Top 24 best places to visit in Africa


Don’t Miss These 24 Top Places to Visit in Africa

Africa is a vast and diverse continent full of incredible natural wonders, vibrant cultures, and remarkable historical sites. From the pyramids of Egypt to the Serengeti plains, there are countless destinations that should be on every traveler’s bucket list. To help you plan your next African adventure, here are the 24 best places to visit in Africa.

1. Serengeti National Park, Tanzania

The Serengeti is Africa’s most famous national park, known for its annual migration of over 1.5 million wildebeest and hundreds of thousands of zebras and gazelles. This is the best place in Africa to go on a classic safari and potentially see the “Big Five” – lions, leopards, rhinos, elephants, and cape buffalo. The endless grassy plains provide breathtaking scenery and excellent wildlife viewing opportunities. June and July are the ideal months to see the great migration.

2. Victoria Falls, Zambia/Zimbabwe

Straddling the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe, the massive Victoria Falls is considered the largest waterfall in the world. Locally called “Mosi-oa-Tunya” or “The Smoke That Thunders”, this UNESCO World Heritage Site creates a roar as the Zambezi River plummets over 350 feet into the magnificent Batoka Gorge below. Take a helicopter ride for stunning aerial views or get up close on guided boat tours along the rapids at the falls’ edge. The falls are impressive any time of year, but the peak flow is usually March to May.

3. Pyramids of Giza, Egypt

No trip to Egypt is complete without a visit to the iconic Pyramids of Giza, the oldest of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Dating back to around 2560 BC, the pyramids are the tombs of the great pharaohs Khufu, Khafre and Menkaure. The Great Pyramid of Khufu is the largest and most famous, constructed from over 2 million stone blocks. While exploring the pyramids, don’t miss the mysterious Sphinx, an enormous limestone statue with the head of a pharaoh and the body of a lion.

4. Cape Town, South Africa

With its stunning coastal setting, world-class wineries, and Table Mountain as a backdrop, Cape Town is one of Africa’s most beautiful and popular cities. A must-do while you’re here is riding the cable car up flat-topped Table Mountain for spectacular city and ocean views. Down below, downtown bustles with an array of restaurants, bars, and shops along the historic Victoria & Alfred Waterfront. Cape Town is also known for its excellent beaches, like Camps Bay and Clifton Beach. The Cape Winelands region outside the city offers superb wine tasting opportunities.

5. Ngorongoro Crater, Tanzania

The massive Ngorongoro Crater is often called ‘Africa’s Garden of Eden’ due to its incredible concentration of wildlife. This UNESCO-listed caldera is the world’s largest intact volcanic caldera and provides a rich habitat for over 30,000 animals. On a safari of Ngorongoro Crater, you’ll commonly spot lions, elephants, rhinos, zebras, hippos, hyenas, flamingos, and many more species. Descending 600 meters down to the crater floor for a day of wildlife viewing is a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

6. Djenné, Mali

In the historic town of Djenné, don’t miss the extraordinary mud-brick Grand Mosque – the world’s largest adobe building. Dating to 1907, this iconic mosque is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and considered one of Africa’s greatest architectural achievements. The mosque’s three minarets tower above the small market town, set on an island in the Bani River. Visitors are allowed inside to view the impressive interior and towering columns. Market days on Mondays provide colorful glimpses of West African culture.

7. Seychelles

If you’re dreaming of remote island beaches with turquoise water, the Seychelles should be on your Africa bucket list. Located in the Indian Ocean off East Africa, this archipelago of 115 islands boasts some of the world’s most picturesque beaches. The main island of Mahé offers cinnamon-hued sand beaches edged by granite boulders, like Anse Lazio and Anse Georgette. Brilliant snorkeling and diving await at reefs ringing the islands. The Seychelles has multiple luxury resorts if you’re looking to splurge.

8. Kruger National Park, South Africa

For an authentic African safari adventure, head to Kruger National Park in South Africa. Spanning 7,523 square miles, this park is one of the largest game reserves in Africa. Kruger provides an exceptional opportunity to see the Big Five and also spot cheetahs, giraffes, hippos, zebras, and over 500 bird species. The park has a wide range of accommodation options, from rustic campsites to five-star lodges. The best time for game viewing is during the dry season from May to October.

