Planning to travel to Africa? Africa is a huge beautiful continent and there are several best countries to visit in Africa.
It’s a big world and there are a lot of places to see. There are very few people who has been to every country in the world because doing so is no easy feat. It requires a lot of time and a lot of money. You may not visit all the countries in the world, but surely, it’s a great possibility to visit every continent in the world.
Africa is a beautiful and interesting place. It is the world’s second largest continent next to Asia. It also is the second most-populous continent. If visiting Africa is in your radar as it should be, we will help you narrow down your selection of best African countries to visit so you can plan out your itinerary properly.
Here are 25 best African countries to visit and top things to do there:
What is the most visited country in Africa? No surprise it’s number one on our list of the best countries to visit in Africa. Morocco aka Kingdom of Morocco, also known as The Western Kingdom, is considered as the gateway to Africa it being only 20 miles away from Europe. Located in the Northern part of Africa, Morocco is known for its eclectic culture. We could ramble on and on about the top things to do here because there are just far too many, but the top on our list would be a day trip to Chefchaouen’s medina. If you have seen the famous photos of Morocco’s tiny village all painted in blue, then you have stumbled upon Chefchaouen’s medina.
This blue city is charming and picturesque which is no wonder why it draws a lot of attention from the tourists. You can find small shops and cafes here. Another popular activity in this beautiful African country is camel trekking. It is what it sounds like-trekking but riding on a camel in the beautiful Moroccan desert. Of course, you shouldn’t miss sampling authentic Moroccan dishes such as tagine, couscous, and khobz. Last days of your Moroccan trip should be spent checking out souks. Souks are markets or bazaars where you can shop to your heart’s content. The popular ones can be found in Marrakesh, Fez, and Meknes. Morrocco is one of the safest places to visit in Africa.
Are savannah sunsets, azure seas, and safaris appealing to you? If yes, taking a trip to Kenya should be on your list. Kenya is one of the best countries to visit in Africa. Probably the best way to talk about Kenya is to talk about the things to do and places to see during your trip here. Your travel to Africa should include visiting a national reserve. Maasai Mara National Reserve, also known as Masai Mara, in Kenya is one of the popular game reserves in Africa. Another national reserve worth checking out is the Amboseli National Reserve. If you want to see a parade of elephants up close, this is the best place to be.
If you fancy spending some days at the beach, Malindi is also popular in Kenya. Another best places in Africa to visit is Mount Kenya National Park which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. You can climb the three glacier-cloaked peaks although it’s not for the faint at heart- a visit just to soak in the view would be worth it. Visiting Kenya will not be complete without checking out its capital and largest city, Nairobi. Nairobi is the best place to get to know more of the country’s history. Visit the Nairobi National Museum and check out the exhibits that showcase Kenya’s history, culture, nature, and art. The Karen Blixen Museum is also a historic place to visit in the nation’s capital. Kenya has one of the most beautiful places to visit in Africa.
3. South Africa
South Africa is one of the top travel destinations in Africa. This beautiful country in the southernmost part of Africa with a very colorful and historic past has a lot to offer from culture to nature. Start your trip by visiting museums. The Apartheid Museum in Johannesburg showcases different media that would give you more information and understanding about the apartheid system in South Africa. This museum trip is deep and meaningful and will probably make you appreciate democracy and equality more. But, South Africa has so much more to offer.
Cape Town is a top tourist city in Africa and is a city you should visit. The breathtaking and showstopper Table Mountain is in Cape Town and the Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden, Robben Island, and of course, Cape of Good Hope. The Winelands in Boland, South Africa is also a great place to visit for wine lovers who are looking for a good time. South Africa also is popular for its national parks and there are plenty to choose from. The top on our list is Kruger National Park. This is a perfect place for wildlife-watching. Safari animals such as elephants, lions, leopards, cheetahs, rhinos, zebras, hippos, and so much more can be found here. Without doubt, South Africa is one of the best places to visit in Sothern Africa.
One of the most beautiful places in Africa is Zambia. This landlocked country is rich in natural wonders. Let’s start with Victoria Falls. This waterfall is on the Zambezi River which is at the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe. Victoria Falls is the world’s largest waterfall. It is roughly twice the height of Niagara Falls. The Devil’s Pool is another top travel destination in Africa. It is set directly at the edge of Victoria Falls and is considered as nature’s infinity pool.
