The Best African Countries to Visit

According to 15 Travel Bloggers

Bazaruto Island, Mozambique – one of the most beautiful places in Africa.

Best African Countries To Visit 

According to 15 Travel Bloggers

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Let’s discover the best places in Africa!

Africa! Africa! Africa! My favorite continent to travel!

Strangely, Africa is often referred to as one country when it is actually 54 different countries. With so many places to visit, how should one narrow down where to go?

Well, I asked 17 travel bloggers,

“What is the best country in Africa?” 

and compiled their responses.

It was intriguing to hear the various perspectives about different countries, from popular destinations like Egypt to places I’ve never thought about visiting like The Gambia.

Whether it’s your 1st, 2nd, or 10th trip to Africa, I hope you inspired by this list of the

 Best African Countries To Visit,

 

and find new places to add to your bucketlist.  

 

This post highlights the best African countries to visit. If you want to learn more about where to go in Africa, I recommend purchasing a Lonely Planet guidebook.

Buy an Africa guidebook from Lonely Planet!

My Personal Favorites

Best African Countries to Visit

I figured before I share other bloggers opinions, I should start with my top countries to visit in Africa – Mozambique and the Democratic Republic of Congo. I’ve been to 12 countries on the continent and am eager to go to more travel destinations in Africa.

Kesi Irvin

Travel Blogger, Kesi To and Fro

MOZAMBIQUE

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Quick Stats

  • Budget 27% 27%
  • Popularity 45% 45%
  • Food 45% 45%

Suggested Duration: 3 Weeks

Why is Mozambique one of the top places to visit in Africa? 

Mozambique is one of the best countries to visit in Africa because: 

♦  secluded, beautiful beaches

♦  swim with whale sharks

♦  great for diving

Although Mozambique was the most challenging country I’ve traveled in, it was also the most rewarding.

If you like to get off the beaten path and discover areas that others don’t know about, then make your way to the Quirimbas archipelago in the north of Mozambique. Theses island have the best beaches that are equal in beauty to the Maldives but are a fraction of the cost. I did not see one other tourist when I was visiting the beach of Matemo and Ibo island. The Quirimbas archipelago is a pain to get to, but it is worth it!

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In the south of Mozambique, there is the backpacking haven, Tofo, filled with travelers and locals who love to surf, dive, and swim with whale sharks. It’s a comfortable place to extend your stay because of the social atmosphere. If you like African prints than Tofo is a great place to get a customized jacket or backpack. I paid less than $40 for a colorful bomber jacket that I receive many compliments for.

Bazaruto Islands is one of the most beautiful places in Africa, and is a couple hours north of Tofo. You can take a day tour around the islands and observe how  the turquoise water changes with the tide and forms different shapes with the pure white sand.

Mozambique is a challenge because the infrastructure is awful. Each traveler you meet will have a horror story in regards to transportation. But, these challenges create a common bond amongst travelers, and make us more appreciative of the destination, since it took hard work to get there! I recommend at least spending 3 weeks in Mozambique, since the top tourist spots are spread out and it takes a long time to travel between them. 

DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO

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Quick Stats

  • Budget 90% 90%
  • Popularity 25% 25%
  • Food 18% 18%

Suggested Time: 5 days

Why is DRC one of the best places to visit in Africa? 

DRC is one of the best countries to visit in Africa because: 

♦  Nyiragongo volcano 

♦  cheapest gorilla trekking permit

♦  off the beaten path

Many people fear to travel in the DRC due to corruption and political instability, but Virunga national park in the DRC is a must-see in Africa. My two favorite travel activities in the world are in Virunga: gorilla trekking and the Nyiragongo volcano trek. Both of these experiences are expensive, but they are mindblowing and worth it.

To read full the complete guide to gorilla trekking in the DRC click here.

To read the guide for hiking the Nyiragongo volcano click here

Most Visited

Countries in Africa

If you have never been to Africa before, it’s a smart idea to start with the more popular places in Africa. The countries in this section are accustomed to tourists and are more comfortable countries to get around than the less frequented countries mentioned in a later section.

