Wondering where to go in Africa? Here are the best African countries to visit for the best wildlife encounters in Africa.
Africa is the 2nd largest continent in the world with a vast number of cultures.
It is a continent with so much diversity that can never be underlooked – from tribes, languages to religions.
Africa has so much to offer to any kind of tourist. Whether you long to see the famous mountain gorillas in Uganda, the great Giza pyramids in Egypt, or just looking for the best holiday destination in Zanzibar, they’re so many places to visit in Africa to choose from.
It is no surprise that everyone would want to travel to Africa at least once in their lifetime – the beauty in Africa is indescribable.
But faced with hundreds of countries to visit in Africa, how is one supposed to choose which country to travel to?
This post narrows it down for you by listing the best African countries to visit.
If you’re traveling to Africa for the first time, here is everything you need to know before you embark on an African safari.
Best African countries to visit
Located in the Eastern part of Africa, Uganda tops the list of the best African countries to visit and is also one of the safest African countries to visit.
And it’s not because it’s where I come from but because of the beauty it harbors – no wonder it is called the Pearl of Africa.
It was also named as the friendliest country in the world by BCC from its annual expat insider survey.
The survey was made on 14000 expats from 191 countries who gave Uganda a 57% mark on its friendliness, the highest ever.
Kim Kardashian called it another heaven and the most beautiful country in Africa during her short visit to Uganda in October 2018.
If you want to get up close and personal with the mountain gorillas, Uganda harbors most of the remaining mountain gorillas in the world making it a perfect location for gorilla trekking.
Gorilla trekking is actually one of the major reasons as to why tourists fly into this lesser-known country yet incredibly beautiful. (You can book your gorilla tracking experience in Uganda from here.)
Some of the best places to visit in Uganda include the source of the Nile, Bwindi impenetrable forest for gorilla tracking, Queen Elizabeth National park for an ultimate African safari, Murchillions falls National park to be blown away by the thunderous Murchison falls, Lake Bunyonyi and the famous Lake Victoria.
With so amazing places to visit, now you know why Uganda is one of the top African countries to visit.
Visiting Uganda will leave you wondering why you might not have heard so much about this beautiful landlocked country.
And if you need to learn more about Uganda before you visit, grab yourself this Uganda travel guide book.
Located in Northern Africa, Egypt is mostly famous for its historical monuments of the Giza pyramids and the Pharaohs.
With an outstanding history of ancient Egypt and artifacts that are over 7000 years old, it is not hard to see why Egypt is almost on everyone’s Africa bucket list.
It is actually one of the most visited countries in Africa receiving over 9 million tourists every year.
Though most tourists travel to Egypt to see the magnificent Pyramids, there is more to Egypt than just that.
Whether you want to cruise along the Nile – something you should actually do, go snorkeling in the deadly blue hole in Dahab, immerse yourself into ancient Egypt history by visiting the Egyptian museum which houses over 120, 000 artifacts or just get to know how the Egyptians live by going to the Khan el market, you’re bound to have the time of your life in Egypt.
With so many landmarks in Egypt, a trip to this Pharaoh land will be rewarding and the memories you’ll create will be forever.
You can enjoy all these tours on your own or book a tour company through Getyourguide to show you around. Book your stay in Egypt here and if you are a backpacker on a budget, check out this great hostel in Cairo.
Situated on the Indian Ocean and the northeast of Madagascar, this small country with the least number of people in Africa has a total of 115 beautiful islands which receive over 300,000 visitors every year.
The Seychelles islands are believed to have been discovered by a Portuguese admiral Vasco Da Gama.
Seychelles is a tropical country with amazing weather all year round to let you hit the beach almost daily.
The beautiful beaches, the sand so soft and the water crystal clear makes Seychelles one of the best holiday destinations in Africa.
The beauty of this place made the royals Prince William and Kate Middletown choose Seychelles as their perfect safari honeymoon getaway and this is exactly why it makes it to the list of the best countries to visit in Africa.
Lying on the beach is not the only thing to do in Seychelles, going for a safari is one other thing to do as part of the country’s land is protected in the form of game reserves and national parks.
Tip: Traveling to the Seychelles island doesn’t come cheap, you might want to start saving right away to be able to afford it and you can also compare prices on flights with Skyscanner for best flight deals.
Zambia is a landlocked country located in the south-central part of Africa.
It is on the list of top tourist countries in Africa as it not only offers some of the best wildlife and game reserves in Africa but also harbors the mighty Victoria Falls.
The glorious Victoria falls located at the border of Zambia and Zimbabwe is the major tourist attraction in the country and also one of the top tourist places in Africa receiving 1 million visitors (annually) that want to experience the Mosi-oa-Tunya translated as the smoke that thunders.
