From sprawling savannas to towering sand dunes, Africa is home to some of the most spectacular and diverse landscapes on Earth.
As the cradle of humankind, it offers unparalleled opportunities to connect with ancient cultures and witness wildlife up close.
However deciding where to go in this vast continent can be overwhelming. So we’ve compiled 20 of the top sights you simply must see.
Read on for incredible natural wonders, captivating cities, and thrilling wildlife encounters to add to your bucket list!
Summit Mt. Kilimanjaro
Standing 19,341 feet above sea level, Mt. Kilimanjaro is the tallest freestanding mountain on Earth.
Located near Moshi in northern Tanzania along the border with Kenya, Kilimanjaro beckons adventurers seeking a challenging high-altitude trek.
There are several routes ranging from 5 to 9 days to reach the summit, such as the popular Machame Route. Pick an itinerary based on your mountaineering experience.
Along the way, traverse lush rainforests, alpine meadows, deserts, and glaciers.
The reward at the top is unparalleled – unobstructed views of Kibo’s volcanic crater and your accomplishment of summiting Kilimanjaro aka the “Rooftop of Africa.”
Explore the Ngorongoro Crater in Tanzania
Resting within the East African Rift Valley, the Ngorongoro Crater is the world’s largest intact caldera and undeniably one of Africa’s most magnificent natural wonders.
Encompassing over 100 square miles, this UNESCO World Heritage Site was formed some 2 to 3 million years ago after a giant volcano exploded and collapsed on itself.
Today, the crater floor transforms into a rich haven for wildlife in the dry season when animals migrate for water.
Descend 600 meters to the crater floor via steep tracks to get up close with the famed Big Five and spot flamingos, hippos, and rare black rhinos. No trip to Tanzania is complete without this safari highlight.
Explore the Ancient Pyramids of Giza, Egypt
As the only remaining Wonder of the Ancient World, the Pyramids of Giza should top every traveler’s list.
Sitting at the edge of the Western Desert near Cairo, these 4,500-year-old marvels will transport you back thousands of years to the era of pharaohs and gods.
Gaze up in awe at the perfect symmetry of the Great Pyramid, built for Pharaoh Khufu. See the mighty Great Sphinx, whose origins and age still perplex modern archaeologists.
Wander through the Solar Boat Museum to view an intact ancient Egyptian vessel.
A trip to these iconic UNESCO monuments provides fascinating insight into the engineering feats and complex belief systems of ancient Egyptian civilization.
Take a Safari in the Serengeti, Tanzania
For a front row seat to one of Earth’s greatest wildlife spectacles, head to Tanzania’s Serengeti National Park.
Each year, over 1 million wildebeest and hundreds of thousands of zebra and antelope undertake the circular Great Migration in search of grass and water.
Your safari jeep will get you right amongst the thundering herds, with boundless opportunities to witness predators like lions, cheetahs, and hyenas on the hunt.
Time your visit for the short rains between December and February to see newborn animals in the southern Serengeti.
Or visit during the June river crossings to see predators picking off wildebeest as they swim the Mara River. An open-top vehicle safari here is the ultimate African adventure.
Wander through Morocco’s Mesmerizing Souks
For a taste of North Africa’s chaotic charm, stroll through the buzzing souks of Morocco.
In the medieval medina of Fes, duck through tiny alleyways lined with vendors hawking fragrant spices, handmade leather goods, and traditional ceramics.
Listen for coppersmiths hammering metal into ornate designs as you weave through the mesmerizing leather district.
In Marrakech, bargain for vivid Berber rugs, aromatic argan oil, and intricate jewelry in the eclectic souks surrounding the Jemaa el-Fnaa plaza.
At night, the plaza comes alive with snake charmers, acrobats, and street food vendors against a backdrop of roaming camels and donkey carts.
An exploration of Morocco’s markets offers endless opportunities to connect with fascinating cultures and pick up some exotic souvenirs.
Safari with Gorillas in Uganda
For a once-in-a-lifetime experience, head to the lush Bwindi Impenetrable Forest in southwestern Uganda for an unforgettable gorilla trekking safari.
Home to roughly half the world’s remaining mountain gorillas, Bwindi allows visitors to join guided groups tracking these critically endangered gentle giants through dense jungle and bamboo thickets.
The privilege of spending just one hour observing gorillas in their natural habitat, watching them tend to their young and forage for food, is an emotional and impactful adventure that supports local communities and conservation.
But you’ll have to work for it, as treks sometimes require hours of strenuous hiking through challenging terrain in search of gorilla troops.
The steep permit fees and effort required make gorilla encounters a true bucket list dream.
