18 BEST African Countries to Visit

If you’re dreaming of an adventure and looking for the best countries to visit in Africa, we have you covered! There are many unique places to see, food to eat, and people to meet. And honestly, nothing is better than watching the sunset on the African horizon.

We spent a year self-driving, crossing through so many unique African countries, and no other trip will ever compare. Every year since, we try to step foot on the African continent at least once. We have personally been to and love all of these African countries!

It’s hard not to walk away smiling after seeing a herd of elephants or a pack of wild dogs in the wild. Here is a list of all our personal favorite African countries to visit!


Best Countries to Visit in Africa


Mozambique

Natasha Lies On Beach At White Pearl Resort in Mozambique
Mozambique is one of the most amazing places to visit in Africa

When we traveled to Mozambique, we were unsure of what was in store. However, after a month in the country, it was one of our best decisions in Africa. We tell everyone it’s one of the best African countries to visit. Traveling the Mozambique coast has not only been a highlight of our time in Africa but also one of our favorite regions. It’s one of Africa’s best places to visit and still relatively untouched by tourism.

There is a side to traveling Mozambique that comes with an interesting history, Portuguese architecture, hospitable people, stunning beaches, and amazing Afro/Portuguese food. Every day, I dream of empty beaches and delicious seafood on the African coast. Don’t let the news deter you from visiting; it’s a beautiful country with amazing beaches!


South Africa

Natasha Hikes Along Lions Head In Cape Town South Africa At Sunset

Traveling to South Africa is an excellent decision as it’s one of the best places to visit in Africa. It’s one of the easiest countries to travel to on the African continent, as it offers creature comforts and decent infrastructure. Even though South Africa is the most modern country in Africa, it still provides visitors with that “Africa” experience and has an exciting culture.

Ask anyone who has spent some time in the country, and they’ll gladly espouse its beauty. It’s one of the most naturally rich places on earth, but unfortunately, it is plagued by problems. Luckily, visitors are rarely plagued by the country’s woes and can enjoy an amazing trip to the Rainbow Nation. It’s easily the most diverse country on the continent in every sense, from its wild landscapes to its colorful cultures.

South Africa has something to offer every visitor, whether after gastronomy, wildlife, luxury, adventure, culture, or beaches. We love South Africa and have spent a good portion of our lives exploring the country and working remotely from one of our favorite cities on Earth, Cape Town.


Namibia

Natasha Does A Handstand At Deadvlei

Namibia is one of those places in Africa you probably don’t think about, and for first-timers, it’s one of the easiest and best African countries to visit. Namibia is genuinely an unworldly country. The country has huge landscapes, chilling coastlines, amazing wildlife, and unique African cultures.

The name Namibia even comes from the world’s oldest desert that covers much of the country. No country on earth can compete for the natural beauty that awaits travelers in Namibia. You can find towering red sand dunes, dead tree valleys preserved in time, and utterly unique wildlife. It has the world’s tallest sand dunes!

Elsewhere, massive canyons and rock formations can be found at Fish River Canyon, Damaraland, and Spitzkoppe, as the Naukluft Mountains rise out of the desert sand dunes. Namibia does not end there; the East stretches into the endless plains of the Kalahari, and the Caprivi Strip turns into an oasis of floodplains and rivers teaming with wildlife.

Namibia is entrancing; there is no doubt about that. It’s one of my favorite countries I have been to and I dream about returning one day. If you asked me my opinion of five places to see before you die, Namibia would be at the top of that list.


Botswana

Natasha On A Mokoro Ride In Botswana Delta
On a Mokoro ride in Botswana

After a month in Namibia, we arrived in Botswana with little expectations but left knowing it was one of Africa’s best places to visit. Of course, we have seen Planet Earth and watched the wildlife on television, so we had some idea. However, witnessing the spectacle of Botswana in person is entirely different.

From Botswana’s first national park (Chobe National Park) to the Makgadikgadi Pan, to the remote region on Linyanti, Botswana is full of surprises, beauty, and a ton of safari animals. Chobe National Park, for example, has some of the best game viewing in Africa, and it was here that we got to see elephants bathing, newborn impala, dozens of fish eagles, and even four lion cubs eating a warthog!

Also, a short plane ride away is the Khwai Game Reserve and Linyanti Concession. Khwai borders the Okavango Delta and is a wildlife haven. You can expect to see just about everything here and take a mokoro ride next to a drinking elephant. Linyanti is a quiet and relatively unheard-of region in Botswana with only a few lodges. Its exclusivity means you’ll likely never run into another game viewer and spot things like wild dogs and leopards without any other vehicles around.

