54 Cool Things to See in Africa

Africa

#1 Algeria

Algeria is the largest African country and the tenth-largest country in the world. The country has a diverse landscape and lots to offer in terms of sceneries. One of the main attractions in Algeria is the Saharan region with its never-ending sand and mysterious and lively cities within. Algiers, the capital city of the country, was founded by the Ottomans and is rife with beautiful historical architecture. The ancient Casbah is a winding urban maze with streets flowing through the old town like streams. Still in Algiers, there’s the Dar Hassan Pacha, which was once the city’s oldest mansion.

#2 Angola

Even though the country has been in news headlines for the wrong reasons, it is important to note that it is one of the countries in Africa with some of the most spectacular nature sites. The country boasts of an expansive coastline of Atlantic Ocean beauty and a beautiful blend of grasslands, savannas, tropical forests, among others. Angola is among the fastest-growing economies in the world and so is Luanda, its capital city. Lying on the shores of the Atlantic Ocean, the city’s beautiful scenery of the ocean is disrupted by busy ships and highrise buildings, giving it an attractive city skyline.

#3 Benin

Having played a key role in the development of the African slave trade, and as the birthplace of voodoo arts, Benin offers a small but important part of the complex and rich history of the continent. The Ouidah Museum of History in Ouidah contains a wealth of objects and illustrations of historic and cultural significance, which, together, gives the visitor an intimate understanding of the region’s past. The museum is located within the compound of the Portuguese Fort in Ouidah. In its earliest days, the Portuguese conducted trade for slaves within the walls of the compound, and throughout its history until it was taken by the Kingdom of Dahomey, it served as the site of the diplomatic presence of Portugal in the area. After the fort became property of Dahomey in 1961, the Dahomean Government began restoration, and in 1967, the fort became the Ouidah Museum of History.

#4 Botswana

Even though it is landlocked, Botswana is home to some uniquely beautiful landscapes. The Okavango Delta, a vast inland river delta in the North, is arguably one of the most beautiful places in Africa. The Okavango Delta is the world’s largest inland delta and is an oasis of islands, wildlife, and lush green vegetation located in the middle of the Kalahari Desert. In 2014, the Okavango Delta became the 1000th site to be officially inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List.

#5 Burkina Faso

One of the main attractions and must sees in Burkina Faso is Sindou Peaks with its natural landscapes and abundant wildlife. The Sindou Peaks are one of Burkina’s most unforgettable sights. Millions of years ago, these brown, sandy cones were underwater and they’ve been shaped by the elements ever since. On the border with Ghana is Tiebele Village, home of the Kassena people of Africa, one of the oldest ethnic groups of the country, and, as such, there are a great number of traditional mud huts and architecture, all of which are beautifully decorated. The houses here are built entirely from straw and mud, but they are decorated with character and pride, making them a great scene to witness.

#6 Burundi

Burundi may be one of the smallest countries in mainland Africa, but it packs a lot of stunning nature into such a small space. Rusizi River National Park is just one of the tourist attractions in Burundi, located just outside of Bujumbura, the fascinating Rusizi River National Park. The plains surrounding the river are flooded periodically, bringing hundreds of animals to the area for its vital life source. Hippos are just one of the many animals to frequent the area and are one of the most sought after by tourists. The park, with its clear skies, is a true bird-watchers paradise. The migratory birds that visit the park include rare and beautiful species from both Asia and Europe, such as sandpipers and plovers.

#7 Cameroon

Cameroon, on the Gulf of Guinea, is a Central African country of varied terrain and wildlife. Its inland capital, Yaoundé, and its biggest city, seaport Douala, are transit points to ecotourism sites. Mandara Mountains is a volcanic range extending about 120 miles along the northern part of the Nigeria-Cameroon border from Benue River to the south to Mora in the north. The mountains rise to more than 3,500 feet above sea level. During the colonial period, they provided the border between the British and French Cameroons. Today, the mountains are very popular to hikers.

#8 Cape Verde

Cape Verde is a nation on a volcanic archipelago off the northwest coast of Africa. It is a popular holiday destination and known for its Creole Portuguese-African culture, traditional morna music, and numerous beaches. One of the coolest attractions in the archipelago is Cidade Velha, an old town in the southern part of the island of Santiago. Cidade Velha is the old capital and the oldest settlement in Cape Verde. The town was the first European colonial settlement in the tropics. Some of the meticulously planned original designs of the site are still intact, including a royal fortress, two towering churches, and a 16th-century town square. Today, Cidade Velha is an Atlantic shipping stop and center for Creole culture. The city became a UNESCO World Heritage Site 2009.

