Throw in a sense of being in a place that hasn't changed for centuries, and sometimes millennia, and you get some of the most inspiring, and inspired, destinations on the planet.
CNN Travel has these suggestions for the 25 most amazing places to see when you travel to Africa:
1. The great migration, Tanzania
The migration is a year-round event as the animals move from Tanzania's Ngorongoro Reserve in January, up through the Serengeti around June and hit Kenya's Masai Mara around September, before journeying south again.
2. Table Mountain, South Africa
Table Mountain makes Cape Town, one of the world's best beach cities, also one of the world's most photogenic. Cable car rides are available to the top of the mesa, giving great views, fantastic sunrises/sunsets and a great photo.
3. Djemaa el Fna, Morocco
In the heart of the old city of Marrakech, snake-charmers, henna-painters, storytellers, date-sellers and orange juice vendors set up their stalls in the afternoon. As night falls, the vendors are joined by tribal drummers, ladyboy dancers and mobile restaurateurs selling grilled meats, bread and salad.
4. Sossusvlei Dunes, Namibia
Sossusvlei means "the gathering place of water". Climbing the dunes yields breathtaking views, including the Deadvlei, a ghostly expanse of dried, white clay punctuated by skeletons of ancient camelthorn trees.
5. Mountain gorillas, Rwanda
A close encounter with the mountain gorillas of the Rwandan rainforest will stay with you for a lifetime. At an elevation of more than 6,000 feet, the Nyungwe National Park is an isolated region, covering more than 386 square miles across southwest Rwanda.
6. Victoria Falls, Zambia and Zimbabwe
One of the seven natural wonders of the world, and one of the world's most majestic water spectacles, enjoy the spray from Victoria Falls 108-meter high cascade, recorded flowing at 12,800 cubic meters per second - double that of Niagara's highest flow.
7. Spitzkoppe, Namibia
The Spitzkoppe is a grouping of granite peaks in Namibia's Namib Desert, with the highest peak hitting nearly 1,800 meters This place is heaven for climbers, geologists, stargazers and watchers of weaver birds.
Spitzkoppe, Namibia Pic: Pexels
8. Sahara Dunes, Morocco
The most user-friendly part of the Sahara is accessible from the northern edge of Morocco. Trek with Berbers from the town of Zagoura, or camp out in Tazzarine. The foot of the Merzouga Dunes is the ultimate location for gazing at stars, totally free of light pollution.
9. Pyramids of Giza, Egypt
The most famous of the structures at Giza, near Cairo, the Pyramid of King Cheops was built around 2650 BC from 2.5 million blocks of limestone. Its sides are oriented exactly to the north, south, east and west.
10. Nyika Plateau National Park, Malawi
Nyika is the largest national park in Malawi, with a plateau reaching Lake Malawi, the eastern border of the plateau forms the wall of the Great Rift Valley. The great domes of hills have gentle slopes, making Nyika perfect for trekking and mountain biking.
Nyika Plateau National Park, Malawi Pic: Pexels
11. Makgadikgadi Pans, Botswana
This vast area of dried-up salt pans in the Kalahari Desert is a forbidding landscape formed by a huge lake that dried up millennia ago.
It can transform in an instant during winter, with lush grass, bringing a stampede of wildlife to break the silence, including zebra, wildebeest and flamingos.
12. Draa Valley, Morocco
Between the Atlas Mountains and the dunes of the Sahara lies the Draa, a mass of date plantations punctuated by kasbahs made of red earth rising against the sky. Allow five hours to reach the Draa from Marrakech via a spectacular route across the Atlas Mountains.
13. Sphinx, Egypt
The body of a lion with a human head is 70 meters long and 20 meters high. Although the Sphinx has been thought of as female, many scholars believe the face is that of King Chefren.
14. Mount Mulanje, Malawi
At around 3,000 meters, the Mulanje Massif dwarfs the lush land that surrounds it. The mountain is distinguished by giant basins of rock and narrow gullies cut by fast-flowing streams. Expect to encounter monkeys, hares, voles and a carpet of wildflowers.
15. Riding safari, Kenya
Travelers can gallof wildflowerse stripey beasts in the Masai Mara, covering up to 100 kilometers in a week.
16. Wonders of the Nile, Egypt
A cruise down the Egyptian Nile reveals relics of one of the world's most ancient civilizations. The high point is the Valley of the Kings, with its monumental statues, and the magnificent Kom Ombo Temple, north of Aswan on the east bank.
17. Flamingos, Kenya
Lake Nakuru National Park is home to 1 million resident flamingos. This lake has become famous for the greatest bird spectacle in the world, with swathes of vibrant pink filling the lake and sky.
18. Lower Zambezi, Zambia
Canoeing safaris in the Lower Zambezi offer sightings of hippos, elephants and other animals drinking from the rivers and tributaries around camp.
19. Bazaruto Archipelago, Mozambique
The 10-minute helicopter ride across the Bazaruto Archipelago to the Azura Retreats lodge on Benguerra Island, this award-winning boutique hotel set on a remote desert island is set within a Marine National Park, with views of whales, dolphins and dugong.
Bazaruto Archipelago, Mozambique Pic: Pexels
20. Nxia Pan National Park, Botswana
The Nxai Pan park is great for viewing the vast, salt-rich pans that characterize the Kalahari and is also known for lion, leopard and cheetah and herds of giraffe.
21. Fish River Canyon, Namibia
Some 500 meters deep and more than 160 kilometers long, this great rift is second only to the United States' Grand Canyon in size, and during the dry season is characterized by beautiful turquoise pools of flowing water.
Located in the valley between the dramatic slopes of Mount Kenya and the rolling peaks of the Aberdare Mountains, Solio Reserve is home to around 250 black and white rhinos.
23. Nyiragongo Volcano, Virunga National Park, Democratic Republic of Congo
A whopping 2 kilometers wide and containing a lava lake, Nyiragongo Volcano is one of the most active volcanoes, with an eruption in 2002 displacing half a million people.
Nyiragongo Volcano Pic: Pexels
24. Kilimanjaro, Tanzania
Mount Kilimanjaro, at 5,895 meters, is Africa's highest peak -- and an item on thousands of bucket lists. It is a "Sky island," creating a varied and dramatic natural habitat.
25. Lake Malawi, Malawi
Lake Malawi, one of the largest lakes in the world. The lake has more tropical fish than any lake in the world and the freshwater diving is great.
The biodiversity has been recognized by UNESCO, which has made Lake Malawi National Park, the world's first freshwater park, a World Heritage Site.