16 Absolute Best Countries to Visit in Africa

16 Absolute Best Countries to Visit in Africa

Looking for the best countries to visit in Africa? These 16 amazing African countries have it all – from beautiful scenery to diverse cultures to fascinating history and more! Find out where to go and what to do on this ultimate Africa Bucket List!

Africa stretches more than 30 million square kilometers, making it the second-largest continent in the world. It is full of unbelievably beautiful places packed with ancient treasures, vibrant cultures, amazing wildlife, and beautiful scenery ranging from vast deserts and luscious forests to rugged mountains, sweeping plains, and pristine beaches.

With 54 unique countries to explore in the “Garden of Eden,” deciding where to go in Africa can be overwhelming. To help you sort through the huge amount of options, we’ve hand-picked these 16 Best Countries to Visit in Africa!

Ready to find out which countries should be on your African Bucket List? Read along to discover the absolute best and safest countries to visit in Africa!

the Zambezi in Zambia is one of the best places to visit in Africa.
Zambia is one of the best countries to visit in Africa for breathtaking natural scenery.

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16 Incredible Countries that belong on your African Bucket List

This guide on the best African countries to visit will take you from the tip of the continent with its vibrant cities and abundant wildlife, through the jungle-filled forests and sprawling grasslands in the east and west, all the way to the ancient cities and vast deserts in the north. Along the way, you’ll also get a glimpse of Africa’s beautiful off-shore islands and even a few less-traveled gems.

Here’s a quick look at the countries included on this list:

Best Countries to Visit in Southern Africa:

  • South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Zambia

Best Countries to Visit in East Africa:

  • Ethiopia, Kenya, Mauritius, Seychelles, Tanzania, Uganda, Zanzibar

Best Countries to Visit in North Africa:

  • Egypt, Morocco, Tunisia

Best Countries to Visit in West & Central Africa:

  • Cape Verde, Sao Tome and Principe

In a rush? Pin this list of best Africa countries to visit for later.

Best Countries to Visit in Africa: Southern Region

South Africa 

the incredible mountain ranges of South Africa \ best places to go in africa
South Africa | Top Countries to Visit in Africa

One of the best countries to visit in Africa is undoutedly South Africa! Located right at the tip of Africa, the country is famous for its breathtaking scenery, amazing wildlife, and fascinating cultures. While Johannesburg’s OR Tambo International is the main gateway to the country, many travelers also fly into Cape Town International.

South Africa should be on your Africa Bucket List because:

  • The Kruger National Park is one of the world’s largest game reserves and covers nearly 20,000 km2. On top of that, the park is home to more wildlife species than any other sanctuary in Africa. 
  • The country has some of the world’s best wineries. Don’t miss touring the quaint towns dotted along the Cape Winelands
  • It is a great road trip destination. Among the best drives are the Garden Route and the Panorama Route. 

Despite its often eyebrow-raising political state, South Africa is an incredibly diverse country with so much to offer travelers. From its dramatic coastline stretching more than 2,800 km to its lush interior filled with rolling grasslands and plateaus. On top of that, you’ll encounter diverse wildlife, bustling cities, charming little towns, and friendly people.

One of the best things to do in South Africa is to go on a self-drive safari in the Kruger. Once there, you’ll get to enjoy the lions’ roars and spot all kinds of wild animals mere steps from your car! Other incredible experiences include driving the Panorama Route, which is the world’s largest green canyon, and the Garden Route, which offers breathtaking views no matter which way you turn. City slickers on the other hand, will love all the amazing things to do and see in Cape Town.

The best time to visit South Africa is during the warmer months, November to April. Try to avoid visiting during the December or Easter holidays, as prices are often higher. Here are a few more things you need to know before visiting South Africa.

Botswana

spot cheetahs up close when you visit Botswana \ best African countries to visit

Contributed by Ed from SafarisAfricana.

Botswana is a truly special country if you enjoy wildlife and the great outdoors. The country is large, wild, and landlocked, with a landscape defined by the dry Kalahari Desert and the wet Okavango Delta.

The country’s main entry point is its capital, Gabarone, located in the country’s southeast. Gabarone lies on the border with South Africa, a 5-hour drive from Johannesburg.

