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Africa, it’s a match. Which African country is the best for me? An answer.

Intro

The Tinder pun is indeed intended. I often get asked what country I recommend in Africa and every time my answer is the same. It depends. It depends on several factors, your interests, your available time, your budget, your way of traveling and much more.

In the end, I always play some sort of Africa Tinder matching countries with the personality of the person that is in front of me. It is heaps of fun, which is why I wanted to create this article so that more people will be motivated to travel to my favorite continent and at the same time have an idea where they should start. 

Nevertheless, it should be mentioned that the article purposely generalizes and summarizes the following countries. Obviously, there is always much more to the country than just these small paragraphs, but the sole purpose of this article is to inspire you about one destination. So that you can then do a deeper and more detailed research of the country of your choice. Basically Africa in a nutshell. 

I will start this article from the South of Africa and then will make my way up to the north, because that’s the way I discovered Africa. 

So happy matching! 


Good to Know

Before we get really into your Africa matchmaking, we wanted to share a bit of general info about traveling in Africa, that will be useful for all the following countries. 

  • Africa is safer than its reputation, of course, it’s not Europe, but if you follow a few rules, you will be fine.
  • The African continent is not a cheap one. The majority of the countries don’t have the same touristic infrastructure as South America & Asia. So you will probably have to kill your penny bank. 
  • Africa needs a bit more planning because often you don’t find much info on the web. Often the tourism board websites, foreign office, Lonely Planet or websites like Evaneos can help to get a first idea or to get some help. Definitely, check the visa procedures and vaccinations that you need. 
  • Talking about vaccinations. Yes, unfortunately, the continent has a huge healthcare issue, but as a tourist, you will most likely not be affected if you prepare in advance and get Malaria prophylaxes and the necessary vaccinations. 
  • Transportation is one of the most complex aspects of every trip. Of course, you can take the local transport, but that can take you ages in Africa to get from A to B, so if you don’t have a month for one destination you probably have to rent a car (if affordable) or get a driver and car. 
  • The Western World has a very dark history in Africa, which is causing effects that last until today. Out of respect I highly recommend you to do some history research about the country of your choice, so that you get a better picture before you arrive. Here some ideas where you can start: African History & Local African History
  • Not every African country has an abundance of wildlife or all the animals you know from documentaries, so better check before getting disappointed
  • The last point, all this will definitely be worth it as soon as you will discover your African country. Africa is like nothing else and you can still find your own spot.

Let’s Match!

South Africa

South Africa in One Second: South Africa is the best country for those that have multiple interests and want to combine them all in one trip. 


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  • Budget: $
  • Transport: Easy
  • Strength: Independent traveling
  • Weakness: Inequality Levels
  • Best POI: Cape Town
  • High Season: December (Holidays for most people in SA)

My former home is often called “Africa for beginners”, it’s one of the smoothest starting points if you have never been to Africa. The infrastructure (hotels, hostels, roads, hospitals, restaurants, etc.) is very good and affordable, making it an easy destination to travel by yourself. Just rent a car and start discovering. You can even drive yourself inside the national parks.

Interest wise South Africa is the best for travelers that are looking for a variety of landscapes (coastline, canyons, mountain ranges, deserts, green hills etc.), culture (11 official languages), History (Apartheid), a beautiful city (Cape Town), safari (Addo, Kruger etc.) and sport activities (surf, hike, bike, run, etc.). 

The biggest disadvantage of South Africa is the ongoing effects of apartheid, which is the major reason for the highest inequality in the world. This level of inequality, creates crime rates that will force you to change your way of traveling (avoid walking at night or discovering remote parts of cities).

However, overall South Africa’s advantages by far outnumber the disadvantages, making it a great destination if you have various interests and are looking to combine them in one trip. 


Namibia

Namibia in One Second: Namibia is the best country for those that enjoy being alone in magnificent landscapes. 


