If you’re planning a trip to Africa and want to experience the best that the continent has to offer, you’re in the right place. From stunning beaches to awe-inspiring natural beauty, Africa has it all.
There is no place that has more to offer a traveler than Africa. But there is so much to see, deciding on your perfect destination can be overwhelming!
In this article, we’ll take a closer look at some of the best places to visit in Africa, so you can start planning your dream trip today. Whether you’re looking for exotic cities, epic wildlife, or fascinating cultures, Africa has it in spades.
The Best Cities in Africa to Visit
1. Cape Town, South Africa
Cape Town is an incredible, cosmopolitan city that offers a perfect blend of natural beauty, cultural diversity, and exciting activities. The city boasts a dazzling coastline with beautiful beaches, majestic mountains, and vibrant flora and fauna.
Visitors can explore the city’s historic landmarks, museums, and art galleries, or indulge in the energetic atmosphere, busy markets, and street performers. Cape Town is also known for its delicious food, including fresh seafood, local wines, and gourmet cuisine.
As well, if you decide to venture out into the suburbs, you can go whale watching in Hermanus, or drive to Simon’s Town and see the penguins at Boulders Beach. And I highly recommend a visit to the Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens.
Whether you’re looking for adventure, relaxation, or cultural immersion, Cape Town has it all. If you have a chance to go, take it!
2. Marrakech, Morocco
With its dynamic colors, bustling souks, and unique architecture, Marrakech is a sensory delight. Be sure to visit the famous Djemaa el-Fna square, known for its vibrant atmosphere, street performers, and delicious food. It’s especially magical at night!
You’ll also want to explore the city’s many palaces and gardens. Marrakech is known. too, for its rich history and culture, with numerous museums and historical sites to explore, such as the Bahia Palace and the Saadian Tombs.
You’ll love wandering through the maze-like streets of the medina, discovering hidden gems. These might include artisan workshops or traditional little Moroccan shops. Plus, a visit to the city’s hammams (public baths) is a must for a relaxing and authentic Moroccan experience.
Marrakech offers a unique blend of ancient traditions and modern amenities, making it amazing for anyone looking to immerse themselves in Moroccan culture and hospitality.
3. Nairobi, Kenya
Nairobi is a hub for East African business and culture. Kenya’s capital city is known for its vibrant energy – streets that buzz with energy, markets that dazzle, and a thriving music and arts scene.
But Nairobi is also a gateway to some of Africa’s most iconic wildlife reserves. These include the Maasai Mara and Serengeti, making it perfect for animal lovers and nature lovers, too.
Visitors will want to wander through the city’s many galleries and museums, especially the Karen Blixen Museum and the Nairobi National Museum. With so much to see and do, Nairobi offers a unique and unforgettable experience for travelers to Africa.
4. Dakar, Senegal
Dakar, the capital city of Senegal, is a city alive with a unique blend of the historical and the contemporary. Like many cities in Africa, Dakar is known for its markets, its music, and local food, including the famous Senegalese dish, thieboudienne.
Dakar is also home to several historical landmarks, such as the Theodore Monod Museum and the historical Medina district. If you want to get inside the head of the Senegalese, you’ll want to dive into the nightlife and its Mbalax music.
With its rich culture and famous terenga, or hospitality, Dakar is a city everybody should see at least once.
5. Cairo, Egypt
Cairo is a hypnotizing city that should be on the itinerary of anyone who wants to experience Egypt. It has long been accepted as one of the best places to visit in Africa.
Cairo offers an exotic mix of ancient history and modern culture. You can explore these through various museums and monuments, including the renowned Egyptian Museum and the Citadel of Salah El Din. Visitors can also immerse themselves in the city’s culture by indulging in its authentic street food.
You’ll also want to listen to some traditional Arabic music, and local galleries and cafes are great places for that. And of course, you’ll want to catch a glimpse of the Pyramids of Giza and the Sphinx. One of my favorite sites is these landmarks in the distance, with the modern city in the foreground.
6. Tunis, Tunisia
Tunis, Tunisia is another hidden gem waiting for you to discover it. This North African country is a heady blend of Arabic and Berber cultures.
The Medina, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is a labyrinth of narrow streets and alleys lined with colorful shops and traditional houses. The Bardo Museum houses one of the world’s largest collections of Roman mosaics.
The Carthage ruins, on the other hand, offer a glimpse into the ancient Phoenician civilization. Tunis also has a vibrant food scene, with local specialties like brik pastry and couscous, and a lively nightlife.
With warm hospitality and stunning vistas, Tunis, Tunisia is an amazing place to visit. Before you go, be sure to check out which of the many festivals you can attend while you’re there.
