Filled with picture-perfect beaches, formidable animal life, lush inland forests, and expansive landscapes, Africa is no doubt one of the world’s best destinations. The African continent offers its visitors a perfect blend of ancient, urban, wild, and modern. To help you plan your travels, we have put together a travel bucket list of some of the best tourist destinations in Africa.
The continent has something for everyone, with each country having unique culture, traditions, and natural attractions. To be better prepared, safer, and happier during your vacation, it is important to keep in mind a few safety precautions. Seek advice on country-specific vaccines. For example, when traveling to East Africa, you will need to show proof of yellow fever vaccination.
Don’t leave inoculation to a last-minute thing as some destinations require visitors to be vaccinated some weeks before travel. In addition, some vaccines might render you unwell for one or two days. Also, take anti-malaria precautions like applying mosquito repellent and covering your feet, arms, and legs in the evenings. That said, let’s zoom into Africa’s most remarkable places to visit.
The Most Popular Tourist Destinations in Africa
#1. The Nile River (Egypt)
The Nile River is the world’s longest river with an estimated length of about 4,132 miles. It is among the seven natural wonders of Africa. The river flows across 11 countries, from south of the Equator all the way to Egypt where it forms the Nile Delta before draining into the Mediterranean Sea. While the Nile River isn’t known for wildlife, it is famous for the Nile Crocodile, which is the largest in Africa and one of the biggest in the world. This crocodile can weigh up to 1500 pounds and reach 20 feet in length. The Nile River cruises found in Egypt offer one of the best experiences of the Nile River. Tourists experience the tranquility and beauty of the river while catching sight of the Nile Crocodiles.
#2. Cape Town (South Africa)
Traversing Cape Town and its environs is one of the easiest and finest ways to gain a taste of the African experience. The town is a popular tourist destination in Africa. One of the best ways to experience Cape Town is to explore its history, traditions, cultures, foods, and mix of people. Tourists have more than enough places to visit, from Cape Winelands to the iconic Table Mountain National Park, Camps Bay, Cape Point, and Robben Island. These attractions make Cape Town a worthy item on our travel bucket list.
#3. Djemaa el Fna (Morocco)
Located at the center of Marrakech, Djemaa el Fna is dubbed the most exciting town square in the world. As the sun sets, vendors including mobile restaurateurs selling bread and delicious meat set up their stalls. As night falls, jangling belly dancers, snake charmers, wide-eyed storytellers, and silk-clad acrobats emerge from the darkness and stage entertainment. For close to a millennium, Djemaa el Fna has attracted visitors who come to enjoy delicious foods and traditional performances. Arrive before sunset to obtain a panoramic view of the town square from the café terraces that overlook the square.
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#4. Masai Mara National Reserve (Kenya)
This national reserve is a premier spot in Kenya to see wildlife, from wildebeests and lions to hippos, elephants, cheetahs, and more. Masai Mara National Reserve is particularly famous in Kenya and Africa for the great wildebeest migration. This is the largest animal migration in the world that takes place annually. The sight of hundreds of wildebeests thundering across the open plains and grasslands of the Mara is spectacular. July to October is the finest time to catch sight of the wildebeests, the big five, and other migrating animals.
#5. Jozani Chwaka Bay National Park (Zanzibar)
Many tourists are drawn to Zanzibar by fabulous beaches as well as snorkeling and diving opportunities. Many, however, tend to overlook interior attractions like the Jozani Forest. This forest is part of the Jozani Chwaka Bay National Park that harbors Zanzibar’s biggest concentration of red colobus monkeys. The park is home to a rich birdlife with more than 40 recorded species. Jozani Chwaka Bay is also home to Zanzibar Sykes’ monkey, Ader’s duiker antelope, and other alluring creatures. No tour of Zanzibar Island would be complete without having this park on your travel bucket list.
#6. Nyungwe National Park (Rwanda)
Nyungwe hosts one of Africa’s oldest rainforests. The park is located in a mountainous region that is very rich in biodiversity. A visit to the Nyungwe National Park offers visitors the chance to see a wide range of primates including chimpanzees, mountain gorillas, and 12 other primate species. Visitors also get to see the highest canopy in East Africa. From tracking primates and other animals to birdwatching and marveling at hundreds of plant species, memories about this park will live in you for a lifetime.
