My fellow Nigerians, how’s the current weather treating you? Do you have light in your location? How much have you spent on fuel in the past month? I think Davido needs to be called in for questioning because of the current state of the country now, “E choke!”. I was discussing with a friend the possibility of leaving the country, aka JAPA-ism, but even that will take some time to materialize. So what is the short-term solution to our current suffering? A vacation! 

My mum and I had previously agreed and planned to travel to Benin to visit my aunt. At least a change of scenery would do us some good. When the time came to book our tickets, we were in for a rude awakening. All flight tickets within Nigeria cost fifty thousand naira for a one-way ticket. Round-trip tickets for both of us would cost two hundred thousand plus! We had planned other stopovers along our trip, and, of course, there would be other expenses. After doing our calculation, we discovered that we would spend close to five hundred thousand naira just to travel within Nigeria. So I thought, why not look for an African country with beautiful tourist attractions to explore? With a little extra money, we would be able to have a beautiful one or two weeks getaway.

You might be thinking, isn’t it too early in the year for a vacation? Well, people start taking trips as early as March. Plus, the extenuating circumstances in the country are all the excuses you need. If you need more reasons to book a trip, the Easter holiday is fast approaching, so you can plan towards that. All those leave days you’ve been saving? It’s time to cash in on them now and take that break that you truly deserve.

In no particular order, here are seven African countries to visit and the five best places to visit in each of them:

1) Seychelles

  • La Digue Island: La Digue is an island in Seychelles, in the Indian Ocean off East Africa. It’s known for its beaches, like Anse Source d’Argent, dotted with granite boulders on the west coast.
  • Vallée de Mai: Vallée de Mai Nature Reserve is a nature park and a UNESCO World Heritage Site on the island of Praslin, Seychelles. It consists of a well-preserved palm forest and a flagship species made up of the island’s endemic coco de Mer, as well as five other endemic palms.
  • Praslin Island: Praslin is an island in Seychelles, in the Indian Ocean. It’s known for its palm-fringed beaches, like Anse Georgette and Anse Lazio, both bordered by large granite boulders.
  • Mahé Island: Mahé is the largest island in the Seychelles archipelago, in the Indian Ocean off East Africa. Its terrain is defined by white-sand beaches such as those in the popular resort area of Beau Vallon and granite peaks, including the rainforested Morne Seychellois.
  • Beau Vallon: Beau Vallon is a bay on the northwestern coast of Mahé in Seychelles. Beau Vallon Beach is well-frequented and is possibly the most popular beach on the island. It is a base for diving and snorkelling due to its clear waters and coral reefs.

2) Namibia

  • Sossuvlei: Sossusvlei is a salt and clay pan surrounded by high red dunes, located in the southern part of the Namib Desert, in the Namib-Naukluft National Park of Namibia.
  • Swakopmund: Swakopmund is a coastal city in Namibia, west of the capital, Windhoek. Its sandy beaches face the Atlantic Ocean.
  • Etosha National Park: Etosha National Park is a national park in northwestern Namibia and one of the largest national parks in Africa.
  • Walvis Bay: Walvis Bay is a port town on the coast of Namibia. Sheltered by the Pelican Point sand spit, its tidal lagoon is home to abundant birdlife, including flamingos, pelicans, and Damara terns.
  • Himba village: The Himba are indigenous people with an estimated population of about 50,000 people living in northern Namibia, in the Kunene Region.

3) Rwanda

  • Lake Kivu: Lake Kivu is one of the African great lakes. It lies on the border between the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Rwanda.
  • Akagera National Park: Akagera National Park lies in eastern Rwanda, hugging the border with Tanzania. It’s characterized by woodland, swamps, low mountains and savannah.
  • Nyungwe Forest: Nyungwe National Park lies in southwest Rwanda. It’s a vast area of mountain rainforest, home to many species of chimpanzees, plus owl-faced and colobus monkeys. 
  • Kigali Genocide Center: The Kigali Genocide Memorial remembers the victims of the Genocide against the Tutsi and teaches about peace.
  • The Volcanoes National Park: The Volcanoes National Park in Musanze is home to intriguing but endangered mountain gorillas.

