Last Updated on

No matter where in the world you travel, there are bound to be safety issues. A concern for safety is encompassed in your travels. Traveling to a new city puts a traveler in a situation where they’re unfamiliar with what’s considered safe, and what they should be wary about.

A lot of the most popular countries in Africa are the safest on the continent. But still, many people tend to have misconceptions about safety in Africa. With 54 countries, it’s a big misunderstanding to think of Africa as a whole as being unsafe.

Africa is a place of beautiful diversity, with tropical islands, high-tech cities, stunning wildlife and incredible landscape. Don’t let the mistake of thinking that Africa is unsafe to travel stop you from exploring all of its wonders.

Safest Places to Visit in Africa

One of the best ways to ensure your safety is by traveling with a guide. And, if done correctly, with the proper knowledge and precautions, you can make the most of Africa. There are plenty of amazing countries that are perfectly safe to travel. Included here are some of the best African countries to visit.

Kenya

Masai shepherd leading goats in a cloud of dust

With diverse wildlife, coastal beaches, and friendly people, Kenya is ideal for those who haven’t seen much of Africa.

Overall, Kenya is one of the safest places in Africa, as well as being one of the most visited. Like many other countries, crime in Kenya is opportunistic. Travelers are simply advised to be vigilant.

Safety tips for Kenya

  • Even for those who aren’t light-sensitive, the sun in Kenya can be harsh. Always protect yourself with SPF, carry along a sunhat and wear sunglasses to protect your eyes from direct sunlight.
  • Carry your belongings in a well-secured backpack whilst exploring the cities.

Rwanda

Typical Rwandan hills, with Volcanoes National Park in the background

Locals here are known for their hospitality towards travelers, and you won’t find much crime. Tourists need only worry about petty crime and pickpockets in busy markets.

Rwanda is a well-established country, with considerable work being done to correct the effects of the Rwanda Genocide. Since then, laws around genocide have been implemented to prevent racism and xenophobia.

Besides Rwanda having a known history, it’s also well-known around the world for its jungly beauty. A trip around the country leads you around beautiful green forests, mountains, and volcanos.

Safety tips for Rwanda

  • The country is still conservative, and although homosexuality is legal, LGBTQ people experience prejudice. While this won’t put your direct safety at risk, it’s good to be aware that cultural beliefs are strong throughout the country.
  • There is a heightened security risk surrounding the border between Rwanda and Uganda. So be sure you know where you’re heading if you’re crossing the border, and take care.

Mauritius

Young man selling coconuts from his bicycle, Blue Bay, Mauritius

A relaxed and safe island that’s great for family holidays. You can be assured that you won’t encounter any major issues while traveling to Mauritius. The island lifestyle and friendly locals will put you at ease.

The island is filled with resorts and hotels which are all extremely safe, and tourists usually spend their days at the beaches or on the water. Mauritius also has relatively reliable public transport, allowing tourists to get around safely.

Safety tips for Mauritius

  • Given that Mauritius is a big tourist spot, there is a risk of getting scammed. Check that you’re not over-paying, or paying for faux products. Also, be on the lookout for dodgy tours that may not offer what is said to be included.
  • The tropical waters house some interesting creatures, and some of them are slightly venomous. Stonefish and jellyfish stings are not uncommon occurrences.
  • There is a cyclone season from November to May. And, while it isn’t something to worry about, it’s advised to be aware of this.

Namibia

Herd of ostrich running through the Namibia Rand

A politically stable and safe place, Namibia offers you the chance to see the many different cultures and natural wonders in Africa. The protected wildlife offers tourists a chance to explore the wild and wonderful desert lands.

If you’re staying at lodges or camps, safety is rarely something to worry about. With cities in Namibia, the populations are small and crime rates are generally low.

Safety tips for Namibia

  • Be aware of your surroundings when drawing cash at an ATM. And stay cautious of people loitering around, or offering to assist you with your withdrawals.
  • When you’re having a meal or drink out, store your belongings under the table or on the table. As with any major city, theft does still occur.
  • If you plan on driving through the country, rent a reliable and sturdy car. The unlit and unpaved roads can be dangerous at night.

