The biggest thing stopping many from visiting Africa is its perception of instability and insecurity. We’re here to tell you that much of what you see in the international media doesn’t meet people’s experiences on the ground. In fact, every year Africa’s governments spend vast sums of money ensuring the safety of their visitors. Of course, some destinations are always going to be safer than others, and there are a variety of reasons for this. So, if you’re looking for the safest places to visit in Africa, you can’t go wrong with the following nations.
A haven for East Africa’s native wildlife species, Uganda’s national parks are some of the most-impressive on the continent. You’ll find all the bucket list animals here, from elephant to lion. On top of that, visitors to the country have the rare opportunity to delve among the nation’s misty mountains of the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in search of mountain gorillas. Uganda is one of just three countries worldwide where it’s possible to observe these magnificent creatures in their natural habitat.
An ideal vacation choice for those slightly nervous of destinations further south, in many ways Morocco’s cultural heritage leans towards the Mediterranean rather than sub-Saharan Africa. Blessed with everything from Atlantic beaches hailed as the next surfing spot par excellence to dune-filled adventures in the Sahara Desert, Morocco has an excellent safety record for visitors. It even has a dedicated tourist police service should the worst happen.
Entirely encircled by South Africa, Lesotho is sometimes known as the ‘kingdom of the sky’, since its territory lies entirely above 1,000 meters. Its landscapes provide phenomenal options for safari-based tours and hiking expeditions. Both are extremely safe to undertake, with crime against foreigners vanishingly rare among its traditional village set ups. An impressive destination at any time of year, the winter months also offer one of Africa’s few ski resorts!
Some might be surprised to see Kenya in a list of the safest places to visit in Africa. However, statistically, the East African nation is very safe indeed. The country has one of the best tourist infrastructures of anywhere on the continent, and though crime is higher than in Europe and North America, it is rarely deliberately targeted at visitors. You’ll find most major establishments have a good security presence, while many hotels also ask people to pass through a metal detector on arrival. Whether it’s the beaches of the Indian Ocean coast, or the plains of its national parks, visitors to Kenya therefore have little to worry about.
If Botswana hasn’t reached your radar to date, listen up! Not only is this southern African nation one of the safest places to visit in Africa, but it also has one of the world’s most formidable natural wonders – the Okavango Delta. A middle-income country, Botswana has seen uninterrupted democratic rule since independence from the UK in 1966, and has had the lowest levels of corruption on the continent for an entire generation. What’s more, the tourist industry is superbly managed, allowing visitors to float among the seasonal waterways of the Okavango in perfect peace and harmony.
Head to the Seychelles and the biggest risk you’ll probably face is the desire to stay forever. This cluster of islands spread out across the Indian Ocean has incredibly low crime rates across the board, with crime against visitors even more of a rarity. This leaves you free to enjoy the sights and sounds of the islands, be that to top up the tan on one of the many fantastic beaches, go in search of the islands’ giant tortoises, or sample some of its famed fusion foods.
7. South Africa
A multi-party democracy since the end of the apartheid era in the early 1990s, South Africa has made huge strides since the release of Nelson Mandela from prison on Robben Island. Continually rated as one of the top destinations on the continent, the country has everything from iconic Big Five moments in Kruger National Park, to thought-provoking visits to the Apartheid Museum in Johannesburg. Well-ordered and policed, what troubles there are in the country are far removed from any of its tourist destinations.
So safe that few people have even heard of it, Gabon lies on central Africa’s Atlantic coast. Primarily an extension of the Congo rainforest, it has none of the issues that affect its neighboring countries, while still welcoming in the region’s wildlife, from chimpanzees to rare forest elephants. Often described as ‘Africa’s Eden’, almost a quarter of its entire area has been designated national park, with further areas stretching out to sea where humpback whales breach the waters every year between July and September.
Nicknamed ‘the warm heart of Africa’, Malawi has a great reputation for the friendliness of its welcome to visitors, and is one of the best destinations for anyone new to the continent to find their feet. Not only does the country boast a series of national parks and reserves that offer the quintessential safari experience, but it has the added draw of Lake Malawi. This stretches along much of the country’s eastern border and has no end of attractions, from snorkeling to music festivals.
Sparsely populated, Namibia has a unique combination of desert landscapes, wondrous wildlife opportunities, and intriguing German heritage dating back to its time as a colony. Its wide, tree-shaded city streets are as welcoming as any other on the continent, while its open spaces are a magnificent introduction to all the good things about Africa.
What are the Safest Places to Visit in Africa?
If anything, this discussion of the safest places to visit in Africa could be two or three times longer. On the ground, you’ll soon realize that the continent’s negative reputation is largely overblown. Wherever you choose to take your next vacation, you’ll instead find welcoming locals and experiences that will live long in the memory.