Africa is one of the best travel destinations in the world. Here, you can enjoy crystal blue beaches, majestic wildlife, and a wealth of culture and history. This article will look at ten countries to visit across the continent.
Tourism in Africa increased by 2% in 2014, according to the UN World Tourism Organization report of that year. It reached an estimated $36 billion in revenue from $1 billion in 2013. Sub-Saharan Africa saw the most arrivals from international tourists. International arrivals increased by 3% from 2013. The top reason for visitors coming to various destinations across the continent was leisure. Global locations where most visitors came from included North America, Asia, and Europe.
North Africa saw a small increase of 1% in international arrivals. Geopolitical conflict and the outbreak of the Ebola virus were to blame for low visitor turnout.
Tourism contributed 8.5% to the continent’s GDP, according to the World Travel and Tourism Council report. The contribution was an estimated $177.8 billion. The tourism industry also made a contribution of 2.9% to employment. Professionals received jobs in the airline and aviation industry, transportation services, hotels, restaurants, and travel agencies.
Intra-Africa travel is frequent among countries of the same regional bloc. The reason for this is that it’s affordable. Air travel within the continent is quite expensive, ranging from $461 to well over $972. A flight to Madrid from Johannesburg starts at an average price of $519. However, traveling to Marrakech from Johannesburg can cost an average of $1,038. These high travel costs create a barrier to smooth and affordable movement in the continent.
Visa requirements are also not as stringent between countries of the same regional bloc. Visitors only need a valid passport. For countries that do require a visa, the application fee can be hefty, starting at an average price of $50. This cost, along with flight and accommodation costs, leaves African tourists with an expensive travel bill.
Despite these barriers, African tourists still make their way to top destinations across the continent. These include South Africa, Tanzania, Rwanda, and Botswana.
From city excursions to safaris and beach getaways, Africa accommodates any traveler. Below are travel destinations across the continent that are a must-visit for any avid African traveler:
If you’re looking for a great safari getaway, Botswana is the perfect destination to visit. Bordered by South Africa, Namibia, and Zimbabwe, Botswana is home to the Okavango Delta. The delta is one of the most sought after wilderness destinations in the world. Its location is in the Kalahari Basin. Here you can experience an array of wildlife and vegetation.
If you love culture and heritage, you can explore San history at the Tsodilo Hills. You can visit the villages of the San people, and see rock paintings that have existed for thousands of years.
Accommodation ranges from luxury lodges to budget guesthouses and camping grounds. You can stay at the &Beyond Xaranna Okavango Delta Camp from only $960 per person per night. Another option is the Chobe Game Lodge at the Chobe National Park. For more information on accommodation, visit the Botswana Tourism website.
Information on visa requirements is available on the Republic of Botswana Government website. You’ll need a yellow fever vaccination certificate if you’re arriving from a country with risk of yellow fever.
If you choose to drive to Gaborone from Johannesburg, the trip will be over 340 kilometers. Air Namibia offers flights to Gaborone from Windhoek. Travelers from Harare can book flights to Gaborone with Air Botswana.
Kenya is an ideal destination for family holidays, safaris, and beach holidays. The best time to visit is between October and March.
Lamu is a beautiful place to visit if you’re looking for a wellness retreat. Here, you can enjoy yoga retreats, stunning beaches, and a relaxed atmosphere. You can get to the island in a dhow ferry from Manda Island.
At Malindi and Watamu, you can explore the diversity of marine life nestled in coral reefs. You can also enjoy bird watching at Lake Nakuru. Amboseli National Park is a fantastic place to visit if you love wildlife. You can also enjoy the stunning view of Mount Kilimanjaro.
If you’re a culture and history enthusiast, the Gede Ruins in Watamu will give you much insight about the island’s heritage. Knowing how to speak some Swahili, which is Kenya’s official language, is very helpful. You’ll find it easier to connect with locals.
For accommodation, you can stay at Diani Place. Prices start at $84. Shella Royal House in Lamu is a great option, with a start price of $151. If you’re in the Masai Mara region, Loyx Mara Luxury Lodge is a great choice, with a start price of $308. For more information on accommodation, see the Tourism Kenya website.
The cost range for flights to Lamu is between $198 and $331. You can travel on Air Kenya from Nairobi, Mombasa, Diani Beach, and Malindi. A flight to Watamu and Malindi will cost from $231.
You can apply for your visa online. A single entry visa costs $51. Passport holders from South Africa don’t need a visa for a period of fewer than 30 days. Visitors from certain countries, including Ghana, Mauritius, and Zambia, also don’t need a visa into Kenya. For more information, check on the Tourism Kenya website or consult with a travel agent. evisa
Lesotho is the perfect destination for a nature retreat. You can immerse yourself in the majestic Maloti Mountains, and see the best wildlife. Adventure lovers can enjoy a ski trip during the country’s winter season.
The main attractions to visit are the parks and reserves. You can explore a variety of bird life at the Sehlabathebe National Park. You can also visit the Sani Pass, which is a world heritage site. The pass sits on the Drakensberg escarpment between Lesotho and South Africa. It is 2,874 meters above sea level.
