Africa, the continent that is an intriguing melting pot of interesting cultures, each vastly different from the next. With a wealth of picturesque landscapes and wildlife habitats, Africa offers allures for adventurers and wildlife enthusiasts alike. Not to mention those culture vultures seeking a look into something completely different on a continent that never fails to deliver. There are plenty of suggestions for the best possible experience of some of what this continent offers its guests in indelible memories and soul-restoring tourist destinations.
Read on to discover the top 10 tourist attractions in Africa.
When Should You Visit Africa?
There is never a better time than right now to be in Africa. Southern Africa is a year-round destination, as is Africa for the most part. These are the drier winter months when the game viewing opportunities are optimal and the weather is just right, neither too hot nor too cold.
November to April is known as Africa’s green season when prices are lower and vegetation is lush. Bird watching is best at this time. Heavy rains are the norm for certain parts of the continent during this period but this is definitely the time to go diving in the waters of Zanzibar and to visit certain tourist destinations such as Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe.
When embarking on East Africa, it is best not to be in the rainforests of Uganda and Rwanda from April to May. The best time to enjoy the perfect safari destination which is the Serengeti or the Maasai Mara would be from July to October.
Is Africa Safe?
That’s a complex question with wide-ranging perspectives to consider when answering. For example, the Southern African country of Botswana, home of the Okavango Delta, is rated as the second-safest place in the world. Namibia and Eswatini in Southern Africa are not far behind Botswana as far as safety goes. Safety in numbers is the best recommendation for keeping safe while traveling in Africa. Travel in groups and make use of professional and reputable tour guides, and be sure to always be respectful of the local laws and cultures.
If Africa is on your bucket list, try not to travel solo after nightfall, check the up-to-date travel advisories for your destination, and always adhere to the necessary precautions.
Is it Expensive to Visit Africa?
As with every continent and tourist destination in the world, travelers will find some in Africa more cost-effective than others. Doing the footwork during planning will lead to the unearthing of more affordable and suitably all-encompassing travel packages and the best tour operators within the constraints of individual budgets. The ideal way for travelers on a shoestring would be the delightful and adventurous camping and backpacking options that are plentiful and allow for the enjoyment of the best African experiences.
While on the topic of vacationing on a shoestring, keep in mind the adventurous and less costly alternatives of rafting in the Atlantic and Indian Oceans, and self-drive visits through the Savuti inside Botswana’s Chobe National Park. Travelers can enjoy watching the flamingos at Lake Nakuru for free when touring Kenya!
Top 10 Destinations to Visit in Africa
Africa is the only continent on which fossil evidence has been found of Homo sapiens or human beings on our planet. No wonder then that Africa is popularly believed to be the “cradle of humankind”. Experience your heritage right here in Mama Africa! Let’s get started on introducing ten of the top destinations to visit in Africa, the continent lying within the bounds of the Indian Ocean, the Atlantic Ocean, the Mediterranean Sea, and the Red Sea.
Location: The legislative Capital City of South Africa lies on the Southwest coast of Africa.
Best time to visit: Locals of the Mother City know that Cape Town is at its best in late February and throughout March. November to January is peak season. The summers are warm and dry and winters are wet, cool, and partly cloudy. The wind blows year-round and the temperatures average between 48°F and 76°F. According to the tourism score, late November through to late March is best for warm activities.
Cape Town is the adventure capital of South Africa and also its oldest city, offering tastings from world-class local vineyards and wine routes. Table Mountain indubitably earns its place as the pride of Cape Town’s tourist destinations, taking many of its 4.2 million visitors annually up to its top in the revolving cable car for the best views over the Mother City. Take a boat ride out to Robben Island, to see the cell in which Nelson Mandela was imprisoned or go back to the earliest times of the city within the 17th-century walls of The Castle of Good Hope or Kasteel de Goede Hoop. Catch a glimpse of Milnerton’s famous flamingos on the lagoon.
Kruger National Park
Location: 2 million hectares or 7,576 square miles of game reserve in the eastern parts of the provinces of Limpopo and Mpumalanga in northeastern South Africa.
Best time to visit: The dry season between May and September is also the low season and is the best time to visit the park. The high season falls in December and January when it is very hot and during the milder winter months from July to August. Birdwatchers would be best served visiting during the migratory wet season between October and April.
The Kruger National Park, without a doubt, caters to all lovers of the wildlife experience. Those with limited funds get the self-drive safari experience, camping in any of Kruger Park’s many campsites, doing it all in a hired RV, or overnighting in a bed and breakfast near the park. More choices come with sleeping over in a selection of lodges – luxury and otherwise – within or outside of the game reserve. The best way to see the Big 5 and all those creatures who call the Kruger home is on an organized game drive in an open vehicle under the supervision of professional guides.
Location: A Unesco World Heritage Site located within 2 Southern African countries, the Livingstone District of the Southern Province of the Republic of Zambia and the Hwange District of Matabeleland North Province of Zimbabwe.
Best time to visit: Best to visit from February to May, just after the summer rains when the volume of water is at its greatest. It is best not to visit when the dry winter season is coming to an end, October through November when it is hot and humid and the water level is low.
