The Magazine of Ethiopian Airlines
Feature

Not for the Faint of Heart

Sure, Africa is studded with world-class safari destinations, but the continent’s adventures go far beyond those that can be enjoyed from the back seat of a Land Cruiser. From towering sand dunes and vibrant sulfur fields to crystal-blue waters teeming with life, Africa abounds with a diversity of natural beauty that invites exploration. Here, we choose just a few of our top picks for how to get your heart pumping while taking in the terrain.


GAMBARINI GIANANDREA / SHUTTERSTOCK

Namibian Dunes

The Namib Desert’s awe-striking “sand sea” dates back roughly 5 million years — making its desolate dunes among the world’s oldest. Daring travelers can not only climb and walk along the dunes — such as Namibia’s 170-meter-tall “Dune 45,” shown here — but also “sandboard” down from their peaks, either atop a standard snowboard or headfirst along a specially crafted belly board. Pyramidal star dunes such as this one result when three or more wind directions interact.



SAP IBRAHIM / SHUTTERSTOCK

Mount Kilimanjaro

As the highest mountain in Africa, Kilimanjaro screams adventure to the climbing-inclined. Roughly 35,000 hikers attempt the ascent each year, crossing through five separate ecosystems as they go. Those doing so on the fast routes typically reach the summit within 4-5 days, but if you want a chance to break the record, you’ll have to move a bit more quickly; Swiss-Ecuadorian mountain guide Karl Egloff currently lays claim to the fastest ascent, having ran to the top and back in 6 hours and 42 minutes in 2014.



GRANT M HENDERSON / SHUTTERSTOCK

Gansbaai Greats

Not far from the wine world of South Africa lies a span of ocean teeming with great white sharks — the largest predatory fish on earth. Known as “Shark Alley,” this channel between the town of Gansbaai and Dyer Island — a roughly 2-hour drive from Cape Town — plays home to the densest population of great whites in the world. Those feeling extra fearless can even get within a fin’s reach of the toothy terrors, plunging into the cold waters in an underwater cage from which to have a close encounter.



EINAT KLEIN PHOTOGRAPHY / SHUTTERSTOCK

Danakil Depression

Named the “cruelest place on earth” by National Geographic, the Danakil Depression in northeastern Ethiopia boasts an average annual temperature of 34 degrees Celsius (and a peak of close to 50 degrees in summer). From wandering through an extraterrestrial-like environment of salt deposits to hiking Erta Ale, the active, lava-filled volcanic crater, the Danakil includes a variety of terrain in which the risk taker can delight; the dallol sulfur fields shown here present a bubbling explosion of color — the result of underground chemical reactions.