7. Accra, Ghana
Accra, the capital of Ghana, is a fantastic destination for anyone looking for an authentic African experience. The city is a melting pot of cultures, with nearly 2 million inhabitants in just over 87 square miles.
The easygoing atmosphere and energetic nightlife make it a great place to enjoy a vacation. One of the highlights of Accra is its beautiful beaches, perfect for swimming or just lounging in the sun.
The city also has many spots to experience Ghana’s fascinating history. You can visit Independence Square and the Kwame Nkrumah Memorial Park to see where these people of Accra came from.
And what really sets Accra apart is these people. Ghanaians are known for their warmth, and you’ll feel welcome from the moment you arrive. Whether you’re interested in music, history, or just soaking up the local culture, Accra is a great choice of destination.
8. Lagos, Nigeria
If you’re looking to go somewhere that’s full of life and energy, Lagos, Nigeria is the place to be. With a population of over 21 million people, Lagos is one of the most spirited cities in Africa.
The lagoon city is also one of the largest metropolitan areas on the planet! It’s the world’s sixth megacity
But it is known by many as the economic, cultural, and entertainment center of Africa. The city also is home to some of the best restaurants in the world, serving up delicious local cuisine that will leave you wanting more. Not to mention the beach resorts, which might take you by surprise.
And if you’re interested in electronics and nightlife, Lagos has plenty to keep you happy. Check out the Lagos Computer Village and Alaba International Market house for the latest gadgets. As for nightlife – it’s everywhere!
9. Stone Town, Tanzania
Stone Town is the cultural heart of Zanzibar and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It’s a magical travel destination that combines rich history, magnificent architecture, and vibrant culture.
This UNESCO World Heritage site is a maze of narrow alleys, authentic markets, and kitschy boutiques. You can explore the remnants of the Swahili civilization and learn about the spice trade that put Zanzibar on the map.
From the colorful doors to the fragrant spice stalls, every corner of Stone Town has a story to tell. Don’t miss the chance to sample the local cuisine, take a sunset dhow cruise, or just wander and get lost in the magic of this spectacular place.
You can even visit the former home of Queen frontman Freddy Mercury, and eat at the restaurant named in his honor.
The many blissful beaches offer turquoise waters and coral reefs for some of the world’s best diving and snorkeling. And of course, it’s also known for its spices. Visitors can take a tour of a local spice farm to learn more about the island’s history and culinary traditions.
10. Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Addis Ababa, the vibrant capital city of Ethiopia, is a place any traveler would fall in love with. And not just because of the astounding coffee – and it’s everywhere – though that is a major selling point!
Another thing that might attract you to Addis Ababa is the food. But while the local dishes are divine – you’ll have to try the injera – you might be missing a taste of the familiar. Especially if you’ve been in Africa for a while.
As the city is a hub for expats, you’ll be able to find all of your favorite cuisines here. Those can range from pizza, a good steak, or some authentic Chinese food.
You can also explore the city’s lush green spaces, including the Entoto Mountains and the beautiful Meskel Square. As well, a stop at the National Museum of Ethiopia will bring you face-to-face with Lucy. The oldest and most complete hominid skeleton ever found was discovered in Ethiopia’s Danakil Desert.
Another terrific reason to visit Addis Ababa is to dance. Like coffee, dancing can be found everywhere. Find an excuse to be at the old central Piazza neighborhood in the evening, especially on the weekend, wander around, and see how it’s done!
The Best Parks and Reserves in Africa to Visit
11. Kilimanjaro National Park
Kilimanjaro National Park in Tanzania is iconic in Africa. It’s known for its majestic Mount Kilimanjaro, its epic wildlife, and its intoxicating scenery. Visitors come from all over the world to hike the highest peak in Africa and experience a wildlife safari.
You’ll see animals like elephants, leopards, buffalos, and colobus monkeys in their natural habitat. The park is also home to unique ecosystems like the montane forest and the moorland. Mount Kilimanjaro National Park provides a one-of-a-kind experience for all nature lovers and adventure seekers.
And if you’re a UNESCO site chaser, you can’t miss Mount Kilimanjaro, one of the 7 Natural Wonders of Africa. The famous mountain is the main attraction of the park. As well as a natural wonder, Kili is one of the ‘Seven Summits of the World”. It’s considered the easiest of the peaks and can be summited by people of just about any fitness level, not just mountain climbers.
12. Mantenga Nature Reserve
Mantenga Nature Reserve is a wonderland located in the beautiful country of Eswatini, aka Swaziland. The reserve boasts an incredible diversity of plants and animals. Nature enthusiasts will not want to miss it.
