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  • Chidozie Uzoezie

The Top 10 African Countries to Visit and Explore in 2020

A brand new year has just begun. 2020 is already fast-rolling by, and so should your travelling shoes. Perhaps, this is that adventurous year you had been waiting for. Perhaps, this is that year you should discover or rediscover Africa. To say that Africa is a beautiful continent is a given. Africa is not just beautiful, but uniquely and stunningly so. There are so many tapped and untapped tourism destinations scattered across the continent. To help you make the most of the year, here are the top 10 countries we think you should visit in 2020. So, put on your wanderlusting shoes and let’s go! 1. South Africa: The Rainbow Nation

With incredibly beautiful landscapes, stunning views, breathtaking adventures, and jaw-dropping expeditions, South Africa is a country to die for. It is a different kind of paradise, and it is full of very many pleasant surprises, the list is endless. It is practically impossible to perfectly capture the beauty of South Africa in black and white. From the north to the south and across the entire breadth, every South African city or province has more than enough attractions to quench the wanderlusting thirst of even the most discerning tourists. In the Gauteng Province, you'll explore Sterkfontein Caves located in the Cradle of Humankind in Magaliesburg. The tour will take you deep down into the caves, negotiating through dark and tight pathways, until you get to The Millner Hall. The sheer size and depth of the Sterkfontein Caves is intimidating, to say the least. From the Sterkfontein Caves, you should visit the Maropeng Museum, a world-class exhibition site still within the Cradle of Humankind. Here, you'll take an indoor, but incredible boat ride through the four life-giving elements of Fire, Water, Earth, and Air. If you want to experience rich and unadulterated African culture first hand, head to the Lesedi Cultural Village set amongst rocky hills and bushveld. Lesedi Cultural Village reproduces the original South African traditional homes and customs in 5 traditional sub villages: Xhosa, Zulu, Pedi, Basotho, and Ndebele. In Ingoma, you'll watch and listen to fascinating stories of Southern Africa beautifully told by the people of Lesedi using traditional music and dances. Ever thought of taking to the skies in a microlight? You'll get to experience that in Mpumalanga where you can also take a ride on the longest aerial cable trail in the province. And If you've got some adrenaline, an incredible adventure awaits you at the Ama Zwing Zwing Ziplines in the picturesque Magaliesburg Mountains. You can also head to Limpopo Province and experience the thrill of sliding through the forest while absorbing the tranquility of your natural surroundings. A visit to the Western Cape Province is a must. Here, you'll, among many other things, explore the magnificent Table Mountain and experience the intrigues of Nature's Seventh Wonder. The ride to the top is thrilling, it is adrenaline-pumping and it is breathtaking. The view from the top is even more so, it is extremely panoramic and sensationally scenic. And if you can, take a tour of the Franschhoek Winelands and explore some of South Africa's oldest and most distinguished vineyards and wine estates. You can even taste several kinds of wine while you're at it. With good weather all year round, South Africa is one of those countries you want to visit again and again. No, one visit is never enough. The fun is endless. Whether it's the rhythms of Johannesburg, the charms of Cape Town, the beaches of Durban, the magic of Mpumalanga, or the sounds of Kwazulu Natal, you'll definitely be excited beyond your wildest imaginations. So, even if it's only one African country you can visit in 2020, let it be South Africa. You can contact Syavaya Tours for an exciting tour package. 2. Morocco: The Land of Berbers

