who come to appreciate the scenery and spot a range of animals.
The park is also famous for the Great Wildebeest Migration. During this annual natural event, millions of wildebeests migrate from Serengeti National Park in Tanzania to the Maasai Mara game reserve in Kenya.
The Maasai Mara is a perfect tourist destination for those who want to get away from the city and back to nature. Travellers are particularly attracted to safaris and game drives that are held in the park. On these tours, guests can enjoy watching African animals in their natural habitat while seizing endless photographic opportunities.
It's not just the wildlife and the landscape that attracts visitors but also the overall experience touring the area offers. Sleeping in bush camps and eating breakfast while watching animals pass by and listening to roaring lions is an accelerating experience!
Okavango Delta, Botswana
The desert Okavango Delta is a peaceful and tranquil paradise that lies in the middle of a desert. Found in the north-west of Botswana, this emerald oasis comprises small islands amongst lagoons and waterways.
The Okavango Delta is a vast ecosystem formed as the Okavango River flows into the Kalahari Desert. The river sources its waters from the summer rainfalls in the highlands of neighbouring Angola.
In the middle of this arid region, the inland delta hosts many animals and birds in its swampy green environment. From hippos and elephants to various bird species, the delta is a hotbed for animals looking to escape the dry surrounding desert.
The delta is also surrounded by grasslands which are a great safari destination. Animals to see here include giraffes, leopards, lions, and antelopes.
The Okavango Delta is an idyllic place that you must see to believe. Trips to the Okavango Delta are highly popular among tourists visiting this part of Africa and are sure to impress.
Makgadikgadi Salt Pans, Botswana
The Makgadikgadi Pans make up the largest salt pan in the world. Located in the northeast of Botswana, the pans cover an area of 30,000 square kilometres.
The Makgadikgadi salt pan comprises many smaller pans and was created when Lake Makgadikgai dried up hundreds of years ago. Walking on the Makgadokgadi salt pans is a unique experience and gives the illusion of walking on a long sandy beach.
This natural famous landmark in Africa is also home to many wild animals. When it rains, the pans fill with water, attracting flamingoes, zebras, and wildebeests. It's the perfect place to spot African animals in a different type of environment.
You can also go camping here and enjoy sleeping under the stars! A visit to the Makgadikgadi Salt Pans will allow you to appreciate Botswana's beauty and create amazing vacation memories.
Reunification Monument, Cameroon
The Reunification Monument in Cameroon is one of the most important landmarks in Africa. The seven-meter high monument was constructed to memorialise the merging of British and French Cameroon.
The monument is found in Yaounde, the Cameroonian capital, and was designed by architects Engelbert Mveng and Gedeon Mpando.
The structure has an interesting twin spiral design that is supposed to represent two serpents with merging heads. This symbolises the reunification of the Anglophone and Francophone regions of the country.
Visitors can climb to the top of the structure via a spiral staircase and enjoy views of the city. There is also a statue here of a man holding a torch with five children around him. This statue was designed in collaboration with the monument to represent unity.
The Reunification Monument is one of the country's major tourist attractions and well worth a visit if in Cameroon.
As the second-largest continent in the world, Africa is rich in tourist attractions. Along with the vast amount of wildlife and fantastic culture, there are also many famous African landmarks and monuments to see while travelling through Africa.
This list of the 25 most famous landmarks of Africa should help you plan the most exciting and memorable trip. No matter which landmarks you choose to visit, prepare to fall in love with this brilliant continent, and most importantly, have a great time!
This article was edited by Alli Sewell.
For some great articles about landmarks, check out:
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- 35 Famous Iceland Landmarks You Must See
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