Botswana is also one of the more well-off countries in Africa. It has previously had one of the highest average economic growth rates in the world. Since its independence, the economy has flourished due to diamond mining. It’s one of the most expensive countries to go on safari in Africa, but it’s well worth it!


Tanzania

A Giraffe At Sunset In The Selous Game Reserve, Tanzania
Photo from The Selous / Tanzania is one of the top places to visit in Africa

Tanzania is beloved for its safari holidays, fascinating tribal culture, gorgeous beaches, and wild landscapes. It has the Serengeti, Mt Kilimanjaro, Lake Tanganyika, Ngorongoro Crater, and Zanzibar Archipelago, all worth visiting. Add the warm and welcoming Swahili culture, and visitors are in for a treat. You can climb one of the seven summits or kick back on a beach and embrace the idea of “hakuna matata.”

Tazania’s wildlife may be one of its greatest assets, with phenomenal safari experiences from Ruaha, Selous, Mahale, Katavi, Tarangire, Ngorongoro, and Serengeti. The Serengeti is naturally the most renowned, as its abundance of wildlife, endless plains, acacia trees, and rocky outcroppings (kopje) inspired The Lion King.


Kenya

Cameron and Natasha Sitting On Retro Game Cruiser in Masai Mara National Reserve

A safari in the famous plains of Kenya’s Masai Mara National Park is a classic adventure. Undeniably, the Masai Mara National Reserve is one of the most well-known parks in Africa. My first thoughts of safari in Africa were of Kenya and its wide-open grasslands. The fact that Kenya is home to the original safari and the Masai Mara is the industry’s epicenter should be no surprise.

A Masai Mara safari will ensure visitors have incredible game viewing all year round. Every day, we went out into the park and saw something incredible. I was amazed watching hyena pups sniff our car tires, elephants rub against our tent poles at night, and a pride of lions kill and devour a zebra. Despite being one of Africa’s most popular spots to go on safari, the reserve blew us away.


Uganda

Natasha Stands Along Landcruiser In Queen Elizabeth National Park, Uganda

In 1908 Winston Churchill declared Uganda the “Pearl of Africa” in his 1908 Book My African Journey. More than a century later, visitors still flock to find this pearl. After our self-drive in Uganda, I can’t disagree with Mr. Churchill. The country is filled with birdlife, vast plains, jungle, rolling hills, and some of the friendliest people in Africa.

We entered Southern Uganda from Rwanda with low expectations for the country. Sure, they hold the world’s largest population of mountain gorillas – but what else would we find? Well, without spoiling too much, we found friendly chimps, mesmerizing craters, and one of the largest lakes in the world!


Zimbabwe

Natasha Stands In Front Of Victoria Falls In Zimbabwe

We debated about traveling to Zimbabwe on our overland trip through Africa. We had heard rumors of fuel shortages, cash restrictions, power cutoffs, and harsh police roadblocks. However, this is Africa, and we decided that crossing into Zimbabwe was right on our route and could not be missed.

What a good choice we made! Zimbabwe is one of the most interesting countries in Africa. Despite having one of the highest unemployment rates in the world, Zimbabwe remains safe and with friendly people. A safari here feels different and unique. Places like Mana Pools or Hwange are truly amazing. Have I mentioned Victoria Falls?


Zambia

Kafue National Park, Zambia

It was after we were the only campers for days in Kasanka National Park that I knew I loved this country. Zambia feels rural, and exploring here is like navigating “true Africa.” The open spaces here transport you to another time. Zambia is where travelers head to when they want to immerse in nature, escape the tourist crowds, and have unique experiences that can’t be found anywhere else.

A safari here is downright beautiful. In a game drive here, visitors will cross various landscapes from thick mopane forest, dazzling winterthorn trees, and huge acacias. What makes the park shine brighter is the wide range of safari activities on offer. You can paddle, walk, cruise, and drive in search of bountiful game.

Besides going on at least one safari, the other must-do when visiting Zambia is visiting Victoria Falls, one of the biggest waterfalls on earth!  Zambia has many national parks, including South Luangwa National Park, Kafue National Park, Lower Zambezi National Park, Kasanka National Park, Liuwa Plain National Park, and Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park.


Rwanda

Lake Kivu In Rwanda

Rwanda is easily one of the best places to travel in Africa. The country’s nickname is the “Land of a Thousand Hills,” and that’s evident after a glimpse across its verdant landscape. One of the top things to do in the country is gorilla tracking, but so many other things make Rwanda such an amazing place to visit.

Explore the trendy capital of Kigali, where you’ll dine in top restaurants, hang out at the beaches along Lake Kivu, and visit top attractions, including the Kigali Genocide Memorial, Nyungwe Forest National Park, Inema Arts Centre, and Niyo Arts Gallery.

