Already planning your next vacation but want a destination closer to home? Wondering which African country should make it to your ‘must-visit’ list? Here’s a list of the top African destinations to consider, according to Time’s 2022 Top 50 list of World’s Greatest Places
You probably know Kenya for its long-distance runners and its safari, but the East African country is offering tourists so much more.
Only recently, the Nairobi Contemporary Art Institute (NCAI) celebrated its opening with an exhibit showcasing Nairobian artist Sane Wadu. Last year, renowned fashion designer Anna Trzebinski converted her home into Eden Nairobi, a hub for creatives that doubles as a luxury hotel. And if you’re wondering about appropriate luxury accommodation in the city, the Hilton brand is set to open an all-new property – Kwetu Nairobi: Curio Collection by Hilton – toward the end of the year.
The food scene is equally as promising. There is Cultiva Farm Kenya, where Ecuadorian restaurateur Ariel Moscardi renders East African ingredients and flavours with South American techniques. You could also check out Mawimbi Seafood restaurant, as well as a host of other dining establishments all over the city.
Of course, going on a safari is not a problem, if that is what you would rather do. The Giraffe Manor and Angama Mara are good lodges to consider for this experience.
Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe
If you’re passionate about conservation and the environment, then Zimbabwe’s largest park, the Hwange National Park, might just be the right destination for your next vacation.
Just this year, the country kickstarted a landmark conservation project. The Community Rhino Conservation Initiative and Imvelo Safari Lodges translocated two white rhinos to community lands bordering Hwange National Park in late May, giving the local community a new opportunity to protect a species that was eradicated from the park by poaching by the early 2000s.
The project is the first and only instance in Zimbabwe of rhinos being translocated to community land, which was donated by the local population, who will also care for the animals. As a visitor, you’ll be able to see the endangered white rhino up close and meet the local teams protecting the animals. You can also visit the historic Victoria Falls which is about 120 miles from the park’s Main Camp.
Most lodges have activities centred around the wildlife and its surroundings, as well as the community, so you can be sure there’ll scarcely be a dull moment on your trip.
Franschhoek, South Africa
You probably already know this, but perchance you do not, South Africa is one of the not-so-talked-about wine destinations in the world.
If you’re looking to combine rich history with your love for wines, visit Paul Siguqa’s Klein Geoderust, Franschhoek’s first Black-owned wine farm. The farm is more than 100 years old, and today it produces Chenin Blanc, a peppery Shiraz 2020, a vibrantly fruity Noble Late Harvest 2020, and a 2018 cab-merlot blend. All can be enjoyed alongside a meal at the estate’s restaurant run by chef Linda Abrahams.
Should you rather prefer a food and wine experience, you should check out the Country Ground restaurant at Dieu Donné Vineyards, a newly-opened dining establishment that promises fresh seafood dishes and delicious pizzas to be enjoyed alongside breathtaking views of the farm and wines from the vineyard. There is also the Deux Lions restaurant at La Bourgogne Wine Estate, headed by chef Nanda Cardoso. Using local ingredients, chef Cardoso has put together a menu featuring cheese and charcuterie boards, grilled seafood, meat, and vegetarian selections.
Lower Zambezi National Park, Zambia
Just like its neighbours south, Zambia is a great safari destination, and one of its must-see locations is the Lower Zambezi National Park, which is also a UNESCO Heritage site.
Lower Zambezi is a haven for the wild acacia forest and herds of elephants and now boasts of the Lolebezi Safari Lodge, the latest addition to African Bush Camps’ Zambia portfolio. Here, families and large groups can rest in any one of its six suite accommodations which have thatched roofs and private plunge pools, as well as an on-site spa and yoga deck. And of course, when you’re ready to explore your surroundings, the lodge offers game drives (except during the rainy season from December to March), canoe trips, and walking safaris where you’ll see hippos, leopards, lions, and water buffalos, or hear the shrill call of the fish eagle.
For a more forward-facing, sustainable kind of vacation on our list of top African destinations, consider Rwanda’s capital city, Kigali.
Described as Africa’s friendliest city, Kigali is pushing toward a green future, especially for its growing tourism trade. GuraRide, the new Rwandan bike-sharing app, provides easy, affordable access to scooters, road bikes, and e-bikes, with docks peppered throughout the city. The roads are also going through an upgrade that will see them being less congested, less polluted and more directly connected to hard-to-reach neighbourhoods. Newly created car-free zones, the most recent launched in Gisimenti, let residents and visitors take back city streets on weekends.
For fun activities, you can visit the city’s first 18-hole golf course in the city at the new Kigali Golf Resort and Villas, where a golf tournament was held last December for the first time. Another option is the Nyandugu Wetland Ecotourism Park which just opened in January and is a safe sanctuary for 121 hectares of endangered wetlands, including more than 70 bird species and a fig forest – viewable from walking routes and cycling paths.