UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Africa
Charming Stone Town has such an exotic reputation. It has been a trading post for centuries with shifting powers all putting their mark on this vibrant harbour town. First it was Arabic spice (and slave) traders, then came the Indian merchants, and later the British. Today every safari tourist in the country ends their holiday with a few day on Zanzibar with a mandatory tour of Stone Town. But Stone Town lives up to its reputation. The old town is still magnificent with its maze of narrow alleys and whitewashed traditional houses with finely decorated wooden doors. Some buildings have been done up and turned into boutique hotels or tourists shops, while others look like they haven't been maintained since Freddy Mercury was born.
East of present day Kande have the Tamberma people through centuries protected themselves by living in one family fortresses, so called Tata Houses. The small defense complexes are built with sticks and mud, and are decked out with watch towers which doubles as silos and sleeping chambers. The houses are built very functional with everything within the house, so they could withstand long sieges. Though the people don't have to fear slave traders today, some families still live in the fortresses. In 2004 the Tata Houses were enlisted as a UNESCO Heritage site - Togo's one and only. It's possible for a fee to visit the houses, also the inside and roof. It's a good idea to bring a guide, who can explain the many weird things, like the fetishes which usually decorate the entrance (can be hired at the gate near the Kande).
Even centuries after the fall of the Roman Empire, countless architectural symbols of it's magnificence still scatter the Mediterranean coastline. While everyone knows about the Colosseum in the centre of Rome, not so many know of the UNESCO listed Amphitheatre of El Jem. Built in the 3rd century for up to 60,000 spectators, the amphitheatre is the 3rd largest of it's kind in the world. Even today, the amphitheatre is the centre of town life. Surprisingly, the area is not a touristic as you might expect for such an great site. And being so big, it's easy to escape any of the few tour groups that make it here.
Amazing Victoria Falls is just an impressive sight. A wall of water more than 1700 m wide, plunging more than 100 m down into a gorge. It can be visited from both the Zimbabwean side and the Zambian side. Though most of the front of the falls is one the Zimbabwean side, the Zambian side has its fair share of great view points, some really close to the action. And for views of Victoria Bridge (where the bungy jumping is done from), you can't beat the Boiling Point. In the end of the dry season (April to October) and before the rainy season (November to March) picks up, parts of the Zambezi dry up and it's possible to walk across some streches at the crest of the falls. Through Livingstone Island you can get out to Devil's Pool, a natural rock pool right on the edge of the falls, where brave people have a dip and foolish people slip over. In the flood season (February to May) the falls are enveloped in mist, which can be seen many kilometers away. A visit to the falls at this time will leave you drenched and entranced by the power of nature.
Without actually holding any record, Victoria Falls is considered to be the greatest waterfall on the planet. Though its measurements are impressive - 107 m high, 1737 m wide and gushing out 1746 mÂ³ of water every second - it is beaten in all categories by other falls. Angel Falls is 979 m high, Iguazu is 2700 m wide and 2407 mÂ³ flows over Niagara Falls every second. But Victoira Falls is not about records, it's just one of those places that have to be seen. The Zambezi River flows between Zimbabwe and Zambia acting as the natural border. Wide upriver, but suddenly plunges into a deep narrow chasm at Victoria Falls before it winds its way hidden at the bottom of the gorge. At the end of the rainy season (November to March) the falls are almost obscured in spray, and during dry season (April to October) and right after, large sections are almost dried up. But no matter which season you come, you will be blown away by its sheer size and beauty.