Africa is home to over 300 uniquely beautiful cities which boast of rich cultural heritage and vibrant people. The continent has significantly developed within the last decades. Experts believe that the COVID-19 pandemic robes Africa from earning its rightful quota in the tourism earnings over the previous two years.
Perhaps the most significant aspect of African cities is their fusion of the old and modern elements. Every African city tends to possess a footprint of the African culture that distinguishes it from others anywhere in the world – and one another.
There has been a lot of development in the area of infrastructure across many African cities. This has contributed in no small way to the overall perception of the continent.
Many small countries have done so well in this regard and surprised the world with their investment in infrastructure.
Although surprising, Nigeria's commercial nerve and one of the most beautiful cities in the world – Lagos, did not make the cut for the top 10 most beautiful cities in Africa 2021 – this is a record Africa should be proud of.
Africa has continued to preserve its cultural footprint despite the massive infrastructural developments going on around the continent. The majority of the monuments in these African cities are not the malls or hotels but the natural footprints present therein.
For example, South Africa's Cape Town, which is considered one of the world's most beautiful cities and the most beautiful in Africa, has a unique symbol – a 6,000-foot table-shaped mountain in the center and a string of white-sand beaches.
Below, we have selected the top 10 African cities in 20201.
1. Cape Town, South Africa
Located at the base of Table Mountain and right on the Atlantic Ocean, Cape Town has it all. The city is home to a string of beautiful beaches and many natural attractions like climbing to the top of Lion's Head to view the sunrise or hiking in Table Mountain National Park.
It also features the gorgeous Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden, and there is an opportunity to see wild African penguins just about 30 minutes outside the city center.
2. Marrakesh, Morocco
Morocco's fourth-largest city, Marrakesh, is a mesmerizing place to visit, filled with ancient architecture and modern culture. Marrakesh is home to a vibrant medieval walled medina in the western part of the country, which dates back to the Berber Empire.
You'll want to spend some time wandering its narrow maze-like streets, where you'll find souks (marketplaces) selling all sorts of traditional goods from jewelry to spices and textiles.
3. Cairo, Egypt
Right on the banks of the Nile River, Cairo is a chaotic and bustling city that is also the largest in Egypt. It's dubbed the "city that never sleeps" - there is always something going on in this sprawling metropolis, where ancient culture meets modern skyscrapers.
Expect to hear a cacophony of horns and the rumble of traffic day and night, but the sounds are refreshing to those who like large cities.
4. Stone Town, Zanzibar
Stone Town is no major metropolis; it is an old Swahili coastal trading town, but it is one of the most intriguing destinations in Africa.
Located on the beautiful island of Zanzibar off the Tanzanian coast in the Indian Ocean, Stone Town is the heart and soul of the island.
5. Johannesburg, South Africa
Johannesburg, or Jo'burg as the locals call it, is South Africa's largest city and one of Africa's most wealthy and modern. Expect skyscrapers, world-class hotels, and a host of restaurants that can rival those in major western cities like New York.
A lot of Jo'burg has a feeling similar to NYC - it has a young, vibrant, frenetic, goes-all-night energy about it.
6. Kigali, Rwanda
Rwanda's capital city is known for being one of Africa's cleanest cities. Set in the middle of the country and just a 2.5-hour drive from Volcanoes National Park, where tourists come to trek to see Rwanda's mountain gorillas, it has an excellent geographical location for exploring this emerging destination.
7. Essaouira, Morocco
The Moroccan port city of Essaouira on the country's Atlantic coast is one of its most beautiful. The city, which is also a famous resort town, has some lovely beaches and is known for its excellent kitesurfing, windsurfing, and regular surfing. Thanks to strong currents and plenty of wind - it is known as the Wind City of Africa.
8. Windhoek, Namibia
Namibia's capital city is one of Africa's most accessible to navigate. Safe, contemporary, and clean, it is filled with traditional German houses and pastel-hued buildings.
Despite being Namibia's largest city, Windhoek has more of a small-town vibe.
9. Durban, South Africa
South Africa's third major city, Durban, has a unique multicultural history and is known as Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi born here on June 7, 1893.
Today, the city on the Indian Ocean coastline is a top South African beach destination (the sea here is quite a bit warmer than in Cape Town), with some good surf breaks. It is also known for its large Indian population and excellent restaurant scene.
10. Nairobi, Kenya
Kenya's capital city, Nairobi, is a vibrant and unique destination with some of the best infrastructure on the African continent.
Expect a mix of contemporary skyscrapers and traditional Kenyan style plus a healthy dose of culture and historical sites.