There is a decent – but very limited – road network where only the major roads are tarmacked, and internal travel tends to be by bus, hire car, or air. International visitors arriving by plane will often stopover in Gabarone and then catch a 1.5 flight north to Maun, the gateway to the Okavango Delta.

Botswana is one of the best African countries to visit because:

  • You can explore some of the world’s best national parks on a self-drive Botswana safari.
  • Botswana is home to huge animal migrations and one of the best places to see Southern Africa’s largest terrestrial animal migration. If you time your trip, you’ll get to see enormous zebra herds travel 1,000 kilometers between the Makgadikgadi plains and the Nxai Pan, searching for food & water.
  • The Okavango Delta is a premier safari destination of 15,000 square kilometers of wetland wilderness. It’s dotted with exclusive, out-of-the-way lodges perfect for game drives, safari walks, and boat trips.

The best time to visit Botswana is from May to August when the winter days are cool and sunny, and the lack of water drives the wildlife to congregate around permanent water sources. July and August are school holiday times, meaning more tourists, busier national parks, and higher accommodation prices. October to April is the summer season, which brings severe heat, heavy rains, and at times, flooding.

Namibia 

massive sand dunes in Namibia \ best countries to visit in africa

Recommended by Paula from Paula Pins the Planet.

Namibia is a beautiful country located in Africa’s southern corners. It shares borders with South Africa, Botswana, Zambia, and Angola, making it easy to access overland. 

Namibia should be on your list of best African countries to visit because:

  • The dramatic scenery and the diversity of the landscape is stunning. 
  • Namibia is home to rich wildlife.
  • You can get a taste of the local African culture.

Hosea Kutako International Airport in Windhoek’s capital city is the major international airport and the main gateway. To get to the country’s far-flung destinations by air, transfer to the capital’s second airport – Eros. 

However, a well-planned road trip in Namibia is the best way to explore the country. Along the way, you will have a chance to discover some of Namibia’s beautiful landscapes, amazing wildlife, and lovely locals. 

Some of Namibia’s highlights are doing a safari at Etosha National Park, exploring the Deadsvlei desert, and climbing some of the world’s highest dunes. Visiting the ghost town Kolmaskop, relaxing by the ocean towns of Walvis Bay and Swakopmund, and driving the stunning Skeleton Coast are other must-dos. 

The best time to visit is during the dry season (May-Oct), when the wildlife congregates around rivers and waterholes. During this time, the weather is sunny with virtually no rain. 

Traveling in Namibia is safe, with easily navigable gravel roads, minimal traffic, and an impressively low crime rate. While there are plenty of accommodation options near the main attractions, it’s best to make reservations 6-12 months in advance when visiting during the high season. Also, make sure to book well in advance for the country’s more visited areas during the low season. 

off-road driving in Namibia is a must on any list of things to do in africa
Namibia | Best African Countries to Visit

Zambia

Victoria Falls is a breathtaking place to visit Zambia, Africa.
Victoria Falls | Beautiful places to see in Africa

Contributed by Claire from Stoked to Travel.

Zambia is one of the best places to visit in Africa for adventure and stunning landscapes. The country is most famous for the Victoria Falls, a mammoth set of waterfalls straddling the border between Zimbabwe and Zambia. For this reason, most visitors tend to fly into Livingstone Airport in the south. Most of Zambia’s main attractions and points of interest are also located there. 

Victoria Falls are one of the World’s Seven Wonders and is named after Queen Victoria, the former monarch when the falls were first stumbled upon by a European. Interestingly, the falls are neither the tallest nor the widest, but they hold the world’s largest single sheet waterfall record. 

The Zambian side of the falls is located in Mosi Oa Tunya National Park, and it’s easy to join a guided walking tour to the falls. Just a word of warning, a walk through the park will leave you soaked, especially in the rainy season!

Zambia is one of the best African countries to visit because:

  • You can bungee jump over the falls or try white water rafting along the Zambezi River.
  • If you stay at one of the posh lodges, like Avani Resort, you can see giraffes and zebra wandering around, and even drinking from the pool!
  • You’ll get a chance to swim in Devil’s Pool, located atop Victoria Falls. It is the ultimate dare-devil activity! Check out this tour if you’re brave enough.

