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 26 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


  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

        • Shedrick Williams says:

          I would just like to know, how do you have time to travel soooo much? Do you travel for your occupation? How is this all possible? Nice story tho…

    • Mr scout what do u mean by what is compelling by Accra

  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 🙂

  10. I also LOVED Addis, great African city. Heading back to Nairobi in a few weeks, which is always fun. Have you been to Arusha? A great little, but growing, city – home base to Tanzania’s safari industry. BTW loved hearing from you during the opening session of TBEX last weekend!

  11. addis, Ethiopia on the list, great

  12. glad to see my city on your lists. addis, thank you

  13. I have only been to Johannesburg, Accra, and dipped into Cape Town on your list.
    I reckon from another of your posts that you consider Lagos, Nigeria to be the worst place on the planet. I do disagree because Lagos is a VERY fun city. It is engaging, busy and extremely commercial.
    That said, my main comment on this list is, “Have you been to Abuja or Calabar? Both are in Nigeria.

  14. Such a misleading title! It really should be called “My favorite African cities”. I actually thought for a minute that there was going to be some objective way of ranking them.

  15. Any ranking of cities should be based on something. If its facilities, infrastructure, night life, tourism or even eating experience then Cities like Bujumbura or Kigali will never rank higher than Luanda, Angola or Nairobi, Kenya. If you based your ranking on beauty then Lamu or Mombasa should have been somewhere.

  16. natnael workneh says:

    addis number two its great ive been there for a year and i love it

  17. nwanekezi chikezie says:

    Top 30 best cities in Africa and Lagos,Nigeria ain’t even included? I reckon you got issues with Nigeria. you’re not qualified to write any list of ranks.

  18. I bet u gat a problem with Nigeria, coz everyone knows abuja, Nigeria is one of the most beautiful city in Africa.
    but you didn’t mention it. well I don’t think you should be writing this kind off list coz your not qualified.
    sorry I’m neither upset nor a hater I’m just being truthful.

  19. Peter Pau says:

    Ur article is laughable…No single Nigerian city,,,back off,,Scam

  20. héé this is algiers in the photo isn’t ?? i live right here, you welcome man.

    • mshelia yeti says:

      This rating is very wrong, where is Lagos, Abuja and Calabar. the rater is not a traveller so he lacks the ability to rate correctly.

  21. hey bro rewrite your list cause it’s very wrong. Africans or people that have really travelled around Africa will agree with me that Calabar and Abuja should have been among top five. bro if you have issues with Nigeria just write it there “Nigeria city should have been among top five but i have issues with them ” it will be understandable

  22. Thank you for listing your 30 Best Cities in the World. No mention of oriented or fully accessible to people with disabilities. That’s why no interest in second best cities. I hope I will find a few accommodating. I like your adventures. Be safe.

  23. What criteria did you use to come up with that list ? I think you are a bit biased,I’ve been to some of those cities esp Lusaka,what’s so fascinating about Lusaka? The fact that Zimbabwe is currently going through economic challenges has made people to think it’s a horrible place to be in,ask yourself why a lot of Europeans esp the British loved to visit Zimbabwe? I would personally say Bulawayo is one of the friendliest and most peaceful cities,not only in Africa but the whole world. Harare isn’t bad too,I fail to understand why not even one of them couldn’t make it in YOUR top 30. Anyway it’s YOUR top 30 not everyone’s

  24. even d countries that Dangote of Nigeria one of the world richest declared free food for indegenes sometime ago also have finer cities than Abuja,Calabar & Akwaibom, guy u never talk wet in dey vex u- just confess OK!

  25. Nairobi is No 27? REALLY? like REALLY? comes after brazzaville, kigali, bujumbura? Where’s Abuja? what crap!

  26. I have been to a few of the cities mentioned, though Cape Town is not among them.

    I have no qualms about Adis Ababa because the people are really good to visitors and the place is very safe no matter the time.

    But I take exception to Cairo, the people are rude, manipulative and the streets very noisy.

  27. What!!!!! guy I think you don’t know what you you just did,, you listed Africa’s top 30 and There is no Lagos,Abuja or Calabar….lol…you can’t even list top 5 and Abuja won’t be in it…and every one in Africa will agree that Lagos,Abuja and Calabar has to be there.

  28. Also there is no Luanda, Porto Louis, Agadir,,,….well anybody can wake up and type something for anyone to read..

  29. Adeyemi says:

    Well! can i say this impressive? Where the hell is lagos and Abuja?
    this must be a joke i want to believe even Ibadan(the largest city in west africa ) and one of the ancient in Nigeria is not there….It is obvious you have not been anywhere man.

  30. anivincon says:

    ENUGU, ABUJA and CALABAR remain d most Tourist Attractive in West Africa and d most peaceful west african cities…hmmm u beta reconsider ur rating ka m gwakwa gi oooh!

