Got a long-awaited vacation and would appreciate the top 10 best places to visit in Africa?
Or are you a die-hard tourist who loves to globe trot and are considering the African continent as your next get-away location?
You’re absolutely on the right page and have also made an awesome choice in choosing Africa as your next travel destination.
Africa has been labeled – and rightly so – as the mother continent and indeed, as the cradle of civilization itself.
The reasons of course, are simple and straightforward: the earliest habitation of man in the world has been found to be Africa – and the art of writing (the earliest mark of civilization) was found to have started right in Africa.
These aside, the African continent, is home to great lakes, impressive and exotic wildlife, crystal blue beaches, flora and waterfalls capable of holding you spell-bound and importantly, many other attractions that will certainly keep you super busy as a tourist or an occasional holidaying visitor from any part of the world.
Without much ado, which countries should you consider when you think of making the African continent your next travel getaway?
Here are our top 10 best options – in no specific order.
But, before the list of the best places to visit in Africa on a vacation proper, let’s see why traveling to Africa is a smart choice afterall.
5 Great Reasons Why Choosing To Travel To Africa Is A Smart Choice
- Africa is the world’s oldest continent. Coming to Africa is indeed a trip to see the mother of all continents and as a matter of fact, bask in the euphoria of the cradle of both man and civilization (as you know and understand it today).
- Africans are generally hospitable, welcoming of strangers and peace loving. Thanks to deep religious beliefs and a general communal mindset, hospitality is clearly at its peak in the continent and also clearly better than you can ever find anywhere else in the world.
- Things are comparatively way cheap in Africa. Decent food, transport and accommodation can be brilliantly got for a fraction of their cost in Western Europe or North America. You can thus thoroughly enjoy yourself when you visit Africa even if you’re on a tight budget.
- Traveling from one African country to another or visiting one region or state within a country to another is super easy and always straightforward and usually, will require no paper work, visas or the stress (which has become way too common today).
- Finally, the immigration/custom officers of most African countries are more humane and tolerant than their colleagues in the West. They will, accordingly, be more forgiving and understanding should you either default on express terms or need their help in whatsoever manner/way.
Let’s now proceed to the main crux of this article proper.
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Top 10 Best Places To Visit In Africa On Vacation Or As A Tourist
For many, when the African continent is mentioned, the concept of drylands and the desert immediately comes to mind – lands where the sun shines brightly that getting a tan is actually as easy as writing your own name 🙂
Fortunately, Namibia is a perfect example of such a country and offers to its visitors, its large expanse of desert and semi-desert plateaus that are appealing to the eyes, refreshing to the soul, and importantly, relaxing to both a tired body and a mind in need of good rest.
Being sparsely populated and with inhabitants who have settled in distinct villages (rather than random, scattered settlements), it is easy to drive hundreds of kilometers and only come across wildlife!
This is especially refreshing to the mind and the soul of one who is looking to escape from the congested hustle and bustle of what the corporate lifestyle in the West actually expects and demands.
If you’re more open to crazy adventures and would love to see what Namibia has to offer in this regard, then, consider the Fish River Canyon where you can hike along its rim or go boating and fishing all day where being awed by the peace and quiet of such an experience is sure and certain.
Of course, if you’ll appreciate something to engage your mind, the sand dunes will ensure that your mind is engaged and absolved in a rare sort of intriguing wonder.
If you wake up early enough, you might just also see the sun rising and casting its illumination over the dunes in a manner that is so adorable and clearly out of this world!
Other attractions include the dead trees that are up to 700 years old (but curiously, never decay because of the extensive dryness of the land on which they stand), sand boarding in the Namibian desert, and importantly, Damaraland at Twyfelfontein, where you’ll be exposed to the largest petroglyphs/rock engravings in all of Africa!
These drawings, it is important to note, are mostly over 2000 years old and reflect the hunter-gatherer lifestyle of our forebears prevalent and fashionable at that age and time.
Note that, the official language spoken in Namibia is English Language.
Located in Southern Africa and sharing borders with our 10th option above (Namibia), Botswana is equally sparsely populated and contains vast lands that makes for long driving stretches where you are almost guaranteed to come across only wild animals.
It you’re thus looking for a perfect tourist get-away that will ensure that you see the vast expanse of nature sure to engage you in wonder, Botswana is certainly a country to consider when you are thinking about your next travel destination and have Africa on the list.