Hassan II Mosque, Casablanca. Photo by Silver John

Morocco is not a desert. But let's face it. Morocco can get very hot, but it can also get chilly. But beyond weather variations, Morocco is a haven for tourists and holidaymakers. And there's a reason why over 12 million tourists visited Morocco in 2019 alone. Although historically ancient, Morocco is trendy, colourful, fashionable and charming. It has its own rhythm which is not found anywhere else in the world. This enchanting North African country has a lot to offer tourists and holidaymakers no matter your taste. Morocco is entirely beautiful with so many captivating cities and attractions; it's difficult to do a comparative analysis. So, whether you're doing a one-city-tour of the bustling capital, Casablanca or decide to spice things up outside the centre, Morocco will definitely entertain you in more ways than one. Depending on your port of entry, you may want to start your tour in Casablanca. Visit the Hassan II Mosque and see for yourself the beautiful meeting between spirituality and craftsmanship. Completed in 1993, the Hassan II Mosque is the largest mosque in Africa and features the tallest minarets in the world. Its location next to the Atlantic Ocean offers visitors the chance to appreciate the stunning mosque while enjoying the cool ocean breeze. Visit the Moroccan Jewish Museum, the only museum in the entire Arab world that is dedicated to Jews. Here, you'll learn about the interesting Jewish history, heritage, and culture. Head to Marrakesh and visit the imposing Koutoubia Mosque which has become the symbol of Marrakesh. However, non-Muslims are not allowed to enter the mosque, but that doesn't stop you from admiring the luxuriously decorated edifice from outside. Also visit the stunning 19th century Bahia Palace, and marvel at interior decoration, that is, after taking a walk in the gardens and the courtyards. If you would like to hit the beach, then hit the road to Agadir. Apart from being the most modern city in Morocco, it's also one of the most beautiful. Sitting next to the Atlantic Ocean on the southern coast of Morocco, Agadir is renowned for its clean and stunning beaches and interrupted stretch of sand. Tagharte Beach in Essaouria is another fine beach. Soak yourself in the water or assimilate some vitamin D while taking a walk on the stretch of yellow sand along the ocean. And if you can surf, this is the place. Your visit to Morocco would be incomplete without experiencing the life of the locals. After all, it's the Land of Berbers. So head to Setti Fatma Waterfalls in the scenic Ourika Valley, where, in addition to rafting and exploring the seven-level waterfalls after a convoluted walk on crooked paths, you can also experience life with the local Berber people. By no means, the above are not the only things you can do in Morocco, not even nearly. I didn't even scratch the surface. I didn't talk about Medina of Chefchaouen, I didn't talk about Todra Gorge, and I didn't talk about the UNESCO-listed Volubilis. Did I even mention the spectacular 50-kilometre-long sand dunes in the Sahara Desert and the Camel treks? Indeed, Morocco is an oxymoronic country, with a combination of many positive opposites. It is hot, it is cool. It is ancient, and it is modern. Although a predominantly Muslim country, Morocco is remarkably welcoming to non-Muslim tourists. However, certain dress codes are to be respected. Visit Morocco today and experience the unending charms of this North African destination. 3. Kenya: The Land of Safaris

