Best Tourist Destinations in Africa
Africa is a leading tourist destination with popular sites such as the Serengeti National Park, the Victoria Falls, Masai Mara Game Reserve, and Okavango Delta attracting millions of visitors from across the globe.
However, what many travelers fail to realize is that the attractions and list of fun things to do and see vary dramatically from one African country to another.
I mean, should you visit the Pyramid of Giza and explore ancient Egyptian civilization? Or would you rather travel to Morocco and explore its cuisines and cultural gems? How about traveling to Kenya and Tanzania and witnessing the annual wildebeest migration? Indeed, planning which African country to visit can be a challenge. Next, we look at the top five tourist destinations to visit in Africa.
1. Kenya (Top Tourist Destination: Masai Mara National Reserve)
Masai Mara (Maasai Mara) is among the best-known game reserves in Africa and is famous for its extraordinary wildlife collection. Although it makes up a mere 0.01% of African’s landmass, the park hosts over 40% of the continent’s large mammals. The park is equally popular for the annual Great Wildebeest Migration, a phenomenon that takes place between the end of June to early October. The annual event begins from the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania and sees the yellow Mara savannah dotted with over 1.8 million antelopes, zebras, and wildebeest.
The Mara is home to a large population of leopards, cheetahs, lions, elephants. It boasts over 96 different species of Mammals and over 450 bird species. The Mara scooped Africa’s Leading National Park award six times in a row between 2013 to 2018.
Its neighbor’s the Mara Triangle, a unique area wedged between the Oloololo Escarpment and the Mara River on the Western side of Mara and the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania.
Masai Mara Game Reserve is an all-year tour destination, with the dry months between July to October offering the best game viewing opportunities. The rainy season between March and June is an excellent time for budget travelers, plus the park is less crowded at this time. Besides game drives in the Mara, other activities to do during a Kenya Safari in the Mara include:
- Relaxing in the coastal beaches of Kenya, like Diani and Tiwi
- Visiting the various islands on offer like Watamu.
- Canopy walks in Aberdare National Park.
- Hiking the different mountains and craters, including Mt. Kenya and Longonot
- Enjoying game drives in over 50 national parks such as Meru, Nairobi, Mara, and Amboseli
- Taking boat rides in Lake Nakuru, Naivasha, and Victoria
- Watching hundreds of bird species at Arabuko Sokoke National Park.
2. Tanzania (Top Tourist Destination: Serengeti National Park)
The Serengeti National park was crowned 2019 Africa’s Leading National Park, effectively ending Maasai Mara six years reign as the King of National Parks in Africa. Serengeti was established in 1951, and 28 years later, it was recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage.
The Serengeti Ecosystem is an area with the untouched wilderness that includes grassy plains, lakes, and woodlands of Ndutu in the south and the Masai Mara river in the north. The Ecosystem is made up of interdependent and interlinked phenomena like wildlife, topography, situation, climate, and human usage. The Serengeti ecosystem supports a wide range of animals including lions, giraffes, elands, buffalos, black rhinos, elephants, wildebeests, leopards, and others.
The best time to visit Tanzania is between July and October when the weather is dry. July-October is also the season when the Great Migration happens around River Mara. Other things to do in Tanzania include:
- Viewing flamingos at Lake Manyara
- Relaxing at Matema Beach on Lake Malawi
- Visiting the Serengeti Hippo Pool
- Taking a walk at Arusha Cultural Heritage Center
- Seeing the oldest building in Zanzibar, Old Fort
- Visiting Ngorongoro Crater
3. Uganda (Top Tourist Destination: Bwindi Impenetrable National Park)
Bwindi is a 32,000 hectares national park located at the junction of a mountain and plain forests in south-western Uganda. It is famous for the biodiversity it provides, with over 100 species of ferns and 160 species of trees.
The park is marked as a UNESCO World Heritage Site with about 120 types of mammals, 350 bird species, and 310 butterfly species. However, the park is mainly visited for Gorilla Trekking. While at it, you will also get a chance to see the endangered species such as mountain Gorilla, Chimpanzees, and Colobus Monkeys.
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park took home the TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence in 2012. It is currently ranked as a 5-star safari destination in Africa on tripadvisor.com.
The best times to visit Uganda is between June to August and December to February. The weather is favorable during the two seasons and is particularly ideal for trekking to see Chimpanzees and Gorillas. Other things to see in Uganda include:
- Gorilla trekking at Mgahinga Gorilla National Park
- Taking a photo at the magnificent monument marking the equator
- Marveling at Murchison Falls National Park
- Parting in the capital, Kampala
- Visiting River Jinja and raft away, kayak, bungee jump, or bike
- Touring Queen Elizabeth National Park to see the Elephants
4. Seychelles (Top Tourist Destination: Islands and Beaches)
Seychelles is recognized for its attractive beaches and islands. The destination’s soft, white sand beaches boarded by warm, clear waters of the Indian Ocean are often featured in the front pages of world travel magazines.
One great thing about Seychelles beaches is that they are never crowded, even the most popular ones like Anse Source d’Argent and Anse Intendance. The destination boasts having many accolades with the latest one being the Favorite Beach Island Destination Award in 2019 by Conde Nast Traveler Reader’s Choice Awards.
The best time to visit Seychelles is the months of April, May, October, and November. They represent the transition months between the humid and hot northwest trade winds and the chilly southeast trade winds.
Things to do in Seychelles include:
- Visiting the three main islands, which are La Dique, Praslin, and Mahe
- Spending some time sunbathing at one of the many beaches
- Experiencing the excitement of scuba diving, swimming, and snorkeling in the Indian Ocean
- Creating some muscle through rock climbing
- Visiting Valle De Mai Tour to see some birds
- Exploring diverse flora and fauna at Morne National Park
5. South Africa (Top Tourist Destination: Kruger National Park)
Kruger National Park rests on around two million hectares of land to make it the most prominent game reserve in Africa. It offers one of the best road networks in Africa’s safari destinations that can enable a 2WD car to move with ease. The land features archaeological and historical sites, 507 bird species, 336 tree species, 147 mammals, 114 reptiles, and 34 amphibians. You can find hundreds of wildlife like elephants, lions, buffalos, white rhinos, great kudus, impalas, and others.
The best time to visit South Africa is between May to September when skies are clear, and wildlife viewing is at the peak. Bird lovers should consider touring the region between October and April when millions of migrant birds settle. The list of popular things to do while in SA include:
- Wildlife viewing in Kruger National park
- Crocodiles and hippos viewing during a river cruise
- Wildlife safari while riding horses
- Canopy tours and zip lining
- Road trip from Port Elizabeth to Cape Town
- Visit Cango caves
Wrapping Up – Africa is Beautiful
Africa is a beautiful continent with everything a tourist would ever want to see and do while on a safari. The expansive continent has something for everyone including the Great Wildebeest Migration in Kenya and Tanzania, Honeymoon destinations in Seychelles, Gorilla trekking in Uganda, and wildlife viewing in South Africa. The trick is taking knowledgeable advice like if you were picking NBA expert picks on BetAmerica or predicting a kill during a Safari drive.