Almost every traveler to Rwanda will visit the famed Volcanoes National Park, home to habituated mountain gorillas. After a trek through the thick jungle, travelers will spend an hour observing the wild gorilla family. There are few experiences as soul-stirring as looking into the eyes of some human’s closest genetic relatives — it’s humbling.


Malawi

Hanging out on Lake Malawi
Hanging out on Lake Malawi

Besides the fact that Malawi is one of the smallest countries in Africa and directly on our overland route through Africa, Malawi was a country I knew little about. I’ve met people that had traveled to Tanzania, South Africa, Namibia, and all the other “popular” African nations – but never had I met anyone that had been to Malawi.

I knew that I had to visit Malawi while we were venturing around Africa. We crossed over the Chitipa Border Post from Zambia with minimal expectations, and what we found shouldn’t be missed by anyone traveling around Southern and Eastern Africa.

Malawi is dubbed the “warm heart of Africa,” and you will see why once you arrive. The people here are known for being the friendliest in Africa. No one is pushy, most areas are safe, and locals just walk around with a smile on their faces. There’s also a lake, a big one at that, called Lake Malawi which is where you’ll want to take a drip or go for a kayak.


Ethiopia

The Rock Hewn Churches Of Ethiopia

Few destinations in the world may be as culturally interesting or intriguing as Ethiopia. Addis Ababa is the capital city with modern architecture, world-class museums, bustling streets, and fantastic dining. Ethiopian cuisine is unique in itself with flavors and cooking styles unlike anywhere else. The same could be said for much of Ethiopian culture, which has remained unique for millennia. It’s the oldest country in Africa, having resisted colonial influence. Aksum, the ancient capital, is the perfect introduction to the country thanks to its wealth of churches, tombs, and cities.

The tribes of the Omo Valley are renowned for their fascinating culture and ability to live in a notoriously harsh environment. While further North sites, the rock-hewn churches Lalibela are famed for mesmerizing achievement. Parts of Ethiopia are believed to have adopted Christianity before its introduction in Europe. It’s not just the culture and food that are unique to Ethiopia but its landscapes, too. The Simien Mountains, Blue Nile Falls, Danakil Depression, and Bale Mountains are all worth a trip to the country.


Lesotho

Lesotho Sheep Herder Drakensberg
Maletsunyane Falls is one of the most glorious waterfalls in Lesotho

Lesotho is an African country that many seem to give a skip, but we found ourselves wishing for more time here. The country is staggeringly gorgeous and a remote destination. Here you won’t find tour buses of people, large hotels, lodges, or really much of any infrastructure. However, the infrastructure in the capital is improving, and the lack of the other is all the more appealing.

Here it is just the visitor and the unspoiled Basotho culture. The Basotho are the predominant culture of Lesotho and were driven up into their remote mountain hamlet by the Zulu. Here, they brave the harsh winters and mountain conditions. Lesotho is a fierce country but fiercely beautiful and immensely rewarding.

Did you know you can ski in Africa? That’s right! The Afriski resort in Lesotho is one of the few places you can take a lift up and ski down some powder in Africa. It’s very well-run resort with a full bar, restaurant, shop, snow tubing, and ski school that will make you feel like you’re in Switzerland.


Swaziland/Eswatini

Natasha Hiking In Swaziland Game Reserve
Hiking in Swaziland

The Kingdom of Swaziland is a landlocked country in Southern Africa between Mozambique and South Africa. It is a small country, but it packs a lot of character to make up for its size. Swaziland is, in fact one of the last absolute monarchies in the world. Yes, that means a real African King, and a Kingdom.

Besides being small and having a King, Swaziland is home to many unique artisan products, incredibly friendly people, a plethora of hippos, and even an impressive highway network.


Egypt

Natasha In Front Of The Great Sphinx

The mighty Nile has been the lifeblood of Egypt since the beginning of civilization. Along its fertile banks, surrounded by the sands of the desert, ancient Egypt prospered. Thousands of years lure visitors in with the remains of breathtaking monuments, a rugged coastline teeming with coral life, and a culture that has evolved over millennia. There are so many amazing places to visit in Egpyt.

