Best Places to Visit in Africa

africa

Africa is the second-largest and the most populous continent on the planet. It covers about 6% of the Earth’s total surface area and 20% of its land area, accounting for about a fifth of the world’s land, and is surrounded by large bodies of water. Africa has 54 fully recognized and independent countries and is home to 14.7% (1.216 billion) of the world’s population. It is said that the first humans evolved on this continent.

Wherever you go in Africa, you’ll come away with a new appreciation for the magic of this culturally rich, vibrantly colored, and welcoming continent that will entice you to return again and again. With this list of the best places to visit in Africa, you can plan your adventures.

Cairo

Cairo is Egypt’s capital and largest city. The name of the city translates as “The Victor.” Cairo is sometimes referred to as, the “Mother of the World” (Um al Dunya). Cairo’s population is 7,947,121 people. Its urban area is home to approximately 17,290,000 people, which makes it the Arab World’s largest city. It is also the African city with the largest urban area. The city is located on the Nile River.

Muizz Street
Muizz Street

Giza Necropolis (also known as the Giza pyramid complex) is located on the Giza Plateau, near Cairo, Egypt. It is about 8 kilometers (5 mi) inland into the desert from the ancient town of Giza on the Nile and about 25 kilometers (15 mi) southwest of Cairo city center.

All of the six pyramids of the Giza Necropolis
All of the six pyramids of the Giza Necropolis
Great Sphinx
Great Sphinx

The Great Sphinx is located in Egypt, near Cairo, at Giza. It is located on the west bank of the Nile River, south of the pyramid of Pharaoh Khafre (Chephren). The Sphinx is a stone carving of a creature with a human head and the body of a lion. It is the greatest monumental sculpture in the ancient world, measuring 200 feet (60 meters) long and 65 feet (20 meters) tall. It has a 13-foot (4-meter) wide face. It is Egypt’s oldest known monumental sculpture. It is thought to have been built by ancient Egyptians during the reign of Pharaoh Khafre during the Old Kingdom (c. 2558–2532 BC). The Great Sphinx does not appear in any known Old Kingdom inscription. There are no inscriptions describing its construction or original purpose anywhere. The Sphinx was known as Hor-em-akhet (English: Horus of the Horizon) in the New Kingdom, and Pharaoh Thutmose IV (1401-1391 or 1397-1388 BC) mentioned it in his “Dream Stele.”

Egyptian Museum
Egyptian Museum

The Egyptian Museum in Cairo, Egypt, houses the world’s largest collection of ancient Egyptian antiquities. It contains 120,000 items. The Royal Mummy Room at the museum displays mummies of New Kingdom kings and queens. Another large museum of Egyptian antiquities is the Egyptian Museum of Turin, which is the only museum dedicated solely to Egyptian art and culture other than the Cairo Museum.

The town center of Cairo
The Town Center of Cairo

Cairo has a hot desert climate, which means that it is hot, sunny, and dry all year. However, the city has higher humidity than other cities in the hot desert climate.

Also read: Best Places to Visit in India

South Africa

The Republic of South Africa is a country in Africa’s southern region. There are approximately 57 million people living there. Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Lesotho, and Swaziland border South Africa.

Drakensberg mountains
Drakensberg mountains

Johannesburg is South Africa’s largest city. The country has three capitals, each serving a different purpose. Cape Town, Pretoria, and Bloemfontein are the three cities. This is due to the fact that the government is headquartered in Pretoria, the parliament in Cape Town, and the Supreme Court in Bloemfontein.

There are 11 official languages in the country – Afrikaans, English, Ndebele, Xhosa, Zulu, Swati, Setswana, Sesotho, Sesotho sa Leboa, Venda, and Tsonga are among them. They are also referred to as National Lexicography Units (NLUs). Because of the various languages, the country has an official name in each of them.

Traditional South African cuisine
Traditional South African cuisine

South Africa is ranked sixth among the world’s 17 megadiverse countries, with over 20,000 different types of plants, or roughly 10% of all known plant species on Earth, making it very rich in plant biodiversity.

