Nairobi City, Kenya, East Africa

The 10 Best Travel Destinations in Africa (Part 1)


  1. Introduction
  2. The 10 Best Travel Destinations in Africa (Part 1)
  3. Summary
  4. Conclusion


Africa is undoubtedly a popular travel destination among tourists and guests across the world who want to experience untainted natural attractions amidst dynamic and rich traditional cultures.

From the big African cities to the remote traditional villages, Africa provides unmatched travel experiences that present authentic “Africanness”, exotic wildlife, breathtaking landscape, wonderous historical landmarks and sites, and more importantly amazing people.

In this post, I will be presenting the first part (Part 1) of my Top 10 Best Travel Destinations in Africa.

This list covers most regions in Africa from North Africa and the Maghreb Region, to East Africa, and Southern Africa.

Without any further ado, what are the 10 best travel destinations in Africa?

Beach, Mombasa, Kenya, East Africa
A Beach in Mombasa, Kenya, East Africa

The 10 Best Travel Destinations in Africa

Tourists from different parts of the world visit Africa to explore its physical, natural and cultural splendidness.

And among all the countries and territories in Africa, the first five (5) of my 10 best and most popular travel destinations among international tourists and guests in Africa in no particular order are:

  1. South Africa
  2. Kenya
  3. Tanzania
  4. Morocco, and
  5. Egypt

Read Also: The 10 Best Cities to Visit or Live in Central Europe

Elephants at the Serengeti National Park, Tanzania
Elephants at the Serengeti National Park, Tanzania

South Africa (Map)

Reputed as the southernmost independent country in Africa, South Africa is indisputably one of the best and most popular travel destinations that comes to mind in any African tour.

South Africa is one of the most multicultural countries on the continent of Africa. The country is home to the largest number of citizens with European ancestry in Africa.

There are also a significant proportion of South Africans of Asian origin including those with Indian and Chinese origins.

South Africa is a beautiful country with a dynamic population, natural wonders and scenic landscape.

The country has a population of over 59 million residents. And it has its capitals at Pretoria (Administrative/Executive Capital), Cape Town (Seat of Parliament/Legislative Capital) and Bloemfontein (Judicial Capital).

A country of rich traditional African culture, multicultural population, great foods, world-class hotels and restaurants, excellent wines, refreshing landscapes and natural features, parks and beaches, wildlife, shopping and upbeat urban life.

South Africa is a great African country to work, relax, study and have fun. The country is well-suited, accommodates and conveniently hosts all classes of travellers and tourists from around the world.

Helicopter Ride View of Cape Town, South Africa
Helicopter Ride View of Cape Town, South Africa

The Top Cities in South Africa

As one of the most vibrant and economically developed countries in Africa, South Africa is a great African country for business-minded international guests, international students as well as fun-loving tourists.

If you are visiting South Africa for business, urban leisure or its robust city life, here is a list of the 10 most populous hence most vibrant cities in South Africa:

No.CityProvinceCity Population
2.Cape TownWestern Cape4,710,000
6.Port ElizabethEastern Cape967,677
9.BloemfonteinOrange Free State556,000
The 10 Largest Cities in South Africa (Source)

Other notable and relatively big South African cities are East London in Eastern Cape (Population: 478,676) and Vereeniging in Gauteng Province (Population: 474,681).

Some of these large South African cities including Cape Town, Durban and Port Elizabeth are coastal cities which means one thing – beaches, beach fun and beach life!

While Johannesburg is the largest city in South Africa, Cape Town is reputed as the oldest and the most beautiful city in the country.

Note that, though the list of South African cities presented above is by population, population alone is not a criterion that solely determines the quality of livelihood, safety or health in any city.

Cities such as Johannesburg, Cape Town, Durban, Pretoria, Port Elizabeth, Pietermaritzburg and Bloemfontein are the most popular among tourists and guests to South Africa.

The country also has several amazing small cities or towns that are worth visiting.

Johannesburg, South Africa
Johannesburg, South Africa

The Most Popular Tourist Attractions in South Africa

South Africa is renowned among tourists and visitors for its national parks, mountain ranges, beaches, wineries, wildlife and bustling cities.

