Exploring Africa in depth should be something everyone aspires to do. If you are fortunate enough to do it, then listed below are the best countries to visit in Africa.
Whether it’s safari, nature or food you travel for, Africa has it all.
The best African countries to visit are of course subjective. Everyone’s experiences will differ. But, here are a few of the most popular destinations to add to your African adventure bucket list.
Best Countries to visit in Africa
Ethiopia is a country of ancient culture, with archaeological finds dating back over 3 million years, including the 12th-century churches in Lalibela and the ruins of the old city of Aksum.
It’s the place to visit if you’re a history geek like me. They have a vast array of historical and archaeological sights that are just too good to miss, especially Gondar Castle.
If you’re more into your natural landscapes, make sure to visit Simien Mountains National Park and Nechisar National Park – both are just stunning and are well worth spending a few days visiting.
As with any trip, make sure you always listen to local advice and follow safety precautions, especially around those bigger animals.
Kenya is one of the best countries to visit in Africa for family holidays.
It is a hotspot for wildlife activity as it is the primary site of the Great Migration.
Over 2 million zebras, wildebeest and gazelle travel from the Maasai Mara to the Serengeti.
It is an incredible thing to witness, and people all around the world travel to Kenya to see it happen.
Here, it is easy to find vast herds of elephant or lions when on a safari drive.
Not only is the wildlife and nature of Kenya incredible, but so are the Kenyan people.
Interact with the different tribes of people and learn about their ways of life.
Or, take a trip along to Loyangalani along the shores of the Jade Sea for a warm welcome from the Turkana people.
Another destination worth visiting in the northern part of the country is Lamu Island, close to the border of Somalia but easily reached by plane.
The busy streets of Lamu Town – one of the oldest towns of the world – make you travel back in time.
The southern tip of the island is almost deserted besides some remote resorts (such as lovely Kizingo), where you’ll have the beautiful beach all for yourself for miles and miles.
Not many tourists make it up to the northern part of Kenya – but those who do get rewarded with a unique experience.
Located in Northern Africa, Morocco has so much to offer. Bustling cities, quiet seaside villages and snowy mountains, Morocco has it all.
It’s a melting pot of cultures with elements of European, Arabic and Berber influences to find on every corner.
Get a taste of delicious Moroccan cuisine, and your taste buds will be in heaven. Tagine dishes are the food of the gods!
Ait Benhaddou is a UNESCO World Heritage Site you have to cross off your list.
Experience pre-Saharan life with original houses with their unique structures. For history buffs, this is a must-see.
Of course, you have to make sure to visit the Djemma al Fna.
This is the main square in Marrakech and from 10 am onwards it becomes a hub of activity.
Street theatres, snake charmers, and incredible street food. There’s something here to stimulate all the senses.
Djibouti is one of the smallest countries in Africa, but it’s packed with things to do by land and by sea.
Most trips start in the capital of Djibouti City, an exciting place to check out the markets and eat international foods such as Yemeni oven baked fish and bread.
A must-do activity is a two-day jeep trip to the Mars-like terrain of Lake Abbe and overnight stay in the nomad encampment.
You will see an oasis, nomadic villages, and wildlife on the way.
Before returning to the city, you can float in Lake Assal, a stunning lake that is saltier than the Dead Sea and the second lowest place on earth.
By sea, there are excellent scuba and snorkel opportunities in the Gulf of Tadjoura.
In the winter, whale sharks can be seen by snorkel and scuba expedition.
There are a few liveaboards for scuba diving, and Djibouti is home to one of only two places in the world where it’s possible to dive between tectonic plates.
The best time to visit is from November-February as summer can be incredibly hot and humid.
5. South Africa
South Africa is an adventure lover’s paradise. There’s so much to do and see here; you’ll never want to leave!
Take a trip to Durban to experience some of the best Indian cuisines outside of India. Go on a road trip up to the Transkei or travel the Garden Route for beautiful nature and incredible surf.