Here, visitors can explore the lush forests, sparkling waterfalls, and scenic hiking trails that wind through the reserve. You can also spot a variety of exotic wildlife, including antelopes, zebras, and even leopards.
For those who love bird watching, Mantenga Nature Reserve really is a paradise. With over 280 species of birds, including the rare Narina Trogon, it’s a bird lover’s dream come true.
13. Masai Mara National Reserve, Kenya
If you’re planning a trip to Kenya, make sure to add the Masai Mara National Reserve to your itinerary. This vast wildlife reserve is home to an incredible variety of animals, including lions, elephants, giraffes, zebras, and many more.
But what sets Masai Mara apart from other game reserves is the annual Great Migration, where millions of wildebeest and zebras migrate, following the rains and the green grass. Witnessing this natural phenomenon is truly awe-inspiring.
Aside from the wildlife, Masai Mara is also known for its insanely beautiful landscapes, from the vast savannahs to the winding Mara River. While you’re here, you can even visit a traditional Maasai village and learn about their culture and way of life.
Masai Mara National Reserve really does have something for everybody.
14. Ras Mohammed National Park, Egypt
Located in the Sinai Peninsula, Egypt, Ras Mohammed National Park attracts visitors from all over the world. The park boasts an incredible variety of marine life, including over 1,000 species of fish, dolphins, sharks, and sea turtles. It’s a diver’s paradise.
With its crystal-clear waters, coral reefs made up of more than 200 types of corals, and soft sand beaches, Ras Mohammed is a perfect destination for nature lovers. You can explore the park’s various ecosystems from the water, with a snorkel and fins, or from a boat. Take a boat tour to discover the hidden treasures of the park from a different perspective.
Whether you’re traveling solo or with family and friends, Ras Mohammed National Park is a gorgeous spot, especially for the diver or snorkeler in you.
15. Atlas Mountains, Morocco
If you’re looking for a location that’s perfect for adventure and relaxation, look no further than the Atlas Mountains in Morocco – one of Morocco’s best places to visit. Nestled in the heart of North Africa, these peaks offer a unique blend of natural beauty, rich culture, and warm hospitality.
With their snow-capped peaks, lush valleys, and rocky terrain, the Atlas Mountains are a hiker’s paradise. Whether you’re an experienced mountaineer or a novice explorer, there are plenty of trails to suit your level of expertise. And you can ski in winter!
But the Atlas Mountains are about more than outdoor adventure. The region is also home to an energetic culture that’s been shaped by centuries of Berber and Arabic influence.
You’ll find traditional villages, animated markets, and historic landmarks that will give you a look into Morocco’s abundant and fascinating history.
When your day is done, you can relax in one of the many luxurious resorts and spas that dot the region. From traditional hammams to modern wellness centers, you’ll find everything you need to rejuvenate your body and mind. What more could you ask for?
16. Ngorongoro Conservation Area, Tanzania
If you’re thinking about visiting Tanzania, make sure to add Ngorongoro Conservation Area to your itinerary. It’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and it’s home to some of the most breathtaking topography and wildlife in the world.
The Ngorongoro Crater is one of the main attractions, with its majestic views and huge animal population. You can spot lions, elephants, hippos, and even the rare black rhino.
But even more than that, the area also has lovely waterfalls, steamy hot springs, and fascinating historical sites. Don’t miss the chance to explore this incredible spot and experience the natural wonder of the Ngorongoro Conservation Area.
17. Chobe National Park, Botswana
Chobe National Park in Botswana is a spectacular stop for anyone who loves wildlife and nature. Known for having one of the largest concentrations of elephants in Africa, you’ll be able to witness these incredible animals, often en masse, in their natural habitat. Chobe is one of the best places to visit in Africa, due in no small part to these elephants.
As well, you’ll see scads of other wildlife, such as lions, hippos, crocodiles, leopards, and many species of antelope. The park also has lush landscapes, with a variety of habitats ranging from floodplains to woodlands to savannahs.
Visitors can explore the park on game drives, boat safaris, or even guided walking tours, all while taking in the epic scenery and getting up close and personal with some of Africa’s most iconic animals.
18. South Luangwa National Park, Zambia
Located in the eastern part of Zambia, South Luangwa National Park is a fantastic place to discover. This wildlife haven is home to all of the famous African wildlife, including elephants, lions, leopards, giraffes, hippos, and over 400 species of birds.
What makes South Luangwa National Park irresistible is its untouched wilderness, offering visitors an authentic African safari experience.
