Introduction

Africa is the world’s second largest continent with 54 countries and a population of 1.2 billion people.  With so many countries and sights to see such as ancient cities, safaris, and gorgeous beaches, it can be tough to decide which countries to visit first in Africa.  The below list is Bucket List Traveler’s Top 10 countries to visit in Africa.

10) Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe has eight main national parks, with the largest being, Hwange National Park.  The most visited tourist destination is The Victoria Falls National Park, which is the world’s largest sheet of falling water measured by height and width.

Zimbabwe has large number of medieval era city ruins built using dry stone style which is unique in Africa.  The Great Zimbabwe ruins in Masvingo is the most well known example of these ruins.

Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe

9) Namibia

Located in southern Africa, Namibia is the driest country in sub-Saharan Africa known for its many lodges and reserves that accommodate eco-tourism.  Top places to visit include Etosha Pan, Caprivi Strip, Sossusvlei, Skeleton Coast Park, and the capital city of Windhoek.

Namibian Desert near Windhoek

Sable Antelope in Bwabwata National Park, Namibia

8) Rwanda

Located in central Africa, Rwanda has rainforests, volcanoes, and waterfalls with plenty of wildlife to visit including mountain gorillas.  Top destinations include Volcanoes National Park, Nyungwe Forest National Park, Akagera National Park, and Lake Kivu.

Tea Fields, Rwanda

Kigali, Rwanda

7) Uganda

Tourist attractions in Uganda include national parks, game reserves, and natural tropical forests.  However, the main reason to visit Uganda is for the Mountain Gorillas in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.  Gorilla trekking in Uganda is cheaper than in Rwanda and safer than in Congo.  Other top destinations in Uganda include Queen Elizabeth National Park, Murchison Falls National Park, and Kibaale National Park.

Gorilla Trekking in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Uganda

Rollings hills of Uganda

6) Botswana

Botswana is famous for the Okavango Delta, which is a swampy inland delta, UNESCO world heritage site, and one of the Seven Natural Wonders of Africa.  Safari lodging options range from luxury lodges and safari camps, to budget camping grounds .  Top destinations include Central Kalahari Game Reserve, Chobe National Park, and Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park.

Okavango Delta, Botswana

Chobe National Park, Botswana

5) South Africa

South Africa has a wide variety of sights to tour including game reserves, diverse cultural heritage, picturesque landscapes, and highly regards wine regions.  Wildlife is in abundance including the “big five” along with even opportunities to visit penguins in their natural habitat.

Popular destinations include Kruger National Park, Table Mountain National Park, Cape Town, Cradle of Humankind, the wine routes of the Western Cape, and much more.

Penguins at Boulders Beach, South Africa

Cape Town, South Africa

4) Egypt

Egypt has thousands of years of history with many ancient wonders to visit.  Top site to visit include the Great Pyramids of Giza, Abu Simbel Temples, Luxor Temple, Karnak Temple, Valley of the Kings, Mortuary Temple of Hatshepsut, and much much more.

Pyramids of Giza, Egypt

Mortuary Temple of Hatshepsut in Luxor, Egypt

3) Tanzania

Located in East Africa, Tanzania has 16 National Parks, 29 Game Reserves, and 40 conservation areas with about 38% of the country set aside for conservation purposes.  A wide variety of wildlife and geological features can be found including Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest mountain in Africa at 19,341 feet above sea level.

Aside from visiting the plethora safari destinations, Tanzania also has beautiful beach resort destinations located on the historically significant Zanzibar.  Popular tourist destinations include Ngorongoro Conservation Area, Mount Kilimanjaro, Serengeti National Park, Selous Game Reserve, and Lake Manyara National Park.

Giant Baobab Trees in Tarangire National Park, Tanzania

Traditional Sailboat in Zanzibar, Tanzania

2) Morocco

Morocco is a country with many ancient cities and historical sites with landscapes that vary drastically from one region to the next.  Vast deserts contrast with the forested Atlas mountains and Mediterranean coastlines.  Morocco has a long history of being under various empires, colonies, or protectorates such as the Phoenicians, Romans, French, Spanish and even some ports being controlled by the Portuguese.

The mixing of cultures over the centuries make for some delicious food with influences from the Middle East and Europe.  A trip to Morocco is not complete until the you’ve tried the tagine and gone on a camel ride in the desert with an over night stay at a berber camp.

Merzouga Desert Camel Ride to Berber Camp

Marrakech, Morocco

1) Kenya

One of the more affordable Safari destinations, Kenya has some of the best national parks and reserves for seeing a variety of wildlife including the “Big Five”.  Top areas for going on Safari are the Masai Mara, Samburu, Amboseli, Tsavo East, and Lake Nakuru National Parks.

The landscapes throughout the country vary greatly between grassland savannas, deserts, mountains, rain forest, and tropical beaches.  One of the best travel experiences in the world is taking a hot air balloon ride over the great wildebeest migration at Masai Mara National Reserve.

Zebras in Masai Mara National Reserve, Kenya

Elephant in Samburu National Reserve, Kenya

Honorable Mention:

  • Seychelles
  • Madagascar
  • Ethiopia

 

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