Due to safety reasons, this pool is only open during the dry season as the rainy season would be far too dangerous. Choosing when to visit is key in Zambia as different times of the year offer different experiences. The rainy season runs from November to April, and visiting during this time means seeing the falls at the greatest capacity. When visiting during the dry season, large sections of the falls might be completely bare. But, there’ll always be some sections with fast-flowing water. 

If you’re still deciding where to go in Africa, here are 30 epic movies to spark your wanderlust!

Best Countries to Visit in Africa: Eastern Regions

Ethiopia

experience the bustling streets of Ethiopia on your africa bucket list

Recommended by De Wet & Jin from Museum of Wander.

Located in the Horn of Africa, Ethiopia must be one of the most interesting countries worldwide. Ethiopia is the only African country that was never colonized, so if you are looking to experience undiluted African culture, Ethiopia is the place to be.

Bole Airport in Addis Ababa is the main gateway. And, also the hub of the largest airline in Africa, Ethiopian Airlines. Domestic flights are heavily discounted if your international flight to Ethiopia is on the national carrier.

Ethiopia is also very affordable and can be visited throughout the year. Whether you’re looking for holy cities, ancient churches, colorful tribes, unique wildlife, the best cup of coffee, or world-class hiking, Ethiopia has it all!

Top Reasons to add Ethiopia to your African bucket list:

  • Harar in the eastern lowlands is Africa at its most vibrant. Harar’s walled old town is one of Islam’s holiest places, and you’ll find hundreds of mosques and shrines crammed into the narrow, colorful alleys of the ancient city. 
  • Lalibela in the highlands is the center of the country’s Orthodox Christians. The 11 churches, hewn from the rock is also known as Africa’s New Jerusalem. It is one of the most spectacular sites in the world. Attending Sunday morning mass in one of these churches is something that you’ll never forget.  
  • Foodies will love Ethiopia. For instance, Injera, a spongy, fermented flatbread served with fiery Berbere curries (or vegetarian sides on fasting days), looks and tastes lip-smackingly good. Here’s a great authentic food and culture tour to add to your list of things to do.

*** Travel note: There has recently been some unrest in the northern parts of Ethiopia. Make sure to check travel advisories before visiting. 

Kenya

the great migration should be high on your list of things to see in africa.

Recommended by Disha from Disha Discovers. 

Africa is a vast continent brimming with beautiful countries, and Kenya is one of them. It is truly a country that everyone should visit at least once.

You’ll find the country’s main entry point through Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (NBO) in Nairobi. 

Kenya is one of the best African countries to visit because:

  • Kenya’s culture is diverse with several ethnic groups. Each group has its own traditions, including unique dances, food, festivals, and more. 
  • If a safari is on your bucket list, the Maasai Mara National Reserve is the place to do it. Kenya is home to all the Big Five and there are heaps of tours to join.  
  • Kenya’s government has made sure that national parks and other facilities are accessible, safe, and well-maintained for tourists.

There are, however, a few key things to keep in mind before visiting Kenya. Depending on where you’re from, you’ll probably need a visa. Make sure you visit a Kenyan government website, so you know exactly what you need. Also, you’ll need to get certain immunizations before visiting Kenya. Some vaccines are required, so make sure you have this sorted.

Further, Kenyan food is delicious, but it may take a bit for your stomach to adjust. Be careful when trying street food, as this isn’t always safe to eat. While Kenya is a safe country for tourists, self-awareness is still required.

Some highlights of Kenya include watching the Great Migration in Maasai Mara, relaxing at Diani Beach, seeing the pink flamingos at Lake Nakuru, spotting birds at Lake Naivasha, having breakfast with the giraffes at Giraffe Manor, and so much more.

Mauritius

Mauritius boasts some incredible waterfalls and deserves a spot on your list of best places to visit in africa

Recommended by Emily from Wander-Lush

Mauritius, located off East Africa’s coast in the Indian Ocean, is often thought of as a honeymoon destination. Alongside the jaw-droppingly beautiful beaches and palatial resorts, Mauritius also boasts a lesser-visited jungle interior and incredible cultural diversity in its cities and villages.

