Travel

20 Best African Cities To Visit In 2024

For expats seeking the best African cities to call home, look no further than these top destinations.

20 Best African Cities To Visit in 2024
Best African Cities To Visit in 2024 [PHOTO CREDIT: BBC]

Are you seeking the best African cities for tourists, where every corner is a treasure trove of cultural richness and natural beauty? Look no further than Africa, a continent renowned for its diversity and allure. As we step into 2024, the spotlight shines on the top African cities beckoning travellers from around the globe. From the vibrant streets of Marrakech to the serene beaches of Zanzibar, each destination on this list has been carefully curated to offer tourists an unforgettable experience.

Whether you’re captivated by the ancient wonders of Cairo or enchanted by the bustling energy of Lagos, there’s a city waiting to enchant you. Now, let’s embark on a journey through the best African cities to visit in 2024. These popular African cities aren’t just tourist hotspots; they also rank among the best African cities to live in, with thriving communities and diverse opportunities. From the cosmopolitan charm of Johannesburg to the laid-back vibes of Windhoek, each city offers a unique blend of culture, lifestyle, and adventure. And when the sun sets, the excitement doesn’t end—explore the vibrant nightlife of Accra, dance to the rhythm of Dakar, or indulge in the culinary delights of Addis Ababa. But which city claims the title of the most beautiful African city? With its breathtaking landscapes and historic landmarks, Cape Town often takes the crown as the most beautiful African city. From the iconic Table Mountain to the colourful Bo-Kaap neighbourhood, Cape Town’s beauty is unparalleled. However, beauty is subjective, and each of these beautiful African cities holds its own charm and allure.

For expats seeking the best African cities to call home, look no further than these top destinations. Whether you’re a black person looking for the best places to live in the world or an American expat seeking adventure abroad, Africa offers a wealth of opportunities. With their warm climate, welcoming communities, and affordable cost of living, cities like Accra, Nairobi, and Kigali are popular choices for expats. So pack your bags, embrace the spirit of exploration, and let Africa’s best cities welcome you with open arms. Your African adventure awaits!

Here are the 20 best African cities you should visit in 2024;

1. Cape Town, South Africa

Cape Town, South Africa
Cape Town, South Africa [PHOTO CREDIT: Hotel]

Cape Town, nestled beneath the iconic Table Mountain, boasts a diverse population of approximately 4 million residents. Its Mediterranean climate offers mild, wet winters and warm, dry summers, making it an ideal year-round destination. Wander through the bustling streets of the city centre, where you’ll find a melting pot of cultures reflected in the vibrant street food scene. Indulge in local favourites like bunny chow, bobotie, and samoosas, or head to the waterfront for fresh seafood straight from the Atlantic Ocean. With its laid-back atmosphere and friendly locals, Cape Town offers a welcoming embrace to visitors from around the world.

2. Marrakech, Morocco

Marrakech, Morocco
Marrakech, Morocco [PHOTO CREDIT: Pxfuel]

The Red City of Marrakech pulses with life, with a population of over 1 million people. Its climate is characterised by hot summers and mild winters, making it perfect for exploring the city’s bustling souks and historic landmarks. Immerse yourself in the sensory feast of Moroccan cuisine, from savoury tagines to sweet pastries like msemen and chebakia. The people of Marrakech, known for their hospitality, welcome visitors with open arms, inviting them to experience the city’s rich culture and traditions. While the cost of living can vary depending on your preferences, Marrakech offers a range of accommodations and dining options to suit every budget, ensuring that travellers can experience the magic of this enchanting city without breaking the bank.

