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Treasures of the World: Sub-Saharan Africa
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1.

Ngorongoro Conservation Area, Tanzania: Noah’s Crater

A large permanent concentration of wild animals can be found in the huge and perfect crater of Ngorongoro. Nearby, the crater of Empakaai, filled by a deep lake, and the active volcano of Oldonyo Lenga can be seen. Excavations carried out in the Olduvai Gorge, not far from there, have resulted in the discovery of one of humankind's more distant hominid ancestors.
Online
2017; 1997
2.

Robben Island, South Africa

Robben Island was used at various times between the 17th and 20th centuries as a prison, a hospital for socially unacceptable groups and a military base. Its buildings, particularly those of the late 20th century such as the maximum security prison for political prisoners, witness the triumph of democracy and freedom over oppression and racism.
Online
2017; 2001
3.

Fasil Ghebbi, Ethiopia: A Fortress-Camp

In the 16th and 17th centuries, the fortress-city of Fasil Ghebbi was the residence of the Ethiopian emperor Fasilides and his successors. Enclosed by approximately 1,000 yards of wall, the city contains palaces, churches, monasteries and unique public and private buildings marked by Hindu and Arab influences and subsequently transformed by the Baroque style brought to Gondar by the Jesuit missionaries.
Online
2017; 2003
4.

Accra, Ghana: Where Gold and People Were Shipped Away

The remains of fortified trading-posts, erected between 1482 and 1786, can still be seen along the coast of Ghana between Keta and Beyin. They were links in the trade routes established by the Portuguese in many areas of the world during their era of great maritime exploration.
Online
2017; 2003
5.

Mount Kilimanjaro, Tanzania: Throne of the White Snake

The highest point in Africa, Kilimanjaro is a volcanic massif nearly 20,000 feet high which stands, isolated, above the surrounding plains with its snowy peak looming over the savannah. The mountain is encircled by mountain forest, and numerous mammals, many of which are endangered, live in the park.
Online
2017; 1997
6.

Aïr and Ténére, Niger: A Wilderness of Sand and Rock

This is the largest protected area in Africa, covering some 19 million acres. The area considered as a protected sanctuary is only one-sixth of the total area. It includes the volcanic rock mass of the Aïr, a small Sahelian pocket, isolated as regards its climate and flora and fauna in the Saharan desert of Ténéré. The reserve boasts an outstanding variety of landscapes, plant species and wild animals.
Online
2017; 2000
7.

Tsodilo, Botswana: The Whispering Rocks of the Kalahari

With one of the highest concentrations of rock art in the world, Tsodilo has been called the ''Louvre of the Desert.'' Over 4,500 paintings are preserved in an area of only 4 square miles of the Kalahari Desert. The archaeological record of the area gives a chronological account of human activities and environmental changes over at least 100,000 years. Local communities in this hostile environment respect Tsodilo as a place of worship frequented by ancestral spirits.
Online
2017; 2008
8.

Abomey, Benin: The Kingdom of the Slave Traders

From 1625 to 1900, twelve kings succeeded one another at the head of the powerful Kingdom of Abomey. With the exception of King Akaba, who used a separate enclosure, they each had their palaces built within the same cob-wall area, in keeping with previous palaces as regards the use of space and materials. The royal palaces of Abomey are a unique reminder of this vanished kingdom.
Online
2017; 2001
9.

Taï National Park, Ivory Coast: The Last Jungle

This park is one of the last important remnants of the primary tropical forest of West Africa. Its rich natural flora and threatened mammal species, such as the pygmy hippopotamus and 11 species of monkeys, are of great scientific interest.
Online
2017; 1997
10.

Gorée, Senegal: The Slave Island

Off the coast of Senegal, facing Dakar, Gorée was, from the 15th to the 19th century, the largest slave trading center on the African coast. Ruled, in succession, by Portuguese, Dutch, English and French powers, its architecture is characterized by the contrast between the dark slave quarters and the elegant houses of the slave traders. Today it continues to serve as a reminder of human exploitation and as a sanctuary for reconciliation.
Online
2017; 1997
11.

Djenné, Mali: City of Clay

Inhabited since 250 B.C., Djenné developed into a market center and a link in the trans-Saharan gold trade. In the 15th and 16th centuries, it became one of the spiritual centers for the dissemination of Islam. Its traditional houses, of which close to 2,000 have survived, are built on hillocks (toguere) and adapted to the environment of seasonal floods.
Online
2017; 1997
12.