Mauritius should be on your African bucket list because:

  • Mauritius has 330 kilometers of coastline, most of it pristine white-sand beaches.
  • The island is a shield volcano, and the terrain of the inner island is incredibly verdant – perfect for outdoor activities, such as hiking and waterfall trekking.
  • The island is incredibly diverse, blending Hindu, Muslim, Chinese, and Creole cultures.

In the capital, Port Louis, there is a range of immersive experiences that shine a light on Mauritian culture, including lively local markets, street food tours, Sega music, and temples.

The southern part of the island is known for its natural beauty. Here you’ll find the vibrant Chamarel Seven Colored Earth Geopark, Black River Gorges National Park, and the Heritage Nature Reserve in Bel Ombre. Hiking and quad biking are available, but it can be just as rewarding to explore by car. That way, you can stop off at the many scenic viewpoints along the coast.

Mauritius has a subtropical climate with sunny weather and warm temperatures throughout the year. It’s best to avoid visiting during the summer peak season (October through to January) when crowds are thickest and prices highest. Mauritius can be a very affordable destination outside of these months, provided you stay in guesthouses and eat at local restaurants. Mauritius has a very low crime rate and is widely considered one of the safest countries to visit in Africa. The main gateway is Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam International Airport.

Seychelles

seychelles is one of the best islands in africa.
Seychelles | Beautiful Places in Africa

Recommended by Jurga from Full Suitcase.

Seychelles is a group of islands off the east coast of Africa. The archipelago is best known as a paradise destination for honeymooners. However, it has so much more to offer than azure-blue waters and white sand beaches. 

Seychelles is a must-visit destination in Africa because:

  • There are countless dreamy white-sand beaches.
  • It’s home to incredibly diverse flora and fauna.
  • A chance to see the stunning landscapes and experience the local culture.

With over 100 islands, each with unique flora and fauna, Seychelles has something to offer for all kinds of travelers. From local markets in its capital city Victoria, hiking in lush jungle forests of Mahé Island, snorkeling and diving with colorful fish and water turtles to exploring the more remote islands where you’ll feel like you’ve entered a real-life Jurrasic Park. Many of these are also home to hundred-year-old, free-roaming giant tortoises! 

Some of Seychelles’ must-see places are the Mahé Island, Vallée de Mai Nature Reserve and Anse Lazio beach on Praslin Island, and Anse Source D’Argent on La Digue Island. But, every island and every beach is unique. As a result, you really have to see several different Seychelles islands to appreciate what Seychelles is all about! 

Seychelles is a year-round destination. But it’s best to visit between late March to May or from October to November for calmer seas and less rain. June to August are the driest and coolest months of the year, but also the windiest. Perfect for surfing, but not ideal for swimming or snorkeling.

Victoria-Seychelles Airport (SEZ), on Mahé Island near the capital city of Victoria, is the main gateway. 

Tanzania

zebras drinking water in Tanzania \ best countries to visit in africa
Tanzania | Safest countries to visit in Africa

Recommended by Jackie & Justin from Life Of Doing.

Tanzania offers various attractions and activities for all visitors – from incredible wildlife sightseeing to magnificent beaches. But, one if the best things to do while here is going on a safari. Most visitors tend to do a safari in the Northern Circuit as it’s easier to get to from Moshi Airport. It also offers a diversity of animals to see in their natural habitats, such as lions, cheetahs, hyenas, and more. A highlight is admiring the Great Migration of wildebeests and zebras at Serengeti National Park.

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

  • It is home to Mount Kilimanjaro, one of the tallest mountains worldwide, standing 5,895m high.
  • You can see wildlife along several safari routes, such as the Northern, Southern, or Western Circuits.  
  • The tropical island of Zanzibar is a stone’s throw away.

Adventure seekers will also enjoy trekking here. Mount Kilimanjaro, one of the Seven Summits of the World, is challenging and trekking can take between 5-9 days. Hiking to Materuni Waterfall is a great day hike and is a top attraction in the Moshi area

Another unique opportunity is visiting ethnic groups and learning about their culture. The Maasai group is the most popular due to its proximity to the Northern Circuit safari routes. Visitors can stay overnight at a village or visit for the day to learn about the arts and crafts, dance, and chat with residents.  