#9 Central African Republic

Even though the country has been in news headlines for the wrong reasons, it has another side that has been less highlighted – the beautiful flora and fauna within its borders. In the midst of the ravaging armed conflict which tore the country apart, elephants, gorillas, leopards, and chimpanzees found safety in an extraordinary place – Dzanga Sangha, a true natural sanctuary for the emblematic species of the Congo Basin. Hidden in the middle of the tropical forest, this World Heritage Site endured and prevailed. Activities that can be done in the rainforest include gorilla tracking, Agile Mangabey tracking, observing forest elephants, saline tours, and pirogue rides, as well as many others.

#10 Chad

A largely semi-desert country, Chad is rich in gold and uranium. One of the most popular tourist attractions to this fifth-largest African nation is the Zakouma National Park, which was founded in 1963, covering an area of 305,000 hectares. It is located south-east of Chad, 45 km from the nearest town, AM Timan, and 800 km from N’Djamena, the capital of Chad. The fauna of the park includes 44 species of large mammals and 250 species of birds. Civil wars and poaching once ravaged the area, but it has since been rehabilitated thanks to the efforts of the local government and other development partners. It is common to see large herds of giraffes, lions, wildebeests, primates, and elephants roaming freely.

#11Comoros

One of the most common holiday destinations is Comoros, which is a volcanic archipelago off Africa’s east coast in the warm Indian Ocean waters of the Mozambique Channel. The nation state’s largest island, Grande Comore (Ngazidja), is ringed with beaches and old lava from active Mt. Karthala Volcano. Mount Karthala is the most notable feature of the Grande Comore as it is an active volcano and the highest point of the Comoros at 2,361 meters above sea level. Its eruptions have created a spectacular landscape on the mountains. During calmer days, the volcano is a popular hiking, walking and trekking spot. While the ascent can be challenging, the views from the top are unmatched with flora and fauna unique to Comoros.

#12 The Republic of Congo

The Republic of Congo, or Congo-Brazzaville as it is commonly known, is home to immense undisturbed natural attractions. The country has in its borders very impressive historic landmarks and remnants of days past, especially in the capital where beautiful mosques and basilicas stand side by side. The main attraction in the country is the Odzala National Park. which holds some of the most guarded wildlife secrets in the world. The park is a true ecotourism paradise offering an outstanding mix of flora and fauna. Within the beautifully-painted ancient forest that dates back to 1935, there are numerous intertwining walking and hiking trails that lead to beautiful savannahs and wildlife-filled areas where the rarest of species can be spotted, including lowland gorillas, elephants, monkeys, spotted hyenas, bongos, lions, buffalos, leopards, and many other mammals and birds.

#13 Democratic Republic of Congo

Democratic Republic of Congo is a vast country with immense economic resources. Nestled in the far northeast corner of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Garamba National Park is one of the major attractions of the Congo, and is the last holdout for the largest population of elephants and the only surviving population of the Kordofan giraffe in all of Congo. The principal activities in the national park are day-long drives and guided hikes which, presumably, would be an incredible way to experience this remotest of remote African bushland. The Aerial Safari is another thrilling option in a Cessna 206, from which you experience aerial views of herds of elephants, solitary giraffes, and the landscapes from above.

#14 Cote d'Ivoire

Touted as a true tropical paradise, Cote d’Ivoire, or Ivory Coast, is a West African country full of beach resorts, rainforests, and a French-colonial legacy. The Grand-Bassam is a resort town near the city of Abidjan. It’s known for its busy, palm-backed beach stretching along the Atlantic coastline. The town was once the French colonial town center and once the nation’s capital. Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the town bursts forth from the Ivorian Coast with a medley of elegant Parisian mansions and crafted colonial municipal buildings that is the Ancient Bassam district. Some of the 19th and 20th Century houses have been renovated and returned to their former glory and offer a great peek into pre-colonial history and architecture.

#15 Djibouti

Located on the Horn of Africa, Djibouti is a mostly French and Arabic-speaking country of dry shrub lands, volcanic formations, and Gulf of Aden beaches. It is home to one of the saltiest bodies of water in the world, low-lying Lake Assal in the Danakil Desert. The country offers a wide range of tourist attractions due to its diverse geography that gives way to exciting explorations while also offering up a quiet haven for those looking to enjoy a more laidback holiday. Moucha Islands, situated a few miles from the shore of Djibouti, is a magical stretch of islands that is just under two miles long and surrounded by stunning coral reefs. It is frequented by travelers who are interested in snorkeling, fishing, and diving.

