If we are being honest all 54 countries in Africa deserve to be on this list of the best countries to visit in Africa. Why? Because there’s a gem in all these countries. From the iconic pyramids in the North to abundant wildlife in the East and Central Africa, vibrant cities in the South, and picturesque views on the islands, there’s something for everyone. But to pique your interest, we’ll focus on just 15 of the best African countries to visit. Let’s get started!
In this guide on the best places to visit in Africa, we look into the less traveled areas that should have their place on the map. We’re talking about the ancient Roman architectural remains in Tunisia, eccentric scenes in Morocco, gorilla trekking in Uganda, and much more. But that’s not all! Among the best countries in Africa to visit, we’ll also delve into statistics such as the safest, most affordable, and most touristic countries in Africa. If that’s something you’re interested in, then keep reading.
Coming in the first place is South Africa, which is by far the most popular and touristy country in Africa. The destination offers diversity in activities such as cage diving with white sharks at the Gansbaai’s Shark Alley, hiking Table Mountain, and exploring Cape Winelands, which produces some of the world’s finest wines. You could also game drive around Kruger Park or explore the history of Soweto at the Nelson Mandela House in Johannesburg.
As a worthwhile mention, South Africa also earned a spot as the best country to visit in Africa, thanks to the Durban Botanical Garden. This is Africa’s oldest surviving botanical garden and one of the greenest gardens in the world. The 15 hectares garden is a habitat for many trees and flower species like cycads, palm trees, Centenary trees, and orchids.
The second best African country to visit is Seychelles. It’s the smallest yet incredibly beautiful country that inhabits about 115 islands featuring coral reefs, lush rainforests, valleys, secluded beaches, and vast marine life. To taste the land, you could visit the largest and most popular island, Mahé Island, which boasts the highest mountain ranges, pink sands, and granite boulders at the shores.
As one of the best African countries to visit, you can indulge in plenty of activities, such as snorkeling, sunbathing, scuba diving, taking boat trips, photography, bird watching, and sightseeing. Plus, despite its breathtaking landscapes surrounded by water, the country reports no major natural calamities or serious diseases. That means the island is located safely outside the hurricane zone and is safe for habitation.
If you love animals, game drives, and the idea of species conservation, then Kenya is surely one of Africa best countries to visit. The country homes about 60 safari destinations, including national parks, marine parks, national reserves, and national and private conservancies. That said, the best place to visit in Africa has to be the Maasai Mara National Park, where you get to watch the great wildebeest migration amongst other wildlife.
Kenya is also one of the most touristic countries in Africa thanks to its pristine beaches on the Swahili coast, historic forts at Mombasa and Lamu, and unique experiences like dining with giraffes at the Giraffe Manor. Not to mention, there are plenty of city activities, like visiting the museum, snake park, and culturally-inspired eateries. Also, check out our list of the best hotels in Kenya!
In the North, Egypt is among the best African countries to visit due to its rich history. The country has unique archeological sites such as the UNESCO world heritage iconic pyramids, extraordinary tombs and temples, the Valley of Kings, and the Great Sphinx. All these monuments have helped mark Egypt as one of the best countries to visit in Africa.
Of course, we wouldn’t fail to mention the Great Pyramid of Giza, which remains one of the most beautiful places in Africa. But besides the ancient monuments, you could also visit the vast red sea coastline, a world-class scuba diving destination. You could also enjoy breathtaking views at the Red sea beaches or cruise the world’s longest river, River Nile.
With the Northern Safari Circuit that hosts incredible safari parks like Serengeti and Ngorongoro, Tanzania qualifies as a great country in Africa to visit. The parks offer game drives, vast African wildlife viewing, and the Great wildebeest migration to keep you entertained during your trip. Moreover, you could also opt for the Southern Safari Circuit, which is also incredible though less popular.
Another great activity would be a hike up Mount Kilimanjaro which is 5,895 meters high. It’s the highest mountain in Africa and the highest single free-standing mountain above sea level worldwide. It’s a dormant volcanic mountain hence no such safety hazards.
