The streets of dar es salaam

Africa's Most Alluring Cities

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Niarra Travel

Africa is a land that knows no bounds. Covering one fifth of the Earth's land area, this diverse continent is home to 54 countries, each bursting with natural wonders and rich histories to discover. From breathtaking scenery to unrivalled wildlife encounters, there are countless reasons to come and pay this vast land a visit.

However, beyond its epic landscapes and its enchanting array of animals lies the thousands of alluring cities that make up the magic and minutiae of this great continent. For those curious to find out more, here are some of the best cities to visit in Africa.

sidecar driven in Marrakesh

Cape Town, South Africa

When it comes to listing the best cities in Africa, none are more frequently mentioned than South Africa’s legislative capital - the incredible Cape Town. Its majestic mountain ranges, stunning coastal vistas, and cosmopolitan city life make it a destination that captivates from the moment you arrive.

A place of spectacular natural beauty and vibrant culture, Cape Town offers something for everyone. Adventure seekers can explore its dramatic landscapes, while those yearning for relaxation can unwind in style at the beach. Boasting a thriving restaurant and bar scene, it's no wonder it's been anointed as South Africa’s culinary capital.

Take a cable car up to the iconic Table Mountain and enjoy panoramic views of the city and ocean below. Drive along some of the most striking sections of South Africa’s coastline and admire the sapphire waves of the Atlantic Ocean crashing against the sandy shores. Or seek out the abundant marine wildlife including whales, dolphins, and great white sharks on a thrilling marine safari.

Soak up the culture and community spirit on a visit to the local townships or be charmed by the adorable penguin colonies at Boulders Beach. Once you've explored all the city has to offer, why not take a trip to the picturesque Cape Winelands nearby to sample the continent's finest wine.

Escape and Explore C Ape Town 2

Nairobi, Kenya

Nairobi pulsates with a sense of adventure, from its urban city centre to exhilarating wildlife encounters and scenic hikes. The Kenyan capital is home to Nairobi National Park, just on the outskirts of the city. Here, you can get up close to Africa's most renowned wildlife, combining urban bustle with serene wilderness.

You will see endangered black rhinos grazing with long-legged giraffes and herds of zebras and buffaloes, while prides of lions, solidarity leopards, and cheetahs prowl the terrain, all set against the city skyline.

Nearby is the famous elephant sanctuary, the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, which provides care and rehabilitation for orphaned and abandoned baby elephants. Watch as the elephant calves guzzle from their bottles and learn about the Trust's vital conservation efforts for these majestic creatures.

Visit the Nairobi National Museum to learn more about the country's fascinating history and rich tapestry of vibrant cultures. Explore exhibits on Kenyan wildlife, prehistoric fossils, and artefacts depicting the country's traditional way of life.

Escape to the lush oasis of Karura, Nairobi's urban forest. Hike or bike along untamed trails, keeping your eyes peeled for playful monkeys swinging through the treetops and shy bush pigs foraging beneath the leaves. As night falls, look out for spotted civets and bright-eyed bush babies.

With a bustling street food scene, you will be able to taste authentic Kenyan delicacies, from flavorful stews to succulent grilled meats as you explore the sprawling city. Nairobi is an ideal jumping-off point if you are looking to visit the legendary Maasai Mara and to witness the awe-inspiring spectacle of the Great Migration, where millions of Wildebeest make the arduous journey across the African plains in search of fertile pastures.

A marketplace selling fruit in Nairobi

Dar es Salaam, Tanzania

Located on Tanzania's East Coast, Dar es Salaam is the largest city in the country and a bustling metropolis rich in Swahili culture. Gain a deeper understanding of the Swahili people and their traditions through one of the many cultural tours available in the city.

The city’s coastline and nearby islands offer sensational beach escapes and marine adventures. Set sail to the idyllic Bongoyo Island, and grab your snorkel or dive gear to explore the vivid coral reefs teeming with marine life, including clownfish, angelfish, and green sea turtles. This uninhabited island, with its white sandy beaches, turquoise waters, and bright green bushlands, is a little slice of paradise, perfect for unwinding after time spent in the busy capital city.

Take a trip to nearby Mikumi National Park, where you'll experience Tanzania's beautiful scenery and wildlife. While not as well-known as some of Africa's other national parks, Mikumi should not be underestimated. It offers a landscape similar to that of the Serengeti, with golden savannah and sprawling grasslands.

Here, you'll be treated to the sight of lions, giraffes, elephants, buffalo, and zebras. Come on the right day, and you may even be lucky enough to spot a leopard or two lounging in the branches of acacia and tamarind trees.

The harbour in Dar es Salaam

Stone Town, Zanzibar

Designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2000, Stone Town is the cultural heart of Zanzibar, steeped in history, with its famous coral stone buildings which gave the town its name.

Get lost in the labyrinth of narrow, winding streets and immerse yourself in the historic harbour town's colourful past. This old city is renowned for its intricate alleyways, ornate wooden doors, and lively Darajani Market bazaar. Meanwhile, its stunning ocean shores invite you to relax by the tranquil Indian Ocean. Hop on a boat to the beautiful Nakupenda Beach and see the intricate coral formations and shimmering shoals of fish that live in the clear in the waters below.

For avid waterbabies, Zanzibar has some of the best diving spots in Africa and Stone Town is an excellent place to base yourself for an exhilarating dive trip, with the chance to see an abundance of tropical fish, bottlenose dolphins,and gigantic whale sharks. Or spend a day at Changuu Island, where you will find a huge population of endangered Aldabra giant tortoises taking it easy in the sunshine.

Stone town has so much to discover, and it is the ideal place to visit while island hopping around the Zanzibar Archipelago.

Spice sold at a bazaar

Marrakech, Morocco

In the northwest corner of Africa sits Marrakech, a city abuzz with spellbinding mystery and fascinating history. Known as the Red City after its eye-catching clay buildings, experience the magic of the medina and the vibrant Jemaa el-Fnaa Square, filled with storytellers, vendors, and artisans, introducing you to the quintessential Moroccan experience.

Explore secret gardens, historic mosques, grand riads and opulent palaces, and be swept away by the city's age-old beauty. The souks are a treasure trove for those on the hunt for traditional spices, oils, and trinkets and a true cacophony of quintessential Moroccan culture.

Visit the rugged Atlas Mountains, North Africa's sweeping mountain range that spans 2,500 km from Morocco to Tunisia, separating the coast from the Sahara Desert. Here you can hike the serpentine trails through rivers and ravines. Then rest high up in the mountain top villages as you sip on mint tea, and indulge in mouth-watering tagines with the local Berbers, who have inhabited the ranges for thousands of years. Marrakech is a place that you can’t help but fall in love with.

Lamps sold at a market in Marrakech

Want to embark on your own urban African adventure? Then get in touch with our expert travel team on +44 (0) 20 3821 5994 (UK), +1 (833) 215 9353 (US), or at explore@niarratravel.com and start curating your perfect itinerary for a once-in-a-lifetime trip.

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