If you are a thrill-seeker, taking a dip in The Devil’s Pool should be on your list. Be cautious though especially after a heavy rainfall. For a less adrenaline-pumping activity, visit South Luangwa National Park. This national park is home to impalas, pukus, giraffes, etc. This is also a great place for a relaxing bird-watching afternoon since there are about 400 bird species in this national park. Fancy some witchcraft? Head over to Lusaka National Museum where its fourth section is solely devoted to witchcraft. The exhibit is a mix of Zambia’s traditional beliefs, superstition, magic, and a blend of Christianity. Zambia is one of the coolest countries to visit in Africa.
This landlocked country in Africa is all about mists, ravines, and rainbows. Zimbabwe is the 5th on our list of the best African countries to visit. This is one of those places in Africa that is home to the big five- lion, leopard, rhinoceros, elephant, and cape buffalo. The term big five refers to the five mot difficult animals to hunt on foot in Africa by the hunters from long ago. In the present time, the term is mostly used by tour operators.
The Great Zimbabwe, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is a ruined city that is divided into three parts- Hill Complex, the Valley, and the Great Enclosure. Guided tours around this mysterious ruined city is available, but you can also easily explore the area just by yourself. Another UNESCO World Heritage site that is worth visiting in Zimbabwe is the Mana Pools National Park. Here, you can walk around on foot without a guide. Yes, you read that right; however, wild animals are unpredictable sometimes, so still practice great caution if you will come and visit. Guided tours are still of course available and highly suggested. If you would like to take a break from all things nature, Harare is a laid back city to visit. It will give you a taste of what a Southern African capital is like.
Botswana is not only one of the most beautiful places in Africa, it is also one of the safest places to visit in Africa. This former British colony is an ideal tourist destination. The crime index is low, and it is also easy to get around. Almost everyone here speaks English, so communication will not be much of a problem. If you are going to Africa for the first time, Botswana may be a great country to consider.
In planning your itinerary, put Okavango Delta on the top of the list. This is a scenic and one of the most beautiful places in Africa. Okavango Delta is also the world’s largest inland delta. If you would like to visit local villages and go hiking, Gabane is a popular place for these activities. There is also a local pottery factory here that is frequently visited by tourists for its decorative items. You might want to drop by and look for pieces that will be perfect for souvenirs or for decors in your home. So visit Africa, visit Botswana as it’s a really beautiful country.
Tanzania is one of the best countries to visit in Africa. If you are planning to move here for good, that would also be a good idea since we rank it as part of the top 10 best countries to live in Africa. It nearly 30 percent of Tanzania being a national park, it is also one of the most beautiful places in Africa. If you are an Ernest Hemingway fan, you’d be glad to know that he wrote about Mount Kilimanjaro which is a dormant volcano in Tanzania. The mountain is part of Kilimanjaro National Park.
This is frequently visited by mountain climbers. Another must-visit site during your travel to Africa is Lake Tanganyika which is the second largest freshwater lake in the world. Tanzania is also home to Tarangire National Park which is a proud residence of twin elephants and unique tree-climbing lions. Another great activity to do in Tanzania is to visit the Changuu Island or the Prison Island. It is called Prison island because its former owner, the Arabs, wanted to use it as a confinement area for refractory slaves. To date, it’s a tourist spot ideal for swimming and snorkeling.
Next on our list for the best African countries to visit is Namibia. It is also one of the safest places in Africa. The country’s name is derived from the largest and oldest desert in the world- the Namib. What makes Namibia even greater is it’s the first country to incorporate environmental protection into its Constitution. Pretty awesome, don’t you think? During your visit, one of the coolest things to do is sandboarding. Standing up and lying down techniques in sandboarding are both popular here. The Sossusvlei Sand Dunes are a must-visit in Namibia.
If sandboarding is not your thing, you can also hop on an ATV and go for a ride in the dunes. Namibia is also home to the Himba people. this is the group famous for their unique red pigment which is caused by spreading clay all over their faces. The clay is the Himba’s version of sunscreen. They do such practice to protect themselves from the scorching heat of the sun. If you want to feel what is it like to be on the moon, take a side trip to The Moon Landscapes of Namibia. The landscape in this area resembles that of the surface of the moon. Another interesting fact about Namibia is it is home to the largest population of wild cheetahs. Namibia currently ranks one of the safest African countries to visit.