Shortcut to: Egypt, Morocco, KenyaTanzania, Tunisia

EGYPT

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Giza Pyramids – One of the famous landmarks in Africa

Quick Stats

  • Budget 25% 25%
  • Popularity 78% 78%
  • Food 50% 50%

Suggested Duration: 2 Weeks

Why is Egypt one of the top African countries?

Egypt is one of the best countries to visit in Africa because: 

♦  ancient world wonder

♦  cruise the Nile

♦  second largest city in Africa

When thinking of the best countries to visit in Africa, Egypt has to make the shortlist as one of the most historical places in Africa. After all, it has the only remaining wonder of the ancient world, the Giza Pyramids. Only, it’s not just the pyramids that draw millions of visitors every year but the entire Nile River valley kingdoms. From the Ptolemaic port at Alexandria to the spectacular temples at Abu Simbel, the Nile River has been a hub of civilization for over 4000 years. You can visit the heart of ancient Egypt in style on a Nile River cruise between Luxor and Aswan. Highlights along this stretch include the Karnak Temple, Luxor Temple, The Temple of Queen Hatshepsut, and the Valley of the Kings.

Egypt is an equatorial country in the middle of the Sahara Desert, so it gets hot there. Winter is the most comfortable time to visit, but it also draws the most crowds. Despite Cairo being the second-largest city in Africa and the recent unrest, Egypt is surprisingly safe for solo female travelers, if they take the right precautions such as dressing modestly, avoiding eye contact, and booking into group tours. Above all else, follow the State Department guidelines to stay out of the border zones with increased military presence.

Contributor: Ed & Jennifer Coleman | Coleman Concierge 

MOROCCO

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Quick Stats

  • Budget 38% 38%
  • Popularity 83% 83%
  • Food 95% 95%

Suggested Time: 12 days

Why is Morocco one of the top tourist destinations in Africa? 

Morocco is one of the best countries to visit in Africa because: 

♦  colorful souks and medinas 

♦  great food culture

♦  overnight tour in the Sahara

Morocco is one of the highlights of any trip to Africa.  It has incredible food, beautiful architecture, a vibrant culture, friendly people, and great shopping!  Highlights include Marrakech and Fes, where you can easily spend days just wandering around the souks (markets) of the medina (old town).  A great way to sample the food is to take a food tour in Marrakech, where you can try local delicacies in the medina such as a sheep’s eyeball and date juice!

You will almost certainly get lost when venturing out by yourself, but a shopkeeper can give you directions back to a familiar reference point.  There are great bargains (you will need to haggle) on leather goods and copperware, carpets and clothing, pottery and lamps, and much more.  A highlight of a visit to Marrakech is the famous Jemaa el-Fnaa, where stalls and tiny restaurants are set up at night, and storytellers, acrobats, and magicians entertain people from all walks of life. 

It is worth venturing out of these cities, to Essaouira on the coast or high into the Atlas Mountains.  Other highlights include the desert kasbahs (mud fortresses) – Aid Ben Haddou is one of the best – and palm plantations.  Staying in a traditional home surrounded by date palms and cycling through the narrow lanes to visit a towering desert fortress is a fantastic experience.  You also won’t want to miss overnighting in a desert camp on the edge of the Sahara desert, after riding a camel over golden dunes.  Yet another highlight is the blue town of Chefchaouen, where you can wander steep, narrow streets past picturesque white and blue houses.

Spring and fall are the best times to visit Morocco when the Atlas Mountains are not blocked by snow, and the lower areas are not too hot.

ContributorJames Ian | Travel Collecting

TUNISIA

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Quick Stats

  • Budget 14% 14%
  • Popularity 75% 75%
  • Food 88% 88%

Suggested Time: 1 week

Why is Tunisia one of the best tourist places in Africa? 

