Throughout the centuries, the great civilizations of Africa have left captivating historical sites. From ancient pyramids and centuries-old rock-carved churches to castles, mosques and palaces, Africa places to visit is home to spectacular historical sites that unfortunately are often undervalued.
To provide some inspiration for your next trip, you can find below a list of ten iconic sites plus one undiscovered. How these, some others can be added and surely has been forgotten. Simply go through the below-mentioned list to explore some of the best places to visit in Africa to make your tour truly epic:
1. Luxor, Egypt
No list of incredible historical tourist attractions of Africa would be complete without Egypt, as this country is filled with amazing monuments, statues, and ancient pyramids.
Luxor is located at the southern part of Egypt and it is the capital of Luxor Governorate. It is estimated a population of over 500.000, with an area of more than 415 km2. As one of the most renowned archaeological sites on the planet, Luxor has incredible temples and stone tombs for you to explore, as well as wonderful views of the Nile.
Without a doubt, the highlight is the Valley of the Kings, which houses an amazing number of stone tombs that once kept the remains of pharaohs and their dazzling treasures. Check out the list of top places to visit in Africa and you will find Luxor at the top of the list.
2. Lalibela, Ethiopia
To contemplate for the first time the churches carved in the rock of Lalibela is a moment you will never forget!
Lalibela is a town in the middle of the Lasta Amhara Region, in Ethiopia. It is famous for its rock monolithic churches. The area of Lalibela is surrounded by an incredible amount of antiquities from the medieval and post-medieval civilization in the area. Lalibela is one of the holiest cities in Ethiopia, second only to Axum, and a center of pilgrimage. The difference between Axum and Labilela is that in this second one, the population of is mainly Ethiopian Orthodox Christian.
Built between the 7th and 13th centuries, the “New Jerusalem” is filled with zigzagging tunnels, elaborate architecture and majestic courtyards and, as churches are still used today, you will find many pilgrims dressed in white robes.
Lalibela is a really special place to visit and it is one of the top tourist places of Africa that you shouldn’t skip at all.
3. Elmina Castle, Ghana
Located in what used to be known as the “Costa Dorada”, the castle of Elmina was built by the Portuguese in 1482 so that they could control the region and dominate the trade. Elmina has the honor to have the first trading post built on the region of the Gulf of Guinea. It is also the oldest European building that still survives in the south of Sahara.
Being the oldest European building in sub-Saharan Africa, the castle is an important historical site and it is impressive to visit because it was later used to imprison Africans before they were sent to other countries as slaves. No wonder, it is listed amongst some of the top tourist spots of Africa.
4. Great Mosque of Djenné, Mali
An impressive building to behold! The Great Mosque is one of the beautiful places to visit in Africa and is made entirely of the earth!
It is considered by a lot of architects as one of the greatest accomplishments of the Sudano architectural style. The Great Mosque of Djenné is a pure adobe building. It is located in the downtown of DjennéMali, close to the Bani River.
It was built in the 13th century, although the current mosque dates from 1907 and every year the entire city mobilizes to repair it during a lively local festival.
5. Gorée Island, Senegal
Goree is located a short distance from Dakar, the colorful island of Gorée has a dark past: the French had Africans here for over 300 years before slavering them. Its population is currently around 1,680 inhabitants, which is half of the density of the city of Dakar. Gorée is the least populated area of Dakar, as well as the smallest.
Now it is full of colorful colonial buildings and the island breathes a relaxed atmosphere. Only when you see the inhospitable dungeons and iron chains do you begin to understand their sad past. It is one of the safest places to visit in Africa where you can plan a family vacation.
6. Robben Island, South Africa
We can find the amazing Robben Island in Table Bay, approximately 7 km west of the coast of Bloubergstrand, north of Cape Town in magnificent South Africa. The names come from the Dutch word for seals (Robben), therefore Dutch/Afrikaans name Robbeneiland which can be translated to Seal(s) Island. Robben Island has a roughly oval in shape. Approximately 3.3 km long, and 1.9 km wide. Nelson Mandela was imprisoned for 18 years. It is therefore listed in one of the top 10 tourist attractions in Africa.
The visit to the tiny cells of the prison where political prisoners were locked up during apartheid is as harsh and revealing as it is necessary.
7. Meroe, the Sudan
Although Sudan is not on many destinations to visit, this is the country with the most welcoming people in the world and in fact has more pyramids than its famous northern neighbor. Africa tourism places are known for their uniqueness and you will realize this when you will visit Meroe.
The ancient city of Meroe is located on the east bank of the Nile at approximately 6 km Shendi, Sudan and about 200 km north-east of Khartoum. A group of villages called Bagrawiyah are located around Meroe village.
Once part of a very prosperous civilization, the ancient pyramids of Meroe are one of the most impressive attractions in Sudan and yet hardly receive visitors because of their remote location in the Sahara.
It is a fascinating place, this UNESCO World Heritage site exhibits more than 200 pyramids!
8. Kilwa, United Republic of Tanzania
On an Indian Ocean island off the southern coast, we can found the Kilwa community. For a long time, it was the center of the Kilwa Sultanate, which gain a lot of notoriety due to a medieval sultanate around the 13th-15th centuries.
Kilwa was one of the most vibrant cities on the African east coast, but unfortunately the Portuguese destroyed a large part of it during the bombing of the island in 1503
Today on this island there are ruins of palaces, royal buildings and a beautiful but deteriorated mosque, while the Kilwa fortress, very well preserved, is a sample of its illustrious past.
Although not frequented by tourists, walking around the island on your own is an amazing experience.
9. Great Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe
Built between the 11th and 14th centuries, the extensive ruins of Greater Zimbabwe are the largest in sub-Saharan Africa and as such, the complex is definitely worth a visit.
The gigantic city walls, towers and buildings display beautiful architecture. During its heyday, it was the economic, political and religious center of the vast empire.
As a UNESCO World Heritage site, Greater Zimbabwe is another of the continent’s hidden treasures. It is one of the most sought after Africa tourist attractions that you must add in your itinerary.
10. Ureka Waterfalls, Equatorial Guinea
Visiting Ureka is our personal recommendation. It is one of the most magical and wonderful places on the island of North Bioko, in Equatorial Guinea. The town of Ureka is known as the wettest region in the world. It records rainfall of around 10,450 millimeters (418 ins) on a yearly basis. No wonder it is recognized as one of the wettest regions in entire Africa.
The place is accessible by a magnificent walk along the unspoiled beaches where you will cross different rivers and listen to the sounds of the jungle and nature until you see the spawning of giant turtles (according to the dates).
The above mentioned Africa visiting places will definitely make your tour memorable and you will plan a holiday to this continent several times in your life. If you are planning to visit some other popular countries while on your way back home then go through our other travel points to get all the information.