3. Nairobi, Kenya

Nairobi, Kenya
Nairobi, Kenya [PHOTO CREDIT: Expedia]

With a population exceeding 4 million, Nairobi stands as East Africa’s largest city. Its climate is relatively mild throughout the year, with warm temperatures and occasional rainfall. Street food enthusiasts will delight in Nairobi’s diverse culinary scene, offering everything from Nyama Choma (grilled meat) to Chapati (flatbread) served with spicy sauces. The people of Nairobi, known as Nairobians, are renowned for their friendliness and resilience. Despite being a bustling metropolis, Nairobi maintains a sense of community, with neighbourhoods brimming with local markets and cultural events. While the cost of living in Nairobi can vary, the city offers a range of accommodations, dining options, and activities to suit all budgets.

4. Accra, Ghana

Accra, Ghana
Accra, Ghana [PHOTO CREDIT: Ojimah Blog]

Accra is one of the best African cities you need to visit in 2024. It is the vibrant capital of Ghana, is home to over 2 million people. Its tropical climate ensures warm temperatures year-round, with a rainy season from April to October. Street food reigns supreme in Accra, with specialities like Waakye (rice and beans), Kelewele (spicy fried plantains), and Grilled Tilapia tantalising taste buds on every corner. Ghanaians are known for their warmth and hospitality, welcoming visitors with open arms and inviting them to immerse themselves in the city’s rich cultural heritage. While Accra’s cost of living may be higher compared to other cities in West Africa, travellers can still find affordable accommodations, transportation, and dining options, ensuring a memorable experience without breaking the bank.

5. Lagos, Nigeria

Lagos, Nigeria
Lagos, Nigeria [PHOTO CREDIT: Newsweek]

Lagos, the bustling economic hub of Nigeria, is home to over 20 million people, making it one of Africa’s largest cities. Its tropical climate brings warm temperatures year-round, with heavy rainfall during the wet season from April to October. Lagos is a paradise for street food enthusiasts, offering a plethora of mouthwatering dishes such as Suya (spiced meat skewers), Akara (bean cakes), and Boli (grilled plantains). Lagosians are known for their hustle and bustle, embodying the city’s vibrant energy and entrepreneurial spirit. While the cost of living in Lagos can be relatively high, travellers can still find budget-friendly accommodations, transportation options, and activities to explore the city’s rich cultural heritage and dynamic atmosphere.

6. Cairo, Egypt

Cairo, Egypt
Cairo, Egypt [PHOTO CREDIT: wallpapercosmos]

The bustling metropolis of Cairo is home to over 20 million people, making it one of the largest cities in Africa and the Middle East. Its desert climate brings hot summers and mild winters, with little rainfall throughout the year. Street food in Cairo is a culinary adventure, with tantalising dishes like Koshari (a mix of rice, lentils, pasta, and chickpeas), Falafel (fried chickpea balls), and Ful medames (stewed fava beans) satisfying hungry appetites. Cairo’s residents, known for their warmth and hospitality, welcome visitors with open arms, inviting them to explore the city’s ancient wonders and vibrant culture. While the cost of living in Cairo can vary depending on your lifestyle, travellers can find affordable accommodations, transportation options, and activities to experience the magic of this historic city without breaking the bank.

7. Mombasa, Kenya

Mombasa, Kenya
Mombasa, Kenya [PHOTO CREDIT: Pinterest]

Mombasa, Kenya’s second-largest city, is home to a diverse population of over 1.2 million people. Situated along the Indian Ocean coast, Mombasa enjoys a tropical climate with hot and humid conditions year-round. Street food enthusiasts will be delighted by Mombasa’s coastal cuisine, featuring delicacies such as Swahili biryani, viazi karai (fried potatoes), and freshly caught seafood grilled to perfection. Mombasans are known for their laid-back attitude and friendliness, creating a welcoming atmosphere for visitors to explore the city’s rich history and cultural heritage. While the cost of living in Mombasa can vary depending on the neighbourhood, travellers can find affordable accommodations, transportation options, and activities to enjoy the city’s stunning beaches and vibrant markets.