Home to the largest herd of wild roaming elephants in the world, possessing one of the the most stable democracies in the whole of Africa and equally home to citizens who enjoy one of the highest per capita incomes in the entire African region, you’ll certainly meet nationals who are friendly, welcoming of foreigners and importantly, open to help you with all smiles if and when you need their help.
However, if you really want to enjoy yourself and ultimately, make your stay in Botswana count, it is to the awe inspiring tourist attractions of the country that you’ll certainly need to turn.
These attractions, fortunately, are in abundance and clearly, are enough to keep you completely preoccupied and thoroughly entertained and relaxed when you visit the country.
However, the awesome GDP is just a tip of the iceberg: the sheer legion of wildlife that has made Botswana home is quite intimidating – not counting the rare birds that either pass that way or have decided to label the country ‘home’.
For instance, the Chobe National Park alone boasts of some 120,000 elephants – an animal specie population that it is worth noting, is more dense than the entire human population of many smaller countries of the world today.
Besides this, the Okavango Delta offers a rare sight of birds and other marine life that is generally accessible close up via canoes.
Others include the Tsodilo Hills – a spiritual site and one of the few UNESCO World Heritage sites remaining in the world.
As a matter of fact, there are many other parks, Safaris and attractions that will literally take upward of a year if you are to access them all, one by one – and really do them (and your curiosity) justice.
It also helps – in a tremendous manner to understand that Botswana speaks English as its lingua franca, so communication and navigation of this beautiful and exotic country should ordinarily not pose any challenge to you.
An independent Island seated right in the Indian Ocean and inhabiting the eastern part of the African continent, the Republic of Seychelles is home to less than 100,00 inhabitants – effectively making it the least populated independent African country.
Being less populated, also makes the country-island relatively more quiet and privacy oriented especially when compared to the countries of the West – like the US and Canada.
The fact that the country is also an island also ensures that beaches, resorts and a vast array of water (and all water related activities such as fishing, boating, canoeing etc) abound – to the utmost comfort and relaxation of your person as a visiting tourist.
Awesome, exceedingly stunning and completely unspoiled, the Seychelles is (almost) unrivaled in tropical island fantasies.
These include super beautiful boulder-strewn beaches, completely virgin and untempered jungles, thriving coral reefs, and a plethora of UNESCO-listed nature reserves.
Some of the tourist attractions of the Seychelles include the Anse Intendance, Baie Lazare and Beau Vallon – which are all extraordinarily beautiful beaches with a vast amount of white sand, exotic aquatic life and a plethora of other attractive features like overlooking mountains and a completely serene outlook.
The best part is that the Seychelles boasts of 2 major official languages: English and French.
Here, you are completely free to use the language that gives you the most convenience or the one that you prefer speaking and transacting business in.
Surrounded by many mountains that makes the North African country appear to be naturally fortified when approached by air, Morocco is the first religious-centric country to make our list of the best African countries to visit on vacation when considering the African continent.
However, you need not worry about the fact that the country has Arabic as its lingua franca or the reality that a king still rules the North African entity or that Islam is the state religion there.
As a matter of fact, Morocco is welcoming to strangers and the plethora of attractions will completely make you at home and completely welcomed.
lf you choose this country, be also prepared to be welcomed by the snake charmers who have mastered the very art and science of playing with snakes and ensuring that they are completely harmless to them (even when they handle the most dangerous and otherwise poisonous species like the cobras).
The snake charming bit is just a teaser – a mere tip of the ice-berg however.
The real attractions begin (proper) with the alluring and intoxicating mixture of African with Arabian culture.
This is eloquently expressed in age long traditions, customs, landmarks and architecture that has been the marvel and wonder of writers and poets for centuries past.
If you have eyes for adventure and are looking some spots that are absolutely worthy of the lens of your cameras, the various mountains and waterfalls will provide a great starting point for this.
However, if you are not one to do things in halves and would appreciate a full take of what Morocco as a country has to offer you as a tourist, other attractions such as the Hassan II Mosque (reputed to be one of the most impressive in the whole of the world today), the Oudaias Kasbah – a brightly painted part of the town that looks as if it is right outside the outskirts of the town (when in reality, it is in the middle of the town proper) are good places to start.
Before you leave the city however, you’ll be missing something huge if you do not visit Ait Ben Haddou – the ‘fairytale place’ with its vast array of orange colored turrets that posses a strange but alluring beauty, making them the prime destination of many a movie director who is interested in shooting a scene that will stand out.
