February is black history month, and the perfect time to be thinking about where black history is really rooted - Africa. The motherland is an incredibly special place, and often underrated as a travel destination. If you want to immerse yourself in black history and reconnect with your roots, here are seven places in Africa that should be on your travel plan.
Ghana - A country rich in culture, diversity, and vibrant color, Ghana is a proud African nation, and one of my favorite places in the Motherland. While you’re there, enjoy the vibrance that comes with so many different languages and ethnic groups in one place, but when it comes time to head home again, you can’t leave without taking an authentic piece of Ghanaian life along with you. MAGA Heritage Tours took me to choose some stunning fabrics that I had made into clothing to bring home with me, so now I can feel connected to Ghana any time I want! What colors would you choose?
Johannesburg, South Africa - Once home to the late Father of the Nation, Nelson Mandela, Johannesburg is steeped in history. Nelson Mandela Square is a must-visit, with its iconic statue, retail spaces, and delicious local cuisine available. Also in Joburg is the opportunity to visit Nelson Mandela’s home in Soweto, which has been restored as a museum and is managed by the Apartheid Trust.
Kampala, Uganda - When we think about black history, we sometimes forget the sounds of our roots. Uganda offers many beautiful places to visit, and some incredible food as well, but one of my favorite things to do in Kampala is take in the nightlife and dance to those African beats. Often there is a mix of reggae sounds and more traditional African beats, but one thing is for sure - Kampala is a place to move your body and celebrate the sounds of the Motherland and her people.
Possotome, Benin - One of the best and most authentic cultural experiences you can have in any African nation can be found in Possotome, Benin. Known as the Land of our Ancestors, Benin is a country often left off travel plans, but this is an absolute must if you want to reconnect with your roots and celebrate black history. Take a tour with Mowoki Tours, beat the drums, and call in our ancestors in a cultural celebration like no other you have experienced.
Lome, Togo - If you are looking to really celebrate Africa in all her glory, one of my favorite ways to do so is to visit the biggest fabric market in West Africa, Assigame Market. There is nothing that reminds you of Africa more than the vibrant multicolored fabrics and flowing garments that you will find here. If you’re traveling light and are worried about space, I got you covered - there are also dozens of incredible stalls here filled with handcrafted jewelry that you can take home and wear to remind yourself of this vibrant city.
Nigeria - With a long, dark history of slavery, Nigeria is a country that will leave you breathless. The story of 400 years of slavery in Nigeria is best told in Badagry, near the Nigerian border with Benin. The small, somewhat out of the way town of Badagry features three museums that tell the story of the slave trade. A sobering reminder of the not-so-distant past, Badagry Heritage Museum is managed by the Nigerian Cultural Commission, and features 8 galleries that each share part of local heritage or the transatlantic slave trade. There is also a slave relic museum, and a museum housed in an old warehouse that was once used to store slaves.
Senegal - If you want to reconnect with some of our more traditional African ways, Senegal is a great place to visit. Whether it is learning to knot a traditional fishing net, milk goats, or cook the delicious local cuisine, visiting Senegal can feel like taking a step back in time. Don’t be alarmed, though - you know your girl still has the downlow on the party places and gorgeous spaces to visit too!
Black history month is an important time to reflect on all of our history, and there is no better place to do that than where it all began in the Motherland. Africa is a vibrant, diverse, and beautiful place with so much to see and do, and reconnecting with the traditions, stories, and practices of our ancestors have never been easier.
If you’re planning a visit to Africa, get in touch. Whether you want to travel solo, in a group of your choosing, or join an organized trip with others, I got you!