If relaxing is the main goal for your vacation, head to Zanzibar. Explore the UNESCO recognized site, Stone Town, or hang out at its white sandy beaches. 

Tanzania is a year-round destination, but experiences vary by season. The dry season is June to October, and the wet season is November to April. The main gateway to the country is Julius Nyerere International Airport in Dar es Salaam. 

Uganda

The incredible Murchison Falls has to be on your list of places to see in Africa.
Murchison Falls | Beautiful places to go in Africa

Recommended by Lara from Both Feet On The Road. 

One of the best countries to visit in Africa is Uganda! The international airport at Entebbe has many direct flights to Dubai, Doha, Amsterdam, and Brussels, making it easily accessible from many parts of the world. Overland, Uganda can be reached from major tourist destinations such as Kenya, Rwanda, and Tanzania, either by bus or private transportation. 

Uganda should be on your African bucket list because:

  • You can encounter endangered mountain gorillas.
  • You can spot unique wildlife, such as chimps, tree-climbing lions, the endangered Nubian giraffes, hippos, and many endemic birds.

However, besides these three reasons, there are many more must-experience in Uganda. For example, the world heritage Rwenzori Mountains National Park with snowcapped peaks that are higher than the Alps. Or the beautiful islands at Lake Bunyonyi and the Toro Crate Lakes near Fort Portal. For adrenaline seekers, white water rafting at the source of the Nile in Jinja is also a must. Foodies definitely have to try the Ugandan Rolex (rolled chapati with omelet) and G-nut sauce (a kind of peanut sauce). 

Tourists are still an attraction in Uganda, so prepare yourself for being stared at, waved to, and touched (by children, not in a weird way). As a woman, prepare yourself for many wedding proposals from Ugandan men (or wear a ring if you want to avoid it). 

Ugandans are extremely friendly and love chatting with visitors, so don’t take offense to the attention you receive. If you are open and approachable, you will have an amazing time and many fun encounters with locals!

Zanzibar 

The pristine beaches of Zanzibar should be on your African bucket list.
Zanzibar | Beautiful beaches in Africa

Recommended by Karen from Travel Mad Mum.

Zanzibar is a tropical archipelago off the East Coast of Africa and is one of the world’s most desirable destinations! It is in the Indian Ocean, right next to Tanzania.  

Abeid Amani Karume International Airport is the only airport on the island and close to the city center. The airport has direct flights from Europe and the Middle East.

Here are the top reasons to visit the island:

  • The island is home to a stunning coral reef and beautiful beaches.
  • It is full of history and has a culture of its own.
  • There is something for everyone; adventure, nature, history, and relaxation.

Zanzibar has many influences, and as a result, is a melting pot of customs, cultures, and traditions. To experience these first hand, you should head to the city’s old part, Stone Town

The tropical island is hot all year round, with two wet seasons; November to December and March until May. The cooler months run from June to October. However, if you decide to visit in the hot, dry season from December to February, you could cool off by snorkeling in the crystal clear waters.

It is predominately a Muslim country, so you may want to check if you are visiting during Ramadan. Like visiting any other country, it is best always to lock up any valuables. 

Best Countries to Visit in Northern Africa 

Egypt

pyramids of Giza, Egypt | best countries to visit in africa.
Pyramids of Giza | Best Places to Visit in Africa

No list of the best countries to visit in Africa would be complete without mentioning Egypt. Located in Africa’s northern corners, Egypt borders Libya, Sudan, and Isreal, with Cairo International Airport as its main entry point.

Egypt is a must-visit place in Africa because:

  • It’s home to the Pyramids – one of the most iconic heritage sites in the world.
  • You’ll find the world’s longest river, the Nile, here, which offers breathtaking scenery and great cruising opportunities

Brimming with ancient history and unbelievable scenery, Egypt is a fascinating country and definitely deserves a spot on any African bucket list. While Egypt might be one of the world’s oldest civilizations, there’s more to this country than just its captivating history. Today, Egypt is a major tourist hub offering a wide range of experiences for all kinds of travelers, from nature to history to culture to shopping and much more. 

