It’s often assumed that the countries in Africa aren’t safe to travel around but nothing could be farther from the truth in my experience.
Having grown up in Kenya and spent a good 20 years there, I have never had any issues with safety and security. In fact, it wasn’t a concern of mine until I actually moved to London where I was robbed a few times, once at knifepoint. The big cities of the western world feel far more unsafe to me than I ever have done in Kenya.
That’s not to say all of the 54 countries in Africa are as safe as each other, and there are certainly some countries that are safer than others which we’ll take a look at today. Here are the safest countries in Africa to travel to.
The one thing Africa has, which is more than most countries, is a lot of wildlife which can seem dangerous if you don’t know how to behave around them. But, 99% of encounters with the beautiful flora and fauna will be with a guide who’ll ensure you’re safe.
Rwanda is the safest country in Africa and was named the 9th safest country in the world in 2017 and the 11th safest the year after. Not bad going for a country that was rampant with genocide in 1994. But instead of the conflict dividing the country, it brought Rwanda together and made it a nice place to live for the locals and a great place to visit for tourists.
When you visit Rwanda you’ll land in the capital Kigali and the relaxed and oddly cozy atmosphere is immediately apparent. The locals are soft, kind, always smiling, and full of life. You’ll notice quite a lot of security around Kigali but they are just as relaxed as the next guy and there is no tension to be felt.
The crime rate in Rwanda is incredibly low and there is a true sense of community spirit that keeps everyone together and away from crime. Every last Saturday of the month is Umuganda, a day where everyone joins their community to do their part in making things better. Whether it’s cleaning up the town or helping with painting a community-shared building, everyone joins in.
If you’ve been looking for a place in Africa to travel solo around, Rwanda should be at the top of your list.
Botswana lies in southern Africa and borders South Africa, Nambia, and Zimbabwe and it’s one of the best places to go on safari in the entire world – mainly thanks to the diversity that is inspired when the Okavango Delta meets the Kalahari desert.
From a safety perspective, Botswana has consistently been one of the safest countries in Africa. This is thanks to the consistency of the political stability of the country, low crime rates, and that Botswanans are generally super happy and lovely people.
A visit to Botswana will undoubtedly feature a safari at some point, and this will probably be the most dangerous part of your journey in the country in terms of risk. Driving next to a herd of elephants, as beautiful as it is, doesn’t come without any risk.
But, thanks to the extremely experienced and professional safari guides, all encounters are always memorable and happy experiences. Plus it is always quite exciting when an elephant mock charges and you’re slowly driving away as it happens.
Mauritius is an island nation off the east coast of Madagascar. If you have pictured paradise in the form of white sand beaches, then Mauritius is probably a little prettier than what you imagined.
Ideally, Mauritius is also incredibly safe and one of the safest countries in Africa so experiencing this island’s stunning natural beauty should be on the top of your to-do list.
Being an island nation, the locals stem from a history of trade and today are a multicultural mix that all live happily side by side. Port Louis, the capital of Mauritius is also one of the richest cities in Africa, and where people earn enough money they don’t resort to crime to make up for it.
Family beach holidays to Mauritius are immensely popular, another huge tick for the safety of the country and the tourism side of things is excellently managed.
While there you can dive, snorkel, fish, climb rainforest-covered mountains, and a whole lot more. If you love a party then you’re also in luck. The area around Grand Baie is renowned for fun nights out and you’ll even find beach parties with world-class DJs.
Namibia sits just north of South Africa, south of Angola, on the west coast of the continent. It’s famous for its vast deserts, seeming-less never-ending coastline, great safaris, and lovely laid-back vibe.
If you’re looking to do a road trip in Africa, Namibia is an excellent choice. Camping under the stars is out of this world and it’s full of adrenaline-fuelled activities from catching endless barrels on your surfboard at skeleton bay to sky diving.
Namibia is safe for tourists. There are areas around the capital Swakopmund that should be avoided, like most big cities ie London, but it’s generally very safe. Once you get out of town, the country is sparsely populated and the crime rates are very slow, plus is stable politically as well.
If you are planning a visit, the dry season between July – October, is actually during winter and this is by far the best time to go on a safari. The grass is short and the trees aren’t so lush which makes spotting animals a lot easier.
Seychelles is one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen in my entire life. If you love the ocean, visiting Seychelles is a must.
The country consists of over 115 different islands and the more remote you go, the safer you are. That’s not to say that the islands aren’t safe but the main island, Mahe, where the capital Victoria is, does have some petty crime going on and tourists who venture out can be pick-pocketed, or if you leave valuables on the beach that can disappear.