Egypt is the “Gift of the Nile“, so there is no better way to explore than a cruise down the Nile. You’re transported to a pastime as you cruise down the Nile. If you’ve seen Ancient Egypt in movies, it’s time to get here now and see it for yourself. I couldn’t believe some of the sites we were visiting. We’re talking about places that are THOUSANDS of years old and still look like they were freshly painted. It’s jaw-dropping to say the least


Tunisia

Natasha Riding A Camel In Tunisia
Camel ride around Tozeur / Best African Countries to Visit

If you have already visited other North African countries like Morocco and Egypt and are itching for more, Tunisia is likely where you will next land! While we think Tunisia is not as mesmerizing as its neighbors, it still offers plenty of visitors. Tunisia is a beach destination with plenty of European-style beach resorts in Sousse and Djerba. It’s easy for Europeans to book a cheap flight down here for a few days and soak in the sunshine!

It’s not all beach time in Tunisia; you can head to Tozeur and explore the Sahara Desert. Around this area, you can visit sites like Mos Espa and Ong Jemel, which are filming locations for the first Star Wars movies. Only have a day or two? Tunis, the capital, offers a vibrant medina where you can walk around and shop for souvenirs. Just 20 20-minute drive from the capital is fabulous Sidi Bou Said, which may feel like you’ve been transported to a tiny Greek island upon arrival!


Morocco

Alleys of Chefchaouen
One of our favorite images from our time in Chefchaouen

Morocco makes for a tremendous introduction for travelers to the MENA region. Morocco is a land of sand and coastline. Desert landscapes and mountains dominate the country’s interior, and its cities serve as culture hubs. The medina streets of Marrakech and Fez are a dusty labyrinthine of marketplaces that have long fascinated travelers. However, more standout destinations include the blue city of Chefchaouen, the towering sand dunes of the Sahara Desert, and the historic coastal city of Essouraia.

Morocco has mild winters as the country largely enjoys an arid desert climate. The average daytime temperature for Marrakech, for example, is 19°C. There’s also plenty of sunshine and little rainfall, meaning you’ll have great weather that isn’t too sweltering. It’s perfect for exploring some of the city’s top sights and a good time of year if you don’t like the heat or crowds.


The Seychelles

The Seychelles

The Seychelles encapsulates what we imagine to be an island paradise. The island nation stretches across an archipelago that offers sublime beaches and pristine natural landscapes. Undeniably, the islands’ key attraction is their near-perfect beaches, such as Anse Lazio and Anse Source d’Argent, with their powdery white sands and azure waters. The towering granite boulders and tropical forests flanking the beaches add the perfect dash of dramatic scenery.

Beyond the beaches, thick tropical vegetation covers the islands. The forests provide an ideal home to many exotic birds and plants, such as the coco de mer palm, which has the largest seed on earth. Its marine-rich waters have amazing opportunities for divers and snorkelers. It is the ideal island retreat for those looking to escape. Some wonderful resorts and homestays on the main islands of Mahe, La Dique, and Praslin are certain to ensure the utmost relaxation. It’s not all about relaxation either, as the island offers excellent conditions for water sports such as sailing and surfing.


When is the Best Time to Travel to Africa?

Temple of Karnak
Karnak Temple / Best Places to Visit in Africa

Africa is a vast continent and the best time to visit varies greatly depending on where you are visiting. You’ll have to pay attention to the weather patterns in your specific destination. Look out for the rainy season, and when the hottest temperatures of the year are. This is when you want to avoid – trust us. Here are a few examples:

  • Northern Africa: Countries like Egypt, Morocco, and Tunisia are best visited between October and April as it can get scorching during the summer months.
  • Southern Africa: The best time to go on safari in Southern Africa is during the dry season from May to October.
  • Tanzania and Kenya: The best season to visit East Africa is during the long dry season, which falls from July to September.

Where are the Most Beautiful Places to Visit in Africa?

horseback-riding-drakensberg
Riding Around the Drakensburg

There are so many beautiful places to visit in Africa; after all, there are 54 countries that make up the continent. A few of our favorites are the Okavango Delta in Botswana, the Drakensberg Mountains of South Africa, and Sossusvlei in Namibia.


Where Are the Best African Countries to Visit for Wildlife?

Lower Zambezi
A hungry elephant in the Lower Zambezi

Our personal favorites are South Luangwa and the Lower Zambezi in Zambia, as well as the Masai Mara in Kenya. These places are by far the destinations where we have seen the most wildlife.


What are the Best African Countries for Beaches?

Somalisa Fire Pit As Elephants Pass The Camp

Where are the best countries to visit in Africa for beaches? The African coastlines are some of the most beautiful in the world. We have found the best white sand beaches in Zanzibar (Tanzania) and around Diani Beach in Mombasa (Kenya).

The shores of South Africa offer unimaginable surfing and wildlife experiences. However, our absolute favorite beaches have been found in Mozambique.


Where is the Best Place for Elephants in Africa?