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  • Budget: $$
  • Transport: Easy
  • Strength: Remoteness
  • Weakness: Bumpy roads
  • Best POI: Sossusvlei
  • High Season: July-September

Namibia, in a nutshell, is pure remoteness. 2,5 Mio Namibians share a country that is twice the size of Germany. Making it the perfect destination for those of you that seek for remote places to be alone with your thoughts. But the country is not only empty but also has the most impressive landscapes (Sossusvlei, Fish River Canyon, Waterberg, Spitzkoppe, etc.) to offer that I have ever seen (ok with Iceland). Last but not least the star nights. If you have always lived in the city (like me), do yourself a favor and book your next ticket to Namibia to see some stars, milky way included. If you love rhinos, the Etosha National Park is definitely one of the best addresses to see them. 

On the downside, Namibia is a massive country and a lot of points of interest are scattered around the country. In combination with the bumpy gravel roads, you are definitely in for some African massages, as many call them.

You have to spend some hours in the car to discover this place, but it will be worth it. So take a couple of friends, make a road trip hit list and rent a 4×4 and start exploring.


Botswana

Botswana in One Second: Botswana is the best country for those that look for an outstanding wildlife experience.


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  • Budget: $$$
  • Transport: Difficult
  • Strength: Wildlife watching
  • Weakness: Expensive
  • Best POI: Okavango Delta
  • High Season: July-September

Now we are coming to my absolute favorite destination I have ever been to, Botswana. Botswana is one of the last strongholds of wildlife, which is probably the reason why I so loved it. Similar to Namibia there are only a few locals that share this massive country with an abundance of wildlife. The Okavango Delta and Chobe National Park are both the perfect playgrounds for wildlife enthusiasts because due to the sheer amount of wildlife it is very easy to have entertaining game drives. With ⅓ of the elephant population living in Botswana, elephant lovers have to put this destination on their Bucket List. (If you love elephants you should check out those two articles that we wrote). 

Unfortunately, this exclusivity comes with a price tag. Even if you are camping, Botswana still will most likely be one of the most expensive trips you have ever done. But trust me it will be worth it. I spent a fortune, but would always do it again. The best night of my life was already worth every penny (you can read about it here).


Zimbabwe & Zambia

Zambia & Zimbabwe in One Second: Zambia & Zimbabwe are the best countries for those that want to see impressive waterfalls and want to have an off the beaten track safari experience. 


  • Budget: $$
  • Transport: Difficult
  • Strength: Off the beaten track destination
  • Weakness: Most accommodations high end 
  • Best POI: Mosi-oa-Tunya (Victoria Falls)
  • High Season: July-September

I combine the two of them because they share very similar strengths and weaknesses. First of all, they both share the Mosi-oa-Tunya (Victoria Falls), the most impressive waterfalls in Africa, which attract the majority of their travelers. Nevertheless, both countries have much more to offer. Zambia, for example, has the South Luangwa National Park (Park with the highest leopard concentration) and the Liuwa Plain National Park (Park with the second biggest migration of wildebeest). And Zimbabwe the Hwange & Mana Pools National Park. All four are hidden gems, where you won’t see many tourists yet.  

Due to the small number of tourists, you obviously won’t have the same infrastructure as South Africa, making it harder to travel on a small budget and by yourself. However, if you have already seen some other African countries you are probably looking for an adventure


Malawi

Malawi in One Second: Malawi is the best country for those that are looking to get in touch with local people and that want to discover one of the biggest lakes in the world, Lake Malawi.


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  • Budget: $$
  • Transport: Difficult
  • Strength: Easy to approach locals
  • Weakness: Not a destination for classic highlights travelers 
  • Best POI: Lake Malawi
  • High Season: July-September

Malawi was one of the most positive surprises on my arrival, due to the heartwarming welcome of the locals. It was very easy to start conversations or just to exchange some smiles. Furthermore, the Lake Malawi was impressive behind compare, because if you don’t know that it’s a lake, you would think that it’s an ocean. You can’t see the end of it and when we arrived there,  there were even tiny waves on the water. 