From the country’s most popular safari destination, the Kruger National Park, to its Wild Coast and Game Reserves, below is a list of 10 of the most popular tourist attractions in South Africa:

  1. Kruger National Park – South Africa’s most popular safari destination
  2. The Garden Route
  3. The Drakensberg
  4. Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park
  5. Addo Elephant National Park
  6. Cradle of Humankind – A UNESCO World Heritage Site
  7. Cape Winelands
  8. The Wild Coast – gateway to best South African Indian Ocean Beaches
  9. Mapungubwe National Park, and
  10. Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Game Reserve – one of South Africa’s oldest game reserves

Other popular tourist attractions in South Africa include the Sabi Sand Game Reserve, Namaqualand, Blyde River Canyon, and the iSimangalis Wetland Park.

The five (5) things any guest or tourist should not miss on a South African visit are:

  1. The Safari
  2. The Food and Wine
  3. The Parks and Game Reserves
  4. The Beaches, and
  5. The Culture

The historical sites and the country’s amazing landscape are also important tourist highlights that should be experienced during a truly South African tour or visit.

[External Link: Top 15 Best Tourist Attractions in South Africa – SafariBookings]

Giraffes, Steppe at the Kruger National Park, South Africa
Giraffes, Steppe at the Kruger National Park, South Africa

2. Kenya (Map)

Kenya is a sovereign country in East Africa, it shares the Swahili Coast in its southeast and on the Indian Ocean with its neighbour Tanzania and Lake Victoria in its west with Uganda, and the northern portion of Tanzania.

Kenya is popular for its scenic landscapes and large wildlife sanctuaries.

The population of Kenya is a bit more than 47 million people and it has its capital and largest city as Nairobi.

Kenya is internationally reputed as one of the most magnificent wildlife destinations in the world!

The three (3) most important reasons for anyone to visit Kenya are:

  1. The Culture
  2. The Landscape, and
  3. The Wildlife

Set amidst beautiful and thriving traditional African cultures, picturesque landscapes and well-preserved wildlife abodes, several amazing cities have emerged in Kenya over the years.

And before highlighting some of the best tourist attractions and destinations in Kenya, I felt it would be nice to briefly review some of its top cities and towns.

Mount Kenya, Kenya, East Africa
Mount Kenya, Kenya, East Africa

The Top Cities and Towns in Kenya

The major cities of Kenya span across its eastern coast on the Indian Ocean to its western coast on Lake Victoria and its Central Highlands.

Cities like Nairobi (the capital of Kenya) have some of the poshest and most high-end neighbourhoods in Kenya. The city is adorned with shopping facilities, an urban park (Nairobi has one of the largest urban wildlife parks in the world), buoyant nightlife, luxury hotels, restaurants and lots more.

And for coastal funs and recreation on the Indian Ocean, most tourists and guests to Kenya will head to cities such as Mombasa, Malindi, Kilifi and Lamu. Kisumu is a great (and largest city) to visit on Lake Victoria in Kenya’s Nyanza Province.

A visit to Kenya is not complete without exploring some of these amazing East African cities and towns.

Hence, the top 10 cities and towns to visit, stay in or include in any Kenya tour are [Source]:

No.CityProvinceCity Population
4.NakuruRift Valley570,674
5.EldoretRift Valley475,716
10.NavaishaRift Valley198,444
The 10 Best Cities and Towns to Visit in Kenya (Source)

Other notable towns in Kenya include; Ruiri, Nanyuki, Kikuyu, Thika, Kilifi, Homa Bay, Embu, Karuri and Kitale.

Nairobi City, Kenya
Nairobi City, Kenya

The Most Popular Tourist Attractions in Kenya

Kenya is an East African country that is most recognizable to international tourists for its Safaris.

Tourist attractions in Kenya are mostly centred around its landscape (Mountains especially Mt. Kenya), Wildlife (through its National Reserves and Parks), Indian Ocean Coast (location of cities such as Mombasa, Malindi and Lamu Island), Lake Victoria and Indigenous Culture (for example the Kikuyu, Maasai, Samburu, Kamba & Luo ethnic groups among others).

