Get To Know These 7 African Islands You’ve Probably Never Heard Of
By Kelsey Marie
Did you know that there are 54 countries in Africa? If you’re curious about traveling the continent, I assure you there is a wide array of destinations to suit every type of traveler.
Each region of Africa is unique in food, culture, and scenery. With a continent so large, it’s easy to not be aware of all it has to offer. In fact, many don’t know that there are islands in Africa.
Here are 7 African islands you’ve probably never heard of:
The smallest of the major seven Canary Islands, El Hierro is filled with natural attractions.
“Instead of beaches and theme park rides, you get mist-shrouded moonscapes and rehabilitation centers for the island’s famous giant lizards,” says travel writer Joe Crawley.
He also goes on to tell Telegraph, “El Hierro has an almost magical spirit that you can feel along the ancient trails of El Golfo, amidst the swells of mist that stroke the trusted Juniper trees of El Sabinar, and on the petrified rivers of lava that lie on the rippled volcanic plains of the interior like giant tubes of melted licorice.”
Ibo is located off northern Mozambique. This island was once a hub of Portugal’s colonial administration. The town on the island was abandoned by the Portuguese in 1974 but is now being renovated. The old buildings are being turned into artists’ studios, boutique hotels, and small shops.
Another gem of Mozambique, Bazaruto Archipelago is located just twenty miles off the country’s southern coast. It is part of the Bazaruto National Park and has underwater life so rich that it has been referred to as “the aquarium”.
The waters are crystal clear and there is plenty of wildlife to spot such as humpback whales, whale sharks, and Zambezi sharks.
Djerba is the largest island of North Africa and is located off the coast of Tunisia. It is rumored that Djerba is where Odysseus was stranded in the land of lotus-eaters in Homer’s The Odyssey.
Tourists visit Houmit Souk, the largest city in Djerba where the Borj El Kebir castle is located.
La Gomera is part of the Canary Island and has beautiful, lush scenery. Travel to La Gomera to experience stunning sunsets, mountain views, and delicious food made by locals.
Crawley speaks of the island saying, “Monumental landscapes are the main reason for choosing La Gomera. The island is shaped like a splayed orange, with immense valleys separating each segment.”
There are no international flights to this island so it is advised to island-hop by ferry or plane.
This island is located off the coast of Tanzania and is accessible via a half-hour flight from Zanzibar. Pemba has white sand beaches and is perfect for snorkeling.
The annual whale migration happens in July and August. During this time, visitors will be able to spot these majestical creatures.
“Here, you’ll find no merchants selling tourist clobber on the beach; you’ll see not a speck of the rubbish that lines mainland roads and beaches as you cycle or motor through quiet villages. For that matter, you’ll see no advertisements — just calm, rural life,” says travel writer Sally Peck.
São Tomé and Príncipe
These two islands are located in the Gulf of Guinea and about 150 miles off the coast of Gabon, West Africa. São Tomé and Príncipe were voted one of the 20 destinations to visit in 2019 by Telegraph Travel.
Tourism is still very new to the islands and as a result, the locals are extremely welcoming and warmhearted.
“Few people have heard of São Tomé and Príncipe, let alone visited it — and that’s why you should go in 2019 before mainstream operators and budget airlines alter its unique character,” says Andrew Purvis, travel writer.
Kelsey-Marie is an NYC girl who currently lives in Johannesburg, South Africa. You can keep up with her on Instagram at @kelseydashmarie