Travel Guide 7 West African gems you should add to your bucket list

From ancient cities to islands, stilt villages and untouched animal habitats, West Africa is nothing if not diverse.

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7 West African gems you should add to your bucket list play

7 West African gems you should add to your bucket list

(The Cape Verde Experience)
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West Africa is full of so many hidden gems to add to your bucket list.

From ancient cities to islands, stilt villages and untouched animal habitats, West Africa is nothing if not diverse.

Here are some of the most amazing off the beaten track places to go as soon as you can.

ALSO READ: 7 crazy things to do in Africa before you turn 30

1. Ganvie Lake Village, Republic of Benin

play (Wikimedia Commons)

 

Right in the Republic of Benin lies the largest lake village in Africa. This unique and charming village is home to around 20,000 inhabitants and was formed between the 16th and 17th centuries by the Tofinu people trying to evade capture by the Fon, the prevalent slave catchers of the time who sold people to European traders.

All of its shops, houses and restaurants are built on stilts, making this a surreal sight that should not be missed.

2. Bandiagara Escarpment, Mali

play (Travel Tour Guide)

 

Inhabited by the Dogon people of Mali, this world heritage site is in the Dogon country and was once home to the Tellem and Tolloy peoples. The Tellem and Tolloy's were a cave-dwelling people who made their homes on the sides of cliffs and left behind many cave structures. They would bury their dead above them, high up on the cliffs, to avoid frequent flash floods. Eventually, they were pushed out by the Dogon in the 14th century. Each one has hostels that provide food and lodging. A new highway is expected to be built soon and this will see tourist numbers increase drastically.

3. See the Great Mosque of Djenné in Mali

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Mali showcases some of the best examples of Sudano-Sahelian architecture in the world – one of the best being the Great Mosque of Djenné.

4. Mount Cameroon (Mongo ma Ndemi)

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Mongo ma Ndemi translates to ‘mountain of greatness’ is the highest point in West Africa and the fourth highest point in the continent.

It is also an active volcano and rises from the coast, cuts through a thick rainforest, and culminates into a stark summit that is often dusted with snow. This experience is a great treat for hikers and is also where the Mount Cameroon Race of Hope takes place.

5. Santo Antao, Cape Verde

7 West African gems you should add to your bucket list play

7 West African gems you should add to your bucket list

(The Cape Verde Experience)

 

Santo Antao in Cape Verde offers one of the best hiking experiences in all of West Africa. You’ll find yourself driving through lush green and passing by volcanoes after just a few minutes. This picturesque setting is also ideal for scuba diving and rock climbing adventures.

It’s inaccessible by plane, so you need to take a ferry to get there.

6. Agadez, Niger

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Agadez functions as a centre for trade and culture and is home to the Agadez clay Grand Mosque, built in 1515. Always bustling with activity, it is a meeting point for many tribes and cultures who come together to trade. The area around the market has charming, small streets lined with mud houses and local merchants and artisans selling their goods.

7. Saloum Delta, Senegal

play (Easyvoyage UK)

ALSO READ: 5 things Instagram doesn’t tell you about travel

Lesser known, yet of spectacular beauty, is the area where the Saloum Delta meets the Atlantic Ocean, in southwest Senegal. There’s so much to see here, such as breathtaking lagoons, islands, mangrove forests and gushing rivers. Beautiful unspoiled beaches, gorgeous baobab trees and various monkey species also abound here.

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