#16 Egypt

Egypt is the country linking Northeast Africa with the Middle East. The country has a rich history as it dates back to the time of the pharaohs. Millennia-old monuments sit along the fertile Nile River Valley, including Giza’s colossal pyramids and Great Sphinx, as well as Luxor’s hieroglyph-lined Karnak Temple and Valley of the King’s Tombs. The capital, Cairo, is home to Ottoman landmarks like the Muhammad Ali Mosque and the Egyptian Museum, offering up a trove of antiquities. A must-see in Egypt is the Pyramids of Giza, which are the centerpieces of Egyptian culture. The pyramids are famous world over, and the last remaining landmark of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, the pyramids are the country’s crowning achievement. There are a host of structures to explore from the Great Pyramid of Cheops, the oldest, to the Sphinx, which stands guard.

#17 Equatorial Guinea

Equatorial Guinea is a Central African country comprising the Rio Muni mainland and five volcanic offshore islands. Capital Malabo on Bioko Island has Spanish colonial architecture and is a hub for the country’s prosperous oil industry. Its Arena Blanca Beach draws dry season butterflies. The tropical forest of the mainland’s Monte Alen National Park is home to gorillas, chimpanzees and elephants. One of the main attractions in Equatorial Guinea is the Catedral de Santa Isabel, standing on the west side of the Plaza de España; this is a gracious apricot-hued building and the most beautiful in the country. The architect, Llairadó Luis Segarra, had some input from Antonio Gaudí. Construction began in 1887 and it was consecrated in 1916. The style is Gothic Revival and it is flanked by two 40m high towers and has three naves.

#18 Eritrea

Eritrea is a Northeast African country on the Red Sea coast. The capital city, Asmara, is known for its Italian colonial buildings like St. Joseph’s Cathedral, as well as art deco structures. Asmara has retained its 19th Century charm thanks to its collection of the old colonial buildings. Among the most imposing buildings in the city is the cathedral, which was built in 1922, located an arm’s length away from the lively market area. The largest mosque in the country is also found here, known as the Al Khulafa Al Rashidin Mosque. Along the main thoroughfare of the city, National Avenue offers numerous cafés and bars, along with local landmarks like the Asmara Theatre, the town hall, the beautiful Nda Mariam Catholic Cathedral, and Ghibi Palace, where the National Museum is located.

#19 Ethiopia

Ethiopia, in the Horn of Africa, is a rugged, landlocked country split by the Great Rift Valley. With archaeological finds dating back more than 3 million years, it is a place of ancient culture. Among its important sites are Lalibela with its rock-cut Christian churches from the 12th–13th centuries. Aksum is the ruins of an ancient city with obelisks, tombs, castles, and Our Lady Mary of Zion Church. The Old Cathedral of St. Mary of Zion and Treasury is one of the most striking religious constructions in Axum. The cathedral was built in the 17th Century and is said to be the secret hiding place of the Ark of the Covenant. Although it is not available for public viewing, the chapel’s stunning architecture is worth a view.

#20 Gabon

Gabon is located along the Atlantic coast of Central Africa and has significant areas of protected parkland. The forested coastal terrain of its famed Loango National Park shelters a diversity of wildlife from gorillas and hippos to whales. Lopé National Park consists of mostly rainforest. Akanda National Park is known for its mangroves and tidal beaches. A major attraction in the country is the Cathedral of Saint Michael, a prominent landmark and a tourist attraction in Libreville, Gabon’s capital. The cathedral was built by the French missionary, Gerard Morel, and Gabonese sculptor, Zephyrin Lendongo. The best features of this stunning building are its ornately carved columns, which were remarkably carved by a blind local craftsman. Each of the 31 wooden columns depict a different Biblical scene designed by Lendongo and Morel.

#21 Gambia

Gambia is a small West African country with a narrow Atlantic coastline and it is known for its diverse ecosystems around the central Gambia River. Abundant wildlife in its Kiang West National Park and Bao Bolong Wetland Reserve includes monkeys, leopards, hippos, hyenas, and rare birds. The capital, Banjul, and nearby Serrekunda offers access to beaches. Abuko Nature Reserve is one of the main attractions of Gambia. The nature reserve is well-managed and easy to reach from major resorts and attractions. It is possible to explore it on foot to see more than 300 species of birds, reptiles, forest antelopes, monkeys, and crocodiles. From the nature reserve, one can also head upstream to learn about the colonial history of Gambia in the twin villages of Juffureh and Albreda.

#22 Ghana

Ghana is on West Africa’s Gulf of Guinea and is popularly known for its diverse wildlife, old forts, and secluded beaches, such as Busua. Coastal towns Elmina and Cape Coast contain native shrines (or posubans as they are known), colonial buildings, and castles-turned-museums that serve as testimonials to the slave trade. The Elmina Castle is one of the most important historic treasures of Ghana. Built in the 15th Century, the Elmina Castle was one of the centers of slave trade in the region. The castle has been fully restored for historic tours and the on-site visitor’s center houses an impressive collection of photographs that show the structure’s history.