8. Johannesburg, South Africa

Johannesburg, South Africa
Johannesburg, South Africa [PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images]

Johannesburg, the vibrant economic powerhouse of South Africa, boasts a population of over 5 million people. Its subtropical climate brings warm summers and mild winters, with occasional afternoon thunderstorms during the rainy season. Johannesburg’s street food scene reflects the city’s diverse population, offering a fusion of flavours from across the continent, including Bunny Chow, Boerewors rolls, and traditional South African braai (barbecue). Joburgers, as the residents are known, embody the city’s entrepreneurial spirit and cultural dynamism, welcoming visitors to explore its thriving arts scene, historical landmarks, and bustling neighbourhoods. While the cost of living in Johannesburg can be relatively high, travellers can find budget-friendly accommodations, transportation options, and activities to experience the city’s unique blend of urban sophistication and African charm.

9. Zanzibar City, Tanzania

Zanzibar City, Tanzania
Waterfront building on beach, Zanzibar City, Zanzibar Urban, Tanzania, Africa. [PHOTO CREDIT: Science Photo Library]

Zanzibar City, the historic capital of Zanzibar, is home to a population of around 200,000 people. The city enjoys a tropical climate with warm temperatures year-round, making it an ideal destination for beach lovers and outdoor enthusiasts. Street food in Zanzibar City is a delightful mix of Swahili and Arabic influences, with dishes like Zanzibari pizza, Urojo (a spicy soup), and freshly grilled seafood tantalising taste buds. Zanzibaris are known for their warmth and hospitality, creating a welcoming atmosphere for visitors to explore the city’s narrow alleyways, historic sites, and bustling markets. While the cost of living in Zanzibar City can vary depending on the neighbourhood and time of year, travellers can find affordable accommodations, transportation options, and activities to experience the island’s unique blend of culture, history, and natural beauty.

10. Dakar, Senegal

Dakar, Senegal
Dakar, Senegal [PHOTO CREDIT: Pxfuel]

Dakar, the vibrant capital of Senegal, is home to over 3 million people. Its tropical climate brings warm temperatures year-round, with a rainy season from June to October. Dakar’s street food scene is a feast for the senses, with dishes like Thieboudienne (Senegalese fish and rice), Yassa (marinated grilled chicken or fish), and Accara (black-eyed pea fritters) delighting locals and visitors alike. Dakarois, as the residents are known, are known for their friendliness and hospitality, welcoming visitors to explore the city’s vibrant markets, colonial architecture, and lively nightlife. While the cost of living in Dakar can be relatively high compared to other West African cities, travellers can find budget-friendly accommodations, transportation options, and activities to experience the city’s rich culture and dynamic atmosphere without breaking the bank.

11. Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia [PHOTO CREDIT: Global Arbitration Review]

Addis Ababa, the bustling capital of Ethiopia, is home to over 4 million residents. Situated in the Ethiopian Highlands, the city enjoys a mild, subtropical highland climate with relatively stable temperatures year-round. Street food in Addis Ababa offers a tantalising array of flavours, with dishes like injera (a sourdough flatbread) served with various stews, kitfo (minced raw beef), and shiro (a spicy chickpea stew) enticing taste buds. Addis Ababans are known for their hospitality and warmth, creating a welcoming atmosphere for visitors to explore the city’s rich history, cultural heritage, and vibrant arts scene. While the cost of living in Addis Ababa can vary depending on the neighbourhood and lifestyle, travellers can find affordable accommodations, transportation options, and activities to immerse themselves in the city’s unique blend of tradition and modernity.

12. Kigali, Rwanda

Kigali, Rwanda
Kigali, Rwanda [PHOTO CREDIT: Rough Guides]

Kigali, the capital city of Rwanda, is home to over 1.5 million people. Its temperate highland climate brings relatively mild temperatures year-round, with distinct wet and dry seasons. Street food in Kigali reflects the city’s vibrant culinary scene, with dishes like brochettes (grilled meat skewers), samosas, and Rwandan-style fried potatoes satisfying hungry appetites. Kigalians are known for their cleanliness, orderliness, and friendliness, creating a safe and welcoming environment for visitors to explore the city’s green spaces, cultural attractions, and bustling markets. While the cost of living in Kigali may be higher compared to other East African cities, travellers can still find affordable accommodations, transportation options, and activities to experience the city’s charm and hospitality without breaking the bank.

