15 Best Destinations for a City Break in Africa

africa best place to visit
Nature and Landscape in Mahé Island in the Seychelles | © Four Seasons Hotels Limited

Want to discover the urban side of Africa? Besides the amazing nature and wildlife, stunning landscapes, forests and mountains, there are some African destinations which make obvious city breaks, and long weekend break holidays. Discover the best and most beautiful destinations for a city break in Africa with friends, family or lovers. You are planning an African city break but do not know where to go? Add these 15 African cities to your to-do list of the best places to visit for a city break.

Johannesburg, South Africa

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Skyscrapers in Johannesburg, South Africa | © Klaus Leidorf/Flickr

Johannesburg is the largest city in South Africa, and is the country’s largest hub for international travel. It is one of Africa‘s best places for city breaks with attractions and surprises in every corner. The Gold Reef city park will especially give a memorable experience if you have kids in tow as there are over 30 roller coasters and thrill rides there. You could also visit the Apartheid Museum. The Four Seasons Hotel Westcliff and Saxon Hotel are also excellent places to stay while you’re there.

Aswan, Egypt

Egyptian city of Aswan
Felucca ride on the River Nile | © Dr Laura Di Stefano

Aswan, a Nile-side city in the south of Egypt is a chilled and relaxed city packed with incredible sightseeing spots. You could start with mesmerising historic temples of Abu Simbel and Philae to the peaceful boat rides to Elephantine (which houses the Aswan Museum) and Kitchener Island. Aswan is full of rich historical treasures, peaceful Nubian villages and stunning Nile views. Aswan also has some of the friendliest people in the country and roof top panoramas to die for. You could go to see the huge granite quarries, especially the unfinished obelisk. The Eka Dolli guest house is the best place to stay while you’re in Aswan especially if you’re there on a budget.

Marrakesh, Morocco

marrakech city break
Camel ride in Marrakesh, Morocco | © Nicole Solimine

No guide can fully prepare you for a visit to Marrakesh! This Moroccan city has been considered as one of the most beautiful cities in Africa since forever. The city moves to its own frenetic beat and you can try to find your place in its chaotic rhythm or go against it. Visit the Maison de la Photographie, a small building lined with portraits and photographs that will simply take your breath away! Including ones taken over a 150 years ago. You could also go for a shopping trip in one of the numerous local markets, and barter for a bargain while you’re at it. If you’re looking to a full experience of Marrakesh, then getting lost while exploring the Medina-old city should be at the top of your to-do list.

Port Louis, Mauritius

port louis city break
Le Caudan Waterfront in Port Louis, Mauritius | © Rob McCulloch/Flickr

Discover one of Africa’s finest cities. Port Louis, the capital city of Mauritius is a favourite destination among tourists. Apart from always bustling with different festivals, the city also has several temples, a diverse culture of lifestyle, architecture, traditions, food and above all, great people. Some of the best things to do for a memorable experience in Port Louis include a visit to the Blue Penny Museum to discover the rich Mauritian culture, enjoy the popular Mauritian folk dance and rock culture at the Keg & Marlin if you’re there on a weekend and spend some time at the Le Caudan Waterfront Casino.

Calabar, Nigeria

calabar city break
Obudu Mountains is a six hour drive from Calabar, Cross Rivers capital | © Discover Nigeria

Calabar, one of the most welcoming cities in Africa. Also referred to as Canaan city is a city located in Cross River state, Nigeria and also, it’s capital city. With its numerous tourist attractions and the hospitable nature of the locals, the city sure lives up to its name as one of the best tourist destinations in West Africa. While there, you could visit the National Museum to see some of the oldest artifacts dating as far as back before the colonial period, and the slave Museum, a rich resource for the activities of slave trade that happened in Calabar sometime around the 15th Century. The Drill Rehabilitation Centre and Cross river national park are wildlife sanctuaries preserving some endangered species of wild beasts and makes great places for sightseeing. You could also visit the famed Tinapa Resort, taste some of their famous dishes like Edikaikong, visit the Mary Slessor house, statue and tomb and a whole lot of other places. Oh! And you absolutely can’t afford to miss the Calabar carnival which holds at the end of the year, showcasing the Cross River people and culture. It is simply a must-see for any tourist.

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Addis Ababa city break
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia | © Kofi (blackaroundtheglobe)

As one of Africa’s largest cities with a unique heritage with rich cultural offer, the capital of Ethiopia can be intimidating of you’re visiting for the first time, but the city will eventually grow on you! You could explore the excellent ethnographic museum, go for a jog with the locals in Mezscen, witness the devotees at St. George’s church, try not to get robbed in the market and have a night out in the Fendika. If you’re also looking for an emotional experience, a visit to the Red terror museum, detailing how life was like under the bloody Derg regime in Ethiopia will do it.

Dar es Salaam, Tanzania

city break in tanzania
Dar Es Salaam Waterfront | © David Stanley/Flickr

Dar es Salaam meaning “haven of peace” is Tanzania’s largest city and commercial centreA wonderful African city to get lost in and to explore pristine beachesThe city is loved by travellers for its seaside settings and an alluring mix of african, Arabic and indian cultures. Some interesting places to visit include St. Joseph’s cathedral, the village Museum, the National Museum and house of culture, the Askari Monument and the State House. The Hyatt Regency Dar es Salaam and the Kilimanjaro are one of the City’s beat luxury hotels for tourists. This Tanzania’s Indian Ocean city is a major Africa destination to visit for a city break.