However, you may require the services of a travel agency or tour guide who is knowledgeable in both the local Moroccan culture and one who thoroughly understands the complexity of such a religion-centric country as Morocco if you are to successfully navigate this country as a tourist.
By and large however, we are very certain that with careful planning and yet still, ruthless execution, you’ll never regret the fact that you choose Morocco as a getaway spot for your upcoming vacation.
It is likely that you have watched the movie The Rise and Fall of Idi Amin wherein the unpopular dictator of Uganda carried out a completely unprovoked attack on Tanzania and how Tanzania replied with a superior might that clearly humbled the arrogant self-styled general.
If you loved the way Julius Nyerere humbled Uganda, then, we are also pretty certain that this East African country will hold much more than a mere passing tourist attraction for you.
Home of early man (as clearly demonstrated in archaeological finds such as the one at Olduvai Gorge), the country is firmly believed to be the home of the very first human specie in the entire world, the Homo habilis, who are believed to have occupied the country (as it is today) about 1.9 million years ago.
Accordingly thus, no visit to Tanzania will be complete without actually taking a close look at the place your forebears positively occupied, millions of years ago!
It will thus be for you (as it has been for many others before you), a visit ‘home’ – and not just some tourism inspired mission.
For those who are interested in extreme outdoor sport, Mount Kilimanjaro (currently the tallest and most impressive point above sea level in the whole of Africa and the 4th largest in the entire world), this mountain, at 19340 ft above sea level, is equally no mean point of interest.
Besides the fact that Tanzania is home to the first identified specie of the human race and also home to one of the tallest points in the world, Mount Kilimanjaro, the country is also blessed with extraordinarily beautiful beaches for those who are interested in soaking up the sun in a lazy manner, experiencing the coral gardens that are an exquisite part of the beaches and importantly, basking in the glory of the crystal clear waters that sport majestic fishes and other aquatic life.
Another point of interest worth exploring when you visit Tanzania is the Serengeti National Park – a vast, completely treeless plain which incidentally, is home to thousands, even millions of animals searching for fresh grasslands almost every waking moment of their lives!
If you’re not exhausted after these attractions, you will certainly be glad to visit and firsthand, see the animal and human wonders in the Ngorongoro Conservation Area – a popular wildlife viewing spot and the Lake Manyara National Park (which comprises primarily of swamps, woodland, forest and grasslands) – together with all the life forms that are native to such distinct regions or topography.
Kenya shares a border with Tanzania – and as a matter of fact, shares much of Tanzania’s rich history of early human habitation.
If you’re in love with the art and science of tracing your roots as a human being, then, you certainly should consider visiting Tanzania from Kenya or, Kenya – once you’re done with the rich history and beauty of Tanzania.
However, the rich early human habitation history of Kenya is not all the country has to offer you as a tourist. As a matter of fact, it has – and can clearly, offer much more.
To start with, Kenya is considered one of the countries of the world with a rich variety of wildlife, either roaming freely in the wild, catered for in conservation parks or completely restrained in zoos.
For instance, more than 1 million wildebeest and way more than 200,000 zebras participate in the annual large-scale animal migration across the Mara River – a spectacle and sight that is often an absolute beauty to behold for any tourist who is privileged to experience it firsthand.
These animal migrations, it is worthy of note, take place annually between the months of June and September and have been duly recognized as part of the 7 natural wonders of Africa.
Aside from this, Kenya also has a healthy population of animals considered the “Big Five” game animals of Africa: the lion, leopard, buffalo, rhinoceros, and elephant – most of which are now a rare sight in the West, except of course, when caged and presented within the captivity and absolute confines of a zoo.
The above, however, remain only a curious tip of the iceberg for the adventurous tourist determined to have value for his/her vacation, capture some really good moments with the lens and importantly marvel at the wonders that Africa offers to all those who come to it.
If you are a tourist who is interested in being treated to the ‘full course’ when you visit a country, you will also be certainly impressed with the many ancient tribes (such as the Samburu, Maasai, and Kikuyu) who have over the years, retained a healthy chunk of their traditional customs and largely live in very close harmony with the natural world.
Beyond this, there is also a plethora of national reserves and UNESCO World Cultural Sites that will certainly keep you super busy and thoroughly entertained all through your stay in the country.
Sharing close boundaries with Kenya (mentioned immediately above), this East African country is significant to many tourists on many grounds; grounds that we are certain you’ll find a way to ultimately align yourself with and completely fall in love with it.
