Hey everybody! I know you’ve already heard me chat all about hot travel spots in Europe, like Barcelona or Rome, down in New Zealand, and of course all around the United States. That’s why it’s about time we make our way to a whole new continent here on A Popsicle Stand! Here are what I believe to be 10 of the best countries to visit in Africa.
Of course, each country in Africa has its own rich culture and history—not something I can sum up in one little blog post! Take this as your inspiration for an upcoming trip, and be sure to do some extra research on how to be a responsible tourist in whichever country you pick.
Stay informed, and you can’t go wrong! Now, let’s get to it.
1. Kenya and Tanzania
These two countries in West Africa are your best spot to witness the Great Migration of wildebeest, zebras, gazelles, and more at either the Masai Mara nature reserve or the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania. If you want to catch this yearly event, visit between July and September.
If you visit outside the time frame of the Great Migration, these are still wonderful countries to experience a safari, to lounge on one of the Swahili coast’s beautiful beaches, or to hike up the famous Mount Kilimanjaro.
2. South Africa
Another great country to spot the “Big Five” (lions, leopards, rhinos, elephants, and buffalo), South Africa comes with a unique mix of urban cityscape and African wildlife. If you’re looking to hit the town, Johannesburg or Cape Town are your best bet.
Once you’ve had enough of these cities’ European flare, you can also take a cableway up to Table Mountain or go trekking at Kruger National Park. Hardcore adrenaline junkies should take a look at shark cage diving for the bucket-list thrill of a lifetime!
This gorgeous, pastel-colored North African country is a year-round destination, full of bustling markets, delicious food, and lively culture. Check out Marrakech for the Jemaa el-Fnaa market and its colorful fabrics, pottery, and leather goods for sale. Casablanca is home to the majestic white marble Hassan II Mosque and mouth watering tajines.
You can even hit the Sahara Desert on a camel trek or stake out on the beach if you’d like! Whether you’re taking a tour of Marrakech, Rabat, or one of the other historical cities, Morocco’s Meditteranean and African blend creates a unique vibe not found anywhere else.
Celebrated for its breathtaking landscape, Namibia is a country in southern Africa with some of the highest sand dunes in the world. It’s also home to Etosha National Park and Sossusvlei National Park – which contain the largest salt pan in Africa and sky balloon safaris, respectively.
If those reasons don’t convince you to book your ticket, Namibia is also home to the Fish River Canyon, the world’s second biggest canyon—behind the USA’s Grand Canyon. Here you can hike along the striking rock formations between the months of April and September, as the park remains closed for the heat in summer.
Namibia’s neighbor Botswana is great for close-up wildlife moments, thanks to such game reserves as Moremi, situated around the Okavango Delta, which focuses on low-impact tourism and accommodations. This helps protect local animals, like African elephants, hippos, cheetahs, and more.
Botswana’s Chobe National Park is full of waterways from which you can admire the wildlife in a variety of boats and houseboats. Pick from a range of cool accommodations – like simple tents or luxurious lodges.
One of the great wonders of the world as well as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Egyptian pyramids are a must-see destination. The pyramids and the Great Sphinx of Giza have stood tall on the Nile’s West Bank since approximately 2000 BC. It’s a majestic sight that all globetrotters must see at least once in their travels.
Beyond the wonders of Egypt’s historical sights, you can also take a cruise up the Nile River, go diving in the Red Sea, explore the Coloured Canyon in Sinai, and so much more. Ready to walk like an Egyptian? I know I am!
Home to one of the Seven Wonders of the Natural World, Zambia or neighboring Zimbabwe is where you can go to admire the thunderous Victoria Falls. If you thought the Niagara Falls were something, come visit Zambia to witness plumes of spray from miles away, and a curtain of water two kilometers wide plummeting into a gorge. It’ll take your breath away!
Zambia is also a safari destination, so after you’ve seen Victoria Falls, check out local national parks like South Luangwa. If you like white water rafting, then you’ll love tackling the Zambezi River, where you can wave at crocodiles as you rush by!
Now I already mention Tanzania up top, but I figured that the island of Zanzibar, an autonomous region within that country, deserved a section on its own. This island is a gorgeous beach destination, with diving and relaxation in store.
You’ll get there via plane or ferry from Dar Es Salaam, although the ferry will be significantly cheaper and offer better views. If you’ve had enough of the beach, you can also explore the UNESCO World Heritage Site Stone Town, or spend the whole trip at an all-inclusive resort.
Another lovely island destination, Madagascar is the place to go for exploring vibrant coral reefs in the Indian Ocean. After diving, take a stroll along the striking Avenue of the Baobabs, with the ancient trees towering over a quaint dirt road, or check out yet another UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Royal Hill of Ambohimanga.
Fans of lemurs will catch an eyeful at the Botanical and Zoological Garden of Tsimbazaza or in one of Madagascar’s national parks. This cute species of monkey is endemic to the island, with many different species to observe.
Often called “The Pearl of Africa”, this ecologically diverse country is one of very few places to experience mountain gorillas in the wild, particularly in the Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. This park not only protects mountain gorillas, but also the endangered golden monkey.
Bungee jump into the Nile River or go on a cultural tour to discover some of Uganda’s rich heritage. This country has more than 50 indigenous languages drawing from two main linguistic groups, in addition to diverse styles of art, music, and more.
And there we have it, 10 African destinations you should add to your bucket list! Of course, there are so many great places to see in Africa, so don’t stop here! Stay curious, my friends.