Getting a close-up view of the Pyramids and the Great Sphinx are obligatory things to do while visiting. Both landmarks are simply mind-blowing and the perfect spot to learn a bit more about the Egyptian Empire. Another must-do in Eqypt is joining a cruise on the Nile. Whether it be for a sunset or something a bit longer, it will be an unforgettable experience! If you’re into diving, be sure to check out all the cool wrecks at Sharm El Sheikh or enjoy the laidback vibes at Dahab. Of course, there are lots more to do. For instance, explore the ancient temples in Luxor, unwind at Aswan, visit the White Desert or relax in the amazing Siwa Salt Lakes. 

Egypt is a good year-round destination, but the summers can be relentless. Therefore it’s best to come during spring (Feb-Apr) or autumn (Oct- Nov)

Morocco

Morocco's ancient Kasbahs
Morocco | Incredible places to visit in Africa

Recommended by James from Travel Collecting. 

Morocco is located in northern Africa, across the Strait of Gibraltar from Spain. The main international gateway is Mohammed V International Airport near Casablanca, though there are smaller international airports in Marrakech and Fes. 

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

  • Shopping. Visiting the narrow, winding, labyrinthine streets of Marrakech’s markets, Meknes and Fes is an absolute must. There are tiny shops crammed with incredible handicrafts at great prices. 
  • Morocco has incredible food. A great way to enjoy it and discover new treats is to take a food tour. Marrakech especially is a great place for a food tour. You can sample everything from sweet mint tea to a sheep’s eyeball! 
  • Varied experiences to enjoy outside the major cities.

There are many incredible places to visit in Morrocco and different things to see and do. The best part? You can easily arrange for a driver to take you from one destination to another over several days, stopping off along the way. This is safe and gives you the most flexibility. However, be sure to clarify exactly what is included in advance. You can visit ancient Kasbahs and date palm plantations, drive through narrow gorges, see rose water being distilled, ride a camel through the dunes and camp overnight in the Sahara Desert, visit the coastal towns, and much more. 

The best time to visit Morocco is during spring and fall to avoid the extreme heat of summer and the snow on the Atlas Mountains in winter. Morocco is generally safe for tourists, but be careful when asking people on the street for directions as they may mislead you.

Tunisia 

Sidi Bou Said in Tunisia is a must-visit place in africa.
Tunisia | Best African countries to visit

Recommended by Ucman from BrownBoyTravels.

Tunisia is a small country located in the North African strip, sandwiched between Algeria and Libya. While Tunisia might be tiny in size, it has a lot to offer – from beautiful beaches to ancient Roman architecture.

Tunisia is a great country to visit in Africa because:

  • It is not yet overrun by mass tourism like Morocco, and it is great to experience the culture in its true form.
  • Tunisia is quite cheap, easy to navigate, and owing to its relatively peaceful history; a safe place to visit.
  • You’ll also find the world’s second-largest standing colosseum, located in Tunisia in El Jem, here. 

If you’re into history, you will love this place! Tunisia has a multifaceted culture with Roman, Arabic and French influences. If you speak French, you will have no problem because English isn’t widely spoken here. 

Don’t miss the medina (old town) of Tunis, which is the largest in North Africa. The beautiful village of Sidi Bou Said is also nearby. It is a place of great beauty where Tunisian culture meets jaw-dropping scenery in a liberating seaside fashion. It’s best to arrange your own transport, but it’s also easy to join a day tour.

Food is generally good and cheap, and people are warm and friendly. Furthermore, the country offers great weather most of the year with plenty of sunshine.

The best way to arrive in the country is through the Tunis-Carthage International Airport in Tunis, the Tunisia capital.

Best Countries to Visit in Africa: Western & Central Regions

Cape Verde

hilltop towns of Santo Antão is Cape Verde
Hillside Villages of Cape Verde | Best countries to visit in Africa

Recommended by Erika from Erika’s Travels.

Cape Verde consists of ten volcanic islands that lie off the coast of Senegal, in West Africa.

Sal’s Amical Cabral International Airport is the largest gateway. However, since the country consists of ten separate islands, it may not be the most convenient entry point. Four islands, Santiago, São Vicente, Sal, and Boa Vista, offer international routes to Europe. 

