Africa has a booming tourist industry, and it’s easy to see why. With its diverse history, cultures and beautiful landscapes and wild animals, Africa is a traveler’s dream. Some people look at the news and get nervous about making a trip here, but it would be foolish to turn down the opportunity given that some of the safest and friendliest countries are in Africa. In fact, most African countries pride themselves on their friendliness and kindness to foreign visitors. Let’s look at an overview of the top ten tourist attractions in Africa, the safest places to visit, the top tourist countries, the most visited country (2017), friendliest countries and most beautiful places in Africa. The Best African Countries To Visit – Travel Guide will provide you with the answers to most of the questions.
As you will see, there is more to Africa than just going on safari (although that is one great reason to go). Africa is home to amazing history and cultures, geographical wonders, the best beaches you can imagine, vibrant cities, art, water-based activities, camping and hiking, and so much more! You won’t be bored for a minute no matter where you choose to go. Hopefully, this list will help you spark an idea for your next adventure.
Top 10 Tourist Attractions in Africa
1) The Maasai Mara National Reserve, Kenya
Maasai Mara national reserve can only be called spectacular, especially because of its colorful culture, scenery, and unparalleled opportunities to spot wildlife. Maasai Mara connects to the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania, so together they become the ultimate safari destination. You can easily see the Big 5 here in only a morning as well as being able to observe the famous East Africa wildebeest migration. For a once-in-a-lifetime experience, go on safari in a hot air balloon.
2) Victoria Falls, Zambia
Going to Victoria Falls is an amazing experience. The indigenous name means “The Smoke That Thunders,” referencing all the powerful water and the mystical veil that the spray creates. You will never experience anything quite like seeing it on one of the misty looks out points. Victoria Falls is considered the world’s largest when it comes to its sheet of falling water. There are over 625 million liters of water that flow over the edge, especially during the peak flood season. It is located on the borders of Zambia and Zimbabwe, so you can see them from either country.
3) Pyramids of Giza, Egypt
The only wonder of the ancient world still in existence, the pyramids are one of man’s greatest accomplishments in architecture. Built over 5,000 years ago, it is definitely one of mankind’s oldest tourist attractions. The three main pyramids in Giza are the great pyramid of Khufu, the pyramid of Menkaure and the pyramid of Khafre. The Sphinx lies in front of the pyramids, and the name in Arabic translates to “Father of Terror.”.
4) Dejenne, Mali
Djenne was founded in 800 AD, making it one of the oldest cities in sub-Saharan Africa. It’s in central Mali located on an island that is in Inland Niger Delta. In the 17th and 18th centuries, Djenne was a natural center for traders moving their goods back and forth between the forests of Guinea and the Sahara Desert. Dejenne was also well known for being a center that thrived on Islamic learning. The bustling market square here is still towered over by the gorgeous Great Mosque. It is located downstream from Timbuktu by a few hundred miles, which is known for its famous adobe architecture.
5) Cape Town, South Africa
Cape Town has to be the centerpiece in the crown of South Africa. It’s gourmet restaurants, first-class culture and beautiful scenery are admired worldwide. You will see the iconic silhouette of the famous Table Mountain as well as golden beaches that surround suburbs. It is widely agreed that Cape Town is one of the world’s most beautiful cities.
6) Marrakech, Morocco
A riot of sound and color, Marrakech is located in Morocco at the very foot of the Atlas Mountains. There is always something going on, so it is a feast on all of your senses. It can definitely be counted among the best of the continent’s charismatic cities. If you stay at one of the traditional riads in the medina, you will find yourself completely surrounded by food markets, souks, and the maze-like streets of the traditional old city. Two locations of note are Djemma El-Fna square, which is in the middle of the medina and embodies Marrakech, and Majorelle Gardens, where you can escape from all the hubbub of the city.
7) Omo River Region, Ethiopia
For those who desire the experience of the true African wilderness should definitely consider taking a white-water rafting trip along Ethiopia’s Omo River. This area is closed off from the rest of the world for the most part, and you can barely access it with a vehicle. However, one great side effect of this is that the local tribes have been able to preserve their traditional way of life. Taking a trip here will allow you to have an intimate understanding of indigenous culture and customs. To be able to really enhance your understanding of regional culture and to be able to travel safely as well, it is strongly advised that you join an organized tour. It will be more than worth it!
8) Mgahinga Gorilla National Park, Uganda
Mgahinga National Park is part of the Virunga Conservation Area. It is considered one of the best places anywhere to find critically endangered mountain gorillas. Mgahinga has a beautiful landscape consisting of dense, cloud-topped rainforest as well as extinct volcanoes. It lies on the Virunga Range, which spreads through Rwanda, DRC, and Uganda. This makes it ideal as one of the last remaining natural habitats for mountain gorillas. There are only 800 remaining gorillas, so now is the time to look before they are gone.