Natasha Watching Elephants
Enjoying time with the elephants in Botswana, one of the best places to visit in Africa

Botswana is currently home to more elephants than any other African country, and you can see many of them around the Okavango Delta and Chobe National Park in Botswana. Some other destinations where you are almost guaranteed to see elephants are:

  • Addo Elephant Park in South Africa
  • Kruger National Park in South Africa
  • Amboseli National Park in Kenya
  • Tarangire National Park in Tanzania
  • Damaraland in Namibia.Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe

Where is The Best Place for Gorillas in Africa?

The World Pursuit seeing gorillas!
Gorilla trekking in Uganda

The only places to see the mountain gorillas are DRC, Rwanda, and Uganda. So if you are looking for the best places to visit in Africa for gorillas it’s one of those three. We had a tremendous chance to see them in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in Uganda, which is easily one of the most popular places to see the mountain gorillas.


Where is the Best Place for Rhinos in Africa?

Nairobi National Park Rhino
Lots of rhinos in Nairobi National Park

Kruger National Park in South Africa has the largest population of rhinos in Africa. You can also see many in the Ngorongoro Crater in Tanzania.


Where Are the Best Waterfalls in Africa?

Victoria Falls
At Victoria Falls

It may come as no surprise that there are plenty of mesmerizing waterfalls around Africa. Victoria Falls is the most famous, but there are plenty of other beauties. Murchison Falls in Uganda, Tugela Falls in South Africa, and Kalandula Falls in Angola are among some of the most stunning.

20 Waterfalls in Africa You Have to See to Believe

What is the best African country to visit?

Namibia Travel Tips
Beautiful Namibia

This is entirely subjective to the type of trip you want to have! If you want to road trip through a desert oasis, book a trip to Namibia; if you want a bit of beach and safari, head to South Africa! If your main goal is to see as much wildlife as possible, go on a safari in East Africa!


Where Are the Best African Countries to Visit If You Are concerned about safety?

Walking-Safari-Botswana-Linyanti-Expedititons
On a walking safari in Botswana

According to the Global Peace Index, the safest country in Africa is Mauritius, followed by Ghana, The Gambia, and Botswana.


Where should I go in Africa for the first time?

Natasha At The Cape Of Good Hope
Beautiful Cape Town

For first-time visitors to Africa, we recommend heading to Southern Africa or East Africa. This will give you a good taste of traveling in Africa, and both are some of the more accessible places to travel on the continent.


What to Know Before an African Safari?

African Safari Dress
Downtime while on safari in Botswana

Oh boy, where do we start? Dress for safari, stay quiet when you see a lion, bring the proper camera gear, and ask lots of questions – heck, here’s an entire article on the subject.


Best Places to Look for Safari Tours in Africa?

We like to use Safari Bookings and Timbuktu to book tours in Africa!

Book A Safari Banner

Plan Your Trip to Africa

  • Travel Insurance: We don’t travel without travel insurance and neither should you. You never know what can happen while traveling so it’s best to be prepared. HeyMondo provides excellent short-term and long-term travel insurance plans. 
  • Travel Waterbottle: When we’re uncertain about the water supply we use our Grayl Purifier. It’s come in exceptionally handy around Africa.
  • Camera Gear: Chances are you’ll want a camera for your trip to Africa. We love the Sony RX100V for a pocket-size camera and the Fujifilm XT-4 for a professional camera. Check out our favorite cameras for Africa.
  • Safari Clothes: Lightweight, beige, and moisture-wicking clothing are great for traveling Africa. See our favorite safari clothing here.
  • Safari Hat: A good hat is both stylish and functional.
  • Safari Bag: A durable bag is ideal for traveling around Africa.
  • Safari Pants: We recommend neutral-colored pants as they’re great at hiding dirt and can match most shirt colors.
  • Safari Shirt: Shirts like these are lightweight and keep the bugs away!
  • Boots: While you don’t need to wear sturdy shoes every day, at least one pair of safari boots will make your trip nicer!
  • Travel Adapter: You’ll need a special travel adapter for traveling to Africa. Get one before you get there so you don’t pay a premium on the ground.
About Natasha Alden

Natasha is the co-founder of The World Pursuit. She is an expert in travel, budgeting, and finding unique experiences. She loves to be outside, hiking in the mountains, playing in the snow on her snowboard, and biking. She has been traveling for over 10 years, across 7 continents, experiencing unique cultures, new food, and meeting fantastic people. She strives to make travel planning and traveling easier for all. Her advice about international travel, outdoor sports, and African safari has been featured on Lonely Planet, Business Insider, and Reader’s Digest.

Learn more about Natasha Alden on The World Pursuit About Us Page.

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