There is no doubt that Africa is a beautiful continent. From islands to highlands, gorgeous shorelines and breathtaking cities, the motherland has an assortment of spectacles to offer her visitors. Travellers looking to traverse the continent need to land somewhere, whether you are coming in by boat or by air, there is a good chance that you are going to make port or land in one of the many cities sprawled across the land.
Here are some of the most exciting must-visit cities in Africa today:
1. Get a Seat at the Table Mountain of Cape Town, South Africa
Okay, that was a terrible pun but there is no denying that Cape Town, South Africa is one of the most iconic cities in the world, let alone Africa. It has pretty much everything you would want in a location:
- It’s a coastal town which means it comes with wonderful weather and gorgeous beaches.
- It’s a cosmopolitan town which means that you will find all manner of people there who bring a beautiful mix to the melting pot.
- It lies in the shadow of a mountain – the iconic Table Mountain of South Africa naturally attracts hikers from all over the world.
- It’s one of the few places in Africa, if not the only place, where you can come up close with jackass penguins at the nearby Boulders Penguin Colony.
- It’s home to “Robben Island” a UNESCO World Heritage site and famous island prison that held Nelson Mandela for more than two decades.
There are beautiful and serene botanical gardens, vast wine fields and shopping facilities like you wouldn’t believe.
2. Gaze at the Rolling Hills in Kigali, Rwanda
Lovingly dubbed as “The land of a thousand hills”, Rwanda is by far one of the most scenic countries on the African continent. It’s capital city, Kigali, was voted as the ninth safest city in Africa at the World Economic Forum. Kigali has much more to offer than just safe streets through which you can stroll well after sunset:
- Get to learn and understand about the country’s dark history at the numerous memorial sites around the city.
- Quench your thirst for local art at Ivuka Arts, Yego Arts and almost 10 other galleries around the city.
- Get a taste of world-class coffee at any of the many popular cafes where freshly baked pastries are always on the menu.
Kigali is also a popular gateway to Nyungwe Forest National Park where you can spot the few remaining mountain gorillas. There are dozens of beautifully manicured green spaces and public transportation is not only affordable but also very well organised.
3. Go Wild in Nairobi, Kenya
There is only one city in the world that has a National Park within its borders – Nairobi. Nairobi National Park, despite being right next to the city centre, is a microcosm of what Kenya has to offer in terms of flora and fauna. A short tour of the pack will give you a chance to see Africa’s iconic Big Five (Lion, Leopard, Buffalo, Elephant and Rhino). But that is not all the city is known for:
- Beautiful hotels with Ole Sereni and Panari Sky Center being just a few minutes from both the National Park and JKIA.
- Excellent Maasai Market on different days at a variety of locations around the city where you can buy souvenirs from Kenya’s most famous tribe.
- An eclectic and vibrant nightlife.
Of course, there is excellent shopping with Africa’s third-largest mall (Two Rivers Mall) being only half an hour out. You can help feed baby elephants at the David Sheldrick Orphanage, you can watch crocodiles feed at Mamba Village and you can simply gaze at the African sunset on any one of the many rooftop bars and restaurants around the city.
4. Visit the Red City of Marrakech, Morocco
Marrakech is called the “Red City” because the old medina was enclosed by walls covered in red. For a city that borders the largest desert in the world (Sahara), Marrakech is delightfully eclectic. A visit to this stunning location will give you an opportunity to not only explore the desert but also do a little mountain climbing. Here are some thrills that you can enjoy while in Marrakech and why it really should be on your bucket list:
- The surrounding landscape from the Atlas Mountains to the Agafay and Jbilets deserts, Morocco is home to several extremes. The Atlas Mountains are snow-covered while the desert sun is unrelenting in its heat. You can get a glimpse of both worlds while you tour the Agafay Desert which gives you beautiful glimpses of the Atlas Mountains over expansive drylands.
- Delectable cuisines from couscous to tajine and a wide variety of pastries, there is a good reason why Morocco should be on every foodie’s bucket list.
- You might think that being a desert city, Marrakech doesn’t have much to offer in terms of luxury. Nothing could be further from the truth. Marrakech is also known as the city of luxury because it’s home to a variety of palaces, excellent 5-star restaurants, unbelievable spas and of course, there is the legendary medina where time simply stands still as you are taken aback into an ancient era by the houses, streets and even decor.
Marrakech has excellent sunny weather, beautiful people and a bountiful spice market that brings you the tastes of the world. What’s not there to like?
5. Marvel at the Great Pyramid of Giza in Cairo, Egypt
There are very few things as mainstay in bucket lists the world over as a visit to the “Great Pyramid of Giza”. Egypt is hailed as the birthplace of civilisation and there is no better place to witness its grandeur than Cairo. From the city, you will get to experience:
- Breathtaking desert safaris.
- Explore the eclectic art and culture.
- Sail the River Nile.
You also get to enjoy the ever sunny weather and wonderful hospitality of the Egyptian people.
Do you plan to visit any African cities this year? Share your ideas and destinations with us in the comment section below.