I have visited every country in the world (before turning 28), and more than 1,500 destinations since I went alone to Egypt at the age of 17. It is difficult to make a top list of the best countries to visit in Africa, but below are 10 of my favourite countries based on my experiences with more than 3,500 days of travel so far.
I have visited all of South Africa’s provinces and spent almost five months visiting many destinations in the country. My favourite city in the world is Cape Town, and my favourite region is the Western Cape. I have also experienced three great train journeys, The Blue Train, Rovos Rail and the Shongololo Express, which were all very impressive. I have experienced extraordinary safari experiences in Krüger National Park and Sabi Sands and stayed over a month in Johannesburg, which is my favourite underrated city in the world.
The food is fantastic, and my favourite restaurant in the world is probably The Test Kitchen in Cape Town. I also spend a good amount of time chasing some of the difficult African visas in Pretoria. South Africa has excellent value for money and a lot to offer. South Africa is a diverse country where you could travel for years and still have exciting things left to see. A worthy candidate for the best country in the world to visit.
A former German colony under the name German South West Africa. I came to Namibia by train on the Shongololo Express and had many great experiences in the country. I stayed with locals in the capital, Windhoek, and I went to the famous Namib desert and enjoyed the extraordinary Sossusvlei.
Namibia has some of the best nature and natural landscapes in the world, and it is the second least densely populated country on earth. It has many similarities to South Africa but is a lot safer. Namibia also has fantastic infrastructure and friendly people. An amazing country to visit.
I spent a month in the Seychelles and stayed at North Island and Frégate Island. Two of the most exclusive resorts in the world. I have visited the three main islands of Mahé, Praslin and La Digue, and other beautiful islands such as Bird Island and Desroches. All stunningly beautiful and with a relaxed atmosphere. My best visit was the first one in 2009, but since, Seychelles has unfortunately changed into a mass-tourism destination instead of being a much more exclusive one.
One of the best countries in the world for safari. I spent a week and had extraordinary safari experiences in Okovango Delta, Moremi Game Reserve, and Chobe National Park. They are very exclusive and not the best value, but they are definitely impressive.
Rwanda is known as the land of a thousand hills and was probably the most surprising country in my travels. I didn’t have high expectations when I first arrived in Rwanda, but it was fantastic. The infrastructure is fantastic by African standards, which was surprising. I first travelled from Kigali to Gisenyi and back. Then from Kigali to Bujumbura, the capital of Burundi. All trips were spectacular, with stunning landscapes. Kigali is historically interesting and cheap to get around by public motorbikes.
I arrived in Zimbabwe on the famous Rovos Rail train and had a lovely time in Victoria Falls for six nights, staying in six different places. I experienced great safaris and a helicopter trip of the famous Victoria Falls waterfall. Zimbabwe is not the most attractive country due to logistics and a limited amount of flights compared to, for example, South Africa, but I would like to visit the country again and know it better. The first visit was fantastic.
7. Sao Tome and Principe
This former Portuguese colony is located in the Atlantic Ocean and is a beautiful small country with the smaller Principe island ticking the boxes for a stunning, remote and adventurous island experience.
I have been to Tanzania a few times and have been very impressed. Extraordinary safari experiences and friendly people stand out. I stayed at Singita Grumeti Reserves, which Travel + Leisure has named the best hotel in the world on more than one occasion. It was an outstanding safari experience with outstanding accommodation. I also stayed at other beautiful properties on mainland Tanzania as well as on their stunning Zanzibar island, which I have visited twice.
Another great country to travel in East Africa and one that is quite developed by African standards. I have visited Kenya several times and had great experiences. Hemingways, House of Waine and Hogmead in the Karen were all lovely, while I travelled far partly by uncomfortable public transport to reach Ngerende Island Lodge. I would like to experience more of Kenya again in the future.
I did ‘resort hopping’ in this Indian Ocean country and stayed at more than 30 beautiful properties in the country, seeing many beautiful spots, as well as visiting the remote Rodrigues island, which is one of my favourite islands in the world, and something that felt different; like arriving in another country. Mauritius is an expensive destination, but there are great value rates at some of the resorts in the low season.
The Seychelles, Sao Tome and Principe and Mauritius are technically not in Africa as they are island nations but appear in some lists as African nations.