In terms of tourism, Kenya is magical and thoroughly beautiful. Little wonder it's one of the most visited African countries in terms of tourist arrivals. From scenic landscapes, stunning beaches to diverse safaris, Kenya offers a dazzling array of adventures that will take your breath away and leave you craving for more. This amazing East African country should be on your bucketlist this year. Naturally, your tour of Kenya should start from Nairobi, Kenya's pulsating capital and largest city. Not only because it's the major point of entry, but also because Nairobi is as colourful as it is historic with a lot on the table for tourists. While in Nairobi, visit the Nairobi National Museum and explore its extensive archaeological collection. Also visit the Nairobi Gallery before heading to the Nairobi National Park where you can spot a barrage of wildlife while walking on foot. You can be sure to see giraffes, hippopotamus, buffalo, elephants, lions, leopards, cheetahs, and zebras. Oh, just before you leave Nairobi, make sure you savour the city's authentically African coffee and tea. They've got them in abundance and in different flavours. If you would like to 'touch the sky', then head to Mount Kenya, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the Central Highlands. At 5,199 meters, Mount Kenya is the second tallest mountain in Africa. The scenery here is simply breath-taking. Here, you can enjoy mountain climbing, gaming, and camping while savouring the picturesque views provided by the mountain’s rugged glacier-clad peaks. For a walking safari or a game drive, visit the Ol Pejeta Conservancy where you can view abundant wildlife including the popular Big Five (elephant, rhino, buffalo, lion, and leopard) while enjoying the breathtaking background provided by the magnificent Mount Kenya. If beaches and beach activities are your sorts of thing, then head to Mombasa. This coastal port city is the second largest city in Kenya. It is a haven for tourists. In addition to getting 'beachy' in Mombasa, you can snorkel and dive at the Mombasa Marine National Park while watching Dolphins. Don't forget to explore the 16th-century Fort Jesus and Old Town as well as the City's multicultural cuisine. Got some more time? Visit Lamu Island located in the northeast of Mombasa. This small but charming island houses Lamu Old Town - a UNESCO World Heritage Site and Kenya's oldest inhabited settlement, dating back to the 12th century. The architecture here reflects a historical meeting between the Arab world, Europe, and India. If you love donkeys, be sure to see them here as they constantly roam the streets. If you're interested in more wildlife, the Masai Mara National Reserve is a must-visit. Located along the Kenyan border with Tanzania, Masai Mara is one of the most sophisticated game reserves in the world. Ever heard of the Great Migration? This is where it happens. If you visit between July and October, you'll watch in awe as thousands of wild animals including elephants, zebra, and gazelle, travel across the sprawling savanna between Kenya and Serengeti in northern Tanzania. Nothing is more beautiful. Kenya is not just synonymous with 'Safaris' and 'Natural Parks'. It is indeed full of them. Amboseli National Reserve is also another of Kenya's most popular destinations for tourists where you can see large herds of wild animals from a close range. Tsavo National Park, Lake Nakuru National Park, Samburu National Reserve, and Crater Lake Game Sanctuary are some of the other parks. If you would like to visit Magical Kenya this year, Kenya Airways Holidays can arrange not just a vacation, but an all-inclusive experience for you. 4. Gambia: The Smiling Coast

Photo credit: Gambia Experience

The Gambia is not called 'The Smiling Coast' of Africa for nothing. And to make good things even better, you get more than a smile when visiting the Gambia. You get charm, you get warmth, and you get friendship. From sandy beaches to vibrant cultures and exquisite cuisines, the Gambia is definitely a country you should explore in 2020. In terms of geographical spread, the Gambia is one of the smallest countries in Africa. But make no mistake about it, this charming West African country is very big on exciting tourist attractions. It offers something to every kind of tourist. Your flight into the Gambia will most likely land in the capital city - Banjul. So you might as well begin your Gambian expedition in this coastal city. Visit the Arch 22, a monument commemorating the July 22, 1994 coup d'etat in the Gambia. Also visit the Fort Bullen, the only fort in West Africa purposely built to enforce the abolition of slavery in Africa. Then soak up the nourishing sun at one of the pristine sandy beaches while letting your body absorb a good dose of vitamin D. If you're particularly interested in enjoying all-day sunshine, then November to May would be the best time to visit. Don't forget to pack your spotting lens and binoculars, you'll need them. Beyond the beaches, the Gambia also offers rich wildlife and natural games reserves including the Abuko Nature Reserve and Kachikally Crocodile Pool where you'll get to literally play with crocodiles.

For bird watching excursions, the Gambia has some of the best hotspots in the world including Marakissa River Camp, Brufut Forest, Tanji Reserve, Denton Bridge, Lamin Lodge, Tendaba Camp etc. where you'll see some of the over 500 species of bird in the country. If you want to get aquatic, take a refreshing cruise along the Gambia River on a locally made pirogue boat while viewing the rich coastal lines punctuated by aquatic wildlife. While in the Gambia, don't forget to experience their local traditional cuisine. Luckily, the main staple dish in The Gambia is rice - something you're probably already familiar with. Savour it with a choice of stew - made with fish, chicken, beef, lamb or goat - usually cooked with vegetables, spices and sometimes peanut butter. Then visit one or two local markets where you can buy beautiful local crafts for your souvenir. Due to its popularity with tourists and holidaymakers, many airlines operate direct or one-stop flights to the Gambia. Going to the Gambia isn't rocket science, not anymore. So, pack your bags today and head to the Smiling Coast of Africa. 5. Egypt: The Land of the Pharaohs

Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt. Photo credit: Avion Tourism

With a perfect blend of the past and the present, Egypt is a perfect example of a non-chaotic coexistence between ancient and modern. Also popularly known as the Land of the Pharaohs, Egypt is a remarkably beautiful country with lots of offerings for tourists. With diverse inspiring historical and leisure destinations, Egypt caters to every kind of visitor. It's the perfect place for the comprehensive traveller. Visit the Great Pyramid Complex in the Giza plateau in Cairo while they're still standing. The Great Pyramids comprise of the Great Pyramid of Giza, the Pyramid of Khafre, and the Pyramid of Menkaure. They're the last surviving of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. The Great Pyramids were built as tombs for the powerful Pharaohs and guarded by the enigmatic Sphinx. Easily the most recognizable landmarks in Egypt and one of such in the world, they have come to be the official face of Egypt. A visit to these architectural wonders of ancient civil engineering will leave you utterly fascinated. You don't want to miss these massive megalithic monuments. Is it a visit to Egypt if you didn't go to the Great Pyramids of Giza? Before you leave the megalopolitan capital, visit the Islamic Cairo, a district full of mosques, monuments, and Islamic schools. If you're already in the mood for fashion shopping, the famous and iconic bazaar and souk Khan el-Khalili market is in this district. After shopping, visit the Egyptian Museum, one of the world's richest museums. The amount and quality of exhibits here are mind-boggling. The ancient arts, reign of various Pharaohs, and royal mummies exhibits will particularly wow you. Although a predominantly Muslim country, Egypt is not without Christianity. So while in Egypt, you can visit the St. Catherine's Monastery, one of the oldest Christian monasteries in the world. Officially known as the Sacred Monastery of the God-Trodden Mount Sinai, St. Catherine Monastery is strategically situated at the foot of Mount Sinai, where Moses received the Ten Commandments. After viewing the incredibly rich collection of religious items, you can climb the famous Steps of Repentance or hike up Mount Sinai and watch as the sun rises or sets. If you're a beach lover, there are many options to choose from. You can head to Sharm el-Sheikh, the European-style resort town where you can soak up the sun at the attractive Ras Um Sid beach while enjoying incredible views of the Red Sea. Or find your way to Ras Banas beach in Marsa Alam where you can swim and dive while watching fearless fishes and coral reefs so their thing. Sahl Hasheesh beach in Hurghada, and Dahab beach on the southeast coast of the Sinai Peninsula are some of the other beaches. Indeed, Egypt has so much to offer to tourists. The Luxor's Karnak Temple and the Valley of the Kings, the amazing White Desert, The hanging Saint Virgin Mary’s Coptic Orthodox Church, Feluccas on the Nile at Aswan, Abu Simbel, Nile Cruising, Siwa Oasis, the charming Mediterranean city of Alexandria, and many more are all yours to discover in Egypt. 6. Rwanda: Land of a Thousand Hills