9. Sahara Desert

Venture into the largest hot desert on the planet, the iconic Sahara, spanning 3.5 million square miles across North Africa. In Morocco, explore the craggy Saharan dunes of Erg Chebbi on camelback. In Egypt, take a multi-day trek into the Great Sand Sea, setting up camp beneath star-studded night skies. The Saharan oasis towns of Siwa in Egypt and Zagora in Morocco provide perfect bases to explore the desert fringes on 4WD adventures. The Sahara is truly a destination like nowhere else.

10. Mountain Gorillas in Rwanda

A once-in-a-lifetime experience for many travelers is trekking to see endangered mountain gorillas in Africa’s misty highland forests. The best place to see them is Volcanoes National Park in northwest Rwanda, home to about one third of the world’s remaining mountain gorillas. Groups of permits are limited to 8 people per day, allowing you to spend an incredible hour observing these peaceful primates up-close. The mountain gorillas of Rwanda are highly habituated to humans, making for unforgettable encounters.

11. Maasai Mara National Reserve, Kenya

Famous for the Great Migration between July and October, Maasai Mara National Reserve is Kenya’s most spectacular wildlife sanctuary. This is the northern extension of the larger Serengeti ecosystem, comprised of rolling grasslands and small forests. During the migration, enormous herds of wildebeest and zebra cross from Serengeti into Maasai Mara in search of green pastures. Where prey goes, predators follow-so you can witness dramatic hunts by lions, cheetahs, and hyenas. The Mara River runs through the reserve and is home to huge hippo and crocodile populations.

12. Kilimanjaro, Tanzania

Adventurous travelers can take the ultimate climbing challenge: scaling to the “Roof of Africa” on the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro. Soaring 19,341 feet in the air, Kilimanjaro is the tallest freestanding mountain on Earth. While a Kilimanjaro summit requires no technical climbing skills, the 6-9 day ascent is extremely physically demanding. The rewarding panoramic views from the top across Tanzania and Kenya are simply breathtaking. Late August through mid October offers the best weather window for making the trek.

13. Skeleton Coast, Namibia

Along Namibia’s rugged Atlantic shoreline, the Skeleton Coast earned its ominous name from the whale and seal bones that once washed ashore. This eerie landscape is shrouded in rolling fog and dotted with shipwrecks. At the massive Sandwich Harbour dunes, skeletal ship remains emerge from the sands. Don’t miss a safari through the Namib Desert to discover bizarre rock formations and elephants, lions, and giraffes roaming the gravel plains. Portions of the coast are only accessible with a guide.

14. Okavango Delta, Botswana

Spread across 6,000 square miles in Botswana’s Kalahari Desert region, the Okavango Delta is the world’s largest inland delta. These protected wetlands have earned UNESCO World Heritage status for their incredible concentrations of African wildlife. The best way to experience the Okavango is on a traditional mokoro canoe ride through the reedy channels. You’ll commonly spot elephants, hippos, buffalo, giraffes, zebras, crocodiles, leopards, and over 400 species of birds. Safari lodges range from budget to ultra-luxury.


Morocco’s Draa Valley follows a green oasis lined with hundreds of kasbahs and ksour (fortified villages) amidst the Saharan dunes. The valley begins south of the Dadès Gorge and stretches 150 miles until reaching the city of Zagora. Don’t miss the famous ksar of Ait Benhaddou, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and filming location for ‘Lawrence of Arabia’ and ‘Game of Thrones’. The valley provides a scenic drive when road tripping between the Sahara Desert and Marrakech. Overnight in one of the many family-run guesthouses.

16. Sossusvlei, Namibia

Photographers flock to Namib-Naukluft Park in Namibia for iconic images of burnt orange dunes soaring above pale grasslands. The most remarkable scenery is found at Sossusvlei, where the dunes rise sharply to heights over 985 feet. Visitors hike up Dune 45 for sunrise views and walk through Deadvlei, a white pan scattered with ancient blackened acacia trees. Adding to the splendor, the region’s dark night skies have been designated an International Dark Sky Reserve, perfect for stargazing.

17. Johannesburg, South Africa

South Africa’s largest city, Johannesburg (also called Joburg or Jozi), provides the perfect gateway to explore the country. This cosmopolitan destination has an energetic urban vibe and fascinating history as a mining boomtown. Downtown highlights include the Apartheid Museum and Nelson Mandela’s former home on Vilakazi Street. From Jozi, you can easily travel onwards to Cape Town, Kruger National Park, and beyond. Visit Soweto township to gain perspectives on South Africa’s past struggles and its hope for the future.