Tunisia is one of the best countries to visit in Africa because: 

♦  2nd largest Roman colosseum

♦  8 UNESCO World Heritage sites

♦  perfect for history lovers

I adore Tunisia, and I think it’s one of the best countries to visit in Africa because it combines the culture and history of Morocco and Algeria, but it’s far less touristy than Morocco and more accessible than Algeria.

The country is perfect for history lovers. You can explore Carthaginian, Roman, and Ottoman history all within an hour of the capital of Tunis. If you love Roman history, you can also visit the second largest ancient Roman colosseum. Unlike the one in Rome, this one is quiet, and at times you can practically have the place to yourself!

The country boasts eight UNESCO World Heritage Sites, so it’s a great place to go if you love learning about world history and exploring what makes other cultures special.

Tunisia also has some fantastic beaches, especially in the south on the Mediterranea. Sousse is a popular vacation spot for Europeans wanting to escape to a warmer climate during long stretches of the year. You can visit Tunisia year-round, but in winter it’s too cold to swim.

Tunisian cuisine is a great mix of traditional North African (like tagines and couscous) combined with French cuisine left behind from France’s occupation of the country.

ContributorStephanie Craig | History Fan Girl

KENYA

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Quick Stats

  • Budget 80% 80%
  • Popularity 43% 43%
  • Food 70% 70%

Suggested Time: July to Ocober to see the great migration

Why is Kenya one of the most popular countries in Africa? 

Kenya is one of the best countries to visit in Africa because: 

♦  great wildebeest migration

♦  amazing wildlife and game drives

♦  guaranteed to see the Big 5

As an avid wildlife lover, Africa has always been my favorite continent. Kenya is a personal favorite for many reasons. Not only was Kenya my very first introduction to Africa but also my base for witnessing the great wildebeest migrationFor wildlife enthusiasts, I can safely say that Kenya is hands down the best country in Africa. 

The best time to visit Kenya for wildlife is during the great migration months of July through October. This is to ensure that you get to experience one of the best naturally occurring wildlife spectacles in the entire world. The Kenyan park – Masai Mara is your best base for this experience. While you are there, I would also recommend adding some other parks to your itinerary as I did – Sweetwaters tented camp, Amboseli national park for elephants, Lake Elementaita (Nakuru park) for birding, among others.

Undoubtedly the wildlife parks and game drives are the highlights of Kenya, and you are almost guaranteed the big five sightings here.

ContributorJyotsna Ramani | Wander With Jo

TANZANIA

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Quick Stats

  • Budget 65% 65%
  • Popularity 57% 57%
  • Food 45% 45%

Suggested Duration: 2 Weeks

Why is Tanzania one of the best places in Africa to visit? 

Tanzania is one of the best countries to visit in Africa because: 

♦  Mt. Kilimanjaro

♦  friendly locals

♦  Zanzibar

Tanzania is one of the best destinations in Africa. Not only is Tanzania home to some incredible sights, but the locals are friendly and welcoming, and the country is safe. 

Home to Kilimanjaro, the highest mountain in Africa, hikers and climbers will love the opportunity to summit the 5,895m peak, with views stretching to Kenya. Tanzania is also one of the best African safari countries. The endless plains of the Serengeti stretch through Tanzania, and nearby, rhinos wander through Ngorongoro Crater. If you are looking to spot the big five on a safari, then Tanzania is the place to go. There are also many cultural activities, such as visiting an authentic Massai village. You can also opt to hang out in the relaxing town of Arusha before or after your safari adventure.

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How long you spend in Tanzania depends on what you want to do! For safari, I’d recommend at least 5-6 days, and if you’re going to climb Kilimanjaro, you can add another week to your trip. You won’t regret visiting the East African country of Tanzania, where you will experience the best safari in the world!

Contributor: Emma Erichsen | Emma Adventures

Less Popular

Best African Countries to Visit

For a more seasoned traveler, I encourage you to explore the countries in this section. These countries receive fewer tourists and aren’t the first places you think to visit when going to Africa.