Victoria Falls is also a UNESCO World Heritage site and the largest waterfall in the world with a height of 108 meters (354 ft) and a width of 1,708 meters (5,604 ft).
Victoria falls is one of the best places to visit in Africa that should be on every tourist’s bucket list.
The best experience at Victoria falls is paying for a helicopter flight commonly known as the Flight of Angels to enjoy the view of the falls and River Zambezi from above.
On top of visiting the Victoria falls, there are other places to visit in Zambia including South Luangwa National park which is considered to be the birth of a walking safari, Lower Zambezi national park which is just next to River Zambezi, Living stone island to learn more about Dr. Livingstone who was the first European to discover Victoria Falls.
Can we talk about Zanzibar? Just the thought of Zanzibar warms my heart.
Located 15 miles off the coast of Tanzania, Zanzibar is a perfect place to disconnect from the busy city life and soak in the fresh views and breeze of the ocean – making it one of the best African vacations.
The dazzling beaches and coral reefs of Zanzibar make it a perfect destination for snorkeling lovers and one of the most beautiful places in Africa.
Though Zanzibar is commonly known for beautiful beaches, it’s not just lying on the beach all day long every day (well unless if you want to), there are some other cool things to do in this honeymoon destination.
From Island hopping, snorkeling/diving, taking a village tour, wandering around Stone town to trying out local foods – you can’t fail to get what to do in Zanzibar.
So if you are wondering what the most beautiful African country is and where to travel to next, then Zanzibar is your ultimate African destination.
The only downside of this paradise is that it’s always full of tourists who can’t get enough of the tranquillity Zanzibar offers.
Related post: Things to know before backpacking Africa
Kenya is one of the best African safari countries for travelers who want to get up close with African wildlife.
Kenya is home to Masai Mara national reserve which is regarded as the best place for safari in Africa.
It is famously known for being highly populated with lions, cheetahs, leopards, and the annual migration of wildebeest zebras, and gazelles, to and from Serengeti national park in Tanzania annually from July to October known as The great migration.
The great migration is one of the most amazing experiences in wildlife with over 1.5 million wildebeest, 200,000 zebras, and 350,000 gazelles making their way across the Mara river in search of greener pastures.
It is a sprint of survival, from crossing the “deadly” Mara river to walking a total of approximately 1800 miles.
Unfortunately, a whopping 250 000 wildebeest don’t make it through the Mara river as they get attacked by the hungry Crocodiles that are always eagerly waiting for easy prey.
The great migration can also be experienced when you visit Serengeti National park in Tanzania.
While Masai Mara is one of the most beautiful places in Africa for an incredible safari, they’re other national parks in Kenya that shouldn’t be missed including Tsavo National park which is Kenya’s largest national park, Lake Nakuru National park which is famous for huge flocks of pink flamingos, Lake Naivasha for bird lovers, get to know how Kenyans live by visiting Nairobi which is its capital and the largest city followed by Mombasa.
Visiting some of these places is much better when using a tour company though doing it solo can also be fun.
But if you want to know all about Kenya before your Kenyan safari, this Lonely Planet Kenya travel guide will give you all the information you need.
Related post: Things to know before going on an African safari
Morocco has the 5th largest economy in Africa which is derived from majorly phosphate and tourism as the second largest foreign exchange earner.
Being geographically located near Europe, most of Morocco’s tourists come from Europe especially Spain which is in close proximity to it.
From visiting the small beach towns to the beautiful landscape of the Sahara desert, Morocco is one of the best African countries to visit.
Apart from the Sahara desert which is the highlight of visiting Morocco for almost every traveler and also one of the major landmarks in Africa, there are so many things to do and see including; Marrakech which is one of the most famous cities in Morocco that you shouldn’t miss on your adventures in Africa, the Blue Village of Chefchaouen – a popular town with buildings covered in blue paint.
If you’re an Instagram savvy, you’ve probably seen many pictures of this town covered in blue paint.
Other places to visit in Morocco are Rabat, the country’s capital, and Casablanca.
All these amazing places make Morocco one of the top African countries to visit.
8. South Africa
South Africa is sometimes referred to as another city in Europe because it is highly developed compared to other African countries making it the best country in Africa to visit in terms of development and also one of the coolest African countries.
South Africa has so much to offer that you would want to stay there forever, from the beautiful landscapes, friendly locals, amazing wildlife, great food, the list as to why South Africa is one of the best countries to visit in Africa is literally endless.
You can check out more activities and sightseeing in South Africa from here.
One of the best places to travel in Africa for a great safari is South Africa’s Kruger National park which is one of the largest game reserves in Africa and the largest in the country.
Other than enjoying amazing game drives in Kruger national park, most tourists travel to this beautiful country to hike the table mountain — which is one of the top The table mountain is a flat-topped mountain overlooking the city of Cape Town offering 360-degree panoramic views of the city.