The most popular tourist attractions that enrich visitors’ experience in Kenya include:

  1. The Maasai Mara National Reserve – one of Africa’s most magnificent game reserves
  2. Amboseli National Reserve
  3. Tsavo National Park
  4. Samburu, Buffalo Springs ad Shaba National Reserves
  5. Lake Nakuru National Park
  6. Lamu Island
  7. Nairobi National Park
  8. Malindi. Many travellers from around the world, especially from Europe visit Malindi to take in the sun on the white sands of Watamu Beach and dive and snorkel the coral reefs of Malindi and Watamu Marine National Parks
  9. Mount Kenya National Park – a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and
  10. Hell’s Gate National Park

Lake Naivasha, David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust Elephant Nursery, Ol Pejeta Conservancy (best for firsthand experience with wildlife such as Rhinos), Mombasa Marine National Park and Wasini Island (a great diving and snorkelling spot) and The Giraffe Centre are some of the other tourist attractions in Kenya that fascinate visiting guests throughout the year.

Read Also: – A Review and Ranking of the Best Countries and Cities to Visit or Live in Central Europe

Giraffes at the Maasai Mara National Reserve, Kenya
Giraffes at the Maasai Mara National Reserve, Kenya

3. Tanzania (Map)

Bordering the Indian Ocean, the three Great Lakes (Lake Nyasa, Lake Tanganyika and Lake Victoria) and seven other African countries (Mozambique, Malawi, Zambia, Burundi, Rwanda, Uganda and Kenya), Tanzania is a favourite East African destination among various international tourists especially from Europe, North America and Asia.

Tanzania, previously known as Tanganyika occupies an area of about 945,087 km2 and has a population of over 50 million people.

The city of Dodoma is the capital of Tanzania while its largest city, major economic centre and de facto capital is Dar es Salaam.

Officially known as the United Republic of Tanzania, today’s Tanzania was formed as a result of a union between Tanganyika and the Island of Zanzibar in 1964.

Tanzania is a perfect blend of beaches, nature and wildlife parks, safaris, mountains, lakes, friendly and amazing people, and flourishing African cultures.

For most tourists who visit Tanzania, the highlights of their stay include:

  1. A Visit to Zanzibar Island
  2. Exploring two or more cities in the country
  3. Wildlife Safaris
  4. The National Parks and Reserves
  5. The Beaches
  6. Hiking, Diving, Snorkeling and
  7. Meeting the locals and/or visiting some local villages

One of the best ways to experience the modern side of Tanzania in addition to exploring its rich natural wildlife and relief diversity is to immerse yourself in one or more of its cities.

Therefore, what are some of the best cities to visit or explore in Tanzania?

Mount Kilimanjaro, Tanzania
Mount Kilimanjaro, Tanzania

The Top Cities and Towns in Tanzania

Some Tanzania cities have a good number of international expatriates with many featuring several international schools.

The cost of living in Tanzania is also relatively very affordable.

Below is a list of the 10 largest cities in Tanzania by population and their corresponding regions.

No.CityProvince/RegionCity Population
1.Dar es SalaamDar es Salaam5,383,728
3.ZanzibarZanzibar Urban/West403,658
The 10 Largest Cities in Tanzania by Population (Source)

If you desire a big city experience in Tanzania, Dar es Salaam is the number one city to go to. It is the most populous, most developed and richest city in Tanzania. This is where you’ll find the most upbeat parties, nightlives and most of the ritzy exclusive residences in Tanzania.

However, according to As Salaam Air Tanzania, the Seven (7) Best Cities in Tanzania for Tourists are;

  1. Arusha
  2. Dar es Salaam
  3. Dodoma
  4. Moshi
  5. Mwanza
  6. Stone Town (on Zanzibar Island), and
  7. Kigoma.
Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
The Beautiful City of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania

The Most Popular Tourist Attractions in Tanzania

As an East African country, Tanzania is not short of eclectic national parks, game reserves, wildlife conservation, beautiful lakes and friendly locals.