#23 Guinea

Guinea is a Western African country that borders the Atlantic Ocean and is known for its Mount Nimba Strict Nature Reserve in the southeast. The reserve protects a forested mountain range rich in native plants and animals, including chimpanzees and the viviparous toad. On the coast, the capital city, Conakry, is home to the modern Grand Mosque and the National Museum with its regional artifacts. The country is filled with all kinds of unexplored wonders from its dry rainforests to diverse wildlife, breathtaking mountains, and vibrant culture. The Conakry Grand Mosque is one of the greatest pieces of architecture in the city and a must-see when visiting.

#24 Guinea-Bissau

Guinea-Bissau is a tropical country on West Africa’s Atlantic coast and is known for national parks and wildlife. The forested, sparsely populated Bijagós archipelago is a protected biosphere reserve. Its main island, Bubaque, forms part of the Orango Islands National Park, a habitat for saltwater hippos. On the mainland, Bissau (capital), is a port with Portuguese colonial buildings in its old city center. A must-see landmark in Guinea-Bissau is the Cathedral of Our Lady of Candelaria located in Bissau City. It was built on the site of an ancient Roman Medieval Church dating from 1935; its construction, in itself, began in 1945. The center of Catholicism in Guinea-Bissau was visited on 27 January 1990 by Pope John Paul II. The offices and services of the church are in the Portuguese language.

#25 Kenya

Kenya is an East African nation on the Indian Ocean coastline. The country is rich in diversity and it encompasses savannah, lake lands, the dramatic Great Rift Valley, and mountain highlands. It is also home to wildlife such as lions, elephants and rhinos. From Nairobi (Kenya’s capital), safaris visit the Maasai Mara Reserve, known for its annual wildebeest migrations, and Amboseli National Park. Kenya also has interesting human history, which can be better understood after visiting the World Heritage old town on the island of Lamu or by visiting the well-preserved Fort Jesus at Mombasa. A major attraction in the country is the Fort Jesus, a World Heritage Site that was constructed on a rocky island by the Portuguese in 1593 to protect the Old Port of Mombasa. This well-preserved fortification is one of the major attractions and has a museum displaying artifacts relating to the time when Mombasa was a major stop on the slave trade route.

#26 Lesotho

Lesotho is a high-altitude and landlocked kingdom encircled by South Africa. The small nation is crisscrossed by a network of rivers and mountain ranges including the 3,482m high peak of Thabana Ntlenyana. On the Thaba Bosiu Plateau near Lesotho’s capital, Maseru, are ruins dating from the 19th Century reign of King Moshoeshoe I. The Thaba Bosiu is Lesotho’s most revered site and a national monument. The sandstone plateau lies just 15 miles from the capital and holds Moshoeshoe’s grave and the graves of subsequent rulers, as well as remnants of the original settlement. The steep cliffs and flat eroded plateau are reminiscent of Table Mountain, and the views across the land from the heights are spectacular.

#27 Liberia

Liberia is in West Africa and lies on the Atlantic coast. Its capital city, Monrovia, is home to the Liberia National Museum with its exhibits on national culture and history. Around Monrovia are palm-lined beaches like Silver and CeCe. Along the coast, beach towns include the Port of Buchanan, as well as laid-back Robertsport, known for its strong surf. One of the must-visit places in Liberia is Careysburg Town, a  historic town in Liberia filled with Southern US-style architecture as a result of an influx of freed slaves from America. Founded in 1856 and named after the first Baptist missionary, the township is just 15 miles from Monrovia and an active farming community.

#28 Libya

Libya is a country in the Maghreb Region of North Africa bordered by the Mediterranean Sea to the north.  Libya has a rich history of over 2,500 years. Some of the ancient attractions date back to the Ottoman period or magnificent Greek and Roman remains, and the Sahara desert, once a green and fertile land, is now one of the most forbiddingly spectacular regions on earth. The walled Tripoli Old Town is a major attraction in Libya. Its surroundings are worth hours of exploration for their heritage buildings, Roman arch, and stunning old mosques dating as early as 8th Century AD. There are elegant former consulates and winding and narrow streets lined with tiny stores and eateries. The historic palaces of former rulers are being restored and open to tourists, while the Tripoli Bazaar is famous for its crafts including fine jewelry and traditional artifacts.