Explore the Ancient Medinas of Marrakech, Morocco
Marrakech’s walled medina transports visitors back centuries to North Africa’s grand Moorish past.
Around every corner lies another feast for the senses, from the call to prayer echoing through the streets to the earthy aromas of spices and fresh leather in the souks.
Begin your exploration at the vast 12th century Koutoubia Mosque, whose minaret dominates the skyline. Lose yourself in narrow lanes lined with colorful riads, calm courtyard gardens, and bazaar stalls bursting with handmade crafts.
As you pass donkey carts loaded with goods and scooters threading through the crowds, soak up Marrakech’s frenetic energy and enduring allure.
For the best sights, start early and be prepared to do some map reading, as it’s easy to get wonderfully lost in the miles of alleyways.
Cruise the Nile River, Egypt
A cruise down the legendary Nile River brings ancient Egyptian wonders to life along its banks.
Most cruises embark from Luxor and sail upstream to Aswan or vice versa over 3 to 7 nights, stopping daily along temples, tombs, and archaeological highlights.
Gaze out across the timeless riverscape as feluccas with billowing sails glide by just as they did for pharaohs.
Step ashore to wander through the towering stone columns of Karnak Temple and the Valley of the Kings’ sunbaked tombs.
Visit the colossal statues of Abu Simbel and soak up the tranquillity of the temples at Abydos.
Equally memorable are the sunsets on the Nile’s calm waters. For an immersive experience in antiquity, a leisurely cruise on the mythical Nile cannot be missed.
Meet Mountain Gorillas in Rwanda
Inscribed as a natural UNESCO site to protect its endangered mountain gorillas, Volcanoes National Park in northwest Rwanda provides another exceptional yet difficult place to track these magnificent primates in their natural habitat.
Although permits are limited and pricey, the experience provides vital revenue that guards the gorillas from poaching and habitat loss.
Expect to hike on steep forested slopes before reaching a gorilla family, where you’ll stay with them for one awe-inspiring hour.
Watching their human-like interactions, from nurturing their young to foraging for shoots and resting, provides perspective on our close genetic ties.
Observe strict protocols to protect the gorillas from human illness during your peaceful and fragile encounter.
Safari Through Kruger National Park, South Africa
As South Africa’s largest game reserve at over 7,500 square miles, Kruger National Park offers an unparalleled safari experience in true wilderness.
Its high density of animals like the Big Five provides incredible sightings around every corner.
The extensive road network makes it possible to self-drive in your own vehicle, stopping frequently for elephants, hippos, giraffes, and big cats.
Or book a game drive in an open 4×4 with an expert guide to enhance your experience. Temporary camps place you right in the heart of the wilderness under the stars.
However you choose to explore, Kruger’s diversity and accessibility provides the ultimate African game viewing adventure.
Cruise the Okavango Delta, Botswana
The lush waterways of the Okavango Delta offer a unique safari experience as you glide through papyrus reeds and thick bush in a traditional dugout canoe called a mokoro.
This UNESCO World Heritage wetland in Botswana’s Kalahari Desert transforms each year after seasonal rains flood the delta.
As the water spreads across 15,000 square kilometers, vibrant wildlife flourishes and congregates along its banks.
Glide silently within meters of bathing hippos, wallowing crocodiles, and gently grazing antelope.
Your local poler will expertly navigate shallow channels through rustling reeds, creating unforgettable up-close sightings.
Paddle past remote islands to experience the very heart of Africa’s wild beauty and diversity on this iconic aquatic safari adventure.
Hike Ethiopia’s Simien Mountains
With jagged volcanic plugs, sheer cliff faces, and sharp precipices, the Simien Mountains of northern Ethiopia offer adventurous trekking through breathtaking alpine scenery.
UNESCO-listed Simien National Park is home to some of the highest peaks in Africa, including Ras Dashen which rises above 15,000 feet.
Follow rustic trails past endemic walia ibex and gelada baboons to appreciate the raw natural beauty of this remote region.
Camp under the stars and arise early to catch the sun illuminating the shimmering rock formation of the Jinbar Falls.
Though rugged multi-day treks require fitness and preparation to ascend to the highest lookouts, shorter routes are gentler on beginners who still want to soak up the majestic high-altitude landscapes.
Visit Djenne’s Mud Mosque, Mali
In the small riverside town of Djenne in central Mali, residents have constructed what is regarded as the largest mud-brick building on Earth.
This iconic Great Mosque was originally built in the 13th century and continues to be maintained using traditional earthen architectural techniques.
Visit on a Monday to witness the fascinating annual process in which local masons replaster the entire exterior using mud sourced from the nearby Bani River.