Shortcut to: Angola, EthiopiaNamibia, Republic of Congo, Sudan, Zimbabwe 

NAMIBIA

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Quick Stats

  • Budget 59% 59%
  • Popularity 46% 46%
  • Food 25% 25%

Suggested Duration: 3 Weeks – Jul to Sep is best timing for a safari, Feb & Mar best to see seals at Cape Cross

Why is Namibia one of the best tourist destinations in Africa? 

Namibia is one of the best countries to visit in Africa because: 

♦  perfect for a road trip

♦  Sossusvlei Desert – a very unique landscape 

♦  Fish River Canyon – 2nd largest canyon in the world

Namibia is one of the best places to go in Africa. My partner and I traveled here for the first time on our honeymoon. We drove from Cape Town and spent two months road tripping Namibia.

Many people know Namibia as a desert-country. It’s true, the stunning Namib desert occupies a big part of Southern Namibia, and the famous Sossusvlei desert is another absolute highlight not to miss. The landscape of the desert is surreal; bizarrely shaped orange dunes reminiscent of Dali’s paintings, the white salt pans contrast against the black putrefied trees and orange dunes and the intense blue of the sky. This desert is a real paradise for photography lovers.

Another major attraction located in the south of Namibia is Fish River Canyon, the second largest canyon in the world. The canyon is awe-inspiring. The best way to explore it is to do a 4-day trek through the canyon; it’s an unforgettable experience.

Namibia is not only the desert; the landscape changes drastically from south to north. From bare land and desert in the south to lush green jungles in the north in the Caprivi strip. The famous Etosha National Park, located in the middle of the country, is the home to many African animals. During a safari drive, visitors can see elephants, lions, zebras, antelopes, giraffes, hyenas, cheetahs, and even elusive leopards. The end of the dry season, July to September, is the best time for visiting Etosha.

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Animal lovers will enjoy visiting Cape Cross, a place along the Skeleton Coast. Cape Cross is the largest breeding colony of Cape Seals in the world, up to 200, 000 seals can be seen here. February and March, right after the breeding season, are the best months for visiting this place, you get to see thousands of cute baby seals crawling around.

The North of Namibia is like a different country with heavy rainfalls during the rainy season, many rivers, and a couple of waterfalls, including the massive Epupa Falls on the border with Angola.

Local tribes are another attraction of Namibia. Visiting traditional villages of the Himba, Herrero, and Damara people is an incredible experience.

Contributor: Ayla Campbell | Stingy Nomads

ETHIOPIA

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Quick Stats

  • Budget 45% 45%
  • Popularity 37% 37%
  • Food 100% 100%

Suggested Duration: 2 Weeks

Why is Ethiopia one of the best places to go in Africa? 

Ethiopia is one of the best countries to visit in Africa because: 

♦  colors of the Dallol

♦  rock-hewn churches of Lalibela

♦  delicious and distinctive food

Ethiopia is one of the best holiday destinations in Africa, and more and more travelers are starting to appreciate it. What makes it unique is the variety of landscapes, experiences, and cultures you will encounter. You will be able to go from the chaos of Addis Ababa to the mysterious beauty of the rock-hewn churches of Lalibela. Gondar will charm you with its easy-going attitude paired with the beauty of its historical sites. The Simien Mountains will challenge you, and you will feel compelled to hike them in search of waterfalls and for the Gelada Baboons. You will appreciate the taste of the best coffee in the world and venture into trying new flavors.

Yet, it is the Danakil Depression, with the salt desert and the colors of the Dallol and the volcanic activity of Erta Ale that will leave the strongest impression. These aren’t places for any traveler. They require a strong level of physical stamina. The environment is harsh, the heat unbearable, the hygienic conditions dire.

Ethiopia is still relatively unexplored. Traveling in Ethiopia is a real challenge, and your patience will be put at test many times. But if you manage to overcome the many obstacles, you will be rewarded with an unforgettable experience.