Mount Karisimbi, Rwanda. Photo credit: Rwanda Tourism Board

Often times when we hear about Rwanda, what comes to mind is the Rwandan genocide. Although, it's yet to completely heal from the genocide that annihilated an entire people, Rwanda has gone ahead to successfully write its name on the global tourism map. This remarkable East African country certainly has robust tourism. Rwanda is in fact, setting the stage for an ecotourism revolution in Africa. Rwanda's capital, Kigali, has been adjudged to be the cleanest as well as the greenest city in Africa and one of the greenest in the world. That alone makes the city a compelling and a must-visit ecotourism destination. While Kigali is the largest, the most cosmopolitan and the most popular city in Rwanda, there are other cities and towns that are equally or even more enchanting than Kigali. As a matter of fact, there is much more to discover in Rwanda outside the capital, Kigali. But before you leave, be sure to put the history of Rwanda into perspective by visiting the Kigali Genocide Memorial at Gisozi where the remains of over 250,000 victims were buried. It'll be difficult not to stir up some emotions here as you take the video and audio tour of the Museum. If you're particularly interested in knowing how the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi took shape and place, this place is a must-visit. Now, you can head north to the buzzing town of Musanze which apart from being the base for gorilla trekking, has a vibrant nightlife with plenty of choice for dining. And a trip to Nyungwe National Park in the South Western region will afford you the opportunity to explore one of the oldest rainforests in Africa. You’ll get to see 13 primate species, hundreds of unique bird species and more while taking a breathtaking walk on the impressive Canopy Walkway suspended above a ravine in the lush montane rainforest of the Park.

If you’ve got some adrenaline, why not head to Mount Karisimbi and put your courage to the test? At over 4,500m, Mount Karisimbi is the highest peak in Rwanda. Apart from hiking here which is not a mean fit; you can go all the way and spend a night or two while camping. If you're looking for a great place to unwind, soak up the tranquil vibe, watch the birds and enjoy various water sports, head to Rubavu Town, a waterfront town on the shores of Lake Kivu with sandy beaches, warm water and an easygoing character. But if safari is your thing, then Rusizi is your destination. This small town on the border with Congo DR is close to the Nyungwe National Park which is about an hour drive away. While in Rwanda, don't miss any opportunity to immerse yourself in the rich local culture. The music is cool and harmonious, while the dance is energetic and well choreographed. Don't let Rwanda's size deceive you. This small East African country actually has more to offer than it's given credit for. With exotic destinations and very scenic views, Rwanda is definitely a country worth visiting. Why not visit Remarkable Rwanda today? Ikaze Rwanda Tours & Travel can arrange an affordable bespoke tour package for you. RwandAir takes you there. 7. Cape Verde Islands

Stunning Cape Verde landscape. Photo credit: National Geographic

As gorgeous and as stunning as Cape Verde is, it is one of the world's most underrated Islands. In fact, not many people, including Africans, know that Cape Verde is an African country or that it even exists. And you probably won't even find it on the map. But in fact, it is. Cape Verde is an archipelago of 10 islands in the Atlantic Ocean. Although it doesn't ring a bell, Cape Verde actually has a lot to offer to tourists and holidaymakers including a vibrant nightlife. Each of the islands is different, and therefore offers something different, but equally exciting. Located at an altitude of 2,900 metres above sea level, Fogo is the most prominent island in Cape Verde. Apart from the stunning beaches, the main tourist attraction here is the volcano Pico de Fogo. If you're into mountain exploration, you could climb Pico de Fogo in around six hours. But if you want a truly picturesque destination in Faro, it is Sao Filipe with its black lava beaches. The island of Sal is where the main international airport of Cabo Verde is located. Sal International Airport has one of the best airport approaches in the world. The view on approach is unbelievably scenic and very instagrammable. So, you might as well start your exploration even before your plane touches down. Sal islands is tropical and mostly very hot, so relaxing by the sandy beaches would be a good way to unwind after your flight. You can then head to the lively Sancta Maria Island for something more beachy. With lots of standard and luxury hotels, Sancta Maria is the place for a perfect beach resort holiday, especially if you're travelling to cool off from stress. You can take a walk along the sandy beaches or engage in a water sport like scuba diving or skiing. Be sure to visit Santo Antao. This beautifully captivating island is the second largest in the archipelago of Cape Verde. With its breathtaking mountains, canyons, gorges, and valleys, it offers some of the most amazing hiking destinations in Africa. While in Santo Antao, visit Ribeira Grande, a beautiful city nestled in Ribeira Grande valley on the Santo Antao Island. Perhaps, the most important offerings here for tourists are gastronomy and fashion, evident by a lively food and clothes market. The Nossa Senhora do Rosario church is also worth visiting. If you're interested in history and antiquity, you should head to the city of Porto Novo also on the island of Santo Antao. Here, you should visit the museum where you'll learn about the lives of Porto Novo’s past kings as well as how African royalty lived. And how can you not visit Praia, the capital city of Cape Verde? We get it. Being the capital of Cape Verde, Praia doesn't have as many tourist attractions as the other islands. However, it does have something to offer including the old colonial buildings, a presidential palace, and the parliament building. If you still want some beach experience, the Praia de Gamboa Beach will be yours to explore. Whatever your reasons are for visiting and no matter where you're coming from, Cape Verde will not only quench your wanderlusting thirst but will also satisfy your curious mind. Cabo Verde Airlines can take you to Cape Verde Islands from different parts of the world including Europe, North America, South America, and West Africa. 8. Uganda: The Pearl of Africa