If you are a coffee lover, Ethiopia should be on the first on your list if you are going to Africa for the first time. This is the country where coffee was discovered in the 11th century. If you are in Addis Ababa, the country’s capital, make sure to drop by Tomoca Coffee. We rate it as the best in the country.
This is the best place to start your day. You’d also be glad to know that not only you can get your caffeine fix here, you can also purchase coffee beans to take back home. Aside from coffee, Ethiopia also has the greatest number of UNESCO World Heritage Site in Africa and certain UNESCO World Heritage Site such as Fasil Ghebbi, Gondar Region (famously known as the Royal Enclosure) is a popular place to visit here.
Uganda is one of the best countries to visit in East-Central Africa. It is one of the most beautiful countries in Africa earning the title “The Pearl of Africa”. One of the best things to do here is to visit the spring of the river Nile which is located in the town called Jinja. Afterwards, put your hiking boots on and hike to the 100-meter high Sipi Waterfall. We highly suggest that you get yourself a local guide. This is inexpensive, will assure your safety and will optimize your time.
Also, doing so will help the local guides earn a living. Another cool thing to do here is to take a walk with the rhinos in Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary. Learning more about the culture and history of Uganda is a great activity to do. You can visit Igongo Cultural Center and see a replica of the Ankole village. You will also have the chance to cross the equator in Uganda which is probably one of the coolest things you can do ever as few people have crossed the equator line on foot. You can also go boating in Victoria Lake. The view is breathtaking and serene. You can also do other activities such as fishing and kayaking.
Formerly known as Nyasaland, Malawi is one of the most beautiful places in Africa. The people in Malawi are known for being one of the friendliest groups in the whole continent which is why Malawi is also nicknamed as “The Warm Heart of Africa”. If you are going to Africa for the first time and finds yourself in Malawi, the first thing you should check out is Lake Malawi.
Malawi, being fifth parts water, has a lot of lakes. Lake Malawi is a great place to sunbathe and relax with its 365-mile length and 52-mile width. Dropping by the local markets for fresh produce is also a great way to get a glimpse of the life of the locals in Malawi. While you’re at it, if you see a bike-for-hire, hop on one. It is one of the coolest experiences you can have on your trip. The country is also known for its tea. Going on a tea-tasting excursion is a must-do here, too. Malawi is also one of the safest African countries to visit and it is also one of the least visited by tourists. If a huge flock of tourists is not your thing, this may be a top choice of your African travel bucket list.
If you are looking for a paradise on earth, Seychelles is a solid candidate. This is one of the top travel destinations in Africa because of its deep blue waters and powdery white beaches. As you have guessed, it’s one of the few African island countries. It is not only a great place for honeymooners, such as Prince William and Kate Middleton and David and Victoria Beckham, it is also for families and solo travelers. Most of the best things to do here involve the ocean. First, check out Anse Volbert especially if you are travelling with children.
This beach has fine white sand and shallow waters that would be perfect for kids. It is also a great place to catch the sunset while dining at the restaurants or cafes in the area. The next beach to check out is Beau Vallon which is perfect for water sports. Snorkeling, kayaking, and scuba diving are popular in this beach. If you are looking for more secluded beach, head over to Anse Georgette. Once you had your fill of the beach, take a tour around the country’s capital, Victoria. Victoria is also the world’s smallest capital; so small that it can be explored on foot in one day. Victoria has a lot of great restaurants for your Creole cuisine cravings. Before flying out, spend a few hours in Curieuse Marine National Park to have an encounter with the Seychellois tortoise. Seychelles is one of the safest places to visit in Africa as well as one of the popular countries in Africa, at least for weddings and honeymoons.
What country in Africa lies within another country? You guessed right! Lesotho. If you are still searching for which countries in Africa are safe to visit, add Lesotho on the list. Fun fact about Lesotho is it is one of the three enclaved countries- the other two being San Marino and Vatican. It is a landlocked country thus it is no surprise mountains surrounds it and gained the name “the mountain kingdom”. Lesotho also has one of the scariest runways in the world. Nevertheless, there are a lot of cool things to do here. You can dine in the sky restaurant which sits 3010 meters above sea level and overlooks the slopes at Afriski Mountain Resort. Another place to visit is the Tsehlanyane National Park where you can do a lot of nature-related activities such as go swimming in streams and rock pools, go hiking or trekking, and go on horseback riding. If you just want to relax and get pampered, spa and massage services are available.