Contributor: Claudia Tavani | My Adventures Across The World

ANGOLA

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Quick Stats

  • Budget 90% 90%
  • Popularity 21% 21%
  • Food 35% 35%

Suggested Duration: 2 Weeks

Why is Angola one of the best places to travel in Africa? 

Angola is one of the best countries to visit in Africa because: 

♦  less touristic option

♦  beautiful unspoiled nature

♦  amazing beaches

Although Angola is not a popular touristic place, it is definitely worth adding to your travel bucket list! 2 weeks is a good amount of time for a first impression but may not be sufficient if you would like to see the whole country.

One of the main attractions which I have visited and highly recommend is the Quedas de Kalandula (or Kalandula Falls). The impressive falls are known as one of the largest waterfalls in Africa! Surrounded by nature, and with almost no tourists, you can view the falls from 3 different viewpoints all by yourself.

Another beautiful place to visit is Pedras Negras de Pungo Andongowhich are massive black rock formations. Drive to the village Pungo Andongo and climb to the top of one of the rocks to enjoy the amazing 360 view.

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If you plan to stay in the capital Luanda and want to do a day trip from the city, I recommend you to visit Miradouro da Lua, which is the “Moon Lookout” viewpoint, and afterwards to do a boat trip on the Kwanza river. If you’re lucky you will see some monkeys or crocs!

For an African safari experience, you will need to go to Quissama National Park. If you have been on safaris in other countries, this may not be the most impressive one, but if you are lucky there is still a chance to see some elephants, lions, zebras, giraffes etc.

These are just a few of the places you can visit during your Angola trip but it is a good starting point.

Contributor: Veerle Beelen | Unpack By Veer

REPUBLIC OF CONGO

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Quick Stats

  • Budget 72% 72%
  • Popularity 18% 18%
  • Food 35% 35%

Suggested Duration: 1 Week

Why is the Republic of Congo one of the best places to see in Africa? 

The Republic of Congo is one of the best countries to visit in Africa because: 

♦  cheapest place to see gorillas

♦  canoe on the Congo River

♦  safer than people realize

The best thing about the Republic of the Congo is its people, who are warm, welcoming, and friendly, but not TOO friendly. By this I mean that, unlike in some other African countries, as a non-African-looking person, you can walk down the streets here without being hassled. But if you’re in the mood to chat, the locals will be more than happy to strike up a conversation.

RoC offers a chance to get off the beaten track, as most tourists are scared away by images of violence, corruption, and civil war. But this negative image pertains mostly to the other Congo across the river. While corruption is undoubtedly an issue, the civil war here ended in 1999, and Brazzaville is safer than most African capitals. Even as a solo female traveler, I felt safe walking the streets alone after dark.

The Congo River itself is one of the main attractions in Brazzaville, and the city has some great riverside bars and restaurants where you relax and watch the river flow by. A canoe trip out to one of the islands in the middle of the river is worthwhile. The Republic of the Congo is also the cheapest and easiest place to see gorillas. Lésio-Louna National Gorilla Reserve can be visited as a day trip from Brazzaville, although an overnight trip is preferable.

Weather patterns are a bit complicated here, depending on which side of the equator you’re on. In the north, the rainy season runs from April to October, while the dry season is from November to March. However, in the south of the country, including Brazzaville, this pattern is reversed. In any case, it’s pretty hot and humid throughout most of the year in the Congo.

Contributor: Wendy Werneth | The Nomadic Vegan

SUDAN

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Quick Stats

  • Budget 24% 24%
  • Popularity 32% 32%
  • Food 60% 60%

Suggested Duration: 10 Days

Why is Sudan one of the top African countries to visit? 

Sudan is one of the best countries to visit in Africa because: 

♦  off the beaten path

♦  rich in ancient Nubia history

♦  blended Arab and African culture

Straddling the informal line between northern and sub-Saharan Africa, Sudan is where Arab and African cultures blend with vibrant complexity. For travelers who relish getting off the beaten path, Sudan offers the rich archaeological history of ancient Nubia without the crowds that flock to neighboring Egypt. The vibe is all about starry desert nights, sweet tea with friendly strangers, the intricate rhythm of Arabic language, and the peaceful melody of a call to prayer drifting from the nearby mosque.