The grassland biome is the most common in South Africa, primarily on the Highveld. This is where grasses, low shrubs, and acacia trees, mostly camel-thorn and whitethorn, predominate over plants.

Waterfront harbor of Cape Town, South Africa
Waterfront harbor of Cape Town, South Africa

The Cape of Good Hope is a location near Africa’s far south end where the Atlantic and Indian oceans meet. It is a well-known passageway for ships traveling between southern Africa and Antarctica. It is located in South Africa’s Western Cape Province and is part of the Table Mountain National Reserve.

The Cape of Good Hope
The Cape of Good Hope
table Mountain is flanked by Devil's Peak, left, and Lion's Head, right.
Table Mountain is flanked by Devil’s Peak, left, and Lion’s Head, right.

The Portuguese man Bartolomeu Dias was the first European to see it. In 1488, he saw it and named it the “Cape of Storms.”

Victoria Falls

Victoria Falls is a waterfall in south-central Africa in the Zambezi River between southeast Zambia and northwest Zimbabwe. It is 108.3 m high and 1,703 m wide.

Victoria Falls
Victoria Falls

The falls were discovered by David Livingstone in November 1855, where he viewed them on what is now known as Livingstone Island.

He named it after Queen Victoria. The Chitonga name for the Falls is Mosi-oa-Tunya. That word means “the smoke that thunders.” They call it that because the Falls are very misty. It is listed as one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Zanzibar

Zanzibar is a Tanzanian autonomous region. It consists of the Zanzibar Archipelago in the Indian Ocean, 25-50 kilometers (16-31 mi) off the coast of the mainland, and consists of many small islands as well as two large ones: Unguja (the main island, referred to informally as Zanzibar) and Pemba Island. Zanzibar City, on the island of Unguja, is the capital. Stone Town, a World Heritage Site, is its historic heart.

A panorama of Stone Town.  Seen in the picture are the Sultan's palace, House of Wonders, Forodhani Gardens, and St. Joseph's Cathedral
A panorama of Stone Town. Seen in the picture are the Sultan’s palace, House of Wonders, Forodhani Gardens, and St. Joseph’s Cathedral
A beach on Zanzibar
A beach in Zanzibar
dolphins in the Indian Ocean near Zanzibar
Dolphins in the Indian Ocean near Zanzibar
Coastline of Zanzibar
Coastline of Zanzibar
Seaweed farming in Jambiani
Seaweed farming in Jambiani
 Tourism is one of the main sectors of the economy
Tourism is one of the main sectors of the economy

Zanzibar’s main industries are spices, raffia, and tourism. The islands produce cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon, and black pepper in particular. As a result, the Zanzibar Archipelago and Tanzania’s Mafia Island.

Serengeti National Park (Tanzania)

The Serengeti National Park is a Tanzanian national park in the Mara and Simiyu regions of the Serengeti ecosystem. It is famous for its annual migration of over 1.5 million white-bearded (or brindled) wildebeest and 250,000 zebra, as well as its abundance of Nile crocodiles and honey badgers. That migration is the largest unaltered animal migration left. It has 1.5 million hectares of the savanna. The park is the focal point of the Serengeti Ecosystem, which is twice the size of the Serengeti.

Serengeti National Park in western Tanzania
Serengeti National Park in western Tanzania

The park is usually described as divided into three regions-

Serengeti plains: The Park’s most iconic scenery is the almost treeless grassland of the south. The wildebeest breed here because they stay in the plains from December to May. During the wet season, other hoofed animals such as zebra, gazelle, impala, hartebeest, topi, buffalo, and waterbuck can be found in large numbers. “Kopjes” are granite florations that are common in the area and serve as excellent observation posts for predators as well as a safe haven for hyrax and pythons.

Western corridor: the savannah of this region is covered in black clay soil. Nile crocodiles, patas monkeys, hippopotamuses, and martial eagles live in the Grumeti River and its gallery forests. During the Great Migration, the Grumeti River is famous for its thrilling river crossings alongside the Mara River. From May to July, the migration passes through. There are occasionally rare Colobus Monkeys. It almost reaches Lake Victoria. Wildebeest on the Western Corridor’s main highway

Northern Serengeti: open woodlands (mostly Commiphora) and hills dominate the landscape, which stretches from Seronera in the south to the Mara River on the Kenyan border. It is remote and difficult to reach. Aside from migratory wildebeest and zebra (which arrive in July and August, and again in November), this is the best place to see elephants, giraffes, and dik-diks.