To begin with, with a population of over 100 million, Ethiopia remains the most populous landlocked country in the entire world.
Besides this, the East African country remains the second most populous African country, right after Nigeria – the self-acclaimed giant of Africa.
For lovers of history (or government), it is utterly important to note that Ethiopia remains on record as the only African country that stood up to the European Scramble of Africa!
Consequently, it remained the only African State that has never gone through the pains of colonialism – a fact very few countries, even in the West, can lay claim to.
However, if government or history does not expressly interest you, you should be comforted by the fact that Ethiopia remains the country with the largest aggregation of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Africa.
Other possible points of interest include the Danakil Depression – one of the hottest and clearly, driest places in the entire world.
This spot sits right below sea level and is the lowest spot in the whole of Africa – and second in the entire world, right after the dead sea.
If you’re up for mysterious adventures that also double as exceedingly beautiful, this is one spot in the whole of Africa (and indeed, the world) that you will rather not miss.
Others include Lalibela, a settlement that houses about 11 Catholic Churches all hewn out of solid rock; Harar, the oldest Islamic city in Africa and a host of other attractions that will certainly ensure that you are completely satisfied of your wander lust irrespective of the fact that you are a fun-seeking, backpacking tourist or a bespectacled tourist who is interested in the country as a matter of pure history, academic requirement or as a means of broadening your general horizon.
Though the sheer number and curious diversity of wildlife and other natural points of interest (such as the ones designated by UNESCO) cannot be found in Nigeria, it still remains one of the most important countries in Africa that you should consider visiting when you decide to take that special vacation to the shores of the cradle of man – Africa.
Self-styled the ‘giant of Africa’, Nigeria remains one of the largest economies of Africa, is the most populous black nation in the world – boasting of just under 200 million citizens and importantly, is home to more than 300 different tribes with different and diverse cultures that make for a perfect tourist experience.
Noted as being extra-ordinarily religious, it is a country where a church can almost be found on every street corner – making Sundays pleasantly amusing especially when one is opportune to witness the various ‘praise and worship’ sessions that are clearly alien to anything that is obtainable in the West.
For the more fun-conscious tourist, there are many spots and regions in the country that will certainly make a visit to Nigeria worth it.
Top on the list is the Yankari Game Reserve where legions of different animal species can be found in their numbers roaming the wild.
Aside from Yankari, there is the Obudu Cattle Resort – a sort of settlement that has been constructed right on the peak of the Obudu mountains and requires you to either drive to the top or use a cable car (both experiences are awesome and clearly worth one’s attention and while).
That is not all: other attractions in the country include the Arochukwu Long Juju Slave Route, the Giant Footprints of Ukhuse Oke, the symbolic rivers Benue and Niger, and a plethora of other sites and attractions that are enough to keep one busy in the country for many months on end.
Nigeria. you should be properly educated, is quite large at 356,669 square miles. To put this into context, it is the 32nd largest country of the world.
What the above means is that traveling from one state or region to another is not going to be as fast – or as easy as other countries – especially it East African neighbors, except if one is prepared to proceed by air.
However, that does not mean that the country cannot be easily transversed: it can – thanks to the plethora of land public transport means run by both the government and private sector.
Due to the impressive stretch of land, however, you may need to be patient as you navigate the shores of the country.
You should however be comforted by the fact that things are dead cheap in Nigeria and transportation is no different. You will enjoy rates that will ring like some sort of crazy promo back home in Europe or America.
#2. South Africa
There can be no smart contemplation of African countries worth visiting with the omission of South Africa – the most sophisticated and advanced economy in Africa.
Plagued with years of apartheid rule, the country has endured and now comes top, right above every other country on the African continent, and accordingly, remains an impressive force to reckon with – a force that will serve you awesomely and smartly as a tourist.
As a matter of fact, many Americans and Europeans cannot distinguish the fact that they are in Africa because of the serious organization of the country, the flawless manner things work in the country, and importantly, the weather of the country (which is largely temperate with slight variations, depending on the region or state that you actually decide to settle in or land).
Another awesome thing that you’ll find fascinating about South Africa that should make you consider a visit as a tourist is the fact that it has the most radical representation of race on the continent with Blacks, Whites, and Colored duly represented and in abundance almost everywhere you turn.
Another unique thing to note about South Africa is that, though the country speaks English for business purposes and almost everyone understands it, the country as a matter of fact, has, as at press time, 11 solid official languages!