If you want something more extreme, white water rafting at the Senqu River is a must-try. You can also go skiing in Lesotho which can be done in Mahlesela Hill. This is not for the faint at heart but abseiling at Maletsunyane Falls is a must-try for the adrenaline junkies visiting Lesotho. Maletsunyane Falls holds the Guinness World Record for the highest commercial abseil point in the world. Even if you won’t abseil, it is still a beauty to witness. Up to this date, there are still cave dwellers in Lesotho. You can find them at Kome Cave. This is a cool place to visit to know more about this part of the country’s culture.
One of the most beautiful places in Africa is Zanzibar. One of the cool facts about this country is that Freddie Mercury, the lead singer of the band Queen, was born here. He was born as Farouk Bulsara. Aside from the pop culture trivia, Zanzibar is one of the top tourist countries in Africa. You can start your Zanzibar trip with sampling some local street food at Forodhani Gardens. The local street food vendors set up their stalls here every night. You can find a variety of food from seafood, meat and vegetable kebabs, samosas, Zanzibar pizza, and so much more. During daytime, you can shop around Stone Town.
Tourists visiting Stone Town often go home with loads of cloth and trinkets from the shops around here. Spice tour is also a thing here. The country is known for its spice trade. You can find a local guide that would take you around places that produces the local spices where you can buy to take home. If you would like some beach time, head over to Nungwi Beach which is located at the northwest part of the country. There aren’t fancy and luxury hotels nearby, so the accommodations are affordable and the place is not yet overrun by tourists. If you would like a culture trip vibe, visiting the House of Wonders would be a great idea. Here you can find exhibitions that showcase the Zanzibari and Swahili Culture.
Yes, Madagascar is a real country and not just a title of an animated film. In fact, it is one of the best African countries to visit. Madagascar is an island country, and it is the world’s fourth largest country. Just like the animated film, Madagascar is home to a variety of animals; in fact, lemur can only be found in the wilderness of Madagascar. If you are an animal and nature lover, Madagascar should be one of your top travel destinations in Africa. Tsingy de Bemahara Strict Nature Reserve is a top tourist attraction here.
It is made up of 328 miles of forests where different birds and animals live. You can also see towering gray limestones here which makes the whole of the nature park even more impressive. For picture perfect locations for your family vacation postcard, the Avenue of Baobabs is a must-visit. This is an 853-foot-long avenue lined with 800-year old baobab trees. If you want to check out more national parks, Mantadia National Park, Lokobe National Park, and Isalo National Park are the top favorites amongst tourists. For swimming excursions, The Three Bays and Nosy Sakatia are must-visits.
The best time to travel to Africa is from June-October and December-February. These periods are the optimal time to visit to see and encounter as many wildlife as possible. Mozambique is one of the best places to visit in Africa for this purpose. Fun fact about Mozambique is that it is the only country with a single word name that includes all five vowels. In terms of things to do and places to see, you will not run out of options here in Mozambique.
The top tourist favorite destination here is Bazaruto National Park which encompasses five islands. It is a common sight seeing dolphins swimming on the clear blue waters here. Aside from dolphins, you can also see leatherback and green turtles, dugongs, and hundreds and hundreds of fishes. If you are looking for a different adventure that still involves water, Mozambique is also famous for its cascata or waterfalls. Lake Niassa and the National Art Museum are also top places to visit here in Mozambique.
Just like what Mark Twain wrote, “Heaven was copied after Mauritius.” This is one of the best countries to visit in Africa which is why it is understandable that it is also a top travel destination in Africa. Coming here is a chance of staying in one of the coolest accommodations there is. The bubble lodges in Mauritius would allow you to sleep under the stars, but safely and conveniently.
The lodges are semi-transparent domes at the banks of the lake and in the middle of a tea plantation. It is a posh yet outdoorsy kind of experience for you and your family. Another point of interest in Mauritius is the Chamarel which is caused by a unique volcanic eruption that caused the earth around the area to change into seven different colors. It’s a sight you should not miss. Of course, like most African countries, Mauritius has its own nature parks. The top choices to visit are Black River Gorges National Park, the Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam Botanic Garden, and Heritage Nature Reserve. A day trip or a night out at the country’s capital, Port Louis, is also a must-try. You will be surprised at the contrast the city vibe gives from that of the rural parts of the country. This is one of the safest places to visit in Africa.