Masai Mara National Reserve (Kenya)

Maasai Mara, also spelled Masai Mara and locally known simply as The Mara, is a large national game reserve in Narok, Kenya, bordering Tanzania’s Serengeti National Park. It is named after the Maasai people, the area’s ancestral inhabitants who migrated from the Nile Basin. When viewed from a distance, “Mara” means “spotted” in the local Maasai language, owing to the many short bushy trees that dot the landscape.

Masai Mara at Sunset
Masai Mara at Sunset
hot air balloon safari
hot air balloon safari
Hot air balloons over Maasai Mara at sunrise
Hot air balloons over Maasai Mara at sunrise

The Maasai Mara is one of Africa’s most well-known and significant wildlife conservation and wilderness areas, famous for its exceptional populations of lion, African leopard, cheetah, and African bush elephant. It also hosts the Great Migration, which has earned its recognition as one of Africa’s Seven Natural Wonders and one of the World’s Ten Wonders.

Ngorongoro Conservation Area (Tanzania)

The Ngorongoro Conservation Area is a World Heritage Site located 180 kilometers (110 miles) west of Arusha in Tanzania’s Crater Highlands. The area is named after the Ngorongoro Crater, a large volcanic caldera located within it. The Ngorongoro Conservation Area Authority, an arm of the Tanzanian government, manages the conservation area, which follows the boundary of the Ngorongoro Division of the Arusha Region.

Ngorongoro crater
Ngorongoro crater

The Ngorongoro Wildlife Conservation Act of 2009 imposed new restrictions on human settlement and subsistence farming in the Crater, displacing Maasai pastoralists, the majority of whom were relocated to Ngorongoro from their ancestral lands to the north when the British colonial government established Serengeti National Park in 1959.

Ngorongoro from inside the crater
Ngorongoro from inside the crater

The name crater is an onomatopoeic term; it was given by Maasai pastoralists after the sound made by a cowbell (ngoro ngoro). Various hominid species have occupied the area for 3 million years, according to fossil evidence discovered at the Olduvai Gorge.

ngorongoro
ngorongoro

A few thousand years ago, pastoralists displaced hunter-gatherers. The Mbulu arrived in the area around 2,000 years ago and were joined by the Datooga around the year 1700. The Maasai drove both groups out of the area in the 1800s.

Morocco

Morocco is a country in North Africa’s Maghreb region. It has land borders with Algeria to the east and the disputed territory of Western Sahara to the south, and it overlooks the Mediterranean Sea to the north and the Atlantic Ocean to the west. Morocco also claims the Spanish-controlled exclaves of Ceuta, Melilla, and Peón de Vélez de la Gomera, as well as several small Spanish-controlled islands off its coast. Rabat is the capital, and Casablanca is the largest city. Morocco has a population of over 37 million people and an area of 710,850 km2 (274,460 sq mi).

Sahara
Sahara

Between 1 and 1.5 million Europeans visited Morocco between the second half of the 1980s and the early 1990s. The majority of these visitors were French or Spanish, with approximately 100,000 each from the United Kingdom, Italy, Germany, and the Netherlands. Tourists mostly went to large beach resorts along the Atlantic coast, especially Agadir. Around 20,000 Saudis visited, some of whom purchased vacation homes. Tourism receipts fell by 16.5% in 1990, the year the Gulf War began. Algeria closed its border with Morocco following the Marrakech attack in 1994, resulting in a significant decrease in Algerian visitors; there were 70,000 visitors in 1994 and 13,000 in 1995, compared to 1.66 million in 1992 and 1.28 million in 1993.

