Africa is one of the most diverse and interesting continents on the planet. From its expansive savannas to its varied cultures and cities, Africa proves to be a place of wonder to all that visit. On a continent so vast that has so much to see and do, it’s often hard to decide which places are a must see. Here’s a look at 5 of the most amazing cities Africa has to offer, which we hope will help you when making your decision when it comes to choosing where to visit.
Cape Town, South Africa
Located along the South African coast, lies a bustling city with much to see, do and experience. Cape Town is the capital city of South Africa and is known to have something for everyone. The city has access to some of the most beautiful beaches on earth, one of which (Boulders Beach) offers visitors a rare chance to see a resident penguin colony in its natural habitat. For those who enjoy heights, Table Mountain provides impressive views of Cape Town from above. Visitors can choose to hike to the top of the Table Mountain or take a cable car to the top, where they can eat lunch or sip a glass of wine while admiring the panoramic view. Outside of its scenic natural beauty, the city also offers a lot in the way of entertainment. The Victoria and Alfred Waterfront provides typical waterfront fare, including a Ferris wheel and restaurants where visitors can sample delicious local dishes. Accommodation ranges from budget priced hostels to luxury hotels. For the more budget conscious or those who don’t need a wide range of amenities, hostels can provide great alternative lodging.
Luxor is a premier destination for those visiting the African continent. The city is often called “the world’s greatest open-air museum” due to the fact that it is home to several ancient, archaeological finds. Visitors can engage in picturesque views of the Nile River or witness the innovative aspects of the ancient Egyptians architectural designs by touring the ancient monuments and temples. The Valley of the Kings is the final resting place of the pharaohs (including Tutankhamun or “King Tut”) who ruled during the 18th, 19th and 20th dynasties. Here visitors can view the elaborate wall paintings depicting the journey in which the soul must take in order to reach the underworld. Luxor also offers its visitors the ability to learn more about the mummification process. Once visitors have had their fill of the fascinating history within the city, they can take a relaxing boat ride up the Nile River. Accommodation within Luxor is typically provided through hotels, but these vary in price and there are suitable choices for every budget.
Stone Town, Tanzania
Stone Town is a must see for those who enjoy beautiful beaches and relaxation. This city offers visitors plenty of old world charm in addition to its incredible culture and white sand beaches. The city boasts alluring, improvident houses and an eclectic bazaar. Unlike other cities which pride themselves on the hustle and bustle and over the top amenities, Stone Town is quaint, instead focusing on the intricate details and warmth that makes even the most far away visitor feel at home. The city offers a variety of accommodation through local hotels. The best part is that many are located either right on the beach or within walking distance and even with the close proximity to the beach that would typically result in higher lodging costs, most hotels in Stone Town are modestly priced, allowing even budget-conscious visitors to indulge in beautiful scenery during their stay.
Bahir Dar, Ethiopia
Photo by Alastair Rae via Flickr
Home to many of the world’s oldest monasteries and churches, Bahir Dar is another natural wonder. Visitors can take in the exquisite sights of Lake Tana or visit one of the many tropical gardens the city has to offer. A short trip can also lead to the Blue Nile Falls. Known as the “Smoke of Fire, Blue Nile Falls has one of the most dramatic sights Bahir Dar has to offer. 1312 feet wide and dropping 150 feet, the sheer power of the falls is breathtaking for all who visit. Bahir Dar also has an open-air market where tourists can purchase a variety of different items, including woven cloths, baskets, and coffee. Accommodation ranges from small bed and breakfasts to larger hotels offering greater amenities. All lodging appears to be modestly priced with accommodation available for every budget.
Cairo has one of the largest metropolitan areas on the entire African continent. This city is a cultural and historical gem. Beyond the chaos of the central city, visitors can take a step back into time by visiting the Giza Complex, home to the famous pyramids and The Sphinx. The pyramids are a wondrous sight and considered the last remaining wonder of the ancient world. Another historical site is the Old City which allows visitors the opportunity to see churches and architecture that are several centuries old. The Salah-El-Din Citadel is considered the most popular attraction outside of the pyramids. It is an extremely large fortress that was built during the crusades and is home to three mosques. This site offers a lot in the way of architectural beauty and is recommended as a top site to visit even if visitors are not particularly religious. accommodation is plenty and range from budget hotels and hostels to luxurious and lavish hotels fit for a king. Bazaars are aplenty, and visitors can partake in the cultural delights of traditional foods such as Ful Medames and Shawarma or purchase statues, trinkets and hand-woven cloths.
Africa is an expansive continent with so much to offer. Although often seen in a singular sense, the continent is diverse in its cultures, its languages, its cuisine and its natural wonders. It is home to everything from safari tours, ancient wonders of the world, pristine beaches and history that can’t be found anywhere else on the planet. The continent offers so much in the way of beauty and indulgence. All those who have the opportunity to traverse the lands of Africa should take it. It’s an experience they won’t soon forget.
For more information on travelling in Africa, check out our Africa specific travel section! We know you’ll find someplace new you’d love to travel to.