The Scotsman David Livingstone came upon these majestic falls known by the name of Mosi-oa-Tunya, The Smoke That Thunders, in 1855. One has to experience the 354-foot high cascade for oneself to fully appreciate Victoria Falls’ nickname. Victoria Falls has recorded a flow of 12,800 cubic meters per second which is double that of Niagara Falls’ highest flow. The falls lie on the Zambezi River and can be viewed from both Zimbabwe and Zambia, with the Zambezi forming the natural border between the two countries.
Location: UNESCO World Heritage Site at the point of convergence of the Okavango River and the Kalahari Basin in Northern Botswana.
Best time to visit: A year-round destination that is most favorable between June and August and from September to October.
The Okavango is a top tourist destination, and nowhere in the world does the iconic call of the African fish eagle reverberate quite the way it does here where it has become a beautifully distinct symbol of Africa. The delta is uniquely positioned at the base of the Kalahari and is an indisputable playground for the African wild game, combined with the most picturesque views imaginable. Popular safari experiences for the full appreciation of this UNESCO World Heritage Site are by hot air balloon, light aircraft, or guided tours in open-air safari vehicles.
Location: Snow-capped volcano located in northeastern Tanzania, near the Kenya border.
Best time to visit: June to October and the colder months of January to March when snowfall is most likely.
Known affectionately as “Kili” among mountain climbers, reaching the peak of Mount Kilimanjaro is conceivably the epitome of any adventure vacation. This is the tallest mountain in Africa, rising as it does above the glorious Serengeti. The physically taxing climb of approximately 19,341 feet typically takes between five and ten days and a serious level of fitness to accomplish.
Location: An island in the Indian Ocean off the coast of Tanzania on the coast of East Africa.
Best time to visit: During the archipelago’s dry season, from July to September, when temperatures are between 82°F and 93°F.
Zanzibar is a UNESCO World Heritage Site with an interesting history steeped in the spice trade and its past as a slave trading post under Arab rulers. It has only one city, Stone Town, respite with intricately carved doorways, Sultan’s palace, and narrow alleyways leading conceivably past riads, old mosques, and the most colorful bazaars imaginable. Tourists languish on spectacular beaches and enjoy the fantastic scuba diving and snorkeling opportunities in its colorful coral reefs teeming with hundreds of marine species.
Serengeti National Park
Location: 5,700 square miles of game reserve across northern Tanzania in East Africa.
Best time to visit: January to February and from June through September are best but the movement of the wildebeest migration calls the shots and supersedes this. Temperatures are constant with highs in the 80s.
Being a part of the natural phenomenon that is The Great Migration is like hitting the jackpot when visiting the safari destinations of the Serengeti and the Masai Mara. This continuous year-long migration is an iconic natural phenomenon that plays out according to environmental factors, the weather, and the animals. After the rains, herds of 1,5 million wildebeest, 400,000 zebra, 12,000 eland, and 300,000 Grant’s and Thomson’s gazelles trek 500 miles in a clockwise circle through the Serengeti and Masai Mara in search of greener pastures and water.
Location: This chief city of central Morocco lies in the center of the Haouz Plain, south of the Tennsift River in Morocco.
Best time to visit: Shoulder season is March to May and between September and November when average temperatures range from the low 70s to the low 90s.
Known as the Red City, thanks to the salmon-pink walls of the Medina of Marrakech, the ancient section of the city, and a UNESCO World Heritage site. Marrakech invites visitors to throw order to the wind and relax and enjoy the city and its vibe. Jemaa El Fna square is alive with food vendors, the markets or souks fill the air with aromatic and colorful spices and carpet sellers. Architecturally, Koutoubia Mosque and the Bahia Palace are a must-see. Take in all the sights from the skies in a hot air balloon!
Location: The southern end of the western arm of the East African rift valley, spanning three countries: Malawi, Tanzania, and Mozambique.
Best time to visit: In the dry season between May and October when temperatures range between 64°F and 92°F.
Lake Malawi is part of the African Great Lake system, is about one or two million years old, and is the third-largest lake in Africa. In Tanzania it is known as Lake Nyasa and in Mozambique as Lago Niassa. Visitors can enjoy swimming and snorkeling in its warm, clear water while taking in the fish life since the lake boasts a greater variety of fish types than any other lake in the world.
Virunga National Park
Location: Eastern edge of the Congo Basin
Best time to visit: April, May, October, and November which are the driest months.
Virunga National Park has bragging rights as the first national park on the continent, home to Nyiragongo Volcano and the world’s largest pool of lava, and the best viewings of its infamous mountain gorillas.
Be Inspired by Mother Africa
Join the 5.1 million fortunate people who visited the continent from abroad in July 2022 to be inspired by the sights, sounds, culture, and wildlife of Africa.
Is Africa a good place for families to visit?
Africa has proven itself a popular family-friendly destination, thanks to accommodation, tours, and programs designed to encourage family vacations. Safari tours and city destinations cater to children, teenagers, and extended family members of all ages.
Where do tourists visit in Africa?
Visitors tend to flock to destinations that offer an opportunity to see Africa’s wildlife. Numbers in 2022 show that Morocco had 8.7 million arrivals, Egypt 7.9 million, and South Africa 6.8 million.
What is the most visited place in Africa?
The most visited cities in Africa are Johannesburg and Cape Town in South Africa, and Cairo in Egypt. South Africa is in fact the top destination for international and regional tourists.