Uganda is not only one of the most beautiful countries in Africa, but also one of the most alluring. When one mentions biodiversity and ecotourism, Uganda readily comes to mind. And with welcoming and friendly people, perfect weather, stunning scenery, picturesque landscapes, and an undisturbed ecosystem, Uganda is a tropical paradise. Indeed, Uganda is not called 'The Pearl of Africa' for nothing. It totally earned it. Geographically speaking, Uganda is landlocked, but that doesn't take anything away from this East African country. From virgin rain forests to sprawling savannas, rich wildlife, and snow-peaked mountains, Uganda appeals to every kind of tourist with a wide variety of exciting attractions. Uganda is also known as 'The Land of the Martyrs' in an apparent reference to the 45 Ugandans who were executed because of their faith between 1885 and 1887. So you might as well start your tour with a visit to the Uganda Martyrs Museum in Namugongo near Kampala. The museum will take you back 130 years, allowing you to witness firsthand (well almost), how the holocaust took place. Then make the short hop to the Uganda Martyrs Shrine also in Namugongo. This is the largest Christian pilgrimage destination in Africa. You'll particularly find this place very interesting if you're into religious tourism. Beyond religious tourism, you can explore Uganda's culture and traditions at the Uganda Museum located in Kampala. Apart from being the oldest museum in Uganda, it is also the largest. A visit to the Uganda Museum will offer you the chance to listen to Ugandan traditional music and even try your hands on one or two traditional musical instruments. You'll also learn a lot about Uganda with respect to ethnohistory, ethnography, paleontology, and cultural heritage. If you can, visit the Kidepo Valley National Park located in valleys between Uganda, South Sudan, and Kenya. Here, you can see over 70 mammal species as well as close to 500 species of birds. Then head to Mount Elgon National Park on the Uganda-Kenya border. At 4,000 sq km Mount Elgon has the largest volcanic base in the world. It is also the largest as well as the oldest solitary, volcanic mountain in East Africa. Now, that is worth visiting. If you would like to hang out with wild animals including Lions and Elephants, that is, if you have the adrenaline, go west to Queen Elizabeth National Park which is Uganda’s most popular and most visited National Park. The ecosystem here is beautifully diverse with savanna, lakes, humid forests, and wetlands. It's home to primates including chimpanzees and over 600 species of birds. While you may have heard of 'gorilla trekking', you probably don't even know what it is or where to experience it. The Bwindi Impenetrable National Park will definitely satisfy your gorilla trekking curiosity. Uganda has a lot of gorillas, but what you probably don't know is that almost half of the mountain gorillas in the world are found in Uganda. Bwindi Impenetrable National Park offers you the rare opportunity to spend time with and observe gorillas 'do their things' in their natural habitat. However, you'll need a special gorilla trekking permit which can be costly. But it'll be worth it. With some of the most magical landscapes and sceneries in Africa, Lake Bunyonyi, which means "place of many little birds", should be of interest to you. This 'eye-catching' destination is located in the south-western region of Uganda, close to the border with Rwanda. About 29 islands dot the entire span of Bunyonyi Lake, making it one of the most instagrammable destinations in Uganda. To spice things up, you can even take a romantic canoe cruise around the lake while watching the sun wink as it sets over the countryside. Perhaps, another name for Uganda should be "The Land of Nature". Oh, yes, there are many more nature inspiring destinations you could visit in Uganda including Murchison Falls National Park, Kibale Forest National Park, and Rwenzori Mountain National Park which is also known as “Mountains of the Moon”. There are probably not enough words to describe the immense natural beauty abundant in Uganda. 'Seeing is believing', that’s what they say. If you would like to have a guided tour of the Pearl of Africa, you can contact Shakar Tours & Travel for an affordable tailored package.