From Mt. Kilimanjaro to Zanzibar Island and the city of Arusha, below are the 10 most popular tourist attractions in Tanzania:

  1. Mount Kilimanjaro
  2. Serengeti National Park – a world-famous national park. Renowned for the annual wildebeest migration.
  3. Zanzibar Beaches
  4. Ngorongoro Conservation Area – a bird watchers’ haven
  5. Lake Manyara National Park
  6. Mafia Island – a great diving and snorkelling destination
  7. Tarangire National Park
  8. Pemba Island
  9. Stone Town, and
  10. Arusha National Park

Other fabulous tourist attractions in Tanzania include; the Oldupai Gorge within the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, Selous Game Reserve, Gombe Stream National Park, Ruaha National Park, Katavi National Park, and the Great Lakes (Lake Victoria, Lake Tanganyika and Lake Nyasa).

You should also definitely check out some local souvenirs, especially on the Island of Zanzibar. The Island of Zanzibar of often the highlight of many international tourists to Tanzania.

With friendly and helpful locals, Tanzania is a hotspot for European and North American tourists with many extending their stays a few days longer.

Zebras at the Serengeti National Park, Tanzania
Zebras at the Serengeti National Park, Tanzania

4. Morocco (Map)

Officially known as the Kingdom of Morocco, Morocco, a sovereign country distinguished by its Berber, Arabian and European cultural influences, is located in the Northwestern corner of Africa within the broader Maghreb region.

Morocco shares the Strait of Gibraltar with Spain, an important strait for maritime transportation and cruises between Asia, Europe and the Western Hemisphere (North America, Latin America and the Caribbean).

Rabat is the capital of Morocco while Casablanca is its largest city. Morocco has a total population of over 37 million residents.

A country characterized by legendary cities such as Casablanca and Marrakech, Morocco is famous for its Atlas Mountain, desert fun in the Sahara Desert, and exotic cities of Fes, Essaouira, Todra, Meknes and Chefchaouen among others.

The focal point of several Moroccan tours or visits is usually centred on:

  1. Its rich Bedouin and Berber hospitality
  2. Exotic cities, towns and villages
  3. Remarkable Architecture
  4. Desert funs
  5. The Atlas Mountain – many tourists enjoy skiing here
  6. Grand Mosques
  7. Historical Monuments, and
  8. Amazing landscapes

[External Link: Visit Morocco – The Official Website of the Moroccan National Tourism Office]

Hassan II Mosque, Casablanca, Morocco
Hassan II Mosque, Casablanca, Morocco

The Top Cities and Towns in Morocco

Many cities in Morocco are reflections of the country’s historical past, a past that is a blend of European and Arabian imprints and influences.

Though many cities in Morocco today have experienced some level of modernization, most still retain their old historical charms, and this, among several other things, is what tickles excitement in most visitors and tourists to this amazing Berber Kingdom.

Below is a list of some of the largest cities in Morocco by their population.

No.CityProvince/RegionCity Population
7.TangierTanger-Tetouan-Al Hoceima688,356
10.Al HoceimaTanger-Tetouan-Al Hoceima395,644
The 10 Biggest Cities in Morocco by Population (Source)

Kenitra and Tetouan are two other large Moroccan cities with a population of 366,570 and 326,261 people respectively.

While the table presented above shows the biggest cities in Morocco by their total population, below is a list of some of the most attractive cities usually frequented by tourists in Morocco.

  1. Marrakech – great for a rich Moroccan city life experience
  2. Fes – cultural capital of Morocco
  3. Rabat – a city of architectural landmarks and urban recreation
  4. Ouarzazate – the getaway to the Sahara Desert
  5. Meknes – a city adorned with Euro-Arabic historical monuments
  6. Casablanca – a port city and Moroccan economic powerhouse
  7. Essaouira – the jewel of the Atlantic and an amazing destination for food and music lovers
  8. Agadir – best for beachy or coastal relaxation
  9. Tangier – a city at the crossroad of Europe and Africa, and
  10. Chefchaouen – the blue city

El Jadida, Dahklar, Tetouan, Larache, Asilah, and Tinghir are also some of the other interesting cities in Morocco that worth exploring or at least a visit.

