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


  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…

  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

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