Many travelers visit Sudan on organized trips, but it’s possible and highly rewarding to travel the country independently by bus. Accommodation and food can be very cheap if you’re not too picky (and if you are, maybe Sudan isn’t the right destination for you). Friendly locals are always willing to help, even if your Arabic consists of a measly “shukran” (thank you). 

An ideal Sudan itinerary would take at least 10 days, with 2-3 weeks being more leisurely. Absorb the energy and relative modernity of Khartoum and Omdurman before heading north to pleasant Dongola and Abri and the ancient ruins along the Nile. Experience the barren desert and archaeological sites near Karima and Atbara, including the pyramids of Meroë and (if you have your own transportation) the temples at Naqa and Musawwarat. Travelers with more time can visit the Red Sea at Port Sudan, scenic Kassala in the Taka Mountains, or Dinder National Park on the road to Ethiopia.

Travel in Sudan requires some experience and a thoughtful approach. The tourism infrastructure is nearly non-existent, the economy is struggling, and political instability does pop up from time to time. The conservative culture and strict gender roles can be eye-opening. There is a lot going on in Sudan, and visitors should make an effort to understand the economic and political dynamics beneath the country’s friendly and welcoming surface.

That said, the parts of Sudan that are open to tourism are generally very safe, and visitors are received with warmth and hospitality. The vast majority of visitors to Sudan, including myself, place it high on their list of favorite destinations. For experienced travelers with an open mind, the rewards of travel in Sudan are well worth the challenges.

Contributor: Alissa | Exploring Wild

ZIMBABWE

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Quick Stats

  • Budget 60% 60%
  • Popularity 57% 57%
  • Food 20% 20%

Suggested Duration: 5 days

Why is Zimbabwe one of the best travel destinations in Africa? 

Zimbabwe is one of the best countries to visit in Africa because: 

♦  Victoria Fall’s waterfall

♦  adventure sports like white water rafting

One of the best countries to visit in Africa is Zimbabwe. Some travelers are wary of Zimbabwe because of its instability, governmental corruption, and a failed currency. It’s still a nation with unmatched beauty, natural wonders, and friendly locals. There’s a lot to see in Zimbabwe, but most visitors spend their time in Victoria Falls.

There are so many Victoria Falls activities that you just shouldn’t miss when in Africa. The falls themselves are an incredible experience that should be on your travel bucket list. The best time to see the powerful waterfall is between February and May. That’s just after the summer rains and when Victoria Falls will be the most brilliant. Activities like Devil’s pool, an area at the top of the falls where you can swim, are only safe when the water levels are lower starting in June. The same is true for white water rafting, but there are other great activities that you can experience all year.

Visitors to Victoria Falls will be amazed by the aerial views from a helicopter ride. There are also adventure activities that you can do from the Victoria Falls Bridge. The bridge stretches across the gorge between Zimbabwe and Zambia, and it beautiful to walk across. You can also bungee jump off the bridge, enjoy the bridge swing, and even zip line from the Zambia side of the gorge to the Zimbabwe side. It’s possible to do these activities without getting an official visa to enter Zambia, but you do have to go through the border crossing.

Contributor: Derek & Mike | Robe Trotting

RWANDA

Quick Stats

  • Budget 40% 40%
  • Popularity 62% 62%
  • Food 50% 50%

Rwanda – ‘the land of a thousand hills’ – is not on most traveler’s to-do list when visiting Africa, which makes it all the more appealing for the intrepid few. The small and mountainous landlocked country is wedged in between its much larger neighbors Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo, and the whole country is a patchwork of beautiful steeply terraced family farms and spectacular national parks.