While its design dates back to the original mosque, sensations of timber beams and palm fronds create a mesmerizing facade.
Though travel to Mali comes with warnings, a visit to Djenne is an architectural marvel and recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Having survived floods, fire, and neglect, this magnificent earthen structure pays homage to an ancient craft.
Dive & Snorkel Zanzibar’s Pristine Waters
Ringed with talcum-soft sand beaches, the Indian Ocean archipelago of Zanzibar boasts some of the most pristine diving and snorkeling sites in Africa.
Just offshore, colorful coral reefs teem with schools of tropical fish, sea turtles, rays, and octopi.
The clear waters offer incredible visibility, along with the chance to spot larger marine life like dolphins, whale sharks, and manta rays.
Around the main island of Unguja, top spots like Mnemba Atoll Marine Conservation Area attract divers to explore reef drop-offs, lagoons, and shipwrecks now encrusted in coral.
Or snorkel straight from the beach at spots like Kendwa. With several established dive shops and hotels with facilities, Zanzibar provides countless opportunities to discover dazzling underwater worlds.
Fish on Lake Malawi, Malawi
Often called the “Lake of Stars”, Lake Malawi fills Africa’s Great Rift Valley for 350 miles through Malawi, offering pristine tropical shoreline and boasting more fish species than any other lake.
The clear freshwater attracts snorkelers, divers, kayakers, and anglers from around the world.
Spend days chilling in rustic beach lodges along the coast, or stay aboard a traditional dhow vessel for multi-day exploration. Try your hand catching malawi cichlids and butterfish that inhabit the rock reefs.
Or paddle a kayak into hidden coves perfect for a swim. With a temperate climate year-round, Lake Malawi’s relaxing vibes and adventures like diving among colorful cichlid fish populations will lure you into staying for weeks.
Marvel at Victoria Falls, Zambia & Zimbabwe
Straddling the mighty Zambezi River along the border of Zambia and Zimbabwe, the aptly named Victoria Falls are considered the largest waterfall in the world.
Though neither the highest nor widest, their extraordinary size spans over a mile across and drenches the area with a perpetual mist.
Visit from March to May when the falls are at their thundering peak flow. View the cascades from multiple perspectives, like cresting across Knife Edge Bridge or gazing out from Lookout Café atop the gorge.
Book a helicopter flight for outstanding aerial views. The ultraluxe accommodations and activities in Livingstone and Victoria Falls villages make this a refined African destination.
But wherever you stay, be sure to witness the rainbows forming in the clouds of mist from this massive natural wonder.
Explore the Skeleton Coast, Namibia
Running along the Atlantic coast of Namibia, the eerily named Skeleton Coast harbors the remnants of countless shipwrecks in its foggy waters and bleak shores.
Strong winds and currents have caused sailors to crash into the rocky coastline for centuries, leaving skeletal remains of hulls and cargo scattered in the sand and surf.
Visit Cape Cross to see one of the world’s largest colonies of seals and Swakopmund for its German colonial architecture.
Drive north up the coast between the rolling dunes of the Namib Desert to discover more beached shipwrecks and their stories.
Though human relics evoke tragedy, the Skeleton Coast’s raw, rugged beauty combined with diverse wildlife in one of Africa’s least populated regions create an enticing – if foreboding – adventure.
Hike through Drakensberg Mountains, Lesotho
In the tiny country of Lesotho, nestled entirely within South Africa, the Drakensberg Mountains offer epic hiking and scenery.
Forming most of Lesotho’s eastern border, these towering peaks and escarpments provide stunning high-altitude vistas over 3,000 meters.
Tackle multi-day treks past cascading waterfalls and colorful rock paintings made by the ancient San people.
Stay in remote mountain lodges resembling traditional villages, accessing trails right from your rustic doorstep.
For non-technical day hikes, head to Royal Natal National Park to summit montane grasslands.
The Drakensberg’s height and isolation create rugged adventures and a lifetime of memories in the roof of Southern Africa.
Wander Chefchaouen’s Blue Streets, Morocco
Tucked into the craggy Rif Mountains northeast of Tangier, the picturesque town of Chefchaouen charms visitors with its dazzling blue-washed architecture.
Wandering the steep cobblestone lanes beneath bold indigo and sky-blue walls feels like stepping into a fairy tale.
Discover vibrant handicrafts and weavings along with tasty local goat cheeses on sale in the market. For the best views, hike to the Spanish Mosque perched on a hillside above town.
Or relax for hours sipping mint tea on a cafe terrace beneath billowing rugs hung to dry overhead.
Though this bluest town in the world attracts tourists, its magical simplicity and laid-back mountain vibe offer a taste of rural Moroccan life that lingers in your memory.