18. Lake Malawi, Malawi

Nicknamed the “Lake of Stars”, Lake Malawi stretches over 350 miles through Malawi from north to south. The lake’s turquoise waters are perfect for swimming, diving, snorkeling, kayaking and sailing. Relax in a beachfront lodge or camp along its sandy shores. With its immense biological diversity, Lake Malawi has been named a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Over 1,000 species of vibrant cichlid fish inhabit the lake. Diving or snorkeling, you’ll find a dazzling world of tropical fish and rock formations.

19. Marrakech, Morocco

Explore the dizzying array of sights, sounds, and scents in Marrakech, an imperial Moroccan city of mosques, palaces, and vibrant souks. Inside the medieval medina walls, lose yourself wandering past vendors in the packed Djemaa el Fna square and extensive souks selling traditional crafts, clothing, and local produce. Admire Islamic architecture in the Koutoubia Mosque, Bahia Palace, and Saadian Tombs. Stay in a restored riad and dine on flavorful Moroccan fare like tagines and couscous.

20. Rift Valley, Ethiopia

In northern Ethiopia, explore the vast Great Rift Valley region, which runs through the Simien Mountains and Danakil Depression. Trek amidst breathtaking highland scenery in Simien Mountains National Park, home to endemic wildlife like the Gelada baboon. Further north, Dallol offers an otherworldly landscape of psychedelic salt formations in the Danakil Depression, one of the hottest places on Earth. A camel expedition here reveals incredible sulfur springs, salt mounds, and acid ponds.

21. Lamu Island, Kenya

On the Kenyan coast, step back in time in Lamu – Kenya’s oldest continually inhabited town dating back to the 14th century. The island’s winding alleys, coral stone buildings, and dhow sailing boats provide an intoxicating glimpse of Swahili culture. Take a sunset dhow cruise and snorkel the reefs in the archipelago’s clear waters. Don’t miss Shela Beach, regularly rated one of Africa’s most scenic beaches, lined by tranquil mangroves and dunes.

22. Fish River Canyon, Namibia

The towering rock walls of Fish River Canyon in southern Namibia rank as the second largest canyon in the world. Measuring over 500 feet deep and 17 miles long, active adventurers won’t want to miss the epic five-day hike through the canyon depths from north to south. Shorter hiking trails along the canyon rim provide superb viewpoints into the gigantic gash carved through the Ai-Ais Richtersveld Transfrontier Park. Sunset views from the canyon edge paint the rocky landscape in golden light.

23. Dogon Country, Mali

In east-central Mali, the traditional villages of the Dogon people are architecturally unique and culturally fascinating. The Dogon constructed fortified mud-brick settlements on the Bandiagara Escarpment cliffs to defend themselves from historical invasions. Spend a few days hiking between the villages and overnighting in basic guesthouses to interact with the welcoming Dogon community. Guides in villages like Endé and Tireli can introduce you to the tribe’s ancestral animist religion, architecture, art, and music.

24. Zanzibar, Tanzania

Famous for its white sand beaches and spice plantations, the island paradise of Zanzibar lies just off the Tanzanian coast. Wander atmospheric Stone Town to see Arab, Persian, Indian, and European influences reflected in its maze of alleys and historic buildings. Relax afterwards on gorgeous beaches like Kendwa, Nungwi, and Matemwe, famed for their sunset views. Take a dhow cruise or snorkel to spot sea turtles, dolphins, and even whale sharks. The island’s Swahili cuisine includes fragrant spices and fresh seafood.


Africa is home to over 50 countries, each with their own unique attractions, landscapes, and cultural experiences for travelers to discover. Beyond the major highlights covered already, there are countless other memorable destinations across the continent.

In West Africa, don’t miss the vibrant capital cities of Dakar, Senegal and Lagos, Nigeria. Dakar boasts lively markets, museums, and delicious Senegalese cuisine flavored with ingredients like yassa chicken and thieboudienne fish. The sprawling megalopolis of Lagos immerses you in the heartbeat of modern Nigeria with its music, art, and entreprenuerial energy.

Nearby in Ghana, tour the emotive historical sites marking the tragedy of the Atlantic slave trade along the Ghanaian Slave Coast. Retrace history at places like Cape Coast Castle, Elmina Castle, and the Assin Manso Slave River. Further inland, Mole National Park provides opportunities to spot elephants and other wildlife.