From a scenery perspective, it’s a country like no other in Africa – or the world – with jaw-dropping landscapes around every corner. The big draw of the low-level tourism here is seeing habituated gorillas and chimpanzees up close and personal in their natural habitat. Though it’s not the cheapest place for primate viewing (think DRC or Uganda if budget is your primary focus), the panoramas whilst hiking are truly unsurpassable, and the numbers of tourists are relatively low.

As with traveling in any country, the costs of visiting Rwanda can vary immensely, though it’s worth noting that budget accommodation can be hard to find. Food, on the other hand, is plentiful and tasty for all budgets – particularly in the capital, Kigali, which has a great selection of local, regional, and international restaurants. Elsewhere in the country, there’s a seemingly endless supply of fresh fruit and vegetables, and if you’re in Rwanda during avocado season (March to August) you’re in for a treat! 

Because of the altitude, Rwanda generally enjoys a pleasant climate with maximum temperatures of 30degrees. Of course the higher up the mountains you go the cooler it gets –particularly at night when you’ll need several layers to stay warm. The country has four seasons – two dry seasons broken up by a ‘long’ rain from March to May and a ‘short’ rain from October to December. Whilst visiting during the rainy season might not sound ideal, it’s far easier to get hold of the all-important gorilla permits then, though your jungle treks might be a bit more a slog! July and August is peak tourist season, so you’ll need to book your gorilla permits well in advance.

Contributor: The Flashpacking Family

Cheapest 

African Countries to Visit

Traveling in Africa is more expensive than places like South East Asia or South America. Food and accommodation are on the cheaper side, yet the activities can increase budgets quickly. The African countries in this section are more affordable to travel in because there are alternative activities to things like expensive safaris.

Shortcut to: Cape Verde, Senegal, The Gambia

CAPE  VERDE

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Quick Stats

  • Budget 40% 40%
  • Popularity 32% 32%
  • Food 68% 68%

Suggested Duration: 1 week

Why is Cape Verde one of the top destinations in Africa? 

Cape Verde is one of the best countries to visit in Africa because: 

♦  eat cheap & fresh seafood and tuna

♦  very few tourists

♦  white sandy beaches

Cape Verde is made up of ten islands off the coast of West Africa, but only a couple of them are easily accessible with direct flights. The main islands visited by tourists are Boa and Sal with Sal being our favourite.

What we loved about Cape Verde is that despite being only 5 hours from the UK and with year-round sunshine, mass tourism hasn’t reached there yet. There are a few all-inclusive hotels dotted along the shores and some holiday rentals, but the majority of the two main islands are entirely undeveloped.

There’s not a massive amount of information out there on things to do in Sal, but if you can tear yourself away from the beautiful white sandy beaches, you’ll find plenty to see and do. We visited the Pedra de Lume salt mines and waded with baby lemon sharks. At sunset, we watched baby turtles being released and joined in with the locals for some Saturday night dancing in the streets.

The sea heavily influences the food in Cape Verde and tuna is big on the menu there. Each morning the fishermen bring their catch to the Santa Maria pier, and local restaurateurs bring wheelbarrows to cart off enormous, fresh tuna. There are lots of great restaurants in Santa Maria, serving delicious and cheap food. If you like seafood, and in particular tuna done in various ways, you’ll love Cape Verde.

As tourism hasn’t taken off on a big scale yet, Cape Verde is a relatively cheap place to visit. A meal out for a family of 4 would come to less than £20. Our average daily spend was minimal because there weren’t any expensive tours. If you don’t fancy hiring a car, taxis to all of the main sights on the island are very cheap.

Contributor: Jacquie Hale | Flashpacking Family

 THE GAMBIA

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Quick Stats

  • Budget 22% 22%
  • Popularity 15% 15%
  • Food 45% 45%

Suggested Duration: 1 week

Why is The Gambia one of the top destinations in Africa? 

The Gambia is one of the best countries to visit in Africa because: 

♦  beautiful beaches

♦  friendly locals

♦  explore The River Gambia for birdwatching and mangrove forests

Often overlooked due to its small size, The Gambia is a country perched on the West African coast. The Gambia is the smallest country in mainland Africa and its mostly encased by Senegal. You can see all of The Gambia’s main attractions within one week, due to the country’s small size.