Zanzibar, Tanzania: The Sultan’s Island Pearl

The Stone Town of Zanzibar is a fine example of the Swahili coastal trading towns of East Africa. It retains its urban fabric and townscape virtually intact and contains many fine buildings that reflect its particular culture, which has brought together and homogenized disparate elements of the cultures of Africa, the Arab region, India, and Europe over more than a millennium.
Online
2017; 2002
13.

Drakensberg National Park, South Africa: uKhahlamba Dragons, Rainmakers, and the Power of the Gods

The Maloti-Drakensberg Park is a transboundary site composed of the uKhahlamba Drakensberg National Park in South Africa and the Sehlathebe National Park in Lesotho. The site has exceptional natural beauty in its soaring basaltic buttresses, incisive dramatic cutbacks, and golden sandstone ramparts as well as visually spectacular sculptured arches, caves, cliffs, pillars and rock pools. The site's diversity of habitats protects a high level of endemic and globally important plants. The site harbors endangered species such as the Cape vulture and the bearded vulture. Lesotho’s Sehlabathebe National Park also harbors the Maloti minnow, a critically endangered fish species only found in this park. This spectacular natural site contains many caves and rock-shelters with the largest and m [...]
Online
2017; 2009
14.

Serengeti National Park, Tanzania: Land of the Creation

The vast plains of the Serengeti comprise nearly 6,000 square miles of savannah. The annual migration to permanent water holes of vast herds of herbivores (wildebeest, gazelles and zebras), followed by their predators, is one of the most impressive natural events in the world.
Online
2017; 1997
15.

Timbuktu, Mali: The Adventure of Arrival

Home of the prestigious Koranic Sankore University and other madrasas, Timbuktu was, during the 15th and 16th centuries, an intellectual and spiritual capital and a center for the expansion of Islam throughout Africa. Its three great mosques, the Djingareyber, Sankore and Sidi Yahia, speak of Timbuktu's Golden Age. Although restored in the 16th century, these monuments are today threatened by the encroachment of sand.
Online
2017; 1997
16.

The Mystery of the Great Zimbabwe Ruins, Zimbabwe

The ruins of Great Zimbabwe—according to an age-old legend, the capital of the Queen of Sheba—are a unique testimony to the Bantu civilization of the Shona between the 11th and 15th centuries. This city, covering an area of nearly 200 acres, was an important trading center, renowned since the Middle Ages.
Online
2017; 2000
17.

Bandiagara, Mali: Land of the Dogon

These cliffs protect architectural structures of great beauty (houses, granaries, altars, sanctuaries and toguna—meeting places) which have been for centuries the soul of traditional, secular Dogon culture. The Bandiagara plateau is one of the most impressive geological and landscape features in West Africa.
Online
2017; 1997
18.

Aksum, Ethiopia: Of the Glory of Kings

The ruins of the ancient city of Aksum are found close to Ethiopia's northern border. They mark the location of the heart of ancient Ethiopia, when the Kingdom of Aksum was the most powerful state between the Eastern Roman Empire and Persia. The massive ruins, dating from between the 1st and the 13th century A.D., include monolithic obelisks, giant stelae, royal tombs and the ruins of ancient castles. Long after its political decline in the 10th century, Ethiopian emperors continued to be crowned in Aksum.
Online
2017; 2006
19.

Lalibela, Ethiopia: Jerusalem at the Horn of Africa

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 that today is still a destination of pilgrimage and devotion.
Online
2017; 2002
20.

The Rock Engravings of Twyfelfontein, Namibia: Cryptic Messages in Stone

Twyfelfontein has one of the largest concentrations of petroglyphs (rock engravings) in Africa. Most of these well-preserved engravings represent rhinoceroses, elephants, ostriches and giraffes, as well as drawings of human and animal footprints. The site also includes six painted rock shelters with motifs of human figures in red ochre. The objects excavated from two sections date from the Late Stone Age. The site forms a coherent, extensive and high-quality record of ritual practices relating to hunter-gatherer communities in this part of southern Africa over at least 2,000 years and eloquently illustrates the links between the ritual and economic practices of hunter-gatherers.
Online
2017; 2008