  31. Mephors Macben says:

    I would like to say that it is incomplete to ignore cities like Abuja and Lagos from 30 best cities in Africa. The poster do not know Africa yet!

  32. This guy is just a fraud, and this list is an unfunny joke. You can’t make a top 5 best cities in Africa without Abuja. You can’t make a top 10 without Luanda and Calabar. You can’t make a top 30 and there’s no Lagos! And Nairobi is 27? Like really? Nairobi should atleast be in top 20. And you place these junk cities (that can mostly be best called slum towns) to deceive people? Hey, people ignore this guy, he’s not been anywhere!

    • Henry Nyumah says:

      Henry Nyumah.Octomber 10, 2016 at 2:13 pm
      I will like to said it is complete disrespect to cities like Lagos of Nigeria and Abidjan of Ivory Coast to not being mentioned in the list above.

  33. Mashbee says:

    Yeap, i think my fellow Nigerians are talking the truth, because Lagos most have to be involve. And it dos not mean selfishness, That is just the truth.

  34. Shedrack says:

    Abuja and Lagos are dam good places with great infrastructoral buildings,how ever rate this has 10/100 F9

  35. To me Lagos, port, calabar, uyo, Benin and Abuja all in Nigeria are among de list

  36. guy sid he included his experience alone. and thats what it.

  37. Wow. Douala, Libreville, and Ouagadougou are sh*tholes. I’d put Yaounde and Lome ahead of them for sure, even Cotonou. I’d also move Kampala up the list, it’s pretty nice, for an African city that is.

  38. You re a complete novice in the area of voyage and ranking. How can Lagos, Calabar, Abuja and Darkar not make the list?? You re a politician then and please stop making a fool of yourself.

  39. Common……Abuja’s got to be among the first 5….Luanda, Darka, Lagos definitely have to be among the top 20 as well…..

  40. Addis can the most beauty from johannesburg?

  41. @Lee Abbamonte, u really hv 2 visit Abuja nd Lagos…

  42. Alfred Evasam says:

    I think you should travel more to a country like Nigeria where you are going to see beautiful cities like Lagos, Abuja and the rest of them
    Though I understand that you have never been there so you have to travel there, then rewrite your list

  43. adeyemi wale says:

    Where is abuja, lagos and port cot. Pls you still have work to do

  44. this guy is a joker.Maputo?? you are crazy its not even in top50.these are ppl who portray Africa as backward as it was never in 50yrs ago.are you an African? ?

  45. I think the poster don’t know what his doing,Lagos,abuja and many good places in nigeria…abeg try make u reach naija I believe say ur new here

  46. Zirimmenya Joseph says:

    Is the list ranked in order? coz Nairobi would be near the top 10 in Africa.

  47. Honourable lukman yusuf says:

    Nonesense!!, where is Abuja, Lagos, Calabar, nobody should believe this list, the writer is a faker and a novice traveller, list witheld untill properly completed!

  48. let’s be candid pls.though i’m a Nigerian too.u nigerians are indeed right for ur comments towards the absence of only lagos and abuja among the metropolitan cities in africa.but do u kno that a city could be rated for some feautures like,infrastructural facilities,tourism,economic factors.believe me that some cities has been existing bfor abuja and lagos.but i’m proud of my fifth oil producer in d world,most populated and largest economy strenght in africa,producer of the most richest man in africa.producer of one of the metropolitan cities in the world.i love nigeria,my father land.

  49. 9kon_kingz says:

    where is Abuja, Lagos,Calabar,Akwa_ibom, Even Ondo state, u
    r sick Bro _go get help

  50. Harare? Bulawayo? Please lets not let political situations cloud our judgements

  51. Why Kinshasa my capital city is not mentioned on list.

  52. Nairobi should be in top 5. Kampala is not even a city its a town

  53. Accra,Ghana among top5,like dat b’cs I’m frm gh but I think Abuja,nijah should b among the top 5.

  54. Thomas Anthony says:

    Yeah am glad to see my city Dar es Salaam the name it self symbolize how peace is Tanzania!!! Am a Tanzanian welcome home guyz

  55. This is a fake blog…this person has never been to nairobi or lagos…they shld be in top 5 …..u can confirm in all other blogs

  56. I swear kampala aint a city….its jst a steet????????????

  57. Economic challenges doesnt affect the beautifullness of the city.Harare is good

  58. Sayeed Omar says:

    Nigerians you are too emotional for nothing, the list is right, You probably don,t live in your own country and have never visited the rest of African cities to compare yourselves. Yes Lagos and Abuja might be nice on their own accord, but in comparison they could not be in the first 30 cities… get real my fellow kinsmen. My Nigerian friends admitted to me that you really have riches but your cities don’t look that good. Lee did a great Job. KUDOS!!