#7. Serengeti National Park (Tanzania)
Are you enamored with getting face-to-face with wildebeests, zebras, giraffes, and elephants? You need to go for an adventure safari in Serengeti National Park. The park is one of the famous in the African continent and is synonymous with wildlife as well as beautiful African scenery. Thus, Serengeti is a perfect destination for wildlife lovers. It also offers spectacular views of the wildebeest migration.
#8. Victoria Falls (Zambia and Zimbabwe)
The Victoria Falls is one of the most incredible water spectacles in Africa. Originally called Mosi-oa-Tunya, these falls were reportedly discovered in 1855 by a European. The 108-meter-high falls are among the world’s seven natural wonders. Spanning 1708 meters wide, Victoria Falls is considered the widest mass of falling water in the world. This falls border Zambia and Zimbabwe and is one of UNESCO’s World Heritage sites.
#9. Pyramids of Giza (Egypt)
The Pyramids of Giza are erected on a rocky plateau in northern Egypt. The impeccable geometry, extraordinary shapes, and sheer bulk of these pyramids attract tourists from across the world. These massive pyramids were constructed as tombs by workers ordered by the pharaohs. In the Pyramids of Giza, visitors marvel at wonderful scenes of different aspects of ancient Egyptian life. In particular, they include depictions of ancient carpentry, fowling, fishing, farmers working in fields, burial practices, and religious rituals.
#10. Nyika Plateau National Park (Malawi)
Nyika Plateau is not just the biggest national park in Malawi but also one of Africa’s most unusual parks. The park features a plateau with several rivers. The eastern side of this plateau forms one of the walls of the Great Rift Valley. This Park is home to a variety of wildlife including leopards, zebras, and antelopes. Furthermore, its hills with gentle shapes make it perfect for both mountain biking and trekking.
#11. Kruger National Park (South Africa)
Kruger National Park is the most exciting safari destination in South Africa. Located in the northeastern region of the country, Kruger boasts of a high density of wildlife including the Big Five. It is also home to dozens of other mammals and diverse bird species including storks, eagles, and vultures. Tropical forests, bush plains, and mountains offer wonderful landscapes that make Kruger National Park an exciting place to visit for any wildlife enthusiast.
#12. Lekki Conservation Centre (Nigeria)
The Lekki Conservation Centre preserves a huge part of the biodiverse coastal ecosystem in the region. It educates guests on the need to preserve and coexist with nature. This is where tourists experience the longest canopy walkway on the African continent. The suspended walkway offers tourists a 360-degree view of the surroundings. The Centre also provides an escape from the bustles and hustles of the modern busy and fast-paced lifestyle.
#13. Bazaruto Archipelago (Mozambique)
The Bazaruto Archipelago consists of six islands located within Bazaruto National Park. These islands are well-known for their white-sand beaches, which make them a choice vacation destination for many. Bazaruto, the largest island, is popular for sand dunes. Santa Carolina and Magaruque islands feature coral reefs that harbor rare marine species such as dugongs. In addition, the interior of Benguerra island is dotted with grasslands, forests, and wetlands that are home to many bird species.
#14. Nxia Pan National Park (Botswana)
Located in northeastern Botswana, Nxia Pan National Park hosts a cluster of millennia-old baobab trees popularly referred to as Baines’ Baobabs. A safari across this park introduces visitors to many sounds and sights of a true African adventure. Precisely, visitors can expect to see cheetahs, leopards, lions, zebras, giraffes, elephants, hyenas, and other wild animals. The park consists of the Nxai Pan, a large salt pan depression that is part of the Makgadikgadi Pans, which are the world’s largest salt pans. With all these attractions, Nxia Pan National Park is indeed worth a slot on your travel bucket list.
#15. The Omo Valley (Ethiopia)
The Omo Valley in southwest Ethiopia is inhabited by a mix of tribes that mainly practices subsistence agriculture, small-scale cattle herding, and pastoralism. Each tribe practices a unique way of life and culture with each having its own traditions, food, clothing, and language. All these variations have developed over millennia. Thus, a visit to The Omo Valley immerses you into the culture and traditions of over 80 tribes living in the region.
#16. Fish River Canyon (Namibia)
The Fish River Canyon in south Namibia is the biggest canyon in Africa and the second-largest in the world. It stretches over 80 km long, up to 27 km wide, and more than 500 meters deep. The rocky ravine of The Fish River Canyon offers tourists magnificent views. The Fish River Canyon Trail is frequented by hiking enthusiasts as it is among the most popular hiking spots in Southern Africa.