However, if you’re looking for pure pleasure and would not rather be bothered about the inner workings of South Africa or its detailed history, you’ll be pleased to find out that there is nothing to disappoint you, as a matter of fact.
The Dragon Mountains are one of the most popular destinations spots in the country for tourists.
These mountains are also home to the country’s highest peaks which are blessed with ice capping during the winter, creating a spectacular sight that lures and seduces all those who step foot in the region.
If you are more daring and would appreciate enjoying the heights of your well-earned vacation, you’ll love the rides on elephant back that are made possible via The Garden Route.
Other attractions that would certainly make sense to you as a tourist include The iSimangaliso Wetland Park which is home to more than 500 species of special birds as well as boasts the highest concentration of crocodiles and hippos in the whole of Africa.
This unique wilderness area also offers visitors and tourists to it a unique and completely novel chance to combine a classic safari experience with coastal adventures in the marine reserve such as fishing, kayaking, snorkeling and diving.
Other tourists who have been to the country before always have a reason to revisit – something that we’re dead certain will also be your reality too, if you’re bold enough to take the initiative and look to the south of Africa!
Egypt is reserved 1st on the list of the top 10 best places to visit in Africa on vacation or as a tourist for good reason: the country is the most known outside the shores of Africa and one of the oldest countries in the world as we know it today.
For those who are interested in the rich history that Egypt offers, it is important to note that it has one of the longest histories of any modern country today and as a matter of fact, emerged as the world’s first nation states as far back as 10 BC.
It is also worth noting that, Egypt is considered the cradle of civilization as it’s ancient citizens of old practically invented and experienced the very basic forms of civilization such as writing, agriculture, urbanization, a central government and importantly, organized religion as we know it today.
However, if you’re someone who appreciates practical sights and would rather pose beside a tourist attraction and get the best photo you can imagine (yet), then, Egypt also has a ton of options to offer that will certainly last your memory an entire lifetime.
First, the Pyramids of Giza, the oldest and last surviving wonder of the ancient world and the most recognizable landmark in the whole universe is sure to awe and completely leave you in wonder as regards the genius of the ancients of Africa.
Originally built as tombs for the great Pharaohs of old and guarded by the completely enigmatic Sphinx, the exceedingly complex Pyramids of Giza have never failed to wow or impress travelers and has remained an architectural wonder with a ton of conspiracy, archaeological and architectural theories all trying to unsuccessfully explain how they were built.
As a matter of fact, no visit to Egypt as a tourist will be complete if these pyramids are missed.
Other important attractions that will certainly be worth your time include the Valley of the Kings, Aswan, the Egyptian Museum, the White Desert, St. Catherine’s Monastery and a plethora of other sites that will certainly leave you spellbound.
With a plethora of things to offer city slickers, countryside lovers and those who are somewhat in-between, the land of ancient Pharaohs is certainly worth your holiday especially if you’ll love to see how the ancient Egyptians of old put up and completely maintained feats that still awe and completely perplex the modern world for all its learning and seeming genius!
Things You Need To Keep At The Back Of Your Mind As You Prepare To Visit Africa
Before we wrap up this piece, it is important to note the following things and realities as you prepare to visit the African continent on your next get-away:
- Power challenge is still an issue in many African countries like Nigeria. Aside these, some parks or Safaris are off the grid completely. To ensure that you’re not out of power for your devices or cellphones, a portable solar generator is advised as an indispensable companion on your trip.
- Related to the power challenge issue immediately detailed above, use of a laptop with an impressively long battery life is advised. This is non-negotiable if you’re a blogger and intend to update your blog while you enjoy the vacation.
- Finally, kindly ensure that get some means of purifying your water as not all water sources actually tendered to you for drinking would be agreeable to your body system.
Wrap Up On The Top 10 Best Places To Visit In Africa On Vacation
If you’re on a holiday and are considering the places that you ought to go on your vacation or are wondering where your next getaway would be as a tourist, Africa is a continent that is certain never to disappoint you.
From Safaris and exotic wildlife that cannot be found anywhere else in the world to the deserts, over to the serene beaches right down to ancient architecture that wows and completely impresses even modern professionals and geniuses, Africa is a continent that holds all visitors spellbound and ensures that they consider a return visit sooner than later.
When the fact that food, lodging, transport, the various fees to see these sites are often negligible and the excellent international border rapport between the various African states factored in, there is absolutely no reason why you should not explore Africa at the next chance you get.
Enjoy the cradle of both man and civilization!