Aside from South Africa, Egypt is probably the most known country in Africa because it is home to the world-famous pyramids. It is also one of the most visited countries in Africa. So, when going to Africa for the first time, taking a trip to see the pyramids would probably on your list. Aside from that though, there are so many other places to see and cool things to do in Egypt.
Have you ever ridden a camel before? If not, you can do that in Egypt. You can also do sandboarding or hop on a cruise along the Nile River. If your lungs and legs are up for it, hiking at Mount Sinai is also a great activity. Of course, shopping is always a necessity when traveling to a new country. Take a walk around Khan el-Khalili and shop to your heart’s content. This is the best place to buy souvenirs for yourself and for friends and families back home.
Gambia is the smallest country in Mainland Africa. Here, you can either opt for luxury resorts or small and charming fishing villages. Either way, you are in for a great time. Gambia is known for its beautiful beaches. If spending some time at the beach or in the water is part of your agenda,
Brufut Beach is a great place to go. You can also spend an afternoon roaming around The Albert Market or the Old Town. If you want more nature-related activities, then the Abuko Nature Reserve, Bijilo Forest Park, and Makasutu Culture Forests are the ideal spots for you.
20. Democratic Republic of Congo
The Democratic Republic of Congo is one of the best African countries to visit if you have some time to spare. It is the second largest country in Africa. One of the most enthralling experience here is climbing up Nyiragongo which is an active volcano.
If you are up for a five-hour climb, the view of the lava lake below is breathtaking. If traveling with little ones and would like something less physically demanding, visit Lola Ya Bonobo Sanctuary where you can pet and feed monkeys. Other places to visit include Kahuzi Biega National Park, Maiko National Park, and Falls of Zongo.
If you need a vacation from the hustle and bustle of the city life, come to Rwanda- one of the best places to visit in Africa. This is a country of rolling, grassy hills that does not allow the use of single-use plastic. During your stay, visit Volcanoes National Park, Akagera National Park, and Nyungwe Rainforest.
You will be amazed at how clean the country is and the length they have gone to protect and preserve their natural resources. Also, the newly opened Inema Arts Center is also a great place to see to appreciate arts and crafts of the local artists in Rwanda.
Senegal is one of best West African countries to visit. Dakar is top point of interest and considered as the Miami of Senegal. You have a lot of choices of luxury hotels and resorts here for your convenience.
For a more laidback culture trip, drive over to Ziguinchor where you can find pastel colored colonial buildings and quaint cafes. For natural attractions, the little town of Popenguine holds a lot of surprises.
Ghana is home to the world’s largest man-made lake, Lake Volta. This is also Ghana’s most popular tourist attraction. Interesting things you can do at Lake Volta includes taking a cruise to the Dodi Island, fishing, kayaking, seeing the Akosombo Dam, and taking a cruise to the Dodi Island.
The Boti Forest Reserve in Koforidua is also a great place to visit due to its magnificent Boti falls. It’s a perfect place to cool down after hours of exploring the forest and being with nature. If you are thinking of the best time to travel to Africa and Ghana is your destination, you can come anytime of the year since this is close to the equator therefore the climate is tropical.
24. Cape Verde
Cape Verde is one of the best West African countries to visit. The main attraction in the country is the volcano Pico de Fogo. You can climb this volcano and reach the top in six hours. If climbing a volcano is not your thing, head over to the sunniest island in the country- the island of Sal.
The island has white, sandy beaches which makes it the country’s tropical paradise and a crowd favorite. Cape Verde is truly an aspirational African destination for a family vacation any time.
25. Reunion Island
The last on our list of best African countries to visit is Reunion Island. If you would like to start your vacation in Reunion Island a little laidback, you can wander around Saint-Paul’s market open from 8AM-1PM. You can find food stalls and local restaurants nearby. Don’t miss out on sampling local cuisine such as samosas, massale, rougail, and carri.
If you want a more adrenaline-pumping adventure, hike up to the base of Le Piton de la Fournaise which is the country’s famous volcano. It is over two thousand meters high and the view from above is something you should not miss. Of course, if you are not up for the physically demanding hike, you can opt to go on horseback. Riding a mountain bike is also a great option if you are able.
So, there you have it! The best and safest African countries to visit with your family on a vacation.