#29 Madagascar

The Republic of Madagascar, or formerly known as Malagasy, is an island country in the Indian Ocean off the coast of South East Africa.  It is the fourth largest island in the world and is home to thousands of animal species, such as lemurs found nowhere else, plus rainforests, beaches and reefs. Near the busy capital of Antananarivo is Ambohimanga, a hillside complex of royal palaces. The Ancient Ambohimanga was the birthplace of Madagascar, known for a time as the Blue City, the Forbidden City and the Holy City. In the early years of the state, it was the stronghold of the ruling Merina Dynasty, and is home to a number of significant places where important rituals took place. The main gate is a massive stone disc which took 40 strong townsmen to roll it open or closed. The city is surrounded by rainforests and its Royal Hill is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

#30 Malawi

Malawi is a landlocked country in Southeastern Africa and is defined by its topography of highlands split by the Great Rift Valley and enormous Lake Malawi. The lake’s southern end falls within Lake Malawi National Park, home to diverse wildlife from colorful fish to baboons, and its clear waters are popular for diving and boating. The peninsular Cape Maclear is known for its beach resorts. The area is a laidback and a suitable holiday destination. The cape, named by David Livingstone, is located inside a small national park of the same name bordering Lake Malawi’s southern shore. The beaches and the lakeshore are small, sandy and rock-strewn, yet perfect for sunbathing and water sports.

#31 Mali

With an area of just over 1,240,000 square kilometres, the Republic of Mali is the eighth-largest country in Africa, and with it comes immense beautiful landscapes and diverse flora and fauna. One of the main attractions is the Grand Mosque of Djenne, an impressive and large mud-brick building, whose current structure was erected in 1907. A mosque has stood on the present location at the Niger and Bani rivers since the 13th Century, when Djenne was an important Islamic learning center and trading post. Today, the Grand Mosque is the centerpiece of Djenne’s Old Town and a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site.

#32 Mauritania

Located in the Maghreb Region of Western Africa, Mauritania’s natural landscape is diverse, offering travelers a great deal of attractions to explore and enjoy. Whether it’s roaming the deserted towns or marveling at a unique desert-like national park, there is enough to experience. There are also several historical and cultural sites which are great for travelers who want to learn more about this interesting slice of Africa. The most popular attraction of Mauritania is the Banc d’Arguin National Park. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is home to one of the world’s largest bird sanctuaries and is an absolute must for bird lovers. Everything from pink flamingos, royal terns, and gull-billed terns to white pelicans, grey pelicans and broad-billed sandpipers can be found here. Spanning a vast area of over 120 miles, the park is a beautiful mixture of desert, coastal islands, and sea.

#33 Mauritius

Mauritius is an Indian Ocean island nation that is commonly known for its beaches, lagoons, and reefs. The mountainous interior includes Black River Gorges National Park with rainforests, waterfalls, hiking trails, and wildlife such as the flying fox. Capital Port Louis has sites such as the Champs de Mars Horse Track, Eureka Plantation House, and 18th Century Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam Botanical Gardens. The Blue Penny Museum is one of the major attractions on the island. The museum was established in 2001 primarily as a stamp museum and was named after the collection’s blue and red penny stamps that were purchased for US $2,000,000 in 1993. The museum also has sculptures, paintings, and old marine maps relating to Mauritian history. There is also an exhibition about the Jacques-Henri Bernardin de Saint-Pierre novel ‘Paul and Virginie’, first published in 1787 and set in Mauritius.

#34 Morocco

Morocco is a North African country bordering the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea. The country is distinguished by its Berber, Arabian, and European cultural influences. Marrakech’s Medina, a maze-like medieval quarter, offers entertainment in its Djemaa el-Fna square and marketplaces or souks selling ceramics, jewelry, and metal lanterns. The capital, Rabat’s Kasbah of the Udayas, is a 12th Century royal fort overlooking the water. A must-see attraction is the Hassan II Mosque. This is the seventh-largest mosque in the world and one of the biggest attractions in Casablanca. The minaret is the world’s tallest standing at an impressive 689 feet. The building is also an architectural masterpiece with handcrafted marble walls and a retractable roof. It is one of the only two Islamic religious buildings in Morocco that are open to non-Muslims.

#35 Mozambique

Located in the southern part of Africa, Mozambique has immense potential with regards to tourist sites. Its historic attractions are centered on the country’s 400 years of Portuguese colonial occupation. The country’s sublime natural beauty along its coast and interior is at its best in the protected national parks and ecosystems with varied biodiversity areas holding everything from savannahs to wetlands and rainforests. One of the major attractions here is the Church of Nossa Senhora de Baluarte, the oldest European religious building in the entire southern hemisphere. Built in the mid 16th Century, decades after Vasco da Gama laid claim to Mozambique for Portugal, the Manuelino-vaulted structure is found just outside the island’s Sao Sebastiao Fort in solitary splendor on a peninsula overlooking the ocean.

