Want to visit Africa but are a bit worried about safety? Looking for the safest country in Africa to visit? Then this is it.
Let me say first of all that I have travelled across Africa from Ethiopia overland to South Africa 2 times and all by public transport or hitch-hiking and had no problems.
The only place I actually felt a little threatened was in Nairobi, the capital of Kenya when downtown after dark. But I have heard the safety in Nairobi has improved a lot since then.
Overall there are plenty of safe places to visit in Africa just like anywhere in the world. But if you really want to play things safe and dip your toe into Africa travel then this is the safest country in Africa to visit that I will go into more detail for you.
To be honest, I normally wouldn’t write about the safest country to visit on a continent, but I do understand that you may be a little daunted about visiting new places and are wanting to start with the safest country in Africa if you do visit.
Many times I have met travellers who for some reason or another are a little worried about safety in Africa for visiting, either by crime, diseases (like malaria), or maybe just the daunting size and diversity of the place.
I’m going to tease you a bit and start with the 2nd safest country in Africa and then the 1st safest afterwards. I will also give the next several safest African countries to give you more options, as well as some of the safest cities in Africa.
I will also say at the very end why the overall safest country in Africa may not necessarily be the best option for your visit to Africa.
I recommend using SafetyWing Travel Insurance for your trip, just in case, it’s best to be prepared.
2nd Most Safest Country In Africa – Botswana!
Yes! Botswana is the 2nd safest country in Africa to visit and I’m very happy to say that it’s also one of the best places in Africa to visit and one of my favourites.
The figures for it being the 2nd safest country in Africa are based on the global peace index (more about that further down the post) but I can tell you that after visiting Botswana 2 times now it feels safe when there as well.
The crime rate is very low in comparison with many other African countries.
I met many friendly people in Botswana and enjoyed my time when visiting the Chobe National Park and the Okavango Delta, especially.
The capital Gaborone is also ranked as one of the safest cities in Africa although I didn’t spend much time there as I was more interested in getting out into the stunning countryside.
Botswana is also nicely located near South Africa, Namibia, and Zambia, all of which are great countries to visit themselves.
Although South Africa does have a high crime rate and is certainly not one of the safest countries in Africa, it does have a lot going for it as well.
Overall Botswana, combined with say Namibia and the Victoria Falls in Zambia, would make a great visit to Africa, especially if it’s your first time on the continent.
Although like I said before I do have other options at the end of the post.
Places To Visit In Botswana
So, now maybe you want to visit Botswana after finding out it’s the 2nd safest country in Africa?
Then here are some of the best places to visit in Botswana.
The Okavango Delta is an absolutely stunning water delta that Botswana is famous for.
Maun is the main town for visits into the Okavango Delta and is where you can organize canoe safaris that will take you into the delta and you can camp when there.
It’s an unforgettable experience and out of the safe places in Africa to visit, this is one of the best.
Chobe National Park
Chobe National Park is one of the best safari destinations in southern Africa and you will definitely get to see a lot of elephants when there, hippos, and most likely lions. If you’re very lucky you may see wild dogs hunting.
It’s a great place for wildlife in general and a peaceful place. Kasane is the main town near the national park and where you can organize the safaris from.
Makgadikgadi Pans National Park
The Makgadikgadi Pans are a vast salt flat desert that is almost literally like another planet. Sadly I didn’t make it there even though I really wanted to simply because of time and budget after having travelled across East Africa spending a lot on safaris.
Kubu Island sits in the Makgadikgadi Pans and is one of the most beautiful places in Botswana.
There is a Top Gear special where they travel in cars across the Makgadikgadi Pans which is fun to watch.
The Kalahari Desert stretches across Botswana and also into parts of Namibia and South Africa.
It’s not just desert dunes though, there is scrubland where animals can be seen and makes for a great place to get away from it all.
The Safest Country in Africa
And now to the overall safest country in Africa. Mauritius!
Mauritius is an island off the coast of Africa in the Indian Ocean, past Madagascar. Being an island means you have tropical beaches, lagoons, and reefs, plus a lush rainforest interior.
Now I haven’t been to Mauritius myself as it was way, way off the overland route through Africa I was doing but I will get there someday.
Now I mentioned before why the safest country in Africa might not be the best country to actually visit if you want an African experience.
As nice as beaches etc sounds, if you want that true experience of being in Africa then a country like Botswana or Tanzania will be much more fulfilling in that regard.
Plus visiting the heart of Africa without going on safari to see some of the beautiful landscapes and lions etc just wouldn’t feel right!
Having said that I’ve had friends who travelled to Mauritius and loved it.
Safest Countries in Africa
If you want some more of the safest countries to visit in Africa based on the global peace index they are these.
The global peace index is ranked by three factors: safety and security, domestic and international conflict, and level of militarisation.
I went backpacking in Tanzania 3 times and loved it. Excellent safari options in the many national parks there and you can climb the continent’s largest mountain, Kilimanjaro.
Also white sand beaches and Swahili culture and excellent seafood along the coast. I’m happy to see this listed as one of the safest countries to visit in Africa.
Thinking about it I would even put Tanzania as one of the best countries in Africa to live in due to its abundance of options for things to do and its location in the centre of the east coast.
To be honest, if I had to choose between Botswana and Tanzania, I would go to Tanzania as it’s also one of the safest countries in Africa and has more to offer you as a visitor overall.
Plus neighbouring Rwanda makes for a great visit and is also one of the safest countries in Africa.
Tanzania is also listed as one of the best countries to visit in Africa.
Sadly I have not visited Ghana yet but want to someday as it has a rich culture and beaches galore and is the safest country in West Africa.
