Big in Africa: 15 uniquely African travel experiences

This month, Big in Japan is on vacation in Africa, and will be bringing you travel news and happenings from around this often misunderstood continent.

Few travel destinations in the world inspire terror in nervous mothers quite like Africa…

(Don’t worry Mom – I’m staying safe and wearing clean underwear!)

With that said, it’s foolish to make generalizations about the so-called ‘Dark Continent’ as Africa is home to no less than 53 countries, each offering an incredible spectrum of travel experiences.

So, if you’re looking to get your kicks from some uniquely African adventures, then today’s edition of Big in Africa is just for you.

15) Come face to face with endangered mountain gorillas (while avoiding guerillas) in the tropical forests of Rwanda, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)

14) Look safari chic in your khakiest khaki gear and your floppiest floppy hot while spotting the Big 5 mammals, namely lions, leopards, elephants, buffalo and black rhinos

13) Smoke some seriously kind ganja while rocking out to Bob Marley with scores and scores of misplaced Rastafarians on the shores of Lake Malawi

Keep reading as the list goes on…

12) Stand on the rooftop of Africa after ascending the lofty heights of Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania – spend the next few days recovering from the bitch of an illness that is altitude sickness.

11) Wave your arms like a frantic madman and scream like a little girl after bungee jumping off the Victoria Falls railway bridge along the Zambian / Zimbabwean border

10) Watch the annual wildebeest migration in the Serengeti and Masaai Mara National Parks of Tanzania and Kenya – score bonus points for watching a few of the critters get eaten by Africa’s hungry carnivores

9) Chase daytime hallucinations and spend your nights in deep lucid dreams, both of which are common but occasionally pleasant side-effects of malaria pills

8) Go dune boarding in the deserts of Nambia – because snow boarding on snow is totally, totally overrated

7) Develop a healthy and respectable fear of water sources, especially ones that are home to hungry crocodiles, marauding hippos or that bitch of a schistosomiasis-causing parasite that is the river fluke

6) Sail up the Niger River to Timbuktu in Mali, even if only just to brag to your friends that you got the most coveted of passport stamps

5) Haggle for a three-foot wood carving of a giraffe, even if you don’t actually need a three-foot wood carving of a giraffe

4) Relive your high school days by slamming a box of wine from any of South Africa’s justifiably famous wineries

3) Dine on animals you didn’t think were edible – crocodile tastes like chicken, warthog tastes like pork chops and zebra tastes like, well, zebra

2) Learn all too quickly that a big smile, a strong handshake and a small bribe can clear up a road block very, very quickly

1) Smile in childish delight after learning that ‘Hakuna Matata’ is actually a real Swahili expression

Did I miss anything? Feel free to chime in with your own lists of uniquely African travel experiences.

** All images courtesy of the WikiCommons Media Project **