3 More of the Safest Countries in Africa for Tourists

Lekhubu Island at sunrise, Sua Pan, Botswana

Some of the most visited countries in Africa are also the safest. These countries are a favorite among tourists:

1. Botswana

Most tourism here is brought in by the incredible wildlife. Major game parks bring in visitors from around the globe. The luxury parks offer chartered drives and secured lodges, and tourists are completely safe with crime rarely happening.

2. Seychelles

Tourists visiting the Seychelles tend to experience very little trouble. The gorgeous islands are safe and well looked after. If there is a crime, it is generally non-violent and often a result of poverty.

3. Ghana

With incredible energy and rich culture, Ghana is a unique African country. It has a stable democracy, and tourists can happily explore cities like Accra at their leisure.

While Christianity is the largest religion, women are encouraged to dress respectfully, which can also detract unwanted attention.

Safe Places to Travel in Africa for Solo Travelers

Is it safe to travel to Africa alone? The safest places to travel in Africa always involve guided or group tours. But don’t let that stop you from traveling to Africa solo.

There are some incredible sight-seeing experiences that can be done alone, safely.

Tanzania

Lone elephant in the savanna in Tanzania

Whether you’re looking for an unforgettable safari adventure or tropical beach vacation, Tanzania is a safe and popular destination for solo travelers. Take the precaution of sticking to tourist areas and avoid less popular spots when traveling alone.

Typically a trip to Tanzania involves staying at a safari lodge or beach resort, both of which are hassle-free. It makes being a solo traveler here easy. Guided tours and game drives are available at every lodge.

Beach resorts or hostels offer an array of water activities that you won’t need a group of people to partake with (such as snorkeling and water-skiing).

South Africa

South Africa is a surfer's paradise, especially along the Western Cape

South Africa is a relatively safe country when the basic precautions are taken. With some of Africa’s best universities, the country has lively student cities and busy night lives. Cape Town and Johannesburg have some world-famous bars and restaurants where you’ll meet plenty of great people.

As well as awesome city life, traveling solo through the wildlife is also an option. Guided tours and airport transfer are in abundance throughout South Africa.

Although considered relatively safe, some basic precautions you ought to take in SA include locking your doors and windows when driving in areas known for high-jacking (like Johannesburg).

And, if you’re heading out alone for the night, don’t walk unattended in the streets. Always take a taxi or Uber to your destination.

Zambia

Ballet of carmine bee-eaters along the banks of the Luangwa River

Zambia is home to the Victoria Falls, a destination at the top of most travelers’ lists. It’s arguably the most beautiful country in Africa. While it is usually explored in groups, Zambia is also one of the safest African countries to visit.

Zambia is a third-world country, and crime tends to go hand in hand with poverty. That being said, tourism and safaris seem to be shielded from some of the minor crimes in Zambia.

What travelers need to know is that the country does struggle with electricity shortages. This might cause some delays when it comes to the smaller parts of the nation, but most hotels and tourist lodges have back-up generators.

Safest Cities in Africa

Safety isn’t a set fixture. The levels of security and danger in a country are constantly changing. Whether it is due to factors such as poverty, political unrest or natural disasters. Here’s a list of some of the most stable and safest African cities:

  1. Libreville, Gabon – also one of the safest countries in Africa
  2. Windhoek, Namibia 
  3. Tinghir, Morocco
  4. Lusaka, Zambia
  5. Lilongwe, Malawi

Unsafe Countries in Africa

The Arch of Marcus Aurelius in Tripoli, Libya

Sadly, as with the rest of the world, there are dangerous countries in Africa that tourists should be wary of.

  • Libya
  • South Sudan
  • Somalia
  • Central Africa Republic

Visiting these countries becomes a risk due to political issues, social unrest, opportunistic crime and violence. Many of these factors are causing numerous issues within the government. A lot of the time, the extreme poverty in Africa can deem it unsafe and not necessarily violence.

This isn’t to say that these beautiful countries aren’t worth visiting. Simply be informed about the current state that the country is in.

Do your research and be prepared. Consider traveling with local guides and staying in the tourist areas.

Safe Countries in Africa Are Waiting to Be Explored

Some of the greatest countries in Africa are also some of the safest. With incredibly diverse cultures and mind-blowing wildlife, it’s worth exploring the entire continent.

Regarding overall safety, Africa has its issues, but what continent doesn’t? There are plenty of safe countries to visit in Africa, whether it be with family, friends or solo. As long as travelers are vigilant and take the necessary precautions, countries in Africa can be as safe as any other destination.