For a quiet weekend getaway, take a drive down to Vermaaklikheid for a relaxing boathouse retreat. Here you can leave technology behind and enjoy the simple things in life like fishing and boat rides.
Stay in the fantastic Kruger National Park in a hut amongst the wildlife. Experience one of the best safari parks in the world for memories which will last a lifetime.
The island nation of Madagascar is the fourth largest island in the world.
The landscapes here are so rich and diverse; there are lots to see here. With deserts, beaches, and rainforests in plenty, you will have plenty to do here.
Fun fact: You can find 5% of all plant and animal species in the world only in Madagascar!
To experience trees which are over 800 years old, take a trip to the Avenue of the Baobabs.
You will feel humbled to walk amongst them, and it’s a great place to reconnect with nature.
The UNESCO World Heritage site of Ambohimanga is perfect for history buffs.
It is a fortified Royal settlement which is easy to get to and well worth a visit.
This landlocked country in southern Africa is often forgotten about by us travellers in light of its more popular sisters, Kenya and Tanzania.
Boasting a geographically diverse landscape, from the impressive peaks of Mount Mulanje to the sprawling grasslands of the Nyika Plateau, and not forgetting Lake Malawi, it one of the best countries to visit in Africa.
Whether you come here for hiking and kayaking or to enjoy some of its rich cultures, Malawi is a country of astonishing beauty.
Don’t forget to try a local food favourite of Nsima; it’s made up from the ground up corn that can be served with roasted meats and vegetables.
Zanzibar is a popular travel destination in Africa among many travellers.
A visa is required for all visitors entering the country, which can be acquired at any Tanzanian consulate or on arrival at the state designated entry points at the cost of $50.
Tanzania’s hidden gem, Pemba Island, is about 100 kilometres outside Zanzibar and is abundant with healthy coral reefs, mangroves, lagoons, and fish, which makes it heaven for diving fanatics and beach lovers.
It’s natural surroundings have earned it the nickname ‘the Green Island’.
What makes the island one of the best countries to visit in Africa as well as a real gem is that it gets far fewer visitors than Zanzibar, which makes it the perfect getaway from congested holiday sites and the best way to experience a true island holiday.
The island portrays the idyllic African village, with traditionally-designed square mud houses with thatch roof, ox-drawn carts stacked high with a variety of fruit, villagers who speak mainly Swahili and a small population of 350,000 people.
Main attractions include the island’s main town of Chake Chake, Vumawimbi beach and Makoba beach.
Botswana is one of the best countries to visit in Africa because it is dedicated to environmental conservation and wildlife protection. It is a high-end but low-impact tourist spot.
This means you can get the safari experience without the crowds of tourists.
The Okavango Delta is a must-visit place in Botswana.
This is where you can find natural beauties which remain untouched by man.
Experience the cultures of the San and Hambukshu people in the Tsodilo Hills.
The country is less populated with tourists so that you can experience a safari differently.
Instead of a safari drive, take a traditional mokoros canoe to see the game closer than ever before.
The Chobe National Park and Central Kalahari Game Reserves are the best to visit while there.
Also, the sunsets in Botswana are out of this world incredible, so make sure to bring a camera.
Namibia is another country in Africa where you can spot the Big Five wild animals. Etosha National Park is the best place to go if seeing them is the primary goal of your African vacation.
For an authentic, raw experience, opt to stay in guesthouses. This gives you the chance to live like the locals as well as interact with them on a deeper level.
Make sure to visit the Okahandja craft market for some of the best handmade items you’ll ever see. Here, people from all across Nabimia come together to sell their wares. They make for great souvenirs so make sure to get your hands on something!
You may recognise the Namib desert dunes from the movie “Max Max: Fury Road.” They are some of the highest dunes in the world, so try climbing them or take a hot air balloon over them!
So what are you waiting for? Get that visa, book the ticket and start your African adventure now!