#17. Solio Reserve (Kenya)
Solio Reserve is a private wildlife conservancy that is geared towards rhino conservation. Located between the Aberdare Mountains and Mount Kenya, Solio Reserve provides a safe habitation for about 250 white and black rhinos. As tourists traverse this protected area, they marvel at these rhinos as well as a flourishing and diverse population of wildlife.
#18. Mahé Island (Seychelles)
This is the biggest island in Seychelles with its highest point at 905 meters above sea level. The island hosts Seychelles’ capital, Victoria, and about 90 percent of the country’s population. Mahé Island should be on your travel bucket list because it has a lot to offer, from unique granitic landscape and rare plants to gorgeous beaches and marine life. Whether you prefer hiking or walking, you will have an opportunity to experience the remarkable natural beauty that includes waterfalls, wildlife, and exceptional plant species.
#19. Nyiragongo Volcano (DRC)
Mt. Nyiragongo is a stunning active stratovolcano that is home to the largest lava lake in the world. The lower slopes of the mountain are a habitat to various animals including chimpanzees, bushbuck, three-horned chameleon, and several monkey and bird species. Traversing these slopes and the surrounding dense forest while coming face-to-face with wildlife on your way to the top of the mountain offers a gratifying experience.
#20. Kilimanjaro (Tanzania)
Located northeast Tanzania, Kilimanjaro is Africa’s tallest mountain as well as the world’s tallest free-standing mountain. It is 5,895 meters high and forms part of Kilimanjaro National Park. One of its striking features is the shining ice fields and shrinking glaciers. Besides, Kilimanjaro is an ideal destination for nature enthusiasts and mountaineers. Tourists catch up with various wildlife at the lower parts of Kilimanjaro. An Africa travel bucket list isn’t complete without this incredible dormant volcano.
#21. Lake Malawi (Malawi)
Also known as Niassa or Lake Nyasa, Lake Malawi is the second deepest and the third largest lake in Africa. This freshwater lake has more fish species than any other lake in the world. Visitors enjoy different water sports and activities such as boating, diving, snorkeling, and kayaking. Alternatively, you can sit back and enjoy the cool breeze on the charming palm-fringed beaches. Next to the lake is the Lake Malawi National Park where guests can track wildlife.
#22. Kainji Lake National Park (Nigeria)
Northwestern Nigeria has several jewels and Kainji Lake National Park is one of them. The park has three main parts: the eponymous Kainji Lake, the Borgu Game Reserve, and the Zurguma Game Reserve. This protected area has a staggering number of animals species. Take a game or safari drive to see cheetahs, African elephants, monkeys, crocodiles, hippos, antelopes, and many other animals. Guests can also tour a nearby hydropower station to have a truly memorable experience of the Kainji Lake National Park.
#23. Avenue of the Baobabs (Madagascar)
Situated about 400 miles from Madagascar’s capital, Antananarivo, the Avenue features an 853-foot-long stretch of giant baobab trees. These baobabs are believed to have existed for 800 years. The Avenue of the Baobabs is one of the best places to take snap photos in Madagascar, at sunrise or sunset. The Avenue is close to the Kirindy Mitea National Park that is home to various endemic animals. If you are traveling to Madagascar, this Avenue is definitely worth a slot on your travel bucket list.
#24. Cape Verde Archipelago (Cabo Verde)
Cape Verde archipelago consists of 10 islands set in the North Atlantic. The islands are a cultural blend of African as well as Brazilian, and Iberian influences. Once a slave trade outpost, Cape Verde ushers travelers into a unique experience of African and Portuguese heritage. Cape Verde archipelago has a lot to offer, from unique traditions, customs, and foods to diverse landscapes including mountain ranges, wide beaches, and lush hills.
#25. Ekom-Nkam Falls (Cameroon)
Ekom-Nkam Falls is no doubt the most attractive fall in Cameroon. Featuring two mesmerizing twin waterfalls, Ekom-Nkam Falls offers a captivating natural experience to travelers as they watch massive volumes of water falling from a cliff of about 80 meters. Hilly terrain with evergreen vegetation surrounds the falls. Whether you want to take a distance or close view, you will definitely enjoy watching this magnificent natural treasure.
Whether you decide to take a grand tour of the continent starting from South Africa going all the way to Egypt or merely picking some destinations at random, Africa welcomes you. This travel bucket list offers you the best destinations where you can visit and have an unforgettable African experience. Which of the destinations have you visited or plan to visit? Share your thoughts in the comments box below.