13. Cotonou, Benin

Cotonou, Benin
Cotonou, Benin [PHOTO CREDIT: BBC]

Cotonou, the largest city and economic capital of Benin, is home to over 1.2 million people. Located along the Gulf of Guinea, Cotonou enjoys a tropical climate with high temperatures year-round, tempered by sea breezes. Street food in Cotonou is a flavorful blend of African and French influences, with dishes like kedjenou (spicy chicken stew), akassa (fermented corn pudding), and fresh seafood dishes enticing locals and visitors alike. Cotonois, as the residents are known, are known for their vibrant culture and friendliness, creating a lively atmosphere for visitors to explore the city’s markets, beaches, and historical sites. While the cost of living in Cotonou can vary depending on the neighbourhood and lifestyle, travellers can find affordable accommodations, transportation options, and activities to experience the city’s unique blend of traditions and modernity.

14. Windhoek, Namibia

Windhoek, Namibia
Windhoek, Namibia [PHOTO CREDIT: Wallpaper Abyss – Alpha Coders]

Windhoek, the capital and largest city of Namibia, is home to over 300,000 people. Situated in the Khomas Highland plateau, Windhoek enjoys a temperate climate with hot summers and mild winters. Street food in Windhoek offers a diverse array of flavours, with dishes like kapana (grilled meat), biltong (dried meat), and vetkoek (fried dough bread) satisfying hungry appetites. Windhoekers are known for their laid-back attitude and hospitality, creating a relaxed atmosphere for visitors to explore the city’s cultural attractions, craft markets, and outdoor adventures. While the cost of living in Windhoek may be higher compared to other Namibian cities, travellers can still find affordable accommodations, transportation options, and activities to experience the city’s unique blend of African and European influences.

15. Luanda, Angola

 Luanda, Angola
Luanda, Angola [PHOTO CREDIT: Pxfuel]

Luanda, the capital and largest city of Angola, is home to over 8 million people. Situated along the Atlantic coast, Luanda enjoys a tropical savanna climate with hot and humid conditions year-round. Street food in Luanda is a vibrant mix of Portuguese and African influences, with dishes like muamba de galinha (chicken stew), calulu (fish and vegetable stew), and pasteis de bacalhau (codfish fritters) tempting taste buds. Luandans are known for their resilience and creativity, infusing the city’s arts, music, and cuisine with their unique cultural heritage. While the cost of living in Luanda can be relatively high due to its status as one of Africa’s most expensive cities, travelers can still find budget-friendly accommodations, transportation options, and activities to experience the city’s lively atmosphere and welcoming spirit.

16. Dar es Salaam, Tanzania

Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
Aerial view of the haven of peace, city of Dar es Salaam [PHOTO CREDIT: Leopard Tours]

Dar es Salaam, Tanzania’s largest city, is home to over 6 million people. Situated along the Indian Ocean coast, Dar es Salaam enjoys a tropical climate with hot and humid conditions year-round, tempered by sea breezes. Street food in Dar es Salaam is a delicious reflection of the city’s multicultural heritage, with dishes like Zanzibari biryani, mishkaki (grilled meat skewers), and samaki wa kupaka (coconut fish curry) tantalising taste buds. Dar es Salaam residents, known as Dar-es-Salaamians, are known for their warmth and hospitality, creating a welcoming atmosphere for visitors to explore the city’s beaches, markets, and historical sites. While the cost of living in Dar es Salaam can vary depending on the neighborhood and lifestyle, travellers can find affordable accommodations, transportation options, and activities to experience the city’s dynamic culture and coastal beauty.

