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Africa is best described as a home of natural wonders. It currently holds the number one wonder of all the ancient wonders of the world i.e. The Great Pyramid of Giza in Cairo, Egypt.

The seven natural wonders of Africa were declared on the 11th of February in the year 2013. Experts from around the world gathered in Arusha, Tanzania, and voted for only seven out of many natural wonders that Africa has to offer. The following are the seven natural wonders of Africa;


1. Mount Kilimanjaro


Photo by Yoad Shejtman

Kilimanjaro is a dormant volcanic mountain (mountain that is currently dormant but will erupt again). It is located at the Kilimanjaro Region, in the north-eastern part of Tanzania. Kilimanjaro is a linguistic blend of the words: kilima and njaro. Kilima is a swahili word which means “mountain” and Njaro is a Chagga word which means “whiteness”. Mount Kilimanjaro is made up of three cones: Kibo (the summit), Shira and Mawenzi. Shira and Mawenzi are extinct while Kibo is dormant and anticipated to erupt again.

Mount Kilimanjaro is estimated to be 3 million years old. It is believed to have last erupted between 150,000 and 200,000 years ago. Hans Meyers and Ludwig Partscheller goes down on history as the first people to reach the peak of Mount Kilimanjaro on the 6th of October in the year 1889.

Why is Mount Kilimanjaro a wonder?

Mount Kilimanjaro is the highest mountain in Africa, standing as tall as 5,895 meters (19,341 feet) above sea level. It is also the tallest free-standing mountain in the world i.e. it is not a part of any mountain range.


2. Okavango Delta

Okavango Delta is a river delta. A river delta is a landform that is created by the deposition of residues carried by a river as it flows from the mouth of the river to slower-moving or stagnant water. It is located at the basin of the Kalahari desert, in the north-western part of Botswana. The Okavango Delta is formed when the Okavango rivers, from the Angolan highlands, drift into the Kalahari desert.  


Photo by Wynand Uys

Why is Okavango Delta a wonder?

Most deltas spread in an irregular way at the mouth of a river as they empty into the sea or other water bodies. The okavango delta is an exception in that it miraculously appears in a dry sand basin of a landlocked country (Botswana). The Okavango Delta is the largest inland delta in the world. It is 15,000 square kilometers during dry seasons and extends to 22,000 square kilometers during wet seasons. 


3. The Nile River


Nile Falls

The Nile river is a river flowing into the Mediterranean sea. The Nile is so long that it covers eleven African countries: Egypt, Eritrea, Republic of Sudan, Democratic Republic of Congo, South Sudan, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Burundi, Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania.

The Nile river is said to originate from lake Victoria. This statement has always been opposed due to the fact that lake Victoria has a number of important rivers that flow into it: the river Mara, Bukora, Katonga, Kagera,Yala and Nyado.

The Nile river has two main tributaries: Blue Nile and White Nile. The white Nile starts from lake Victoria and ends up in the northern part of Khartoum (the capital of Sudan) where it meets with the blue Nile. The blue Nile originates from the Tana river in Ethiopia. The Nile river emerges from Sudan and extends all the way to Egypt where it empties water into the Mediterranean sea.

The Nile river

Why is the Nile river a wonder?

The Nile river is the longest river in the world with a staggering length of 6,650 kilometers (4,132 miles). It is also the only river that flows through eleven countries outranking the Danube river which covers ten countries.


4. The Sahara Desert

The word Sahara comes from an Arabic word sa’hra which means “desert”. Sahara is a huge hot desert located in the north of Africa. It covers eleven countries including: Egypt, Morocco, Chad, Algeria, Mali, Libya, Mauritius, Tunisia, Sudan, Niger and West Sahara.

The extensive Sahara desert was once covered by diverse vegetation and received plenty of rainfall in a period known as “The African Humid Period”. This was the period of time, 14,000 years ago, when Northern Africa was wetter than today. The cause of the changes in the overall conditions of Sahara has long been a hot topic among scientists all over the world. Some scientists believe that it was caused by the changes in the Earth’s orbit around the Sun, while others believe it to have been caused by different human activities.

The Sahara Desert

Why is The Sahara Desert a wonder?

The Sahara desert is the largest hot desert in the world covering a total area of 9 million square kilometers. It is also the third largest desert overall after the Antarctica and Arctic deserts respectively. It has a variety of land features, the famous one being its sand dunes that can reach as high as 183 meters.


5. Ngorongoro Crater

The Ngorongoro crater is a huge and hollow land structure located in the Northern part of Arusha in Tanzania. It is believed to have been formed some 2.5 million years ago when an enormous active volcano erupted and collapsed on itself, 610 meters deep from the ground. This explosion created a beautiful caldera with an area of about 264 square kilometers.

The Ngorongoro crater is characterized by vast vegetation cover and water bodies. There are over 55 lions, 30 black rhinos, 300 elephants, 3,000 gazelles and elands, 6,000 black-spotted hyenas, 4,000zebras and 7,000 wild beasts living in the crater.

The major water source is the Ngoitokitok spring. There is a large lake in the crater known as “Magadi” which has high concentrations of salt hence unsuitable for both human and animal consumption.

Ngorongoro Crater

Why is Ngorongoro Crater a wonder?

Ngorongoro crater is the largest intact volcanic caldera in the world and it hosts one of the largest annual animal migration. It has one of the most fertile and substantial grazing grounds in Africa. The Ngorongoro crater is nicknamed as “The Garden of Eden,” due to its mind blowing beauty.


6. Serengeti Migration

Serengeti is a word derived from the Maasai language which means “endless plains“. The Serengeti is a huge ecosystem located in the North of Tanzania and extends all the way to the South-western part of Kenya. Serengeti is 14,750 square kilometers in size. It includes the Serengeti National Park and many other game reserves and conservation areas governed by both countries.

The migration begins in the Ngorongoro conservation area, through the Serengeti National Park and towards the Masai Mara reserves in Kenya. The migration is usually active for 9 months in Tanzania. It is also observed to be most active for 3 months in Kenya. The migrating animals i.e. Wild Beasts, Gazelles, Elands and Impalas, trek over 2, 896 kilometers in search of pasture and rainfall.

The Serengeti Migration

Why is Serengeti a wonder?

The Serengeti ecosystem hosts an annual migration of over 1.5 million wild beasts, hundreds of thousands of Zebras and a smaller number of Gazelles, Elands and Impalas. It is the second largest terrestrial mammal migration in the world and among the ten natural travel wonders of the world.


7. Red Sea Reef

The Red sea is an inlet of seawater into the Indian ocean located between the Asian and the African continents. There are several theories surrounding the origin of its mysterious name. The most famed theory is that it contains a bacteria called Trichodesmium erythraeum that turns the color of the water to reddish brown. The Bab el-Mandeb strait together with the gulf of Aden connects the Red Sea to the Indian ocean.

The Red Sea has a total area of about 438 square kilometers and has a maximum depth of 3,040 meters. The Red Sea ecosystem is home to 1,000 species of invertebrates and 200 species of both soft and hard coral reefs. A Reef can either be a rock, sand, coral (polyps) or any other similar material that lies below the surface of water.

The Red Sea Reef

Why is the Red Sea Reef a wonder?

A lot of factors have been considered to conclude the Red Sea Reef as one of the seven wonders of Africa. These factors include: its vast number of natural resources, quantity of sea life, it is the northmost tropical sea in the world, it contains the world’s hottest seawater, it is one of the most heavily travelled waterways on earth just to mention a few.


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