We all know the wealth of geographic diversity Africa holds. It is the second largest continent after all. Vast inland forests and jungles, the mighty Sahara, hilly pastures, the Sahel, islands, mountains, and even glaciers, Africa has it all. It should come as no surprise then, that a continent so diverse would naturally have some of the best and exciting water activities in the world. From swimming with sharks, to river cruises, island hopping, and extreme water sports, here are 15 wet and wild water activities to do in Africa.
1) Nile Cruise
So you may be skeptical about taking a cruise, and you may have even more reservations about taking one on a river. But nothing could be more relaxing and awe-inspiring than cruising down the River Nile while thousands of years of history and monuments pass you by day and night. Between low prices and the lull of mass tourism in Egypt, now is the perfect time to take advantage of the secrets the Nile has to offer.
2) Devils Pool At Victoria Falls
Standing near the precipice of Victoria Falls is no doubt breathtaking and more than enough to give most people shaky knees. But for the true daredevils, why not take a dip in Devil’s Pool? A natural infinity pool in one of the most picturesque spots in Africa, if you’re ready to truly conquer your fear of heights, the photo opportunity (and prestige) awaits!
3) Kayak the White Nile
Jinja is Uganda’s go to for adventure activities. From horseback riding, bungee jumping, ATVs, and more to rafting and kayaking, the White Nile is the place to get your adrenaline pumping. With plenty of seasoned outfitters and schools, there is no better place to learn how to white water kayak.
4) Scuba Dive The Red Sea
Perpetually warm waters keep the reef system and wildlife in the Red Sea some of the most vibrant and healthy in the world. Of course you can go with dozens of different outfitters in Egypt, but for our dollar (and sense of adventure), why not head south to Port Sudan? It has the same access to the sea but at a much lower cost, with fewer tourists, and less of an environmental impact.
5) Conquer the Congo River
Conrad described the madness of Captain Marlow as he descended into ‘the heart of darkness’ 100 years ago. Still, some are lured by the prospect of a true adventure and manage to book passage on ferries making the weeks or sometimes months long journey from west to east. Only the most hardy and dedicated manage to complete the trek which involves no privacy, bargaining with ferry captains, and fending for yourself with no access to amenities.
6) Bijagos Islands
Head to nearly untouched pristine beaches on the Bijagos (Bissagos) Islands in Guinea-Bissau to get back to nature. Besides being a natural reserve for all types of wildlife, there are plenty of options for relaxing from strolling on white sand beaches to snorkeling in the clear blue waters surrounding the islands. We should mention that getting a visa for G-B may be a process as the requirements (and government) are prone to frequent changes.
7) Lake Chad
Hire a local with a boat to take you for a sunset cruise on Lake Chad and marvel at the beauty of the landscape, pace of life, and wildlife all around. Still one of the larger inland lakes in Africa, it has been receding due to climate change in recent times. At the convergence of Niger, Nigeria, Cameroon, and Chad, only the latter would be a safe bet at the moment.
8) Swim With Whale Sharks
Mozambique is said to be the best spot to observe these gentle giants in the Indian Ocean. If you’re fearless enough to get dropped off in the middle of the ocean (with a guide of course), then snorkeling or diving with one of the largest marine animals may be the ultimate aquatic rush. Don’t worry, they only feed on plankton and other micro-organisms. Just watch out for that tail!
9) Island Hopping the Sseses
No, that’s not a typo; the Ssese Islands are nearly 50 magical spots in northwest Lake Victoria, Uganda. Relax at one of many beachfront hotels or spend the night drinking and dancing in the sand. Hikes, boat rides, kayaking, and biking await those who feel like being productive. But with such tranquility, we wouldn’t blame you if you didn’t.
10) Lake Malawi
Lake Malawi is a haven for every almost every type of water activity you can think of. Whether you’re into boating, kayaking, snorkeling, diving, wildlife watching, island hopping, or just appreciating the view, there are options abound for everyone. Many visitors have become so enchanted that they opened up foreign-owned establishments dotting the entirety of the lake. Don’t say we didn’t warn you!
11) Surf the Skeleton Coast
Africa is one of the last untapped surf destinations in the world. Namibia’s skeleton coast has little more than its namesake – remains of long abandoned ships, the occasional animal bones, sand dunes, and waves. Consistent wind and waves makes this one of Africa’s best surf spots. Check out Morocco, Liberia, and South Africa if you’re looking for more swells.
12) Dahlak Archipelago
Much like Guinea-Bissau, Eritrea’s Dahlak Archipelago is another virtually flawless chain of islands that are very much off the beaten path. Granted you get a visa for Eritrea, and granted they give you another permit for the islands, you can expect pristine beaches and unparalleled marine life with no other tourists for miles and miles.
13) Raft the Zambezi
One of the penultimate African experiences, rafting the mighty Zambezi is on many travelers’ lists. Known for its epic white water rapids as well as wildlife like hippos and crocodiles, this may not be the best place for beginners as class IV and V rapids are routine.
14) Swim With Great Whites
So you’ve ticked off surfing, white water rafting, and dangled over Victoria Falls. Is there anything else that can quench your thirst for adventure? Why, yes, why not swim with Great White Sharks in South Africa? Increasingly popular, several companies offer excursions off the coast (a natural haven for the apex predators) and dunk you in (in a state of the art steel cage of course).
15) Take A Makora Through The Okavango Delta
Many of us may have gotten up close and personal with animals on safari, but how many have gone on safari in a traditional dugout canoe (Makora)? The delta floods every year, teeming with wildlife and making most of it accessible only by air…or water, which is equally as impressive (and slightly less costly).