Lastly, Tanzania is the best country to visit in Africa if you want to enjoy an affordable island with great beach destinations and beautiful landscapes. The country has great beaches and diving spots at Zanzibar Island and Pemba.
Malawi is one of the warmest countries in Africa. Their atmosphere screams kindness and warmth to strangers and foreigners. And even though it’s a small country, it features some of the best places to visit in Africa. For starters, despite this South-Eastern country being landlocked, it offers incredible beach and diving destinations.
Second, it’s home to Africa’s third-largest lake and third deepest freshwater lake in the world, Lake Malawi. This eponymous lake is the richest in fish species, housing about 800 to 1000 fish species. So if you’re up for fishing or fish exploration, Malawi is the best African country to visit.
For more water activities, Likoma Island offers paddleboarding, kayaking, snorkeling, scuba diving, boating, and waterskiing. Plus the island has exquisite landscapes with leafy baobab trees, rocky shores, and clear waters.
For a more culturally grounded experience, Morocco is the best country in Africa to visit. The country is heavily influenced by the Arab, Mediterranean, Western, Berber, and African cultures and heritage. The country has attractions from the Sahara Desert, the Atlantic Ocean, and the beautiful cities of Marrakesh, Fez, Essaouira, and Casablanca.
The eccentric architecture and crafts of the blue-painted walls and stairs in the Chefchaouen alleys along with the handicraft shops in Meknes and Fes have made Morocco among the best countries to visit in Africa. Plus, if you didn’t know, Morocco has incredible food. Probably from its diverse influence or its great cookware like the Moroccan tagine famous for traditional slow-cooked stews and one-pot meals.
Mauritius, just like the other best African countries to visit, offers numerous activities for tourists. Moreso, because it’s an island, you’re sure to enjoy the 330-kilometer coastline that boasts pristine white-sand beaches, clear blue waters, mountains, and palatial resorts. Plus, there are adequate water sports to keep you engaged throughout your trip.
Being amongst the best countries to visit in Africa, Mauritius also has dry land activities like a visit to the Egret Island called Ile Aux Aigrettes. This is a nature reserve for the Mauritian ecology which houses multiple plant species and rare bird species like the kestrel and pink pigeon. Other wonders to see include the Eau Bleue waterfalls, the Chamarel Seven Colored Earth Geopark, and the Heritage Nature Reserve in Bel Ombre.
Rwanda may not seem like the best country to visit in Africa but unbeknownst to many, the country features incredible scenery and beautiful landscapes. After the 1994 genocide, the country rebuilt itself into one of the safest and most modernized countries in Africa.
From the Kigali Genocide Memorial Center, you’ll experience a powerful memorial ground that showcases how far the country has come. You could also visit the Ethnographic Museum, which houses one of Africa’s best collections and archeological artifacts from pre-colonial Rwanda.
For some relaxation, you could explore Lake Kivu and indulge in water sports like canoeing, kayaking, and paddleboarding. Of course, we couldn’t fail to mention that you can also game drive at Akagera National Park or track Primates at the Gishwati-Mukura Park.
For a while now, Botswana has been the most stable country in Africa. Not to say the rest are unstable, but with little to no political instabilities and a rigid economy, Botswana remains one of the best countries in Africa to visit. But despite its safe status, the country is a prime safari destination.
In southern Botswana, there’s Chobe National Park, where you can enjoy land and boat safaris. Thanks to the subtropical climate, the park is a habitat for many animals like cheetahs, antelopes, giraffes, elephants, hippos, and crocodiles. You could also visit the Okavango Delta, that’s home to many bird species. And in the northern region, the Kalahari Desert and Makgadikgadi Pans are dry but also occupied by predators and various antelopes.