#36 Namibia

Namibia is located in Southwest Africa and is distinguished by the Namib Desert along its Atlantic Ocean coast. The country is home to diverse wildlife, including a significant cheetah population. The capital, Windhoek, and coastal town, Swakopmund, contain German colonial-era buildings such as Windhoek’s Christuskirche, built in 1907. In the north, Etosha National Park’s salt pan draws game including rhinos and giraffes. This is a major attraction in Namibia. The park is centered on the Etosha Pan, a depression of around 1,930 square miles and features a white chalky expanse, grassy plains, and hilly woodlands. Watering holes become the most prominent feature during the dry season where wildlife including elephants, giraffes, lions, and rhinos gather to drink.

#37 Niger

Named after the Niger River, the Republic of Niger is a landlocked country in Western Africa. Places to visit in Niger are diverse, from cultural attractions reflecting the traditions of desert empires, to wild and wonderful natural beauty. One of its main tourist attractions is the Agadez, an ancient city founded in the 11th Century. It then became an important seat of the famous sultanates of the Sahel and an established center of Islamic learning. It was an important stop on the trans-Saharan trade route for merchants crossing the desert by camel, and today it also remains an important point on the trans-Sahara highway, an important trunk road for transporting goods north to south through Africa. It is still a populated and busy city, important for trade in the region, and today, visitors can enjoy a mix of the old and new. The key sites from the Islamic tradition are the Sultanate Palace and the Agadez Mosque, built in the 16th Century. It is also an important center for the Tuareg people, who are famous for producing metal and leather handicrafts, which are available for purchasing at the local markets.

#38 Nigeria

Nigeria, the most populated country on the continent, is located on the Gulf of Guinea and has many natural landmarks and wildlife reserves. One of the most recognizable sites is Zuma Rock, a 725m tall monolith outside the capital of Abuja that’s pictured on the national currency. Protected areas such as Cross River National Park and Yankari National Park have waterfalls, dense rainforests, savannas, and rare primate habitats. The Yankari National Park is Africa’s largest park, and was officially opened in 1991, although it had been a game reserve since 1934. Today, it is an extremely popular ecotourism spot and one of the places in Africa you can go to spot one of the ‘big five’. The park covers an area of about 870 square meters and attracts around 20,000 visitors per year from 100 countries, making it Nigeria’s most popular tourist destination.

#39 Rwanda

Rwanda is a landlocked East African country with a green mountainous landscape. Its renowned Volcanoes National Park is home to mountain gorillas and golden monkeys. The park encompasses 4,507m tall Mt. Karisimbi and four other forested volcanoes. One of the major attractions is the Gisozi Genocide Memorial Center. The memorial center houses history of the darkest days of the 1994 genocide that is still fresh in the memories of those who survived. The genocide spanned 100 days in which almost one million Rwandans were brutally murdered. The museum pays thoughtful respect to the victims of the event and also sheds some light for those unaware of the context during the period. The center is divided into three separate sections, each dealing with a different aspect of the genocide. It is important to note that a trip to the center is not for the weak and can become quite an emotional experience.

#40 São Tomé and Príncipe

Floating in the Gulf of Guinea, São Tomé and Príncipe, is a two-island nation close to the equator and is part of a volcano chain featuring striking rock and coral formations, rainforests, and beaches. On the larger island, São Tomé, is the Lagoa Azul Lagoon. Ôbo Natural Park, a biodiverse jungle preserve, covers much of São Tomé and is distinguished by Pico Cão Grande, a skyscraper-like volcanic rock. On the other hand, Principe is a tidy and unspoiled island of just 70,000 people. A canopy of green broken by spires of primordial rock, Príncipe is a magnificent Lost World, offering fantastic beaches, jungle exploration, snorkeling, fishing, and bird-watching.

#41 Senegal

Located on the west coast of Africa, Senegal has a rich French colonial heritage and many natural attractions. Dakar, the capital, features the ancient Médina District and esteemed Musée Théodore Monod, displaying African art. The Institut Fondamental d’Afrique Noire (IFAN) is one of the must sees when visiting Senegal. Surrounded by the Presidential Palace and its luscious gardens, it is the biggest and oldest museum not only in Dakar, but in all of West Africa. Although there are no English translations of the museum’s French displays, no interpretation is necessary to admire the traditional West African farming tools, musical instruments, artwork, statues, and handmade fabric displayed within the museum’s walls.

#42 Seychelles

The Seychelles is an archipelago of 115 islands in the Indian Ocean off East Africa. It is home to numerous beaches, coral reefs, and nature reserves, as well as rare animals such as giant Aldabra tortoises. Mahé, a hub for visiting the other islands, is home to capital, Victoria. It also has the mountain rainforests of Morne Seychellois National Park and Beaches, including Beau Vallon and Anse Takamaka. Much of the island is taken over by lush jungle, including the Morne Seychelles National Park and nearby Baie Ternay Marine National Park. Both have great walking tours and Baie Ternay also has fabulous diving.

