Bucket List Travel: Five Once-in-a-lifetime African Adventures

Tanzania

Africa offers more once-in-a-lifetime bucket list opportunities than any continent on earth.

From the shark-rich waters of South Africa’s Western Cape, to the volcanic jungles of Rwanda, the diverse geography will satisfy even the most adventurous traveler.

Witness the Great Migration (Tanzania to Kenya)

Tanzania

Africa’s Great Migration is the most awe-inspiring wildlife show on earth. Every year, nearly one-and-a-half million wildebeest, a quarter million zebra, and a few lost gazelle trek en masse from the Serengeti in Tanzania to Kenya’s Masai Mara. The 1,200-mile journey is spurred solely by instinct — a drive to find food and water — and at least ten percent of the creatures fall prey to crocodiles, lions, and hyena along the way. Given the continent’s notoriously complex travel logistics, a guided tour — like Kensington Tour’s 7-day Serengeti Migration Safari — is the best way to experience the show.

Related: Best Bucket List Trips in the United States

Dive with Great White Sharks (Cape Town, South Africa)

Dive with Great White Sharks

The unique geography at the tip of the African continent provides a rich feeding ground for marine life, in particular, whales and great white sharks. This also makes it one of the best places in the world for shark diving. White Shark Diving Company offers single and multi-day tours from Cape Town to the fishing town of Gansbaai on South Africa’s Western Cape. No previous dive experience is required.

Trek with Endangered Mountain Gorillas (Rwanda)

Trek with Endangered Mountain Gorillas

Mountain Gorillas share 98% of our DNA so to get up close with a wild creature so like us is a truly amazing experience. The Gorilla Safari Company provides guided, multi-day treks through Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park in search of the endangered animals. Only 750 exist in the wild, forcing the park to institute a strict 80-visitor limit per day. Witnessing the species in their natural habitat will quite literally be a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Jump the World’s Highest Bridge Bungee (South Africa’s Garden Route)

Bloukrans Bridge

For adrenalin junkies, bungee jumping is likely topped only by skydiving on their bucket list. South Africa’s Garden Route is home to Bloukrans Bridge — known as “the world’s highest commercial bridge bungee.” If ticking boxes like the “highest,” “longest,” “fastest,” etc. is your thing, this is one more to add to the list. The 709-foot drop is intense, but consider that a 96-year-old man did it in 2010.

Summit Mount Kilimanjaro (Tanzania)

Summit Mount Kilimanjaro

As long as you’re checking off boxes, climbing Mount Kilimanjaro is a worthy bucket list goal. At more than 19,300 feet, it’s Africa’s highest peak and sees plenty of tourist foot traffic. It’s also one of the world’s easiest summits to tackle and many folks are surprised to find themselves sharing the trails with senior citizens. It’s the only trip on this list that doesn’t require a guided tour. Although, like everything in Africa, it’s much, much easier with one. Climb Mount Kilimanjaro has guided thousands of trekkers since 2001 and they literally wrote the definitive book on the subject