Zambia is the best country in Africa to visit if you want to explore amazing natural wonders, precisely waterfalls. Firstly, you’ve probably heard of Victoria Falls, what’s natively called Mosi-Oa-Tunya Falls. It’s one of the world’s largest free-falling waterfalls, visible from both Zambia and Zimbabwe. Other incredible waterfalls you should see include Kalambo Falls, which have existed for centuries, and Chishimba Falls, which is sacred.
Besides viewing these waterfalls, there are other things you could try out, such as swimming at the devil’s pool. This is the highest and most dreadful infinity pool located at the precipice of Victoria Falls. Alternatively, you could soak yourself in the Kapishya hot springs located amidst the beautiful rainforest in Chinsali.
Finally, as is the trend with the other best countries to visit in Africa, you could also game drive at the Luangwa Parks. They allow night safaris, walking safaris, and canoeing safaris.
Undoubtedly, Uganda is one of the best African countries to visit because of the Gorilla trekking. Yes, you could go for a Gorilla trek in Rwanda or DRC, but for a more indulgent experience, Uganda is the place to be. Thanks to the River Nile offering large amounts of water at the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, you could trek with over 300 mountain gorillas amongst other mammals and birds. Indeed, it’s the best place to visit in Africa.
Amongst other best places to visit in Africa, precisely in Uganda, include Queen Elizabeth national park, Kasumbi Tombs, and the Murchison Falls National Park, which is nature’s reserve for chimpanzees, elephants, African lions, leopards, and hippos. Take a drive to Jinja town and enjoy quad/mountain biking, horseback riding, kayaking, and whitewater rafting for adrenaline-packed activities.
Tunisia is one of the least visited countries in Africa, but it’s truly one of Africa best countries to visit. The country is filled with character, history, and magnificent Roman architecture to show for it. The country has years-old cultural riches from Roman empires; for example, the El Djem Amphitheater, a mighty Roman amphitheater located near its main town.
Besides Roman influence, Tunisia was also inhabited by Arab Empires who left behind exemplary Islamic architecture (Mosques), marking them as such beautiful places in Africa that you must see. Other fun-filled activities you could do is visit the ancient ruins of Carthage showing piles of marble rubble, walk the alleyways of Medina, or take a trip to the picturesque blue and white town of Sidi Bou.
Namibia is the best country to visit if you want to explore the untamed wilderness and extensive dune fields. From a coastal desert to immense dunes, long adapted wildlife to real-life 4×4 excursions, Namibia is truly a gem country in Africa.
To start your trip, visit the Namib Sand Sea, the world’s only coastal desert braced with extensive dunes and fog. Then, hike up the dunes starting with Dune 45 and Elim Dune, the most popular. Follow that up with Big Daddy, the highest dune measuring 325 meters high. Lastly, see the iconic salt pans like Sossusvlei with red dunes and Deadvlei.
You could also visit the Namib Desert, the Etosha National Park, and Fish River Canyon, the largest canyon in Africa.
The final best African country to visit is Zimbabwe. You get to see wildlife and the famous Victoria Falls, which many claim offers a better, broader view from Livingstone, located in Zimbabwe. Another gem is the Matobo hills which boast a beautiful landscape and a dedicated game park for African rhinos, antelopes, baboons, leopards, and wildebeest. Moreover, the hills have a rich history as the battleground for African and European empires and where Cecil Rhodes’s tomb was.
If you find yourself in Zimbabwe, the best place to visit in Africa is its diverse national parks. From Nyanga, Hwange, Mutirikwi, Mana Pools, and Matusadona, you’ll find something to experience. Another gem that makes Zimbabwe among the best African countries to visit is the Chiremba Balancing Rocks, located in Epworth, Harare. This geomorphological site of igneous rocks is a pride for the country and a unique destination.
Upon concluding our review of the best countries in Africa to visit, you’ll note that you get a taste of just about everything. You can deep dive in Egypt, enjoy a myriad of safaris and wildlife exploration in East and Central African countries, and enjoy modernization with a mix of traditions in South Africa. That said, there’s no one best country in Africa to visit. Instead, plan a trip to Africa best countries to visit to include every mainland and island, as there’s something in each.