#43 Sierra Leone

Best known for the white sandy beaches lining the Freetown Peninsula, Sierra Leone’s landmarks and attractions can be divided into those displaying incredible natural beauty and those that deal with the country’s complex and interesting social and economic history. Its capital city, Freetown, commemorates the nation’s slave-trade history with the Cotton Tree landmark and King’s Yard Gate. Both were known as places of refuge for returned slaves in the 18th and 19th centuries. Nearby Bunce Island was a key departure point during the slave trade. The Cotton Tree dominates the city’s skyline, having cast a welcomed shadow over several buildings, including the Sierra Leone National Museum, for an estimated 500 years. This tree holds a great deal of historical significance. It is said that slaves who had gained independence from Britain during the American War of Independence returned to their homeland and held a Thanksgiving service under the tree to commemorate the occasion.

#44 Somalia

Even though armed conflict has cast the nation located on the Horn of Africa in a bad light, Somalia boasts of many natural landmarks, including national parks and mountains in which locals place a great deal of pride. Most of the attractions concern the region’s cultural and political history. The Laas Geel is the best-known and most popular landmark in Somalia. Laas Geel is a series of caves in Somaliland that display hundreds of ancient Neolithic paintings. The rock art in these caves is, arguably, some of the best-preserved anywhere in the world dating back to 9000 BC, and travelers who are able to visit the site are privileged.

#45 South Africa

Located on the southernmost tip of the African continent, South Africa is marked by several distinct ecosystems. Inland safari destination, Kruger National Park, is populated by big game. The Western Cape offers beaches, lush winelands around Stellenbosch and Paarl, craggy cliffs at the Cape of Good Hope, forest and lagoons along the Garden Route, and the city of Cape Town, beneath flat-topped Table Mountain. The Robben Island is one of the must-visit places in South Africa. The Island was the location of an infamous jail from the time the original Dutch pioneers arrived in the 17th Century until the latter years of the 20th Century. Along with Nelson Mandela, the jail housed Robert Sobukwe and various other political luminaries and soldiers during its history. Today, it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a living reminder of apartheid.

#46 South Sudan

Africa’s youngest and the world’s newest country, the Republic of South Sudan is an Eastern-Central country that gained its independence from Sudan in 2011. Its current capital, Juba, is also the largest city. The country has been facing a civil war since July 2016 and all travel to South Sudan has been strongly discouraged. Once the security situation improves, the country has a lot to offer such as the Safaris to Boma National Park and Nimule National Park. Here, you will experience the greatest migration of mammals on the earth in Boma National Park.

#47 Sudan

Also known as North Sudan after South Sudan’s independence, Sudan’s attractions are some of the most appealing in the Northeastern African region. Boasting a good balance between sites celebrating the country’s immense natural beauty and landmarks, which speak of Sudan’s interesting history, the country has a great deal to offer tourists of every inclination, from the ancient pyramid to the well-established historical museum and breathtaking volcanic mountain range. Pyramids of Meroe is the most popular tourist attraction in the country. They are one of the last remaining symbols from an ancient civilization. Built by the Meroitic Pharaohs around 500 BC, the pyramids are different from their counterparts in neighboring Egypt. They display steep brick sides and appear in groups of 12. Travelers are permitted to enter the pyramids in which ancient graffiti and hieroglyphics can be seen.

#48 Swaziland

Swaziland is a small landlocked monarchy in Southern Africa and is best known for its wilderness reserves and festivals showcasing traditional Swazi culture. Marking its northeastern border with Mozambique and stretching down to South Africa, the Lebombo Mountains are a backdrop for Mlawula Nature Reserve’s many hiking trails. The Hlane Royal National Park, where hikers can come face to face with lions, elephants, or dozens of other large African wildlife species, is one of the main attractions in Swaziland. The park sits 40 miles northeast of Manzini. Africa’s highest density of white-backed vultures and the world’s southernmost marabou stork nesting colony are just two of this park’s exotic bird species.

#49 Tanzania

Tanzania is an East African country known for its vast wilderness areas. These include the plains of Serengeti National Park and the Kilimanjaro National Park, home to Africa’s highest mountain. Offshore lies the tropical islands of Zanzibar with Arabic influences and a marine park home to whale sharks and coral reefs. One of the coolest places to visit is the Serengeti along with the Maasai Mara Reserve in Kenya, is one of the main draws to Africa in general. Stretching into neighboring Kenya, this vast plain sees the Great Migration where two or three million animals, including herds of wildebeest, head for seasonal grazing. Lions and cheetahs bring up the rear to take out the weak, while massive crocodiles take opportunistic swipes at individuals crossing the rivers. The migration is a must-see when visiting during its seasons.