The Ts’enhlanyane National Park is a scenic park that has an array of wildlife, birds, and flora. Its location is at the foot of the Holomo Pass at the Maloti Mountains.
The Bokong Nature Reserve overlooks the magnificent Lepaqoa Waterfall and Valley. It is the perfect place for a wellness retreat and hiking.
Accommodation is available at the Maliba Mountain Lodge, with a start price of $135. You can also stay at the Sehlabathebe National Park Heritage Lodge or the Sani Lodge. Both accommodations have a start price of $10.
You don’t need a visa if you’re a passport holder from:
- South Africa
- United States of America
- United Kingdom
- Sri Lanka
A single entry visa costs $150. For more information on visa requirements, visit the Lesotho embassy in your country. Lesotho uses Loti as its currency. The value of the Loti is the same value as the South African Rand. ATMs are only available in Maseru.
Travelers from the SADC region can take a flight to Maseru. The costs range from $530 to $759. If you’re in South Africa and want to travel by road, you can drive to the Maputsoe or Ficksburg Border Posts. These are open 24 hours a day. evisa Lesotho
Travelers describe Morocco as a country that has an African and European feel to it. It has a mixture of North African and European culture because of its proximity to Europe.
To experience authentic Moroccan culture, you must visit the Djemma el Fna market. Its location is in Marrakesh’s Medina quarter. Djemma el Fna is a shopper’s paradise where you can purchase anything from fashion to artworks. You can also enjoy authentic Moroccan cuisine sold at the food stalls.
You can learn about Berber culture and history from the variety of available tours. The Berber tour is a camel and desert tour that you can do to learn about Morocco’s nomadic populations. You can choose from single day trips to 16-day excursions.
You’ll love learning about traditional pre-Saharan life when visiting Ait Benhaddou. It is a fortified village located along a former caravan route close to Marrakech. You’ll be able to see how ancient architects constructed houses within defensive walls. The village is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
If you’re a music lover, you’ll enjoy the Fes Festival of World Sacred Music. Artists from around the world gather to celebrate Africa’s cultural beauty and diversity. The festival is a 10-day celebration that takes place between May and June. Artists such as Bjork and Ben Harper have previously graced the stage.
You can stay at the Jnane Tamsna hotel in Marrakech, with prices starting at $162. The Riad Madani is another option, with the start price at $112.
Visitors excluded from needing a visa are those from the European Union. Other nationals will need a visa before entering the country. For more information on visa requirements, visit the Moroccan embassy in your country.
Zanzibar is one of Africa’s island paradises. You’ll enjoy crystal clear waters and great food on the island. There are tons of other islands around the archipelago that you can explore.
You’ll need a visa to enter Tanzania, either from the Tanzanian consulate or on arrival, at the cost of $50.
The Zanzibar Ocean Panorama Hotel is a popular accommodation option on the island. Prices range from $35 to $50, with dormitory rooms costing $20.
Pemba Island is Tanzania’s hidden gem located about 100 kilometers from Zanzibar. It receives fewer visitors than Zanzibar, which makes it an excellent option for a relaxing getaway.
Pemba is still a major spice producer on the Zanzibar archipelago. It depends on agriculture for income more than tourism. You can chat with locals to learn more about the island’s agriculture sector. They can also tell you more about the abundant fruit and spice trees.
A holiday on the island will not be complete without a dive in its waters. You’ll enjoy the sights of healthy coral reefs and diverse species of marine life. For a relaxed afternoon, you can talk a walk on white sandy shores and enjoy a swim in the warm Indian Ocean. The island has earned the nickname “The Green Island” because of its lush beauty.
Pemba has a population of about 350,000 people. You can explore the culture and heritage of the island by visiting the main town, Chake Chake. People are friendly and more than happy to interact. You can strike up a conversation with locals to learn more about their culture and heritage. Make sure to learn some Swahili as that’s the primary language of the island. When you walk around, you’ll see the unique architecture of houses. The island consists of square mud houses with thatch roofs. You’ll also enjoy the tastes of the island as villagers sell a variety of fruits from ox-drawn carts.
Nestled in the warm Indian Ocean, Reunion Island is a beautiful African paradise. The first thing to know is that the island has an active volcano called the Piton de la Fournaise. The activity of the volcano has created lush vegetation that attracts unique wildlife. Hiking is a great way to explore the island, and there are tons of trails available. If you’re a diver, you’ll enjoy exploring the diversity of marine life in the island’s waters.
Reunion is rich in culture. You’ll experience a fusion of Creole, African, Indian, Chinese, and French heritage. From languages, festivals, and food, you’ll be spoilt for choice on the island.
You can stay at the boutique guesthouse, Rougail Mangue. Prices start from $44. Another option for accommodation is Le gîte La Mandoze, with prices starting from $20 per person per night.
Nationals from the European Union, the U.S., Canada, Britain, Australia, South Africa, and India do not need a visa. Visitors from other countries will need one, which will cost $67. You can fly with Air Austral and Air Mauritius to the island.