Atlas mountains
Old defense walls of Essaouira
Old defense walls of Essaouira
 ksar
 ksar
Ifrane, "Morocco's Switzerland"
Ifrane, “Morocco’s Switzerland”
 beach and Kasbah at Agadir
beach and Kasbah at Agadir

There were 10.3 million tourist arrivals in 2017, up from around 10.1 million in 2016, a 1.5% increase year on year. 30% of the tourists were among the 3.8 million Moroccans who live in other countries. In 2017, over 2 million people visited Marrakech.

Kruger National Park

The Kruger National Park is a South African National Park and one of Africa’s largest game reserves. It spans 360 km (220 mi) from north to south and 65 km (40 mi) from east to west and covers an area of 19,485 km2 (7,523 sq mi) in the provinces of Limpopo and Mpumalanga in northeastern South Africa. Skukuza serves as the administrative center. The park’s areas were first protected by the South African Republic’s government in 1898, and it became South Africa’s first national park in 1926.

Kruger National Park, South Africa
Kruger National Park, South Africa

The two South African provinces of Limpopo and Mpumalanga are located to the west and south of the Kruger National Park, respectively. Zimbabwe is to the north, and Mozambique is to the east. It is now part of the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park, a peace park that connects Kruger National Park to Zimbabwe’s Gonarezhou National Park and Mozambique’s Limpopo National Park.

Olifants River
Olifants River

The park is part of the Kruger to Canyons Biosphere Reserve, which has been designated as an International Man and Biosphere Reserve by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

The Kruger Park has the following gates:

Crocodile Bridge Gateon the extension of Rissikstreetfrom Komatipoort25°21′30″S 31°53′37″E
Malelane Gateon the R570 off the N4near Malelane25°27′43″S 31°31′59″E
Numbi Gateon the R569 roadfrom Hazyview25°9′19″S 31°11′51″E
Phabeni Gateon the road off the R536from Hazyview25°01′30″S 31°14′29″E
Paul Kruger Gateon the R536 roadfrom Hazyview24°58′53″S 31°29′7″E
Orpen Gateon the R531 roadfrom Klaserie24°28′33″S 31°23′27″E
Phalaborwa Gateon the R71 roadfrom Phalaborwa23°56′44″S 31°9′54″E
Punda Maria Gateon the R524 roadfrom Thohoyandou22°44′18″S 31°0′33″E
Pafuri Gateon the R525 roadfrom Musina22°24′1″S 31°2′29″E
Kruger Park gates

Bwindi Impenetrable National Park (Uganda)

Bwindi Impenetrable National Park (BINP) is located in southwest Uganda. The park is part of the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest and is located next to the Virunga National Park and on the edge of the Albertine Rift. It is only accessible on foot and covers 321 square kikilometers124 square miles) of both montane and lowland forest. BINP is a World Heritage Site designated by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization.

Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
mountain gorilla
mountain gorilla

Mountain gorillas can be found in their natural habitat in the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, which is one of the best places in the world to see them.

Mauritius

Mauritius Island
Mauritius Island
Black River Gorges National Park
Black River Gorges National Park
Calcarenitic shore of Rodrigues island, at Pointe Coton
Salomon Atoll
Salomon Atoll 

Mauritius, officially the Republic of Mauritius, is an island nation in the Indian Ocean about 2,000 kilometers (1,200 mi) east of Madagascar, off the southeast coast of the African continent. It consists of the main island (also known as Mauritius), as well as the islands of Rodrigues, Agaléga, and St. Brandon. The Mascarene Islands include the islands of Mauritius and Rodrigues, as well as nearby Réunion (a French overseas department). Port Louis, Mauritius’ capital and largest city, is where the majority of the population lives. The country has a land area of 2,040 square kilometers (790 square miles) and an Exclusive Economic Zone of 2.3 million square kilometers.

Botswana

'Two Rhino' painting at Tsodilo, a UNESCO World Heritage Site
‘Two Rhino’ painting at Tsodilo, a UNESCO World Heritage Site
Okavango Delta
Okavango Delta
Hotel Boat on the Chobe River, Botswana
Hotel Boat on the Chobe River, Botswana

Botswana is a country in Southern Africa that is landlocked. Botswana is topographically flat, with the Kalahari Desert covering up to 70% of its territory. It is bounded to the south and southeast by South Africa, to the west and north by Namibia, and to the northeast by Zimbabwe. Its northern border with Zambia, near Kazungula, is poorly defined due to its location in the middle of the Zambezi River. This border with Zambia is only a few hundred meters long at most. Homo sapiens first appeared in the country over 200,000 years ago.