#50 Togo

Togo is West African nation on the Gulf of Guinea and is best-known for its palm-lined beaches and hilltop villages. Koutammakou, inhabited by the Batammariba people, is a traditional settlement of fortress-like clay huts dating to the 17th Century. In the capital, Lomé, are the multistory Grand Marché Bazaar and the Fetish Market, offering traditional talismans and remedies relating to the vodun (voodoo) religion. The Kpalime Region is one of the most tranquil and serene areas of Togo. Here, tourists ascend the hills onto the plateau and are met with swarms of colorful butterflies while walking through the lush, green tropical rainforest. The area is surrounded by cocoa plantations, and they can climb the highest peak in the country, Mount Agou, for views of Lake Volta in neighboring Ghana.

#51 Tunisia

Tunisia is a North African country bordering the Mediterranean Sea and Sahara Desert. In the capital, Tunis, the Bardo Museum has archaeological exhibits from Roman mosaics to Islamic art. No visit to Tunisia’s national capital would be complete without exploring the city’s old quarter, better known as Al-Madinah. Although this walled medina was first constructed in 7th Century AD, the golden era, when Tunis was one of the Islamic world’s most prosperous and powerful cities, lasted between the 12th and 16th centuries. Tourists see remnants of all of these eras while meandering through Al-Madinah’s winding and narrow streets, where vendors sell much of the same exotic foods and handmade merchandise.

#52 Uganda

Uganda is a landlocked country in East Africa, whose diverse landscape encompasses the snow-capped Rwenzori Mountains and immense Lake Victoria. Its abundant wildlife includes chimpanzees as well as rare birds. Remote Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is a renowned mountain gorilla sanctuary. Murchison Falls National Park in the northwest is known for its 43m tall waterfall and wildlife such as hippos. One of the main attractions is the Queen Elizabeth National Park spanning between Lake George and Lake Edward. The park has a diverse ecosystem offering a plethora of things to see, including savanna, wetlands, forests and lakes. It is home to over 600 species of birds, chimpanzees, hippopotamus, elephants and the famous tree-climbing lions. These are set in some spectacular scenery such as magnificent volcanic cones, craters and the beautiful Lake Katwe. On a clear day, it is possible to witness fantastic views of the Ruwenzori Mountains.

#53 Zambia

Zambia is in Southern Africa and is a landlocked country of rugged terrain and diverse wildlife with many parks and safari areas. On its border with Zimbabwe is famed Victoria Falls, also known as Mosi-oa-Tunya, or “Smoke That Thunders,” plunging a misty 108m into narrow Batoka Gorge. Spanning the Zambezi River just below the falls is Victoria Falls Bridge, a spectacular viewpoint. The falls is one of the most amazing waterfalls in the world, at more than twice the size of Niagara Falls. It took an estimated 100,000 years of erosion for Victoria Falls to be naturally created. The surrounding area has been designed to give visitors the most up-close and personal experience with its bridge over the gorge allowing for spectacular views. The spray causes permanent rain and beautiful rainbows, as well as the picture-worthy smoke.

#54 Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe is a landlocked country in Southern Africa and is best known for its dramatic landscape and diverse wildlife, much of it within parks, reserves and safari areas. On the Zambezi River, Victoria Falls make a thundering 108m drop into narrow Batoka Gorge, where there’s white-water rafting and bungee-jumping. Downstream are Matusadona and Mana Pools national parks, home to hippos, rhinos and birdlife.  A must-see in the country is the Great Zimbabwe National Monument. This is an UNESCO World Heritage Site and is the second-largest collection of ruins in Africa after the Egyptian pyramids. One of the greatest African civilizations, the Great Zimbabwe dominated the region between the 13th and 15th centuries. The complex is as powerful as the civilization was, with the main temple walls standing almost 10m high with a circumference of over 200m.

Maurice Oniang'o
Maurice Oniang'o is a versatile award-winning Kenyan Journalist. He has produced for highly rated Television programs such as Project Green, an incisive environmental show and Tazama, a half-hour documentary series, which were broadcast on Kenya Television Network (KTN). He has a keen interest in stories about environment, corruption, technology, security, health, education, human rights and governance. He has won various awards including: Environmental Reporter TV- AJEA, Thomson Foundation Young Journalist of the Year (FPA), among others. He is a Bloomberg Media Initiative Africa Fellow (Financial Journalism), Africa Uncensored Investigate 101 Fellow and a member of Journalists for Transparency (J4T), a collective of journalist and storytellers that seek to explore issues of transparency and corruption around the globe. Maurice is currently a Freelance Documentary Filmmaker and Writer based in Nairobi, Kenya.