In East Africa, the island nation of Mauritius tempts travelers with its world-class beaches such as Flic en Flac, Grand Baie, Ile aux Cerfs, and Le Morne Brabant. Underwater, the island’s fringing reefs offer exceptional scuba diving and snorkeling. On land, highlights include Grand Bassin sacred lake, Chamarel colored earths, and the Seven Colored Earths geologic formation. Nearby Réunion Island boasts the towering Piton de la Fournaise volcano.

For remarkable cave paintings left behind by the San Bushmen, head to the Drakensberg Mountains of South Africa. This scenic highland region offers exceptional hiking opportunities through Dragon’s Peak and Tugela Gorge. The nearby Battlefields Route provides insights into the Anglo-Zulu War of 1879, marked by battle sites like Isandlwana and Rorke’s Drift.

In Namibia beyond the major highlights already covered, don’t miss the wild beauty and wildlife of Etosha National Park, dominated by the Etosha salt pan. Another prime area for safaris is Waterberg Plateau Park, where cheetahs are being reintroduced into the wild. Along the coast, Cape Cross Seal Reserve protects an enormous breeding colony of Cape fur seals.

For avid adventurers, summiting the fourth highest peak in Africa, Mount Kenya, provides a challenging high-altitude trek in scenic mountain wilderness. Kenya also offers superb big game viewing in the Masai Mara and Amboseli ecosystems beyond the famous Maasai Mara reserve.

In Uganda, explore the forests of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park to spend unforgettable time with the area’s mountain gorilla populations, along with chimpanzees and elephants. Uganda also provides a base for adventurous safaris into the remote wilderness of the Virunga Mountains to see critically endangered mountain gorillas.

Off the coast of Tanzania, Pemba Island offers a low-key paradise known for its lush tropical forests, hidden coves, and Swahili ruins. For a lesser-visited safari experience in Tanzania, head to Ruaha National Park, boasting exceptional concentrations of elephants along with lions, rare wild dogs, impalas, and over 500 bird species.

South Africa’s top wine region, Stellenbosch, provides idyllic scenery for wine tasting at estates like Warwick, Delaire Graff, Simonsig, and Spier. Durban and port city Cape Town offer diverse urban experiences on South Africa’s coasts.

In Botswana beyond the famous Okavango Delta, the Makgadikgadi Pans National Park protects a starkly beautiful landscape of saline desert plains and scattered baobab trees that attracts incredible wildlife gatherings during the rainy season.

Swakopmund in Namibia provides a hub for adrenaline-pumping adventures like sandboarding down coastal dunes and quad biking over gravel plains. The colorful river canyon at Fish River Canyon is another of Namibia’s scenic highlights beyond the major attractions already covered.

Across the immense Sahara Desert, top oasis highlights include Siwa Oasis in Egypt, Timbuktu in Mali, and desert outpost Ouarzazate in Morocco. Morocco also tempts travelers with the stunning Atlas Mountains, offering hiking and climbing opportunities as well as Berber villages.

For island-lovers, Mozambique dazzles with the unspoiled beaches and coral reefs of the Bazaruto Archipelago National Park and Quirimbas National Park. São Tomé and Príncipe are equatorial island gems noted for their endemic birds and natural beauty.

With its pink flamingos, pelicans, and prolific wildlife, Lake Nakuru National Park in Kenya provides exceptional birdwatching and an alternative safari experience to the larger Maasai Mara ecosystem. Nearby Hell’s Gate National Park lets you explore on foot and bike for unique wildlife encounters.

Finally, no discussion of the best places to visit in Africa would be complete without including the vibrant cultural hubs of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and Harare, Zimbabwe. As capital cities, they offer immersive insights into Ethiopian and Zimbabwean food, music, and history, along with welcoming local cultures.

With so much diversity across its many nations and landscapes, Africa promises endless inspiration and depth for travelers to keep exploring this magnificent continent.


With its expansive deserts, abundant wildlife, ancient cultures, adventure activities, and amazing beaches, Africa offers some of the world’s most memorable travel experiences. Add these 24 highlights to your ultimate African bucket list. Whether you go on safari, climb Kilimanjaro, meet mountain gorillas, or island-hop the Seychelles, a visit to Africa is sure to be an adventure of a lifetime. Where will you choose for your first African vacation? Let these top destinations inspire you to start planning your unforgettable trip!

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