Cape Verde should be on your African Bucket List because:

  • Cape Verde is among the safest countries in Africa. There is very little crime, especially on the smaller and less urbanized islands.
  • With ten volcanic islands that differ drastically in topography and tourist offerings, Cape Verde caters to a wide variety of travel styles—whether you’re looking for ocean, hiking trails, desert, or mountains. 
  • The scenery on Santo Antão is unlike anywhere else on Earth. The spectacular island is a hiker’s paradise that features terraced mountains, colorful villages, a sculpted coastline, and verdant valleys.

Cape Verde is a country with a unique Afro-Portuguese flavor. It’s scenic diversity and cultural richness make it a fantastic African adventure destination. 

While all islands have something to offer, Santo Antão is Cape Verde’s undisputed gem. The vertical island is where soaring mountains plunge into churning water, and picturesque towns cling to terraced hillsides. For an unforgettable trip to Santo Antão, be sure to drive the island’s Old Road. Exploring the Paul Valley, and hiking the coastal route from Ponta do Sol to Cha da Igreja should also not be overlooked. 

Beyond Santo Antão, Cape Verde’s other islands are also worth exploring. São Vincente and Santiago lure culture buffs interested in the country’s Afro-Portuguese history. The islands of Sal and Boa Vista attract sun-seekers and beach-loungers.

Beyond, far-flung Fogo, Brava, and Maio boast opportunities for authentic off-the-beaten-path travel. 

Sao Tome and Principe

Soa Tome and Principe beach with palm trees.
Sao Tome and Principe | Africa Bucket List

Recommended by Heather Cole from Conversant Traveller. 

Known as the ‘Chocolate Islands’ thanks to their colonial cocoa plantation heritage, Sao Tome and Principe’s remote islands lay in the Gulf of Guinea, off Africa’s west coast. 

Despite their off the beaten track location, the islands are relatively easy to reach, with regular flights to Sao Tome International Airport from Lisbon. Some of the best places to stay in Sao Tome and Principe include renovated plantation mansions that are now boutique hotels and luxurious castaway beach lodges nestled between jungle and ocean.

Visit Sao Tome and Principe for:

  • Pristine deserted beaches
  • Untouched virgin rainforest
  • Cocoa plantations

Sao Tome is the main island yet still feels like the Earth’s ends with hidden lagoons, secluded beaches, and many coffee and cocoa plantation ruins to explore. To reach the smaller island of Principe, a protected UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, jump on a domestic flight that takes just half an hour.

Principe is wild, with vast tracts of untamed rainforest, black volcanic shores, and fishing villages where the locals are genuinely curious to meet visitors from afar. The island is so small that it’s best to base yourself in one place and take day trips to discover the world’s smallest capital city, sea turtles nesting on the beaches, and hike the many mountain trails. Most visitors like to take a boat trip along the coast, stopping in some bays for snorkeling and picnics. It’s a bird watcher’s paradise, too, with several endemic species, including the dwarf ibis and the Principe kingfisher. 

The islands can be visited year-round, although it does get very wet during the rainy seasons between October and November and February until May.

Best Countries to Visit in Africa in Conclusion

Whether you visit Africa for its incredible nature, fascinating history, bustling cities, or diverse cultures, you’ll never be bored. We hope this guide has inspired you to explore this beautiful continent and, more importantly, helped you narrow down which African countries to visit!  

That wraps up this guide on the best African countries to visit. Have you been to any of these countries on this African Bucket List yet? Feel free to share your top tips, best places to go, things to do, and anything in between below! 

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2 thoughts on “16 Absolute Best Countries to Visit in Africa”

  • This list is absolutely amazing! I LOVE Africa, and any trip I go on, my bucket list just gets longer and longer. I was supposed to be boarding to Uganda now, as one of the top bucket list destinations on the Planet. I had to cancel it, but hopefully next year I will be able to visit. This list inspires me to add other incredible destinations. Thank you!

    • Thanks for stopping by, Paula. Sorry to hear about your trip; that’s a real bummer. But hopefully, you’ll get to go real soon!

      I’ve got my eyes set on either Morocco or Namibia for my next trip…but I’m not sure how I’ll ever be able to choose; both are absolutely drool-worthy!

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