On the downside, the country is not really something for those that are classic highlights hunters, that focus solely on major points of interest. It’s more a country that has a specific vibe, that you can best discover at a slow pace.

Unfortunately, I didn’t manage to go when I was there but one of our favorite NGOs African Parks also manages 4 national parks in the country, Liwonde, Majete, Mangochi, and Nkhotakota National Parks. Through the national parks, they are trying to attract more tourists to bring prosperity to one of the most underestimated countries in Africa.


Tanzania

Tanzania in One Second: Tanzania is the best country for those that are looking for Africa how it’s portrayed in western media, wildlife, and Kilimanjaro.


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  • Budget: $$$
  • Transport: Difficult
  • Strength: Wildlife watching
  • Weakness: Similar to Botswana very expensive 
  • Best POI: Serengeti
  • High Season: July-September

My first impression of Tanzania was not a very good one, because it was the first destination after a long time, that was again more populated. There are plenty of little villages along the roads and after visiting the formerly mentioned countries I felt a bit crushed by all the people, which is a joke because Tanzania has only 56 Mio. habitants. But that’s how I felt. Personally, I was also not a huge fan of Zanzibar, because I expected an exotic little island that was still unspoiled. But on arrival, I realized that it wasn’t. 

Nevertheless, the national parks definitely made up for it. The Serengeti is until today, the most amazing and beautiful place I have ever seen. If I could afford it, I would probably go there every year and wouldn’t get tired of it. (Check here if you want to know more about my time in the Serengeti). The other national parks Ngorongoro Crater and Tarangire (here more about my time in this park) are still some of my favorite national parks in Africa.

Unfortunately, I couldn’t visit the Southern National Parks yet, but if you want to have the wildlife just for yourself, those parks are probably the better choice. Especially if you want to see big cats, Tanzania and Kenya are your best choice because of the great migration. 


Kenya

Kenya in One Second: Kenya is the best country for those that are looking for affordable wildlife experiences, combined with rich culture. The place that inspired the Lion King. 


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  • Budget: $
  • Transport: Easy
  • Strength: Huge number of different national parks
  • Weakness: A bit touristy 
  • Best POI: Maasai Mara
  • High Season: July-September

Kenya was the first safari destination, so no wonder that similar to Tanzania it represents everything that you expect about Africa, wildlife, endless grass plains, white beaches, friendly people and beautiful sunsets. The Maasai Mara was my favorite place because it is looking really similar to the Serengeti and is the perfect spot if you are looking for big cats. A big advantage in comparison to Tanzania is that the National Parks in Kenya are a bit closer and it is easy to see a lot of them in one trip.

One of the most underestimated parks for me was the Tsavo East National Park, which is famous for its red elephants. Similar to Tanzania, Kenya has also beautiful beaches (Diani Beach) to offer, making it the perfect destination for people looking for a combination out of culture, wildlife, discovery and relaxing

On the downside, it has been one of the first African countries that heavily developed their tourism sector, so the affordability comes with the price of the less exclusivity. There are bigger lodge complexes which sometimes can spoil the experience. But at least it is more accessible to a variety of people, thanks to more affordable prices.


Uganda & Rwanda

Uganda & Rwanda in One Second: Uganda & Rwanda are the best countries for those that are looking for the gorillas in the mist and an Africa immersion.


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  • Budget: $$
  • Transport: Difficult
  • Strength: Hidden gem of Arica, really authentic
  • Weakness: Expensive Gorilla permits 
  • Best POI: Gorilla forests
  • High Season: July-September

Both countries again are a bit similar. Most visitors come for the famous Mountain Gorillas (so did we, you can read about it here) that can be found in the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park (Uganda) and Volcanoes National Park (Rwanda). So if you love wildlife and especially primates you will need to go there.

