A large part of Africa may be pretty ‘deserted’, with the only inhabitants being that of wildlife. However, Africa is also known for some of the world’s most gorgeous, cosmopolitan cities. Some cities are also known to be the fastest growing economies in the world, and others have even been recognised internationally for their immense beauty. The city of Cape Town has raked in a number of awards over the years for categories such as ‘The Greatest City on Earth, by The Telegraph as well as The Luxury City Destination of the Year, and the ‘Number one Food City in the World’ by Conde Nast, just to name a few.
So without further ado, let’s dive into Africa’s most popular, bustling cities!
1. Cape Town | South Africa
Cape Town, as you have probably gathered, is a beautiful, ultra tourist-y cosmopolitan city. It’s ideal for the adventure seekers, the nature lovers, the beach goers, the foodies, the creative cats, as well as those who fancy the five-star lifestyle. Cape Town, however, is not just about sun, sand, sea and good times; it’s a city that is also deeply rooted in history. The great Nelson Mandela spent 18 years of his 27 year sentence behind bars on Robben Island, situated just off the coast of Cape Town. As you can imagine, this has become an iconic landmark for the people of South Africa, as well as tourists. One is able to visit Nelson Mandela’s cell, and learn more about his struggle and fight for freedom in South Africa.
6 Must Do’s in Cape Town
- Hike Lion’s Head/Table Mountain, or take the Cable Car to the summit of Table Mountain
- Visit Robben Island and see Nelson Mandela’s Cell
- Watch the sunset from Clifton/Camps Bay Beach
- Visit Boulders Beach (penguin heaven)
- Visit the beautiful Kirstenbosch Gardens
- Go wine tasting in the Cape Winelands (Franschhoek, Stellenbosch, Paarl, Wellington, Constantia)
- Visit Cape Point
There is so much to see and do in Cape Town that you may want to consider spending a sufficient amount of time in the city, to make sure you tick off all the must-sees and must-do’s.
2. Johannesburg | South Africa
Johannesburg is South Africa’s economic hub, which is also how it got its name ‘The City of Gold’. The city is eclectic, energetic, and diverse, and visitors are often blown away by the strong African culture, art and food. The city, which is also the country’s capital, is immersed in history; and visitor’s are able to learn more about South Africa’s past, present and future, at the many fascinating museums.
5 Must Do’s in Johannesburg
- Visit The Apartheid Museum
- Visit Joburg’s biggest playground, Gold Reef City, for thrill and exhilaration
- Visit The Soweto and Mandela Museum
- Eat African inspired food at the many trendy restaurants in Maboneng Precinct, and take a stroll through the art galleries and stores
- Visit the Cradle of Humankind, an hour’s drive from Johannesburg CBD
Eager to visit South Africa? Take the journey with us!
3. Nairobi | Kenya
Nairobi is one of Africa’s most vibrant cities. It’s a concrete jungle, teemed with natural beauty, as well as authentic African flair. Nairobi is fast becoming a tourist hotspot, as well as a hotspot for investors and big businesses, due to the rapid economic growth. Nairobi is an extraordinary city with skyscrapers aplenty, yet situated in the middle of the city is a vast national park called Nairobi National Park; home to many species of wildlife. It is the only city in the world with national park situated in its centre.
Must Do’s in Nairobi
- Go on a safari in Nairobi National Park
- Visit Nairobi’s giraffe rehabilitation centre
- Visit the Nairobi Elephant Sanctuary
- The home Karen Blixen, the author of ‘Out of Africa’; is now a museum and tourist attraction
Experience Africa authentically; visit Kenya on one of our overland tours.
4. Dar Es Salaam | Tanzania
Dar Es Salaam was once a small fishing village, but over the years it has blossomed into Tanzania’s commercial hub; a colourful, eclectic city with a population of around 4 million. Dar Es Salaam is also East Africa’s second busiest port, thanks to its vast number of popular sea routes. The city is a hit with businessman who are currently investing, or looking to invest in Africa. It has been predicted that Tanzania economy will grow by 6.7% this year.
Must Do’s in Dar es Salaam
- Visit the Nasafi Art Space
- Go snorkelling in the Marine Reserve
- Take a stroll through the National Museum and House of Culture
- Visit St Joseph’s Cathedral
- Do a ‘Dar by Night Tour’ to learn more about the locals
- Laze in the sun on Coco Beach, which is dotted with island-style restaurants and coconut stands
Begin your adventure! See our list of Tanzania Tours.
5. Harare | Zimbabwe
Harare is certainly one of the most attractive Southern African cities. There’s plenty to do, see and learn in this fascinating city which is filled with authentic African restaurants, bars, craft markets and museums.
5 Must Do’s in Harare
- Visit the National Botanical Gardens
- Go on a game drive through Harare’s ‘Wild is Life’ park
- Visit the National Archives of Zimbabwe
- See the balancing rocks in Matopos National Park
- Visit the Mukuvisi Woodlands Environmental Centre
Zimbabwe is calling! See our tour options here.