A market woman in Marrakesh Morocco
A market woman in Marrakesh Morocco

The Most Popular Tourist Attractions in Morocco

Morocco is one of North Africa’s most fascinating historical destinations.

Characterized by grand Roman ruins, old kasbah architecture, souqs (local markets), historical towns and villages, desert splendidness, the Rif Mountains, and the wonderment of the Atlas Mountains with serene towns and villages that dotted its flanks.

From the Medina of Marrakech to the Dades Valley, I compiled below a list of some of Morocco’s most exciting tourist attractions.

These popular attractions are [Source]:

  1. Marrakech Medina – the old city
  2. Chefchaouen
  3. Erg Chebbi’s Dunes
  4. Fes el Bali
  5. Rif Mountains
  6. Ait Ben Haddou
  7. Volubilis
  8. Dades Valley
  9. Bab al-Mansour in Meknes, and
  10. Rabat’s Oudaias Kasbah

Draa Valley, Tangier, Casablanca’s Hassan II Mosque, Essaouira, and Erg Chigiga are some of the other attractions and destinations in Morocco that keep tourists and visitors enthralled throughout their stay and visit to the country.

Don’t Miss: – The Top 15 Cities to Visit and Live in Australia

Chefchaouen, the Blue City, Morocco
Chefchaouen, the Blue City, Morocco

5. Egypt (Map)

You might have probably heard of the Pharaohs, The Pyramids of Giza, the Red Sea, the River Nile, the Suez Canal or the name Cleopatra.

These names all point to one destination – Egypt!

Egypt is an Arabized transcontinental country in the northeastern part of Africa. The country also stretched northeasterly across the Sinai Peninsula into the southwestern corner of Western Asia.

The country shares borders with the Red Sea to its East, the Mediterranean Sea to its North and African countries such as Libya to its West, Sudan to its South and Israel in its northwestern corner at its Asian side across the Sinai.

The population of Egypt stands at about 105 million inhabitants. Cairo is the capital of the country.

For several tourists and visitors to Egypt, the Pyramids of Giza, Cruise along the River Nile, archaeological treasures at Luxor and several ancient temples usually top the list of things to do and places to visit in the country.

However, before I get into the top tourist attractions of Egypt, let’s quickly highlight some of the best cities and towns in Egypt that you might be interested in exploring. Meeting and interacting with the locals are best done in these cities and towns.

The Cairo Tower, Cairo, Egypt
The Cairo Tower, Cairo, Egypt

The Top Cities and Towns in Egypt

Many Egyptian cities are built on the relics of their past dynasty and civilization. Several cities in Egypt are dotted with archaeological sites, footprints and even ruins of ancient architecture.

While Egypt has experienced some level of modern development in recent years, below are some of the biggest cities in the country by their total population.

No.CityGovernorateCity Population
4.Shubra al KhaymahQalyubia1,240,289
5.Port SaidPort Said780,515
7.Al MansouraDakahlia621,953
8.El-Mahalla El-KubraGharbia592,753
The 10 Biggest Cities in Egypt by Population (Source)

Al Fayyum (Pop. 519,047), Luxor (Pop. 506,588), and Al Khusus (Pop. 488,904) are three of the other Egyptian cities with relatively large populations.

However, many tourists and visitors to Egypt and even expert travel writers might not agree that the biggest cities are also the most touristy or the best to visit in any country.

Hence, the best cities to visit in Egypt may not necessarily follow the list or table of the biggest cities by population in the country.

Therefore, according to The Egypt Time Travel, an Egypt-based travel blog, eight (8) of the ten (10) top cities to visit in Egypt are:

  1. Cairo
  2. Luxor City
  3. Aswan City
  4. Alexandria
  5. Hurghada
  6. Marsa Alam
  7. Sharm El-Sheikh, and
  8. Siwa City

The other two (2) cities are Kharga Oasis City and Dahkla Oasis City.