In the park you’ll find a network of game-viewing trails, offering you a chance to explore the park on foot. You also have the option of guided night drives, providing a unique opportunity to see the park’s nocturnal animals in action. This is often when the most action happens, and night drives aren’t permitted everywhere.
A visit to South Luangwa National Park isn’t only the adventure of a lifetime. It’s also a great way to support conservation efforts in the region.
19. Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe
If you’re a wildlife enthusiast, a visit to Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe is a must. Covering over 14,600 square kilometers, the park is home to over 100 mammal species, including the Big Five. You’ll also find over 400 bird species and numerous reptiles and insects.
One of the reasons travelers love Hwange is the opportunity to see large elephant herds. Along with Chobe, the park has one of the highest concentrations of elephants in Africa. You can also go on game drives, guided walks, and night drives to see the nocturnal animals.
Whether you’re a wildlife photographer or simply love nature, Hwange National Park is a remarkable spot to visit.
20. Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda
Volcanoes National Park is a breathtaking destination located in the Virunga Mountains in Rwanda. The park is home to a variety of endangered species, including golden monkeys and the rare Rwandan bush buffalo.
It’s particularly famous for its population of mountain gorillas. Visitors can take guided hikes through the rainforest to observe these incredible, endangered creatures in their natural habitat.
The park also has phenomenal views of the surrounding volcanoes. It offers, too, a unique cultural experience through the opportunity to visit nearby villages and learn about local traditions.
If you are a nature and wildlife enthusiast, a visit to Volcanoes National Park is an absolute must. You’ll have the unforgettable opportunity to witness some of the world’s most magnificent creatures up-close and personal, while also immersing yourself in the rich culture of Rwanda.
The Best Attractions to Visit in Africa
21. Amphitheatre of El Djem
This impressive attraction is located in Tunisia and is one of the best-preserved Roman ruins in the world. Built in the 3rd century AD, the amphitheater was once capable of seating up to 35,000 spectators. It was used for gladiator games and other public events.
You’re able to explore the underground tunnels and chambers where the animals and gladiators were kept, as well as climb to the top of the amphitheater for extravagant views of the surrounding countryside.
The Amphitheatre of El Djem is a fascinating historical site that offers a glimpse into Tunisia’s prolific cultural heritage and it’s well worth a visit.
22. Dahlak Archipelago, Eritrea
Dahlak is a group of islands that are a part of the African country of Eritrea. It’s located in the Red Sea and is known for its pristine beaches, crystal-clear waters, and vibrant marine life.
The archipelago is popular with snorkelers and divers. Many people come just to explore the underwater world and witness a dizzying array of fish, coral, and other marine life.
The islands are also home to several historic sites, including ancient Turkish and Islamic ruins and colonial-era buildings. These add an educational element to your vacation, in case you’re feeling guilty about relaxing on the beach.
The Dahlak Archipelago is a unique and unforgettable experience for anyone who’s curious about the natural and cultural wonders of Eritrea.
23. Victoria Falls, Zambia/Zimbabwe
This world-famous waterfall is one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World. It’s known for its stunning beauty and its powerful roar. Victoria Falls, located on the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe, really is an astounding site.
Known as the “smoke that thunders”, the falls are one of the largest waterfalls in the world, measuring over a mile wide and 354 feet high. The thundering sound of the water crashing down into the Zambezi River can be heard from miles away.
But it’s not just the size that makes Victoria Falls so amazing. It’s the mesmerizing beauty of the falls, with mist rising up from the gorge and creating rainbows in the sky.
You’ll be able to walk along the edge of the falls, take a dip in the Devil’s Pool, or go white water rafting on the Zambezi River. Visitors can even take a helicopter ride or bungee jump over the falls.
24. The White Desert
Located about 500 kilometers south of Cairo in Egypt, this is a hidden gem in the middle of the country. The desert is named after the unique white chalk rock formations that will remind you of a snowy landscape.
These formations have been shaped by the wind over millions of years. The shapes are other otherworldly, resembling giant mushrooms, pillars, and even different animals.
You can explore the desert by 4×4 or on foot, and witness the surreal beauty of the formations. They’re especially mystical during sunset and sunrise.
Camping in the desert is also an incredible experience, with the extraordinary starry sky providing a peaceful and awe-inspiring backdrop. You can’t imagine…!
25. Mount Nyiragongo, Democratic Republic of Congo
Mount Nyiragongo is a massive volcano located in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo. It’s known for its large lava lake that can be seen at night. It’s one of just a few in the world and is continuously active.
The hike up to the summit is challenging, about 4 miles each way, but the reward is breathtaking. From the top, you can witness the astounding view of the lava lake, which is truly an unforgettable experience.
