If your bucket list doesn’t include a few choice African locations, you’re overlooking a treasure. Clocking in at roughly one-fifth of the world’s landmass, Africa is bigger than India, China, Mexico, and the United States combined. Africa is home to more than a billion people who have forged a staggering array of cultures. The continent is home to more than 1,500 different languages, some of which originated in the earliest stages of mankind. Amid that diversity, African ingenuity has turned out some of the most affluent, modern cities in the world. This continent has more than just giraffes and savannah. You can have an amazing vacation in Africa and never leave the city. Don’t believe me? Check out these impressive African cities that are just waiting to be explored.
1. Lagos, Nigeria
The slowly rejuvenating nation of Nigeria is already a perfectly wonderful place to visit. Though the city isn’t the capital of Nigeria, it is the most populous city. In fact, it’s the most populous city in all of Africa, which means that Lagos is always bustling. Located right on the coast of the Gulf of Guinea, Lagos is a perfect place if you love hitting the beach. If you’re looking to see what the height of urban African life is, Lagos is the place to go.
2. Gaborone, Botswana
There’s something infectiously alluring about Botswana’s capital city, Gaborone. Though the city has struggled with the AIDS epidemic, there is still plenty about the town to love. Animal lovers can’t miss Gaborone’s Game Reserves, which house everything from rhinos to wildebeest. Gaborone is perpetually thriving, which makes its people some of the most affable on the entire continent.
3. Marrakesh, Morocco
One of the continent’s fastest growing economies, Marrakesh. Morocco has plenty to attract travelers past and present. Once used as an imperial seat, Marrakesh is filled with the extravagant remains of a lost civilization. It’s world-famous market may be run old school, but the rest of the city is filled with modern amenities that speak to the country’s booming economic growth.
4. Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire
Having long since emerged from a turbulent past, Côte d’Ivoire has become one of Africa’s most tranquil nations. The capital city of Abidjan is right on the water and it’s got a thriving social life that’s more than enough to hold your attention for the entirety of a trip. The modern architectural accomplishments include St. Paul’s Cathedral, La Pyramide, and more.
5. Johannesburg, South Africa
Johannesburg might just be the most successful boom town in history. What began as a gold-mining town, the city of Johannesburg is largely known by Americans as the HQ for Apartheid. The city has come a long way since the end of that awful period. The city is filled with wonderful people, excellent food, and plenty to see and do.
6. Tunis, Tunisia
Heading out to see the remains of Tattooine? You’re in luck, because Tunis, the capital city of Tunisia is a beautiful place to arrive and stay during your vacation. When you’re done snooping on Lucas’ sets, then check out the Bardo, an archaeology museum with one-of-a-kind Roman artifacts. The remains of Carthage can be found in the northern parts of the city, too. The incredibly affluent city is constantly growing, as evinced by the slowly expanding ring of the city itself.
7. Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
The capital city of Ethiopia is a reliably good time, every time. The world class infrastructure means that travelers are always safe (within reason, of course … use your best judgement). That makes it easy to enjoy the city’s landmarks like the National Museum and Holy Trinity Cathedral. Even better, the country is filled with fun things to do and plenty of gorgeous people to check out while you do it.
8. Nairobi, Kenya
The culture of Nairobi is one of the most beloved in all of Africa. The city has a history of economic success and a reputation for hospitality toward visitors, there’s little about Nairobi that’s not inviting. The city makes a great place for travelers who are hoping to get out and see the African countryside, because Kenya is one of the most scenic countries on the planet. Even if you don’t want to leave the city, Nairobi is home to the Nairobi National Park, which is world-famous for breeding endangered African rhinos.
9. Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania
There are few better African destinations for a shopaholic than Dar Es Salaam, the capital city of Tanzania located right on the edge of the Indian Ocean. Shopping in the Kariakoo district is something everyone should experience once. The street merchants, bazaars, and shops are filled with handmade products and food. The open-air Village Museum is perfect when you want to see the city’s ancient culture laid out in recreated scenarios. The city’s ethnic diversity makes for some incredibly unique souvenir opportunities.
10. Cairo, Egypt
Though Cairo has been the subject of some political turmoil of late, the capital of Egypt is still a worthwhile place to visit for adventurous travelers. The natural jumping off point for historians, Cairo is home to some jaw-dropping museums and it’s just a hop, skip, and a jump to nearby Giza. When you’re not exploring pyramids, Cairo has plenty of wonderful nightlife and all the delicious food you can cram into your mouth.