Temple and Boats in Luxor City, Egypt
Temple and Boats in Luxor City, Egypt

The Most Popular Tourist Attractions and Things to Do in Egypt

Though most of Egypt’s attractions are based on its role as the centre of an ancient civilization, Egypt has a lot more to offer guests and tourists in this modern day.

Some of the top tourist attractions in Egypt are (Source):

  1. The City of Cairo
  2. The Great Pyramids of Giza
  3. South Sinai
  4. Karnak Temple at Luxor and The Valley of The Kings
  5. The Nile River, The Heart of Egypt
  6. Aswan, Egypt’s Strategic Gateway
  7. Abu Simbel, Ancient Temple Complex
  8. Saqqara, A Beautiful Egyptian Village
  9. Egyptian Museum, Oldest Archaeological Museum, and
  10. The White Desert Park

And if you’re looking for some of the best things to do or fun activities to indulge in Egypt, you can:

  1. Immerse yourself into the charms of historic Cairo
  2. Enjoy scuba diving in Ras Mohammed National Park
  3. Explore the city of Alexandria
  4. See the Giza Pyramids and the Great Sphinx
  5. Relax on South Sinai beaches
  6. Book a cruise along the River Nile
  7. Explore the Egyptian Museum
  8. Relax in Sharm El-Sheikh – one of Egypt’s most popular beach resort towns
  9. Visit Taba and Dahab, Resort Towns on the Gulf of Aqaba
  10. Hike to the Peak of Mount Sinai
  11. Scuba Dive in the Red Sea
  12. Tour the Resort Towns of Hurghada and Marsa Alam
  13. Visit Luxor City and its Temples including the Valleys of the Kings, and
  14. Explore the Oasis in the Western Desert

[External Link: 25 Amazing Things to Do in Egypt – Earth Trekkers]

Camel Ride in the Sinai, Egypt
Camel Ride in the Sinai, Egypt


As Part 1 of my 10 Best Travel Destinations in Africa, I presented in this post 5 of the 10 amazing travel destinations on the continent.

These are the most loved and most frequented destinations by guests, visitors and tourists across the world.

The destinations covered are:

  1. South Africa. The southernmost and most multicultural country in Africa.
  2. Kenya. A country with a name that is almost synonymous with the word “Safari”.
  3. Tanzania. The land of Mt. Kilimanjaro and spectacular national parks.
  4. Morocco. Known for its Berber, Arabian and European characters. A great North African historical and desert destination. And
  5. Egypt. Built upon the Nile River and a centre of a prominent Ancient civilization.

In the second part of my 10 Best Travel Destinations in Africa, I will be presenting 5 additional fascinating destinations on the continent.

Many of these African destinations always leave visitors and tourists with awe and amazement and many tourists/guests usually return or revisit.

Read Also: The 10 Best Travel Destinations in the Caribbean

Mountain in the foreground of Cape Town City, South Africa
Mountain in the foreground of Cape Town City, South Africa


Africa is unequivocally a great travel destination!

Though the continent is developing, it is one of the favourites of nature and culture lovers across the world – especially tourists from Europe, Asia and North America.

In my own words, an ideal African travel destination is usually characterized by:

  1. Pristine natural environment with some dash of traditional African feel
  2. Amazing culture and pleasant people
  3. Great Landscape – featuring mountains, lush forests, deserts, etc.
  4. Vibrant Wildlife
  5. Virgin beaches
  6. Emerging Cities and exotic towns and villages
  7. Historical Sites and Monuments, and
  8. World-class Food and Wine (especially in a country like South Africa)

Therefore, whenever you are visiting Africa next or for your first time, these eight (8) authentic African tour characters should be a guide to your travel experience checklist.

From the radiant city of Cape Town and Kruger National Park of South Africa to Maasai Mara National Game Reserve of Kenya, Serengeti National Park and Zanzibar Island of Tanzania, the Atlas Mountains of Morocco, and the Giza Pyramids of Egypt, this post presents, as the first part, five (5) of the 10 Best Travel Destinations in Africa.

Read Part 2 Here: The 10 Best Travel Destinations in Africa (Part 2)

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