Mombasa, Kenya

mombasa city break
Pembe Za Ndovu, landmark in Mombasa, Kenya | © Felix Lilechi

As Kenya’s largest city after Nairobi, Mombasa offers travellers an exotic taste of the African tropics with centuries of seafaring history. The City is actually an island connected by bridges and ferries to the Kenyan coast. Among the many things to do here are Dolphin spotting trips, diving, snorkelling, deep-sea fishing and basking in the sun in any of the numerous beaches. But apart from the island, the city itself is a world of history and culture, with a blend of British, Asian, Indian and Arabic immigrants, improving the city’s general cuisine and culture. You could also visit the Fort Jesus, Haller park, Mombasa Marine National Park, the Mombasa tusks and lots of other interesting tourist spots. The Island offers a wide range of resorts that you can stay while you’re there. Book your hotel, for your next short break in Africa, there is so much to discover!

Accra, Ghana

accra best resorts
Private beach at the Labadi Beach Hotel in Accra, Ghana | © Labadi Beach Hotel

Accra the capital of Ghana is a small but busy city with lots of things to see, both on and off the beaten track. Some of the best experiences you can’t afford to miss include trying out local food at Buka or country style, two restaurants famous for their tofu, jollof rice, banku, local drinks such as Bissau (hibiscus) juice or freshly tapped palm wine. You could also visit a fantasy coffin workshop and see different coffins shaped on forms of a fish, bibles, coke bottles, beer bottles and more. You could also explore Jamestown and learn about Ghana’s pioneer of independence at Kwame Nkurumah Mausoleum. Accra. Any time of year… Book your hotel, Airbnbas you’ll be in one of the most fun destinations in Africa.

Antananarivo, Madagascar

Antananarivo city break
Antananarivo is colourful and utterly fascinating | © Katrine Hansen/Flickr

Also known as Tana, Antananarivo, Madagascar’s capital is a tolerant, active and friendly African destination. Home to the Ivato International Airport and so is naturally the first point of call if you’re visiting Madagascar. But apart from this, it is also worth taking the time to explore, with lots of world-class restaurants, art galleries and shopping centres. You could lodge in the city and visit the Ambohimanga, a traditional hill that served as the spiritual seat of the Merina royal family in the 15th Century. You could also pay a visit to Madagascar’s iconic primates at Lemurs’ park. Other tourist attractions include Croc farm, a popular botanical park located near the airport whose main attraction are the Nile crocodiles and Parc de Tsarasaotra, a natural refuge in the heart of the city, housing of 14 endangered bird species.

Mahé island, Seychelles

africa best place to visit
Nature and Landscape in Mahé island in the Seychelles | © Four Seasons Hotels Limited

Mahe, one of the largest islands in the Indian Ocean provides the perfect mix of an entertaining bustling atmosphere and calm relaxation. Being the most developed and most populated island in Seychelles, it makes the perfect destination for a city break. You could spend the day in foot exploring the unique architecture and monuments of the capital city, Victoria. You could also hit any of the beaches, top of the list being Beau Vallon, and stay overnight in any of the surrounding luxury hotels or make use of the beautiful landscape and go stargazing. There are also many great places to eat on the Mahe Island, celebrating a diverse range of cuisines from native Indian to creole, Italian and Spanish.

Djibouti City, Djibouti

djibouti city break
Place Menelik, Djibouti | © djibouticity

Looking for what to do in Djibouti City? You could start by exploring the ancient colourful buildings, visit the European and Arab quarters which are close to each other. If you follow the noise of the traffic you would eventually reach Place Rimbaud, where the city’s most iconic building; the mosque, is located. There are many stores selling a variety of local wares on the streets. People sit on the streets, chat, enjoy tea and just watch the world go buy. You could also visit Time Out, an enticing restaurant famously known for their tasty Italian and Ethiopian food or the Mukbassa Central – Chez Youssouf famously known for their Poisson Yemenite (oven baked fish).

Tunis, Tunisia

Unmissable Attractions in Tunis
Tunis, Tunisia | © R A M I

One of North Africa’s most easy-going city, Tunis is brimming over with wonders, and should definitely make the list of your city break spots in Africa. With the laid-back atmosphere, stunning old architecture delicious food and exotic appeal, it is definitely one of the best locations for any kind of traveler. Some of the highlights that will make your stay in Tunis memorable include visiting the old Medina of Tunis, the Bardo Museum, the Zitouna Mosque, strolling and shopping through the various souks and visiting the Café Culture at El Ali for splendid, traditional Tunisian food.

Kampala, Uganda

kampala city break
Kampala, Uganda | © Michael Jeddah/Flickr

Kampala has many charms, with different attractions and beautiful chaos to keep you well entertained while you’re there. A legendary African capital with huge beauty and heritage richness. Our top picks are the Uganda National Culture Centre, with great live music and films, bars and restaurants and many nightly activities to keep you on your toes. You could also visit the Kasubi Royal Tombs, an archeological and memorial site Housing ancient kings of Uganda, shop at the crafts market and visit the famed 2k Restaurant for an experience of exclusive traditional Ugandan cuisine.

Dakar, Senegal

dakar city break
Dakar, Senegal | © Lee Litumbe

Senegal’s capital Dakar is one of the most western cities of Africa and is almost enclosed by the Atlantic Ocean. As a thriving modern city, it boasts of many enviable landmarks, attractions and cultural sites that’s bound to make your trip worth it! If you’re a surfer, then Dakar’s consistent waves will almost be some kind of paradise for you. When it comes to riding the waves, most visitors are usually spoilt for choice as there are over 15 perfect spots. If you’re a still a learner, you may want to get your sea legs first in the more forgiving beaches of Virage and Yoff. There is also a dedicated variety of surf hostels, camps, bars and rental shops scattered around the beaches. You could also visit the numerous restaurants in the city and tuck into traditional Senegalese fare. You’ll be amazed by the beauty of Dakar.

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