9. Ethiopia: The Land of Origins

One of the Rock-Hewn Churches of Lalibela, Photo credit: UNESCO

Truth be told, when Africa and tourism are mentioned, Ethiopia doesn't really ring a bell. But in reality, this East African giant has a lot to offer to tourists and holidaymakers, ranging from national parks with wealth of endemic wildlife to historical sites including castles and medieval churches. And now that you know, there is a varied selection of exciting destinations and tourist attractions waiting to be explored this year in the 'Land of Origins'. You may want to time your visit to coincide with any of the Ethiopian Festivals including Ethiopian Christmas (Genna) on 7 January and New Year​ (Enkutatash) on 11 January. Timket is the greatest and the most colorful festival of Orthodox Christians in Ethiopia. It's celebrated on January 20. In September, the feast of Meskel is celebrated to mark the finding of the True Cross. While in Ethiopia, visit the Rock-Hewn Churches of Lalibela. Perhaps ‘incredible’ is the most appropriate way to describe them. The Churches of Lalibela are a group of 13-century 11 medieval monolithic churches carved out of rock. The Rock-Hewn Churches of Lalibela are the biggest monolithic temples in the world and are listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site. The Rock-Hewn Churches of Lalibela is a must-see! In the town of Axum in the northern part of Ethiopia, is the Church of our Lady Mary of Zion - an Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church. It is the most important church in Ethiopia and is said to house the Ark of the Covenant. However, only the Guardian Monk may view the Ark. It is worth visiting. A visit to the Church of Our Lady Mary of Zion is as entertaining as it is educative. Perhaps, you will be allowed to see the Ark of the Covenant. If you love nature, Simien Mountains - located in the Amhara region - should be on the top of your bucket list. It is one of the major tourist attractions and sights in Ethiopia. Also visit the Great Rift Valley which is the single largest geographical feature on the African continent. The Great Rift Valley Lakes provide discerning and nature-loving tourists distinct opportunities to explore and experience nature in a remarkably exhilarating way. Visit the awe-inspiring, Erta Ale volcano which is one of the most active volcanoes in the world, it is popular for its persistent lava lake. Literally, Erta Ale means "smoking mountain" and its southernmost pit is locally known as "the gateway to Hell". For tourists, especially the strong-minded, visiting Erta Ale volcano offers one the once-in-a-lifetime chance of seeing a live volcano. It is truly a unique experience. Oh, while in Ethiopia, be sure to explore traditional Ethiopian cuisines. In particular, you should sample the popular Injera, a sourdough-risen spongy flatbread traditionally made from teff flour and eaten with spiced meat. It is the national dish of Ethiopia. Will you like it? Well, the taste of the pudding is in the eating. If you would like to visit Ethiopia this 2020 and beyond, Ethiopian Airlines and Ethiopian Holidays can arrange a vacation punctuated by life-changing sightseeing experiences. 10. Ghana: The Former Gold Coast