Rwanda has earned the nickname “Land of a Thousand Hills” for its stunning scenery. Its mountainous landscape is breathtaking, and it’s home to six active volcanoes.
A visit to the East African nation isn’t complete without exploring the Volcanoes National Park. Here, you’ll see the park’s famous attraction, mountain gorillas and golden monkeys. You’ll also enjoy a variety of flora.
You can enjoy great water activities at Lake Kivu. It is Rwanda’s largest lake and the sixth largest lake in Africa. Boat tours, kayaking, and fishing are available at the lake.
If you’re a tea or coffee lover, Rwanda is the place to enjoy these hot beverages. Explore tea farms and learn more about this industry by going on a tea plantation tour. You can book these tours through travel agents or Rwanda Tourism.
You can stay at Mountain Gorilla View Lodge, which is close to the Volcanoes National Park. Prices start from $227 per night. Another option for accommodation is the Gorillas Lake Kivu Hotel in Gisenyi. The hotel overlooks Lake Kivu, and prices start from $92.
Visas cost $30, and you can apply for one at the Rwandan consulate in your country.
São Tomé e Principe
São Tomé e Principe is Africa’s smallest state situated in the Gulf of Guinea in western Africa. If you’re looking for a quiet retreat, this island is the perfect destination.
You’ll enjoy beautiful beaches and excellent diving spots. On a dive, you’ll see the island’s diverse marine life. The best sites for diving are Ilheu das Rolas, located in the south of the island, and Ilha da Santana. You can book diving trips with the island’s leading diving agency, Club Maxel.
Whale watching is a favorite activity to do on the island between July and September. You can see these majestic creatures at Ilha das Cabras and Lagoa Azul.
If you love hiking, you can trek through the island’s exotic jungle to reach the top of Pico de São Tomé. It is the island’s highest point above sea level at 2,024 meters and is the island’s oldest volcano.
The popular choice of accommodation is the Miramar Hotel. Prices start at $134 per night. Another option is the Cocoa Hotel Residence, with prices starting at $40.
You’ll need a visa from the São Toméan embassy before entering the country. You’ll also need to produce yellow fever and malaria certificates upon arrival. Airlines that fly to São Tomé e Principe include TAP Portugal and Air Angola. To start planning your trip, visit the São Tomé e Principe website.
South Africa accommodates all types of travelers. From city getaways to safaris and beach holidays, the country is an ideal destination.
You can enjoy the natural beauty of the iSimangaliso Wetlands Park in KwaZulu-Natal. An interesting fact is that the park is home to Africa’s most extensive estuarine system. You’ll walk on old coastal dunes and beaches that stretch to the Kosi Bay on the Mozambican border. The park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The uKhahlamba Drakensberg Park in the Wild Coast is home to South Africa’s highest mountain range. It is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The Western Cape has an array of activities to do. You can enjoy the beautiful Garden Route that boasts a variety of vegetation. You can discover many other gems in the route, including authentic South African culture and cuisine. Cape Town is an excellent cosmopolitan destination if you feel like immersing yourself in city life. You can enjoy the sights of Cape Town with the Red Bus Tour. You can also visit Robben Island to learn more about South Africa’s political history.
There’s an array of accommodation available, from luxury hotels to backpacker accommodation. When in the Wild Coast in KwaZulu-Natal, the Wild Coast Sun is a popular choice among visitors. Rooms start at $158 per person per night. When in the Western Cape on the Garden Route tour, it is best to stay in George. Enjoy your stay at the Garden Villa Bed and Breakfast from $49.
You’ll need a visa from the South Africa consulate before arrival. For updated visa information, visit the South African Department of Home Affairs.
If you’re planning a romantic getaway or a wellness retreat, be sure to head to Seychelles. The island-nation consists of 115 islands located in the Indian Ocean. The outer islands of Seychelles offer beautiful beaches and an array of wildlife. The main ones are Alphonse and Desroches.
If you want to immerse yourself in nature and total relaxation, the island is a must-visit. You can dive and explore untouched coral reefs, and see a diversity of marine life. You can enjoy fishing and sailing activities. Best of all, you can swim in the island’s crystal blue waters.
Seychelles has a rich culture consisting of a diverse population. The Seychellois came from Africa, Asia, and Europe. They brought with them unique traditions, languages, and cuisines. Creole, French, and English are the dominant languages spoken on the island. Local cuisine is delicious, consisting of fish, spices, and tropical fruit.
You don’t need a visa to enter Seychelles, only a passport. You’ll also need return or onward tickets, proof of accommodation and enough funds for the duration of your stay. Immigration will process your paperwork at the Seychelles International Airport.
You can travel to the main island via Air Seychelles, and get to the outer islands via Zil Air. Alphonse Island has a beachfront resort that will cost you between $3,689 and $9,497 per night per person. Another beautiful resort is the Desroches Island Resort on Desroches Island. The prices range from $1,101 to $2,202 per double room per night.
You can stay at the Hilton Seychelles Northolme Hotel & Spa in Mahé. It’s a 5-star resort that offers stunning views of the Indian Ocean. Prices range between $557 and $807.