Furthermore, the countries also have beautiful National Parks to offer (Queen Elizabeth NP, Uganda, and Akagera NP, Rwanda) and the best part are the locals that are similar to Malawi very easy to approach and easy to talk to. In Uganda, you can also do some white water rafting on the Nile, which I can highly recommend for adrenaline junkies. 

The mountain gorillas are very endangered and only 1000 remain in the wild, which is why they are heavily protected and only 10 people per gorilla group per day are allowed within the National Park. It’s one of the greatest examples of sustainable tourism, which again comes with a big price tag. Depending on the country the gorilla permits, for a one hour visit, range from 700€ (Uganda) to 1500€ (Rwanda). But be assured, it will be worth it! 


Morocco

Morocco in One Second: Morocco is the best country for those that are looking for the Aladdin experience and dreams of 1001 nights.


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  • Budget: $
  • Transport: Easy
  • Strength: Affordable exotic destination close to Europe
  • Weakness: Bargaining culture in souks 
  • Best POI: All the souks 
  • High Season: April & December

Obviously, an entirely different country that can’t be compared with the previously mentioned. With Morocco you will find an exotic destination only a couple of hours from Europe, so very easy to go there if you only have a week. The biggest strengths are the variety of landscapes (deserts, canyons, beaches, mountains, etc.) and the delicious cuisine (our favorite dishes you can find here). It’s also super easy to get around with a rental car or even train, which makes it very easy to do the trip by yourself. 

The only negative part about Morocco that came into my mind is the street vendors in the tourist hot spots, like the souk in Marrakech, that can spoil the experience a bit when they keep on trying to sell you their stuff. But that’s only a small price for the amazing experiences that you will have in this oriental treasure.


Conclusion

As you can see there are plenty of options to discover my favorite continent and I hope that this little Africa travel guide will help you to decide which country matches you the best.

Africa is still a wild place and to keep it that way always remember to travel responsibly (Here you can find some tips from us). If you should have any more detailed questions do not hesitate to write to us, we are more than happy to help! Have a great trip to Africa!  

Oliver One Second Author
written by Oliver

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7 comments

  1. I loved this! I have only ever been to Morocco and Kenya, so I was wondering what you would suggest. Now I love the idea of Namibia, Botswana as well as Zimbabwe & Zambia. All that epic scenery and stunning wildlife! 🙂

    1. Morning Josy,

      Excited to hear that you already been to some places in Africa. If you enjoyed Kenya I am pretty sure you would love Tanzania. Tanzania doesn’t possess that many NP like Kenya but the ones they have are truly amazing for wildlife experiences. From your list I have two recommendations. If you are looking for unique and stunning scenery, Namibia is your place. Unlike anything I have seen before Namibia has some of the highest sand dunes, big canyons, moon like places, endless roads and also a few NPs. Etosha is one of the best parks in Africa to find rhinos! On the other hand there is Botswana. It is my favourite country that I ever visited. I have never seen a place with so much wildlife. It is a mecca for every safari enthusiast. The best part is that due to the price tag you won’t find that many people there. Furthermore, over there you can do all kinds of safaris: the classic in a jeep, on a boat, on a mokoro (little wooden boat), on foot or in the air. All those different angles will help you discover wildlife like never before. If you need some more tips or infos just let us know. Enjoy your time in Africa!

  2. I haven’t made it to Africa yet so this was a really fun and interesting read for me!

    1. Happy to hear you liked it Krista 😉 And you should definitely plan a trip in one (or more) of those countries, Africa is amazing!

  3. As someone who was hoping to plan an Africa trip in 2021 this is really helpful. I had the goal to climb Kilimajaro so Tanzania was firmly on my radar but I also knew I wanted to visit other places if I was going that far. This has really helped with some options and when I eventually get to Africa I will have a few more ideas of the countries I want to visit

  4. I’m really ashamed to realise how my vision of Africa is biased by my Western culture. It really really makes me want to discover for real now!

    1. And trust me, when you start you won’t stop 😉