The 30 Best Cities in Africa

Most people probably couldn’t name 30 cities in Africa let alone the 30 best cities in Africa! Some people even think Africa is just one big country but I won’t use any names! All I know is that Africa is my favorite continent to travel within and I have taken 21 separate trips to Africa and visited every country in Africa and literally every major city with the exception of Tripoli, Libya. So I think I have some authority to rank the 30 best cities in Africa.

Cape Town, Table Mountain, South Africa

Table Mountain in Cape Town, South Africa


Africa is tough. If you’ve traveled around Africa to more than the corner countries (Egypt, Morocco, South Africa) or if you been more than the package tour/safari areas like Southern Africa (South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Zambia) and East Africa (Tanzania, Kenya) then you should agree. Africa is tough! In fact, only one African city made my 30 best cities in the world list!
Douala, Cameroon, Africa

With my friend Henry and his family in Douala, Cameroon


Africa is my favorite place to travel because of the unknown factor. You never know what’s going to happen each day. I love that! However, you also must distinguish between comfortable like Cape Town and a place like Abidjan, Ivory Coast; which is a good city but you never feel comfortable there.
Tana, Antananarivo, Madagascar, Africa

Antananarivo, Madagascar


While Cape Town is an undeniable #1, it get’s really dicey from there and I could’ve gone a lot of ways with this list. Here is the criteria I used to pick this list:
Asmara, Eritrea, Lee Abbamonte

Visiting a school in Asmara, Eritrea


- I must have visited the city at least once.
– Countries could have more than one entry if applicable.
– It must be a world capital or major city and I distinguish major cities from towns like Timbuktu, Moshi or Agadez for instance.
– I did not include any beach resort towns like Sharm El Sheikh, Diani Beach or Hurghada.
– I did not include any islands with the exception of Madagascar because it is a generally accepted part of Africa and Antananarivo is a nice, big city.
– I based all selections on my experiences in the city and are my experiences alone.

Algiers, Algeria
Here are the 30 best cities in Africa!

30. Douala, Cameroon
29. Libreville, Gabon
28. Monrovia, Liberia
27. Nairobi, Kenya
26. Brazzaville, Republic of the Congo
25. Freetown, Sierra Leone
24. Lusaka, Zambia
23. Bujumbura, Burundi
22. Maputo, Mozambique
21. Kampala, Uganda
20. Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso
19. Antananarivo, Madagascar
18. Tunis, Tunisia
17. Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
16. Bamako, Mali
15. Asmara, Eritrea
14. Dakar, Senegal
13. Durban, South Africa
12. Tangier, Morocco
11. Cairo, Egypt
10. Algiers, Algeria
9. Windhoek, Namibia
8. Marrakech, Morocco
7. Abidjan, Ivory Coast
6. Kigali, Rwanda
5. Accra, Ghana
4. Luxor, Egypt
3. Johannesburg, South Africa
2. Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
1. Cape Town, South Africa

Comments

  1. It would have been nice to see a little blurb about each city as to why you liked it (if that’s possible, maybe there’s too many things). For example, I’m familiar with most of the cities in the top 10, but what was compelling about Accra? Or Kigali?

    • I once asked him to add hyperlinks from his blog to another one of his earlier “Top 30″ lists for Top 30 World Capitals or something like that. Not sure how many of these cities have gotten a proper blog write up in the past, but I agree, Scott, that adding hyperlinks to these Top 30 cities do make sense!

      But yes, just ask Lee if can hyperlink some of these places on his Top 30 lists, and I am sure he will be happy to oblige when he gets time.

      • ya I have written about most if not all of the cities…I didn’t add them for whatever reason…mainly bc it takes forever! But feel free to search for any of the cities to get my take

  2. I have only heard of like 5 of these cities, LOL

  3. Nice list Lee. I have travelled much of Africa for my work and I must say that Addis is my favorite city in Africa.

  4. Can’t really argue with this list, I haven’t been to 90% of the cities but Cape Town had to be #1. Fun list, thanks.

  5. Abidjan represent! I have actually been there and loved it!

  6. Fikre Sellasie says:

    Addis Ababa is # 2. Nicee

  7. I’ve been to nine of these. So a lot more to go. Great list.

  8. I love reading these articles and your blog posts. But one thing I just noticed that puzzled me. Your list of places you’ve been is missing Equatorial Guinea which is fact a sovereign nation.

    • Jesse, it is very confusing because the TCC recently split the country of Equatorial Guinea into two parts of Bata and Malabo…I have been to Malabo, the capital but there is a small exclave on the mainland that I didn’t visit…it’s stupid but they changed the list so I changed it to reflect their changes but I have still 100% been there.

  9. Great to see Kampala – my city featured here :)

    Much as Kampala is ranked among Africa’s most safe cities to travel, we urge you to take the same precautions you would in any other country, international city or town, particularly if sight-seeing in urban areas.

    Most parts of Uganda can be safely visited by tourists. Take common-sense precautions (not walking alone in deserted areas at night). Valuable should be kept out of sight and vehicles locked. Don’t carry your important and portable items in the backpack.

    I look forward to seeing you all in our beautiful country :-)

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