Aside from the amazing view, Mount Nyiragongo is also home to various species of animals and plants, making it an excellent location for nature lovers.
26. Tsodilo Hills, Botswana
This is another hidden gem, not well known to tourists. It is a striking and spiritual site for the San people, who have lived in the area for thousands of years. The Tsodilo Hills are a series of ancient rock formations that hold great cultural significance for the San.
The ancient tribe considers it a sacred place of worship and a repository of their cultural heritage. The hills are adorned with over 4,500 rock paintings. These depict hunting scenes, animal figures, and spiritual ceremonies that date back to the Stone Age.
It’s considered to be one of the most historically significant rock art sites on the planet.
Visiting the Tsodilo Hills gives you a unique opportunity to learn about the history and beliefs of the San people and experience their living culture firsthand.
27. Fish River Canyon, Namibia
Fish River Canyon is one of the most impressive natural wonders in Namibia. This incredible gorge is known for its breathtaking scenery and awe-inspiring views.
Located in the southern part of Namibia, Fish River Canyon is the second-largest canyon in the world. It measures approximately 99 miles long and up to 17 miles across.
The canyon was formed over 500 million years ago and is home to a wide range of plant and animal species. It’s also popular with hikers, who come from all over the world to tackle the Fish River Canyon hiking trail.
The trail is challenging, but the rewards are well worth it – hikers are treated to outstanding views of the canyon and the surroundings.
If you’re looking for somewhere that combines adventure, natural beauty, and a sense of wonder, then Fish River Canyon is the perfect place to visit.
Whether you’re an avid hiker or simply want to soak up the astonishing scenery, this canyon is sure to leave you feeling inspired and rejuvenated.
28. Sossusvlei, Namibia
Found in the heart of the Namib Desert, Sossusvlei is a stunning salt and clay pan that attracts visitors from all over the world. The area is more famous for its towering red sand dunes, some of which reach heights of up to 300 meters. This makes them some of the highest dunes in the world.
If you decide to visit Sossusvlei, you’ll be rewarded with its breathtaking scenery and really unique vistas. There is nothing quite like watching the sun rise over the dunes or sink below the horizon. The changing light also plays across the sand and creates magical colors that photographers love.
The area is also home to a wide variety of wildlife, including oryx, springbok, and impressive, desert-adapted elephants.
29. Cape Point, South Africa
Cape Point is an unmissable destination in South Africa. Located at the southernmost tip of the Cape Peninsula, Cape Point offers breathtaking views of the Atlantic Ocean and the area’s rugged coastline.
It’s home to a beautiful variety of plants and animals, including baboons, ostriches, and whales. You can take a scenic drive or hike to the top of the iconic lighthouse for panoramic views. These views help make this one of the best places to visit in Africa.
Though not strictly true, the point is known as the meeting point of the Indian and Atlantic Oceans.
The reserve also has a restaurant, called Two Oceans, which serves fresh seafood, and a souvenir shop that offers locally-made crafts. Cape Point is a great place to relax, take in the scenery, and experience the beauty of South Africa.
30. Lake Malawi, Malawi
Tucked in among Mozambique, Tanzania, and Malawi in southeastern Africa, Lake Malawi is the third-largest lake on the continent. It’s famous for its crystal-clear waters and plentiful marine life.
You should consider exploring Lake Malawi for its beautiful beaches, ethereal sunsets, and opportunities for water sports such as snorkeling, diving, and kayaking.
The lake is also home to over 1,000 species of fish, making it a popular spot for fishing enthusiasts. Be aware, catch and release only! It’s perfect if you’re looking for a relaxing getaway or an adventurous holiday.
Conclusion: Best Places to Visit in Africa
There are so many amazing – and safe – places to visit in Africa that it’s hard to choose just one – or even two. Whether you’re looking for its natural beauty, fascinating history, and culture, or unforgettable wildlife encounters, Africa has it all.
From the Djemaa el-Fna square markets to Victoria Falls, from the cities of Cape Town and Egypt to the savannahs of the Serengeti. Africa offers an enormous range of experiences for travelers, regardless of what you’re looking for.
Don’t miss your chance to explore one of the world’s most captivating continents, and a few of the best places to visit in Africa.
Deb’s been traveling for more than 3 decades and has never found a place that didn’t fascinate her. But Africa is the place she keeps returning to. She fell in love with its insanely beautiful habitats, rich cultures, and epic wildlife on her first visit. There’s no place that has more to offer a traveler. She hopes that by writing about it she will inspire you to experience Africa for yourself. It’ll be the trip of your lifetime!