You can opt to hike your way up the Table mountain or take a cable car
Other things to do on your visit to South Africa include exploring Cape Town a port city with so much to offer, visiting Hermanus village – a small town known as the whale-watching destination.
Explore Cape point. a beautiful place to see African penguins on the beach – this is truly an amazing experience.
You can also go Bungee Jumping off Bloukrand Bridge which is the highest bungee jumping bridge in the world.
If you want to up your adrenaline, this is a must-do activity in South Africa
Traveling to Cape Town during the winter season? Read this comprehensive post by “What the saint did next” that details the cool things to in Cape Town in winter.
Grab yourself this copy of the South Africa Travel guide to satisfy your wanderlust and to also get to know why it features in the top African countries to visit.
Botswana is one of the best places in Africa to visit in order to enjoy wildlife.
Northern Botswana has the largest number of the remaining most dangerous wild dogs in the world plus the world’s largest concentration of African elephants.
Botswana is also a perfect destination for a self-drive safari.
With amazing wildlife, beautiful scenery, it is an ideal safari getaway for travelers who want to experience an African safari like no other.
The most famous places to visit in Botswana are the central Kalahari game reserve which takes up the largest part of Botswana, the great safari at Chobe National park, and the Okavango Delta.
Other incredible places not to miss while traveling around Botswana include the Nata Bird sanctuary for bird watching especially the Flamingos since it is the largest breeding site of Lesser and Geater Flamingos in the world, Kharma rhino sanctuary to get up close with the Rhinos, and Moremi game reserve which also has a high concentration of wildlife.
So if you’re looking for nice places in Africa that offer amazing wildlife, Botswana should be on your list.
Rwanda is a beautiful mountainous landlocked country that has evolved from the dark side of genocide to one of the best African countries to visit.
Regardless of how the genocide impacted the country, It is now regarded as one of the safest countries as well as one of the best countries in Africa.
The tourism sector has been predominantly low in the past couple of years but thanks to the mountain gorillas in volcano national park, many tourists are starting to travel to Rwanda and it has been one of the leading foreign exchange-earners.
Just like Uganda, gorilla trekking is also the highlight of traveling to Rwanda, though the activity is a bit more expensive in Rwanda.
Unlike other East African countries, Rwanda’s capital city Kigali is one of the cleanest and most organized cities.
There are strict laws and orders that you can barely see garbage on the streets.
Other than tracking gorillas, some other things to do in Rwanda include visiting Kigali Genocide Memorial to learn more about this dark period, Climbing Mt. Kigali, visiting Nyamata church and taking a self-guided tour around Kigali to learn more about the way of life of people in Rwanda as you interact with the locals.
Summary of the best African countries to visit
I agree, that was a lot to take in and if you’re like some of my friends who want everything summarised, here is a brief of the best countries to visit in Africa.
- South Africa
So now that you know the best African countries to visit, why not go ahead and book that air ticket from here to what will be your greatest adventure.
But before you do, check out this post to know how to stay say while traveling.
These are some of the best countries to visit in Africa. Have you been to Africa or just planning your trip?
Let me know in the comment section with the African country you will be visiting first.
If you’ve already been to Africa, let me know your experiences and whether you agree that these are the best places in Africa to visit.
Things you should pack for Africa
It would be a mistake to travel to Africa without travel insurance. Anything can happen on the dusty road of Africa or in the chaotic cities.
So make sure that you and you’re items’ safety is guaranteed by buying travel insurance.
Most travelers love World Nomads travel insurance as it’s easy to get a quote and the claiming process is not a rat race.
The other advantage is that it works in over 130 countries including those in Africa.
Universal travel adapter
Instead of taking different adapters for each African country which is very impractical and expensive, you’re better of taking this universal travel adapter.
Portable Power bank
Before going to Africa, make sure that you have a power bank like this so that you stay connected even on the go when your battery phone dies.
Micro fiber travel Towel
I recommend taking this microfiber travel towel since it is lightweight, dries quickly and it is very absorbent. It’s much better than carrying the heavy cotton ones.
Africa Lonely planet Guide book
Get a general insight on Africa from experts by getting yourself a copy of this Lonely Planet guide book.
Personal water filter
Safaris in Africa can mean going to places where it’s hard to get clean drinking water. So carry your own travel water filter to purify the water before drinking it.
Collapsible water bottle
In that same manner, carry yourself a water bottle so that you can refill it every time it runs dry. This travel water bottle is collapsible and light which means that it won’t take up a lot of space in your backpack. Taking a water bottle will also reduce the use of disposable plastic bottles which is great for the environment.
You can check out the complete Africa packing list to know all the essentials to take.
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