4) Tanzania: 

  • Serengeti National Park: Serengeti National Park is one of the world’s largest game reserves and is considered the best safari destination in Africa.
  • Mount Kilimanjaro: Mount Kilimanjaro is a dormant volcano in Tanzania. It has three volcanic cones: Kibo, Mawenzi, and Shira. It is the highest mountain in Africa and the highest single free-standing mountain above sea level in the world.
  • Changuu Island: Changuu Island is a small island 5.6 km northwest of Stone Town, Unguja, Zanzibar, Tanzania. The island saw use as a prison for rebellious slaves in the 1860s and also functioned as a coral mine, giving it its nickname, Prison Island.
  • Stone Town, Zanzibar: Stone Town is known for its ancient architecture and street food culture and is a major attraction for many tourists, who can relax in knowing that, in addition to Swahili, English is widely spoken. 
  • Kikuletwa Hotsprings: The hot springs of Kikuletwa, also known as Chemka Hot Springs, are close to the village of Rundugai and are one of the most beautiful places in Tanzania to relax. The small pond is surrounded by palm and fig trees with winding roots. 

5) Egypt

  • The Pyramids of Giza: The Pyramids of Giza, also spelt Gizeh, are three 4th-dynasty (c. 2575–c. 2465 BCE) pyramids erected on a rocky plateau on the west bank of the Nile River near Al-Jzah (Giza) in northern Egypt. In ancient times, they were included among the Seven Wonders of the World.
  • Siwa Oasis: The Siwa Oasis is an urban oasis in Egypt between the Qattara Depression and the Great Sand Sea in the Western Desert. The oasis has been renowned since ancient times for the presence of a temple, built during the Twenty-Sixth Pharaonic Dynasty (664–525 BCE), which hosted the oracle of the god Ammon and allegedly attracted the visit of Alexander the Great in 331 BCE.
  • Luxor Temple: The Luxor Temple is a large Ancient Egyptian temple complex located on the east bank of the Nile River in the city today known as Luxor, and was constructed in approximately 1400 BCE.
  • The Nile River: The Nile is a major north-flowing river in northeastern Africa. It flows into the Mediterranean Sea. The longest river in Africa, it has historically been considered the longest river in the world.
  • The Valley of the Kings: The Valley of the Kings, also known as the Valley of the Gates of the Kings, is a valley in Egypt where, for a period of nearly 500 years from the 16th to the 11th century BC, rock-cut tombs were excavated for the pharaohs and powerful nobles of the New Kingdom.

6) Morocco 

  • Chefchaouen: Chefchaouen, or Chaouen, is a city in the Rif Mountains of northwest Morocco. It’s known for the striking, blue-washed buildings of its old town. Leather and weaving workshops line its steep cobbled lanes.
  • Marrakech: Marrakesh is a former imperial city in western Morocco that is a major economic centre and home to mosques, palaces, and gardens.
  • Sahara Desert: The Moroccan Sahara is located in the south and east of the country, mostly along the border with Algeria.
  • Hassan II Mosque: The Hassan II Mosque is a mosque in Casablanca, Morocco. It is the second-largest functioning mosque in Africa and is the 7th largest in the world.
  • Jardin Marjorelle-Yves Saint Laurent Mansion: The Majorelle Garden is a two-and-a-half acre botanical garden and artist’s landscape garden in Marrakech, Morocco. It was created by the French Orientalist artist Jacques Majorelle over almost forty years, starting in 1923, and features a Cubist villa designed by the French architect Paul Sinoir in the 1930s.

7) South Africa

  • Table Mountain: Table Mountain is a flat-topped mountain, forming a prominent landmark overlooking the city of Cape Town in South Africa. It is a significant tourist attraction, with many visitors using the cableway or hiking to the top.
  • Kruger National Park: Kruger National Park, in northeastern South Africa, is one of Africa’s largest game reserves. Its high density of wild animals includes the Big 5: lions, leopards, rhinos, elephants, and buffalos.
  • Boulders Beach: Also known as Boulders Bay, is a popular tourist spot because of a colony of African penguins that settled there in 1982. 
  • Mpumalanga: Mpumalanga means “the place where the sun rises” and the province is known for its astounding natural beauty; a landscape where cascading waterfalls meet wetlands, deep forests, and savannahs filled with grazing wildlife.
  • Bo-kaap: The Bo-Kaap neighbourhood is known for its brightly coloured homes and cobblestone streets. The area is traditionally a multicultural neighbourhood.

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