One of the main attractions that The Gambia has to offer is its incredible white-sand beaches. The majority of the beaches in The Gambia are quiet and peaceful. Along The Gambia’s coastline, you can find several fishing villages. This is the perfect place to learn about local life in The Gambia and maybe even try some local fish (which is a must!). The fish caught by locals is mostly ethically-caught.

If beaches aren’t your scene, don’t worry, The Gambia has so much more to see. If you venture to The River Gambia, you can see beautiful mangrove forests and may even be lucky enough to spot some of The Gambia’s impressive birds. The Gambia is a prime birdwatching location. Several companies offer boat tours along The Gambia River, which is by far the best way to see such a beautiful part of the country.

If you journey up-river to in-land Gambia, you can expect to feel as though you have traveled back in time. Cars are a rarity here. This is rural Gambia, and popular modes of transport include walking, cycling, and donkey-driven carts.
While The Gambia offers many attractions, by far, my favorite aspect of the country was meeting the friendly locals. I have never met such friendly people! Everyone was welcoming and wanted to make sure I was okay and enjoying their country.

My best piece of advice if you are planning on visiting The Gambia is to not just stick to the main tourist area of Kotu. Here you will find more hassle than anywhere else in the country, which just isn’t representative of The Gambia at all. Journey away from there, and you will see the real gems that The Gambia has to offer.

Click here for hotel recommendations in The Gambia

Contributor: Ella | Ella in Wanderlust

SENEGAL

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Quick Stats

  • Budget 30% 30%
  • Popularity 43% 43%
  • Food 80% 80%

Suggested Duration: 1 week

Why is Senegal one of the top destinations in Africa? 

Senegal, located in West Africa, has 15 million people living there, who mainly follow Islam as a religion. Traveling through Senegal means getting to know a completely different Africa. West Africa is different from the North, South, and East of the continent. The capital, Dakar, is the pulsating heart of the country and is the most un-African city in West Africa and the place where dreams come true.

For us, Senegal has been a real surprise. Anyone who is looking for an almost unknown destination will find a real adventure here. Senegal represents the true Africa. Its culture, its people, and especially its cities are all different from what you may have experienced in Africa already. Lots of locals call Senegal the “real Africa, “and even though we have not seen enough from Africa to judge this opinion, we consider Senegal as super authentic and a lot of fun!

Most travels through Senegal commence in Dakar, the heart of the country. It’s chaotic, extremely hot, but also a perfect spot to explore. There is an ideal mix of a cultural hub and an iconic seaside destination. Dakar offers things for everyone – surfers can hit the waves at Les Almadies, culture lovers can hop on the ferry to the island Gorée and find out more about the history of Senegal and art lovers will be super satisfied when walking through the old fairground.

If you want to see more in the country, you should drive out of the capital. Two things that are not to be missed are a trip to the delta of the Sine Saloum, and also a visit to the fish market in Mbour, an utterly insane fish market, which is different from anything we ever expected.  

Senegal can be visited all year round. Nevertheless, the Senegalese summer and the associated heat are certainly not for everyone. The somewhat cooler months from November to May are recommended. By the way: Senegal also has a rainy season, which usually murmurs from April to October.

Contributor: Clemens | Travellers Archive

  Best African Countries to Visit Conclusion

Seventeen countries are highlighted in this blog post, but there are still other beautiful countries in Africa. Thanks to all the travel bloggers who collaborated on this post and shared their favorite African countries.

This post makes me think, “Where to visit in Africa next?” I’ve already been to 11 countries, so there is still a lot more to explore.  

Now that you have gone through this epic list, which African country do you want to visit the most? Leave a comment below!

Now that you know the best countries to travel in Africa, are you convinced to visit? I recommend purchasing country specific Lonely Planet guidebooks for more travel information on Africa.  

Click on the Lonely Planet picture below for the current deal going on.

 

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