5 Hidden Gems In West Africa


By Joburg Post

West Africa has prestige and soul. Home to African landscapes of our imaginations and inhabited by an astonishing diversity of traditional people, this is Africa as we know it and as it once was, with aceient buildings standing tall and a city buzz that inspires.

Abidjan


Abidjan is a city on the southern Atlantic coast of Côte d'Ivoire. It's the country’s major urban center, with skyscrapers rising above the Ébrié Lagoon. Modern landmarks include La Pyramide, a ziggurat-like building. St. Paul's Cathedral is a swooping structure tethered to a massive cross. Artwork, cultural relics and handicrafts are on display at Le Musée des Civilisations de Côte d'Ivoire.

A tall minaret rises from the blue-domed Grand Mosque. To the south, the waterside suburb of Treichville has a large market selling African goods. East of the city are the beach resorts of Grand-Bassam, with its French colonial buildings, and Assinie, backed by palm trees. Nearby, the Ehotilé Islands National Park is home to bat colonies and manatees. North of Abidjan's central business district, Banco National Park is a rainforest preserve crossed by trails.

Banco National Park

Banjul 


Banjul is the capital city of the Gambia, a small West African country bordered by Senegal. The city sits on an island where the Gambia River meets the Atlantic Ocean. Its colonial buildings include the National Museum, dedicated to Gambian culture and history. Vendors at the lively Albert Market sell colorful textiles and local produce. The city's main entrance is marked by the immense, columned Arch 22 gateway.



To the south, at the mouth of the river, the mangroves and lagoons of Tanbi Wetlands National Park are known for fishing and boating. The city is also a gateway for trips to Abuko Nature Reserve, a protected area sheltering Nile crocodiles, red colobus monkeys and more than 200 bird species. To the west, on the Atlantic coast, Tanji Bird Reserve is a haven for turtles and nesting seabirds. Farther north, beaches run from Bakau to Kololi. Sandy beaches define Niumi National Park's secluded Jinack Island, north of the city.


To the south, at the mouth of the river, the mangroves and lagoons of Tanbi Wetlands National Park are known for fishing and boating. The city is also a gateway for trips to Abuko Nature Reserve, a protected area sheltering Nile crocodiles, red colobus monkeys and more than 200 bird species. To the west, on the Atlantic coast, Tanji Bird Reserve is a haven for turtles and nesting seabirds. Farther north, beaches run from Bakau to Kololi. Sandy beaches define Niumi National Park's secluded Jinack Island, north of the city.

Dakar

The capital of Senegal, it is an Atlantic port on the Cap-Vert peninsula. Its traditional Médina quarter is home to the Grande Mosquée, marked by a towering minaret. The Musée Théodore Monod displays cultural artifacts including clothing, drums, carvings and tools. The city’s vibrant nightlife is inspired by the local mbalax music.

Dakar At Night

Dakar’s Place de l'Indépendance is a central hub overlooked by grand colonial buildings. The Village des Arts houses artists’ workshops and a gallery. The Marché des HLM market specializes in brightly colored fabrics, and has on-site tailors. Colonial buildings and the Maison des Esclaves museum on the quiet harbor island of Île de Gorée trace the history of the African slave trade. Surfing is possible at northern beaches like Yoff, and diving around the offshore Île de Ngor island. Northeast of the city, Lake Retba (or Lac Rose) is known for its pink-tinted water.

The Village des

Accra

Accra is the capital of Ghana, on the Atlantic coast of West Africa. Kwame Nkrumah Memorial Park honors Ghana’s first president, who helped lead the country to independence. The park contains Nkrumah’s mausoleum and a museum charting his life. Makola Market is the city’s vast, colorful bazaar. Popular seafront spots Labadi Beach and Kokrobite Beach offer golden sand and high-energy nightlife.



The Eternal Flame of African Liberation, first lit by Nkrumah, stands in Black Star Square, home to the Independence Arch and other monuments to Ghana's freedom. The National Museum celebrates Ghanaian culture. Ussher Fort, a 17th-century Dutch stronghold on the coast, now documents the history of slavery in Ghana. James Town Lighthouse offers panoramic views over the sea and city. The W.E.B. Du Bois Memorial Centre for Pan-African Culture includes the civil rights activist's former home and tomb, plus a research center. The peaceful Aburi Botanical Garden has trails through tall palms. Accra's malls draw shoppers from across Ghana.



Timbuktu 

Timbuktu is an ancient city in Mali, situated 20 km north of the Niger River. For some historical learning you could indulge in the ancestral beauty of this city. 


Starting out as a seasonal settlement, Timbuktu became a permanent settlement early in the 12th century. After a shift in trading routes, Timbuktu flourished from the trade in salt, gold, ivory and slaves. It became part of the Mali Empire early in the 14th century. In the first half of the 15th century, the Tuareg tribes took control of the city for a short period until the expanding Songhai Empire absorbed the city in 1468. A Moroccan army defeated the Songhai in 1591 and made Timbuktu, rather than Gao, their capital. The invaders established a new ruling class, the Arma, who after 1612 became virtually independent of Morocco. However, the golden age of the city, during which it was a major learning and cultural centre of the Mali Empire, was over, and it entered a long period of decline. Different tribes governed until the French took over in 1893, a situation that lasted until it became part of the current Republic of Mali in 1960. Learn more about the heritage and history by visiting this ancient city.


-JP



Cancel

    Most Read