9) Mount Kilimanjaro, Tanzania
Africa is definitely known to be one the best locations for adventure travel, and there are few better challenges than hiking up Mount Kilimanjaro. After all, it is the world’s tallest mountain that is freestanding. Standing at 19,340 feet, you can reach the summit within five to nine days. As long as you have a decent level of fitness, anyone can reach the top. You don’t need any special climbing equipment or any expertise of any kind. However, pre-climb training is recommended because altitude sickness can be a common problem.
10) Zanzibar, Tanzania
Famous for its gorgeous beaches and spice trade history, Zanzibar is located just off the coast of Tanzania and is also surrounded by the Indian Ocean’s warm waters. It was also known to be an important slave trade post long ago under Arab rulers, and you can still see their influence in one of the highlights of the island, Stone Town. You can see the influence in architecture. Stone Town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is composed of a sultan’s palace, beautiful traditional houses, many mosques and narrow alleyways. It is also considered to be a scuba diver’s dream location.
Safest Places to Visit in Africa
An ideal destination for travel, Botswana was a British Colony long ago. Once they became their own nation, Botswana can boast the steadiest democracy in Africa. Exploring is safe and easy. Almost everyone in the country speaks English. For a unique canoeing experience, try a mokoro ride. You also won’t want to miss watching the everyday life of zebras, hippos, and elephants in their natural habitats.
One of the most stable countries you will find in Africa, Namibia is a neighbor of Botswana and has great governance. You will also experience the adventure of your life here in safety. You will want to see the Etosha National Park so that you can observe over three hundred bird species as well as 114 different families of mammals. Consider hiring a truck so you can get even closer wildlife encounters.
Ghana is also considered a very safe and stable country with a very low crime rate. Here you can enjoy fantastic beaches as well as friendly locals. It is a great destination to get away from your stressful everyday life.\
It was less than a decade ago when Malawi wasn’t considered a safe country to visit. However, with their economic boom and newfound government, travel here is safer than ever. You won’t want to miss out on the rural areas of the country.
Another gem in the crown of Africa is Seychelles. A must visit the country, there is rarely any bad news to be reported. It is peaceful and beautiful. To enjoy an easygoing time, check out Mahe and Petite Anse. They also have many beautiful national parks that have been converted from islands.
Top Tourist Countries in Africa
Receiving an average of ten million visitors a year, Morocco is one of the most popular African countries for tourism. Attractions include the Atlas mountains, beach resorts, and giant sand dunes. It also has nine UNESCO World Heritage Sites, including the Medina of Marrakesh. Here you can see a kasbah (fortress), palaces, and the Koutoubia Mosque.
South Africa boasts 9.5 million international travelers every year. There are several modern cities as well as beautiful coastlines, national parks, and vineyards. A megadiverse country, going on safari to see different plants and animals is a must. If you like ancient history, you will enjoy seeing the Cradle of Humankind. It is situated in Gauteng, and fossils that are more than two million years old have been discovered here.
Tunisia has around 6.2 million travelers annually. Luxurious resorts await you on the east coast where you can enjoy the Mediterranean-like climate. Other popular destinations include the covered markets within inland Tunisia and trips to the Sahara Desert.
With 2.7 million visitors a year, Algeria has much to offer. You will find ancient cities alongside Arab-influenced architecture, and there are plenty of opportunities for outdoor adventures. The capital (Algiers) is very popular with tourists who want to get lost in its historic streets and learn more in museums. If you want to escape the hubbub of city life, then head over to the Ahaggar National Park. Here you will see an amazing mountain range in the midst of arid desert conditions.
Home of the pyramids and everything Ancient Egypt, Egypt gets about 1.5 million tourists a year. Whether you want to see the pyramids or look through museums, Egypt is the perfect place for the history buff in you.
Most Visited Country in Africa in 2017
South Africa gets over 6.5 million visitors a year, and there is an abundance of reasons why. There are the natural parks along with their other animal reserves and excellent reception facilities. Other attractions include the beautiful countryside, the sunny climate, the magnificent exteriors and cultural diversity. This is a great country to travel to for either leisure or business.
Friendliest Countries in Africa
Considered to be the most friendly to tourists, Morocco tops the list. Other countries that follow closely behind include Senegal and Burkina Faso.
Most Beautiful Countries in Africa
Well developed and with great infrastructure, you won’t want to miss Johannesburg, Capetown, and Pretoria.
With fantastic infrastructure and development, Egypt mixes the ancient and the modern. Check out Cairo, the ancient city of Alexandria and Giza.
Morroco borders the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean and is distinguishable by its Arabian, Berber and European cultural influences. This is another country where the ancient and modern blend.
As you can see, with the right research and planning, there is nothing to fear about visiting Africa. The adventure of your life could be right ahead of you. Whether you want to experience ancient history, wildlife, or just relax on beautiful beaches and resorts, a trip to an African country could be right for you. There is so much you can see and do. Don’t let dark news prevent you from having a life-changing experience. And as you can see, there is a lot to do and see beyond the typical attractions most people think of when they think of traveling to Africa. Your next adventure awaits. Happy travels!