Africa is a vast continent home to over a billion people and some 56 countries. It is diverse, and it is ancient. It is a place that everyone should visit if they have the chance. Plus, North Africa is extremely different from Sub-Saharan Africa and is often treated separately.
This article will only mention travel-friendly countries in Sub-Saharan Africa and not those of North Africa (like Morocco and Egypt). The list of travel-friendly nations in Africa can change over time (e.g., Ethiopia was one of the best destinations in Africa before the civil war broke out there three years ago).
South Africa stands out from much of the rest of Africa for being well-developed in many respects (development is spread unevenly). The country is the top destination in Sub-Saharan Africa and is home to some of the best national parks in Africa to visit (such as the famous Kruger National Park).
South Africa is diverse and boasts many incredible attractions - from the quaint coastal city of Cape Town to the dramatic Garden Route.
Kenya is one of the most developed nations in East Africa and is one of the most popular destinations on the African continent. Kenya boasts reasonable infrastructure for the region and has some of the greatest national parks in the region (such as Maasai Mari - the northern extension of the Serengeti). The Serengeti is one of the most incredible places to see African wildlife.
Disney's The Lion King was set in the Serengeti of Tanzania. Like Kenya, Tanzania is a very welcoming nation with some of the top national parks in Africa. One of the gems of Tanzania is the autonomous island of Zanzibar. Zanzibar is a remarkable tropical beach destination with an influence from historic Arab traders.
Namibia is one of the most sparsely populated countries in the world. Here, travelers explore the vast open deserts and countless hidden gems of the Kalahari Desert and the Atlantic Coast. See shipwrecks, the incredible Etosha National Park (which offers some of the most affordable safaris in Africa), ghost towns (such as Kolmanskop), and more.
Namibia, like South Africa, is one of the best places to rent a 4WD and explore the nation on a self-guided road trip.
Botswana is one of the most stable countries in Africa and has long been a favorite for remarkable road trips. Botswana is home to an exceptionally large number of elephants, and the country takes conservation very seriously. On the downside, Botswana is also known to be one of the more expensive destinations in Africa.
Rwanda is one of the safest and most well-run countries in Africa (even if it has a traumatic past). Today, it is one of the top destinations to see the lush interior of Africa and go Mountain Gorilla trekking. Rwanda is a more expensive destination but one that is well set up for receiving international visitors.
Most of the popular tourist destinations in Africa are in the East and the South of the continent. Few people bother to visit West Africa, and many of the nations of that region suffer from instability. Senegal is one of the most stable and travel-friendly countries in West Africa and offers a peek into a less-visited part of Africa.
Not all of the countries of Africa are actually on the continent. The Seychelles is a small island nation just off the coast of Africa in the Indian Ocean. It is one of the world's premier tropical island resort destinations that manages to draw visitors from across the world. It is also one of the safest countries in Africa to visit.
Zambia may not be high on many people's lists, but it is a rewarding country with a very friendly population. In the north, visitors can see the awe-inspiring Bat Migration, while in the south, on the border with Zimbabwe, visitors can see Victoria Falls - the largest waterfall in the world.
The gateway is the town of Livingstone, and it is one of the few African cities where it is possible to see zebra and even elephants wandering down the streets.
Victoria Falls is the world's largest waterfall. However, most people don't know that the Denmark Strait Cataract is the tallest waterfall in the world (and it's found deep underwater!).
South Africa is also a great base to explore other countries in Southern Africa - such as Lesotho and Eswatini (formerly Swaziland). Eswatini is a tiny country that few bother to visit. It is located just next to South Africa, and its people are extremely welcoming to foreigners. It is arguably one of the forgotten gems of Africa and definitely worth seeing when looking for less touristy places in Africa to visit.
Discover why Eswatini is one of the hidden gems in Africa that's worth visiting before planning a vacation to the African continent.