10 Spectacular African UNESCO Sites

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When the world community regards a cultural or natural conserved site or location as having outstanding and unique universal value it can be declared a World Heritage Site. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has officially declared 119 World Heritage Sites in Africa. Here is a selection of 10 spectacular UNESCO sites in Africa.

These sites are all impressive as they display either a particular cultural or natural uniqueness and have profound educational, scientific or cultural significance.

Aldabra Atoll - Seychelles

03fccc6565c452935361ad2b2796cbdbImage: indian-ocean.com

The atoll is comprised of four large coral islands which enclose a shallow lagoon; the group of islands is itself surrounded by a coral reef. Due to difficulties of access and the atoll's isolation, Aldabra has been protected from human influence and thus retains some 152,000 giant tortoises, the world's largest population of this reptile.

More info: unesco.org

Amphitheatre of El Jem - Tunisia

Amphitheatre of El Jem 5Image: wunderpix.com

The impressive ruins of the largest colosseum in North Africa, a huge amphitheatre which could hold up to 35,000 spectators, are found in the small village of El Jem. This 3rd-century monument illustrates the grandeur and extent of Imperial Rome.

More info: unesco.org

Cape Floral Region Protected Areas - South Africa

issues 2157 damiendutoit largeImage: africaein.net

A serial site – in Cape Province, South Africa – made up of eight protected areas, covering 553,000 ha, the Cape Floral Region is one of the richest areas for plants in the world. Home to nearly 20% of Africa's flora. The site displays outstanding ecological and biological processes associated with the Fynbos vegetation, which is unique to the Cape Floral Region.

More info: unesco.org

Kilimanjaro National Park - Tanzania

KilimanjaroImage: tanzaniasafariprivatetours.com

At 5,895 m, Kilimanjaro is the highest point in Africa. This volcanic massif stands in splendid isolation above the surrounding plains, with its snowy peak looming over the Savannah. The mountain is encircled by mountain forest. Numerous mammals, many of them endangered species, live in the park.

More info: unesco.org

Ksar of Ait-Ben-Haddou - Morocco

Kasbah Ait Ben HaddouImage: wikimedia.org

The ksar, a group of earthen buildings surrounded by high walls, is a traditional pre-Saharan habitat. The houses crowd together within the defensive walls, which are reinforced by corner towers. Ait-Ben-Haddou, in Ouarzazate province, is a striking example of the architecture of southern Morocco.

More info: unesco.org

Mosi-oa-Tunya / Victoria Falls - Zambia & Zimbabwe

jlkImage: nomadtours.co.za

These are among the most spectacular waterfalls in the world. The Zambezi River, which is more than 2 km wide at this point, plunges noisily down a series of basalt gorges and raises an iridescent mist that can be seen more than 20 km away.

More info: unesco.org

Rock-Hewn Churches, Lalibela - Ethiopia

lalibela 2Image: ethiopia.travel

The 11 medieval monolithic cave churches of this 13th-century 'New Jerusalem' are situated in a mountainous region in the heart of Ethiopia near a traditional village with circular-shaped dwellings. Lalibela is a high place of Ethiopian Christianity, still today a place of pilgrimage and devotion.

More info: unesco.org

Salonga National Park - Democratic Rep. of Congo

site 0280 0002Image: lifebeyondtourism.org

Salonga National Park is Africa's largest tropical rain forest reserve. Situated at the heart of the central basin of the Congo river, the park is very isolated and accessible only by water. It is the habitat of many endemic endangered species, such as the dwarf chimpanzee, the Congo peacock, the forest elephant and the African slender-snouted or 'false' crocodile.

More info: unesco.org

The Pyramid Fields from Giza to Dahshur - Egypt

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The capital of the Old Kingdom of Egypt has some extraordinary funerary monuments, including rock tombs, ornate mastabas, temples and pyramids. In ancient times, the site was considered one of the Seven Wonders of the World.

More info: unesco.org

Twyfelfontein or /Ui-//aes - Namibia

twyfelfontein1Image: mobembotours.com

Twyfelfontein or /Ui-//aes has one of the largest concentrations of rock engravings in Africa. Most of these well-preserved engravings represent rhinoceros, . The site also includes six painted elephant, ostrich and giraffe, as well as drawings of human and animal footprints rock shelters with motifs of human figures in red ochre.

More info: unesco.org

Let us know in the comments below if you have visited any of these spectacular locations in Africa or give suggestions for UNESCO sites we should have included.

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Fabian Balewa

Freelance gaming and eSports blogger. Loves RTS, RPG, MMO and FPS games. When not writing, he can be found planning a trip or traveling, coffee mug in hand.

twitter.com/FabianBalewa

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