  59. I am Kenyan, i had your mindset until i visited Nigeria. There is no place like Abuja in Kenya. Besides Nairobi no Kenyan city compares to Lagos or Calabar. Just my opinion based on my first hand experience.

  60. really guys theres no need to use abusive words to respond….he clearly stating his own opinion on matters…he has the right.

  61. sakiru idowu says:

    anyway you try your best by compared african cities to make the list but your research is zero to everybody where is abuja and lagos in the list you have alot to do. you must not write nonsense again. Warning!

  62. personally I think this list is right guys come on Lagos got the most crapy infrastructure I ever seen …
    deal with it

  63. Cape town might be the finest city in the continent,God can have it, you can’t compare Accra to Port-Harcourt, gosh no Calabar,men you are pathetic, Lagos is in Africa’s top ten cities yet can’t see a glimpse, wat a mess? I Don’t think you know anything about Nigeria. Abuja is the second finest, pretiest and coolest city in Africa.where is it in your list, the first day i visit Abuja,i was lost at the sight of Metiama. Accra worth not top ten,while Adis Ababa ought to be fourth…#1 cape twon, #2 Abuja #3 Johannesburg #4 Adis Ababa, sorry men your list have too many mistakes, you list them in the way you saw them in movies, sorry Nigerians doesn’t act in Abuja,and while acting in Lagos they use under developed places, next time make resarch before uploading a shit like this in the Net

  64. waw all Africa cities are ours . Addis is my best

  65. Accra is the best one to visit. Many tourist attractions for fun and having good time. It’s a must visit place.

  66. Pianim Bismark says:

    Kumasi Ghana is my nicest city in Africa

  67. emmanuel says:

    no lagos, abuja, calabar and anambra in top 20, guy u must be sick

  68. Esseyas tewelde says:

    Asmera is best ciyt in Africa !!

  69. this is nonsense, even a country like Ghana who only have one airport is among the list, this is a fake list, it’s untrue, unfounded and unacceptable. Naija I rep

    • Funny! How can a small country like Ghana have numerous international airports as compared to a very vast and huge Nigeria. However there r several local airports in Ghana. Logically and pragmatically make your opinion next time Favour

  70. Siaka Sesay says:

    Lee, i think you need to revisit africa one more time.

  71. Lee, why is Abuja, Lagos, Uyo and Calabar is missing in your list? All this cities is in Nigeria

  72. well arreged

  73. Eliud Simiyu says:

    Nairobi is the best,Hass Towers coming up in upper hill and when complete,it will be Africa,s new roof.Double decker road in progress and already headquarter of almost any multinational that wants to set foot in Africa.Nairobi!!!!

  74. Sincerely speaking Mr. Lee had tried, but I’m sure he had not visited all African Countries. He’d just assumed and approximated. The matter of fact is that ABUJA , Nigeria should make the 1st 3. In fact, Nigeria alone can make the 1st 30. To my greatest surprise is seeing KAMPALA in the list. What a damn!! I don’t think Kampala could make the 1st 50. I am a Nigerian currently in Kampala. Sorry to say, Wuse Zone alone is more beautiful than Kampala. I must say that the Blogger had confessed that he’d not visited the Giant of Africa where we have Abuja,Lagos,Port Harcourt,Kano,Kaduna,Calabar,etc…..

  75. I am not biased. You can try it for yourself, though I don’t know the scenario you used in the rating. I am assuring you that once you visit a place like Abuja, you will never want to leave it…. It is extremely beautiful and well planned.. Just google the name and see the Image results. I have never seen a single street in Kampala and Cotonou that can compete with Wuse, Abuja and I can even swear. Also, in Abuja, a single lane of the road can accomodate 4 cars at once….. I have to pause here and urge you to please visit Nigeria and I swear you shall update this list.

  76. muhammad umar says:

    my fellow nigerians, let’s give Lee a second chance since he admits not visiting Abuja before. But i believe when ever he comes to nigeria and visits lagos, abuja and calabar, u will definately see changes in his next ratings.

    • Hi Muhammad and thanks for being level headed! I didn’t include Abuja on this list because I have never been to Abuja or any city in Nigeria other than Lagos where I had a terrible experience. This is why I didn’t include Lagos on this list. I understand it is the biggest city in Africa and many people love it. However, this list was based on my own travels and my own experiences. That said, I did not have a good experience in Lagos, in fact it was terrible. I do look forward to coming back to Nigeria sometime soon and giving it another chance and I have a good friend who now lives in Lagos who begs me to come visit and again, soon enough I will. Thanks again for your level headed comment and I hope to be back soon and change my mind for the next list!

  77. muhammad umar says:

    mr. Lee pls try to come to nigeria, and by the time u visits lagos, abuja &calabar, i believe u will come out with a different list in ur next ratings.