The Kwame Nkrumah Mausoleum, Accra

Ghana may be small compared to most of its West African neighbours, but it's rich in awe-inspiring tourist attractions as well as interesting cultures and traditions, making it one of the top 20 countries you should visit in 2020. Ghana is currently advancing ecotourism with the country having more eco-tourist attractions than most other West African countries. Little wonder tourism is the fourth highest economic earner for Ghana. There are many tourist attractions worth visiting in this former Gold Coast country. Accra, the capital city of Ghana, is arguably the most beautiful city in West Africa. And you might want to start your tour here; the Kwame Nkrumah Mausoleum in Accra should be your first port of call. The Mausoleum houses the bodies of the former revolutionary President of Ghana, Kwame Nkrumah and his wife Fathia Nkrumah. It is the most visited monument in Accra because of its significant political, historical and national connotations. And whether you agree or not, there's no way your visit to Ghana or Accra can be complete without a visit to the Kwame Nkrumah Mausoleum. If you find yourself in the Volta Region, visit the Tafi Atome Monkey Sanctuary where Mona monkeys are conserved in their natural habitat. Take a trip to the Wle waterfalls in Hohoe close to the border between Ghana and Togo. It is probably the most popular tourist attraction in Ghana. At 100ft. Wli waterfalls is not only the largest waterfall in West Africa, but also the highest waterfall in Africa. If you're interested in hydrogeology, head to Akosombo Dam in the Eastern Region. Akosombo Dam is a hydroelectric dam covering 8,502 square kilometres, and occupying 3.6% of Ghana's total land area. The construction of the dam led to the creation of Lake Volta which is the largest man-made lake in the world by surface area, and the world's third largest man-made lake by volume. The massive size and the marvelous engineering ingenuity of Akosombo Dam, conspire to make it a sight to behold for tourists. While in Akosombo, you might want to stay at the Royal Senchi Resort from where you could take a scenic boat cruise on the Volta River up to the foot of the Akosombo Dam. On it's own, the Royal Senchi Resort is both a tourist attraction and a destination, there's everything royal about it. It's a Ghanian paradise on the Volta and it's yours to discover. Take a trip to the Cape Coast Castle and discover the reality behind the emotions of slave trade in Africa. The Cape Coast Castle dates back to 1665 and was built by the British. Up until 1886, it served as a final point of departure for Africans who were sold into slavery. Here, you'll stir up different kinds of emotions including sadness, anger, resentment, and even excitement. Take a guided tour of the 9 dark dungeons, each of which used to hold 150-200 slaves. Beyond slavery, the Cape Coast Castle is an incredibly magnificent civil engineering wonder. The Cape Coast Castle has played host to notable world leaders including President Barack Obama and his family who visited in 2009. As ancient as it is, it is still a marvel. The presence of the adjourning Atlantic Ocean and it's roaring tides and waves, makes the Cape Coast Castle even more exciting and a must-visit. Worth visiting too is the Elmina Castle - a Medieval Castle in Elmina town on the coast of Ghana. It was the first-ever European building to be constructed in sub Saharan Africa. Although originally constructed in the 15th century to protect the gold trade, Elmina Castle later played a major role in the transatlantic slave trade, also serving as the last departure point for slaves. Its surroundings are characterized by scenic ocean views, clear blue skies, and sandy beaches. In the Western Region, a visit to Nulezo Village will be worthwhile. Nzulezo Village is a small, isolated and serene aquatic community built entirely on wooden stilts and platforms over Lake Tandane which forms part of the Amansuri Wetland. Here, you'll watch as people live in perfect sync and harmony with nature while experiencing constant communion with aquatic elements, something that's rare these days. You'll enjoy the boat ride, experience the thrills and even learn a few lessons. Ghana is currently advancing ecotourism with its four-point slogan of See Ghana, Eat Ghana, Wear Ghana and Feel Ghana. That sounds like something you would like to achieve in 2020. If you feel up to it, you can contact Softlanding Tours Ltd for an affordable tour package.

Chidozie Uzoezie is a Travel and Tourism Content Creator and a Freelance Writer. You can reach him via WhatsApp: +234(0)8178379876; Email:; Twitter: @ChidozieMario

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