Seychelles

Victoria, Seychelles
Victoria, Seychelles
Mahe Island
Mahe Island
Beach of Anse Source d'Argent on the island of La Digue
Beach of Anse Source d’Argent on the island of La Digue
Beach resort, Seychelles
Beach resort, Seychelles
Praslin
Praslin

Seychelles, officially the Republic of Seychelles, is an archipelago of islands in the Indian Ocean off the coast of Somalia. It is made up of 115 islands. Victoria, its capital and largest city is located 1,500 kilometers (932 miles) east of mainland Africa. Comoros, Madagascar, Mauritius, and the French overseas territories of Mayotte and Reunion are to the south, and the Maldives and the Chagos Archipelago (administered by the United Kingdom as British Indian Ocean Territory) are to the east. It has the smallest population of any sovereign African country, with an estimated population of 98,462.

Namibia

Sossusvlei
Sossusvlei

Namibia, officially the Republic of Namibia, is a country in Southern Africa. It shares land borders with Zambia and Angola to the north, Botswana to the east, and South Africa to the south and east. Although it does not border Zimbabwe, the two countries are separated by less than 200 meters (660 feet) of the Zambezi River. Namibia gained independence from South Africa on March 21, 1990, following the Namibian War of Independence. Windhoek is its capital and largest city. Namibia is a member of the United Nations (UN), the Southern African Development Community (SADC), the African Union (AU), and the Commonwealth of Nations.

Sand dunes in Namibia, Namibia
Sand dunes in Namibia, Namibia
Deadvlei
Deadvlei
Sesriem Canyon
Sesriem Canyon
Fish River Canyon in Namibia
Fish River Canyon in Namibia

Namibia, the driest country in Sub-Saharan Africa, has been inhabited by San, Damara, and Nama people since ancient times. Immigrating Bantu people arrived around the 14th century as part of the Bantu expansion. Since then, Bantu groups, the most populous of which is the Ovambo, have dominated the country’s population, constituting a majority since the late nineteenth century.

Mozambique

Ponta do Ouro, Mozambique
Mozambique Island Bridge
Lebombo Mountains
Lebombo Mountains
Tofo beach
Tofo beach
Ponta do Ouro, Mozambique
Ponta do Ouro, Mozambique

Mozambique, officially the Republic of Mozambique (Portuguese: Moçambique or Repblica de Mozambique, Portuguese Muzambhiki), is a country in Southeastern Africa bordered by the Indian Ocean to the east, Tanzania to the north, Malawi and Zambia to the northwest, Zimbabwe to the west, and Eswatini (Swaziland) and South Africa to the southwest. The Mozambique Channel separates it from the Comoros, Mayotte, and Madagascar to the east. Mozambique’s capital and largest city are Maputo (known as Lourenço Marques from 1876 to 1976).

Madagascar

baobab trees
baobab trees

Madagascar, formerly known as the Malagasy Republic, is an island country in the Indian Ocean, approximately 400 kilometers (250 miles) off the coast of East Africa. Madagascar is the world’s second-largest island country, covering 592,800 square kilometers (228,900 square miles). The country is made up of Madagascar (the world’s fourth-largest island) and a number of smaller peripheral islands.

central highlands of Madagascar
central highlands of Madagascar
grassy plains
grassy plains
Analamazaotra Special Reserve
Analamazaotra Special Reserve
Nosy Iranja
Nosy Iranja

Madagascar split from the Indian subcontinent around 88 million years ago, following the prehistoric breakup of the supercontinent Gondwana, allowing native plants and animals to evolve in relative isolation. As a result, Madagascar is a biodiversity hotspot, with over 90% of its wildlife found nowhere else on the planet. The island’s diverse ecosystems and unique wildlife are under threat from the rapidly growing human population as well as other environmental threats.

Archaeological evidence of early human foraging on Madagascar may date back up to 10,000 years.