  78. Mr lee. Abuja will make first in your list when you come to Nigeria.

  79. To rate a bubbling city the main things that you consider are public amenities like electricity and water supply with general circumstances. i agree that Nigeria people are great welcoming folks with nice savoring dishes but government need to do much more on public amenities to attract visitors and investors especially electricity supply. Tourists do not enjoy blackout and sound of generators. This particular fact always make Nigeria get poor rating for tourist destination.

  80. Andre olumide says:

    This list is whack…….where do you put cities like lagos and abuja?….or are u anti-nigerian.

  81. Dude Nairobi no 27? We’re you born yesterday?

  82. Clearly you’ve not been to Mombasa. But that’s fine.

  83. BRIDGET BRIXY says:

    This is interesting, but dnt feel bad guys, i think all you also have to do is to visit atleast over 10 cities not supporting ur city coz it is where you stay, and dn\’t compare two cities because they are are the only ones you have visited, and mind you this list is based on a personal experience in these cities, look at things like amenities, cleanliness, hospitality, language, security, freedom, life(both day and night) some cities are even restricted on being out at night like bt in Kampala it z ur choice to sleep, check the hospitality man……Lee thanks anyways for the ranking, I think the guys in Nigeria relax another list is yet to be issued

  84. The guy is ok, remember he made a research basing on his own criteria so lets not judge him too much,

  85. Hi guys, lets appriciate his work, we all know that his rating is by his own personel research..even me i prefare port harcourt and calabar to lagos. So lets wait for his new update. Thanks Lee, but so many cities a awfuly ranked like Nairobi

  86. Dint knw Kampala was such a big deal to de Nigerians!!!!!!

  87. fernandez .k. patricia says:

    I love my fellow Nigerians. Predictable as hell cause I knew this would happen. Yet always right. Good people.

  88. i dont even understand dis rating. UYO city should have made the top 5 and even abuja.

  89. Daniel olamide says:

    What about Lagos in nigeria. am not happy for not seeing dat lovely city there

  90. Anthony Enu says:

    If the guy is based on security then Accra should be first or second on this lists. Accra is peaceful city in Africa

  91. ABUJA, NIGERIA says:

    were did u keep d great ABUJA?? even lagos, calabar,uyo, even enugu. u gotta be kiddin. cape town is d best for sure then ABUJA. i know lagos has its floors!! but trust me its a unique city, u will get used to it, but it can be very terrible. lol, lagos is just like our
    own new york!!. pls visit Nigeria once more. A strong black OIL rich nation with largest GDP in africa.

  92. ABUJA, NIGERIA says:

    plsss google photos of ABUJA and see for urself. mind u its d only well planned city in africa and its plans are STRICTLY adhered to. planned into 3 phases only one has been developed. by the time to two phases are opened for development cape town will loose its position to abuja.

  93. Am not sure thant rank is in order imagine Abuja or Lagos in Nigeria is not there that list must be partial

  94. The only thing thats going to make this list great, unbiased and appreciable is when Abuja is ranked second to cape town.this is like a list of African richest men without Dangote, and like a list of african most populous cities without lagos, kano and Ibadan, is just like ranking 30 longest bridges in Africa without 3rd mainland bridge. The list is ranked like there is no country called Nigeria, If kampala, freetown, Accra can make the list why not Lagos and Abuja. Did you really visit the Lagos island, Victoria Island, Banana Island, Badagery, Ikeja and even Maryland. all in Lagos, i dont think so, maybe you where only on the mainland like surulele, or yaba. Cos Lagos is the fastest developing city in Nigeria. I’m not saying we are dictating for you but 30 best African Cities without Abuja and Lagos is a scrab. Thats why most Nigerians are angry and upset. If a person ranks world best 30 cities without New york and Paris how would you look at such a person. mind you almost all Nigerian films were soothed in Festac Lagos…mhen dis one sef na yawa oh..e dey lik mango mango

  95. Haha really Harare is not mentioned what ,,,,Harare is only surpassed by Johannesburg ,Capetown ,Durban ,Pretoria ,in terms of development and infrastructure in Southern Africa ,,,,in East Africa Harare is at same level with Nairobi ,,,,,as for some cities mentioned there its a lie ,,,,, Harare is in top 10 ,,,even Bulawayo Zimbabwe’s second city is far much developed than any other capitals mentioned in that list ,,,also considering that Harare and Bulawayo have not been developed for some past 15 years now due to economic hardships

  96. What about Harare that List is biased towards ,,,political or likeness of the country ,Harare is far much developed than those cities mentioned ,,only South African cities of Johannesburg ,Capetown ,Durban ,Pretoria are better than Harare ,Nairobi ,Djibouti ,Cairo ,Port Louis ,must have been listed better

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