17. Abidjan, Ivory Coast

Abidjan, Ivory Coast
Abidjan, Ivory Coast [PHOTO CREDIT: CAF Online]

Abidjan, the economic capital of Ivory Coast, is home to over 4.7 million people. Situated along the Gulf of Guinea, Abidjan enjoys a tropical climate with high temperatures year-round and a rainy season from May to July. Street food in Abidjan is a delightful fusion of Ivorian and French cuisines, with dishes like alloco (fried plantains), attiéké (cassava couscous), and grilled fish served with spicy sauce enticing visitors and locals alike. Abidjanais, as the residents are known, are renowned for their joie de vivre and hospitality, creating a vibrant and welcoming atmosphere for visitors to explore the city’s markets, beaches, and cultural attractions. While the cost of living in Abidjan can vary depending on the neighborhood and lifestyle, travellers can find affordable accommodations, transportation options, and activities to experience the city’s unique blend of African and European influences.

18. Kampala, Uganda

Kampala, Uganda
Kampala, Uganda [PHOTO CREDIT: Visit Africa]

Kampala, the capital and largest city of Uganda, is home to over 1.5 million people. Situated on the shores of Lake Victoria, Kampala enjoys a mild, tropical climate with relatively stable temperatures year-round. Street food in Kampala is a delicious reflection of Uganda’s diverse culinary heritage, with dishes like rolex (rolled chapati with eggs), matoke (steamed plantains), and nyama choma (grilled meat) satisfying hungry appetites. Kampalans are known for their friendliness and hospitality, creating a welcoming atmosphere for visitors to explore the city’s markets, cultural sites, and vibrant nightlife. While the cost of living in Kampala can be relatively low compared to other East African cities, travellers can find affordable accommodations, transportation options, and activities to experience the city’s unique blend of urban sophistication and natural beauty.

19. Maputo, Mozambique

Maputo, Mozambique
Maputo, Mozambique [PHOTO CREDIT: Botafogo for Getty Images]

Maputo, the capital and largest city of Mozambique, is home to over 1.1 million people. Situated along the Indian Ocean coast, Maputo enjoys a tropical savanna climate with hot and humid conditions year-round. Street food in Maputo reflects the city’s diverse cultural influences, with dishes like peri-peri prawns, matapa (a traditional dish made with cassava leaves and coconut milk), and pãozinho (Portuguese bread rolls) tantalising taste buds. Maputans are known for their laid-back attitude and hospitality, creating a relaxed atmosphere for visitors to explore the city’s markets, colonial architecture, and scenic waterfront. While the cost of living in Maputo can vary depending on the neighbourhood and lifestyle, travelers can find affordable accommodations, transportation options, and activities to experience the city’s vibrant culture and coastal charm.

20. Gaborone, Botswana

Gaborone, Botswana
Gaborone, Botswana [PHOTO CREDIT: Momondo]

Gaborone, the capital and largest city of Botswana, is home to over 230,000 people. Situated in the southeastern part of the country, Gaborone enjoys a semi-arid climate with hot summers and mild winters. Street food in Gaborone offers a delicious taste of Botswana’s culinary traditions, with dishes like seswaa (shredded beef), pap (maize porridge), and morogo (wild spinach) satisfying hungry appetites. Gabaroneans are known for their friendliness and laid-back demeanour, creating a welcoming atmosphere for visitors to explore the city’s markets, parks, and cultural attractions. While the cost of living in Gaborone may be higher compared to other cities in Botswana, travellers can still find affordable accommodations, transportation options, and activities to experience the city’s unique blend of modernity and traditional Botswana hospitality.

As you traverse through the vibrant streets of the best African cities to visit, each city offers its unique tapestry of experiences, unveiling layers of history, culture, and tradition at every turn. From exploring ancient ruins that whisper tales of civilizations past, to haggling for treasures in bustling markets alive with the vibrant colours and sounds of Africa, every moment is an invitation to immerse yourself in the rich tapestry of the continent. Lose yourself in the rhythm of local music pulsating through the air, as you dance under the African sky illuminated by a canopy of stars.

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