The food is also ranked highly and has very friendly people. It’s had many decades of peace and no troubles for visitors.
In West Africa, this is an easy one to visit if you are in Europe as it’s not too far away. Previously a French colony it has some of that French charm in its capital Dakar and there are plenty of things to see in the country.
Yeah, Zambia! Another great country and also where I had one of the best safari experiences in South Luangwa National Park.
Beautiful landscapes, friendly people, great safari options, and the creme-de-la-creme Victoria Falls.
The Gambia is a tiny country in the west of Africa by Senegal so you could do both of these countries together easily. It’s famous for its laid-back beaches.
It’s one of the safest African countries to travel in.
There used to be a lot of violence and troubles in Sierra Leone but now it’s one of the safest countries in Africa. Beaches, jungle, and friendly people.
Sierra Leone is also in West Africa. In fact, if you really wanted to visit West Africa instead of say Botswana or Tanzania, then you could do Ghana and fly to Sierra Leone from there.
You’ll be happy with Namibia mentioned here as it’s next to Botswana and so you can possibly plan a visit to both of them.
The legendary Etosha National Park is where you can have one of the more unique African safari experiences. My father visited this national park in the 90s’ and loved it.
Instead of going to Etosha (as I had already done so many safaris in Africa), I visited the massive sand dunes and the ocean area of Swakopmund.
Side note on South Africa.
Although South Africa doesn’t make it into the top of the safest countries in Africa is is still an excellent destination for travellers.
It has a lot to see and different experiences to have, as well as some of the best infrastructures in all of Africa.
The Garden Route in particular from Cape Town to Port Elizabeth is one of the most beautiful drives in Africa.
Safest Cities in Africa
As we’re on the subject of Africa and safety let’s have a look at some of the safest cities in Africa to visit.
Gaborone in Botswana has already been mentioned as one of the safest cities in Africa so I’ll not go into that here.
The others are:
Kigali in Rwanda
Rwanda is a small country and the capital Kigali is ranked as the safest city in Africa overall. Rwanda was the site of genocide in 1994 but it has made a massive come back and is now one of the best places to visit in Africa.
Kigali is located amongst laid-back hills and Rwanda is most famous for the gorilla trekking opportunities in the jungle.
If you visit Tanzania you can head into Rwanda from there as they are next to each other.
Nairobi in Kenya
Although when I was in Nairobi during 2010 and again in 2013 there was a ‘hint’ of danger around the streets, especially downtown after sunset, things have apparently changed and now it’s ranked as one of the safest cities in Africa.
I’m very pleased about that as I made great friends in Nairobi when there.
Tangier in Morocco
Having spent 4 days in Tangier in 2015 I’m not surprised to see it as one of the safest cities to visit as I felt perfectly relaxed when there.
I did hear there was a bit of petty crime (being a port city there always will be), but I didn’t feel in danger at any point.
Windhoek in Namibia
To be honest, there’s nothing special about Windhoek itself, well that’s how I felt the 3 times I went there. It’s more of a stopover point on the way to some of the best places in Namibia, like Etosha National Park and the sand-dunes.
Lusaka in Zambia
Lusaka! 2 times I’ve visited there and never a problem. There’s not much to do but you can meet very friendly people. It’s also a great place to organize getting to safari destinations and to head down to Victoria Falls.
Most Dangerous Countries in Africa
As we’re on the subject of the safest countries in Africa let’s take a look in the other direction at the most dangerous countries in Africa.
No real surprise here. Somalia is the most dangerous country in Africa and has undergone conflicts for decades.
I have visited Somaliland on the border with Ethiopia which is ‘technically’ a part of Somalia but in reality, is its own country and I felt safe my whole time there.
When Sudan split into 2 separate countries South Sudan experienced and still is a civil war. That’s why it’s definitely not one of the safest countries in Africa but one of the worse.
Central African Republic
The Central African Republic has had a lot of conflicts over the years and extremism which makes it generally unsafe to visit. After a power takeover in 2013, the country has been split between various armed factions.
Most people should know that Libya has had a troubled history, to say the least. Constant tribal battles since the fall of Gaddafi leave the country in shambles and make it dangerous to visit.
Democratic Republic of Congo
The Democratic Republic of Congo is massive. The violence that happens there is spread into different areas and while the country as a whole may be dangerous there are still pockets of reasonable peace.
Sadly, in the east of the country where it used to have a lot more safety around the Goma area and the national park nearby, it has also seen more violence recently.
The Safest Country In Africa To Visit
So there you have it! If you want the safest country in Africa to visit then go to Botswana or maybe some of the other ones suggested here.
You probably noticed that some of the most popular African countries to visit, such as South Africa and Egypt, didn’t make the list. However, I have travelled through South Africa and Egypt and had no problems.
At the end of the day it’s like anywhere you go in the world. Big cities, especially at night, be more careful. When in the remote countryside, for example on a safari, you won’t have any troubles as you will be with a tour company who knows what they are doing.
I would say, like most places, the most common danger is petty theft or mugging in the big cities. But if you are careful of the parts of the cities you visit and when you visit you can mitigate the chances of something bad happening, just like any other city anywhere in the world.
It’s especially good if you make local friends where you visit and go to places with them as they will know the ‘lay of the land.
Take the jump. Go to Africa! I loved it there and I hope you do too.
As we’re on the subject of safety make sure you take travel insurance for any trip to Africa just to be safe. I use World Nomads Travel Insurance and find them excellent.
Have you ever thought of going to Botswana? Or other places in Africa mentioned here? Then do it.
Here are some books I recommend for travel in Africa.
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