As the second-largest continent on the planet, Africa has a lot to offer international travellers. While you might be guilty of thinking “safari” as soon as you read Africa, you will be pleasantly surprised to know there is much more to discover on this continent. To help you plan your trip, we’ve listed the most visited countries in Africa. We’ll explain why you should visit them, what they have to offer, and a few things you could skip, too!
The most visited countries in Africa
The most visited country in Africa is Morocco. This Northern African nation saw a whopping 12.3 million visitors in 2019, making it the most visited country on the entire continent.
So just what is it that makes Morocco so appealing? The culture of Morocco is sure to be a big drawcard, considering there is nowhere in the world quite like it. The sights, sounds and colours of the medina is enough to leave you mesmerised. Then there’s the food – oh the food! Think tagines, plenty of spice and endless sweet pastries to finish off the day.
Some of the highlights of Morocco include Marrakesh, one of the most chaotic and charismatic cities in the world. Then, of course, there is Fes, a historic city with so much culture you could spend a week here and not scratch the surface. If you’re taking a tour of the country, consider stopping by Essaouira as well. This beautiful beach town has a European feel to it, with all the rugged charm of Northern Africa.
In 2019 there were an impressive 11.3 million visitors to Egypt, making this the second most visited country in Africa. The main draw cards in Egypt are of course the Egyptian pyramids, the pharaoh’s tombs and the Luxor temple dating back thousands of years.
3. South Africa
For years I have been in love with South Africa. It was my first visit that sealed my fate! I now call South Africa home, having moved to Cape Town back in November 2019. This country comes in third on the list, but it is the front runner for safari-goers. South Africa remains the most popular choice for a safari, where you can spot the big five and spend some time out in the wilderness. As for the total visitors? There were 10.5 million visitors to South Africa in 2019!
Next up is Tunisia, with 8.3 million visitors making their way to the Northern African country in 2019. Tunisia is famous for its ancient cities, the Saharan desert and its hot desert temperatures. It has also been dubbed by some as the “next Morocco”, for being slightly less under the radar and a more affordable option just a short flight from many of Europe’s major cities.
There are many reasons to visit Zimbabwe, but most of them start with safari and end with the Victoria Falls. This landlocked country in Southern Africa is still one of the most popular choices for safari goers in search of the big five. The game viewing in Zimbabwe is second to none, but the Victoria Falls are unlike any other. As one of the world’s largest waterfalls, they extend some 1,708 metres in length.
6. Côte d’Ivoire
With beach resorts and rainforests as far as the eye can see, the Côte d’Ivoire (also known as the Ivory Coast) is a popular choice, especially for European travellers. With a French-colonial legacy, the country has long been a favourite for travellers in search of the sea, sun, and beautiful temperatures found in West Africa.
Uganda has been living in the shadow of Rwanda, which has quickly become the top choice for mountain gorilla viewing. But it is here in Uganda where you can have the same experience for much less, given the less-developed nature of the country. It is (perhaps to contrary belief) safe to visit Uganda and visitors will be delighted by how much raw beauty lies within the country borders.
Over in East Africa, I’m sure it will come as no surprise Kenya tops the list for the most visited country. This is where one of the most famous films on the continent, Out of Africa, was filmed. The Maasai Mara has become one of the most popular choices for safari-goers and after visiting last year, I can sure see why!
If you’re looking for a more tropical getaway when visiting Africa or perhaps a destination to tag on to your safari, look no further than Mauritius. Here you will find beautiful beaches, mountainous treks and world class diving.
Landlocked in the centre of South Africa, eSwatini (formerly Swaziland) has long existed in the shadow of South Africa. However if you’d prefer a more under the radar destination, this is it. Here you can venture out on a safari for a fraction of the cost, as well as enjoy as many camping and day hikes as you can imagine! This rounds out our list of the most visited countries in Africa. Now that you know where to go – what are you waiting for?