The islands of La Digue and Praslin, which are just a ferry ride away from Mahe, are a lot nicer and safer. They have less than half the population of Mahe, are famed for being home to some of the most beautiful beaches in the world, and an amazing place to visit.
If you can afford it, you can go to the outer islands like Desroches and Alphonse. If you like the sea, diving, or fishing, then visiting them will be a trip of a lifetime. I have never seen an ocean so alive, there are so many turtles and rays, seeing 50 a day is not uncommon. Plus, there is no crime on these outer islands at all.
Ethiopia today, isn’t the safest country to travel in Africa as there is ongoing conflict in the northern states of Afar and Tigray but I’m including it for nostalgia’s sake, plus the rest of the country is as safe to visit as it has ever been.
Ethiopia has been one of the safest countries in Africa for a while and it certainly felt that way when I spent 6 months there back in 2016. The people of Ethiopia are immensely proud of their country and to be Ethiopian, and they take crime seriously. It’s not accepted and never covered up. So much so that serious crime is very rare and petty crime is exceptionally low, and even more so outside of Addis Ababa, the capital.
Ethiopia is one of the most unique countries I’ve ever been to. In my mind, it’s the melting pot where sub-Saharan Africa meets the more Arabic countries of the north and you can see it in the local’s faces and their cultural behaviors.
The country is home to some of the most amazing things to see on earth including active volcanoes, beautiful mountain ranges, indigenous rainforests with wild coffee inside, and their birdlife is off the charts. If you’re going to visit, time it between October and April during the dry season. And, maybe wait for the conflict in the north to die, or travel south and west of Addis.
Morocco is another safe country in Africa that is worth a visit. The country has had a stable government for a long time and there is very little conflict. They even managed to remain unaffected by the Arab Spring that had a lot of North African countries move into conflicting times.
Serious crime is rare in Morocco, especially when it comes to serious crimes. Outside of the big cities, petty crime is also very low as the populations are low and it’s very much in the locals’ interest to keep tourists safe and returning to the country to enjoy all it has to offer.
When in big cities like Marrakesh, Tangier, and Casablanca you need to be on the lookout. Pick-pockets can be rife especially in busy places like markets and there are quite a few scams going around.
Keep things like your phone in your pocket and zipped up, the same goes with any cash. It’s best to carry it loose in your hand, in your pocket, and keep small bills ready for random purchases. Never pull out a wadge of cash or you’ll quickly be on the pick-pocketers radar.
While in Morocco you can enjoy the amazing food, beautiful coastline, it has incredible waves if you surf, and the Atlas mountains are stunning. Try to avoid the summer months of June to August as it gets unbearably hot.
Kenya has been through its fair share of troubles. From the embassy bombings to Al-Shabab creating issues, along with some political conflicts, plus some Somali pirates, the country has had a hard time. But, none of this should put you off, I promise.
Generally, Kenya is a very safe country in Africa to visit and this is proven through Kenya having the most established safari industry in Africa and it’s hugely popular the world over.
Serious crime involving tourists almost never happens in Kenya and petty crime is incredibly rare too. There are parts of Nairobi and Mombasa one should avoid, which is normal in big cities around the globe. Plus, the chances of your holiday taking you to any of them is pretty much impossible.
The Kenyans are some of the loveliest people in the world in my experience. There seems to never be an end to their internal happiness and joy, even in the face of adversity, they are smiling and managing to see the positive side of life.
Kenya has it all from a tourism perspective. You can climb mountains, visit one or three of the 20 plus national parks, spend time in the desert or in Turkana where lucy was found. And, to top it all off, the coast is covered in white-sand beaches that are lapped by the beautiful and warm Indian Ocean.
The one area in Kenya you probably should avoid is the Somali border but there isn’t anything to see there anyway bar dry shrubland.
Zambia has been politically stable for a long time now and they have had little to no conflict for ages too. The country is landlocked and from a tourism perspective, the main reason to visit is to go on safari which makes traveling there even safer.
If you’re going on safari then the only time you might want to have your wits about you is when going around the large cities of Livingstone and Lusaka, on the way to your safari lodge, or on your way home. You’re likely not to experience any crime at all but if you’re unlucky, it will be petty and not a serious crime.
The best time to visit is May to October for safaris and for a visit to Victoria Falls, June to September is best. It truly is a breathtaking place and the safari industry is well established and provides excellent service.
There is no continent in the world quite like Africa. It really does get under your skin and for many, returning home isn’t something they ever want to do after visiting. Never be put off experiencing this magical place due to safety. Be smart and sensible and you’ll be fine.
Roger is a little obsessed with travel. He has been to over 40 countries, broken 3 suitcases and owned over 10 backpacks in 12 months. What he doesn't know about travel, ain't worth knowing!