Millions of travelers visit popular African tourist destinations such as Egypt and South Africa, but what about some of the lesser popularized countries? Places like Niger, Sierra Leone, and Chad don’t get enough credit or nearly enough tourists and this could be both a good and bad thing. In this article we’re sharing some countries in Africa that deserve a visit from you and you might actually like that they aren’t saturated with a lot of tourists!
5. Sierra Leone
Sierra Leone gets a total of about 71,000 tourists a year, however this was the last recording in 2019. This beautiful Island was unfortunately home to a lot of ,mining for diamonds, gold, bauxite, and rutile (titanium dioxide). They went through a pretty nasty Civil War in the 1980s and the government has been rebuilding ever since. Despite the history, Sierra Leone is
definitely on my list for one of the countries in Africa you should visit.
They have a tropical climate that for the most part stays between 70 to 80 F. Their rainy season is between July and August, so you might want to plan to visit during other months. There are about 18 ethnic groups in Sierra Leone. Some major groups are the Mende, Temne, Limba, Susu, and Loko. Throughout the 19th century, Black people from the United States and West Indies also settled in Sierra Leone.
Tiwai Island Wildlife Sanctuary is home to 80 rare hippos and 11 species of primates. There are awesome forest trails, boat trips along the river that is home to 135 species of birds, and deep caves by the village of Niahun.
You won’t want to leave Sierra Leone’s beaches. Tokeh Beach used to attract a lot of French celebrities and parliamentarians who would flock to the now Africana Resort in the 1980s. Today, many visitors stay at The Place, a luxury resort with 54 elegant chalets. Sierra Leone is meant for adventurous travelers. I haven’t even dented in all of the cool places to visit and things to do here, but when you plan your trip you’ll find there is so much more. From empty beaches, to green jungles and fascinating animals, you can’t go wrong with this place!
Niger has some of the most amazing desert dunes and is home to a pretty cool dinosaur graveyard. It is located on the edge of the Sahara desert and is one of the country’s main tourist attractions. Niger recorded a total of 192,000 tourists in 2019 still making it a pretty decent place for tourists to visit without the suffocation of other tourism. Niger is poorly marketed as a tourist destination which probably explains why there isn’t much tourism here, but that’s a good thing in my eyes! There is over 1,000 years of history in this country!
So to be completely transparent here, Niger isn’t the safest place to explore due to military juntas, tribal uprisings and other terrorist issues around, however with the right guidance this place can be an incredible experience.
I actually recommend going with a travel group that will map out your whole entire day. To visit here, you do need your yellow fever vaccination which in U.S dollars can cost between $80-$90 dollars, Visa and Passport. But once you arrive in Niger, the fun starts!
Popular cities in Niger to visit are Agadez, Niamey, Koure, and Zinder. Sultan’s palace is also a well known spot to visit. It’s unique and gives an older African tradition feel. It’s pretty cool the present Sultan reigns there!
There are also little clubs and lounges if you want to get your dance on. Level Club and Lounge is located in Niamey! The city of Niamey has a pretty heft nightlife scene, markets full of stuff, and food spot with pizzas and pastas mix with the spicy creations of the African flavor! Lastly, Maradi is the third-largest city in the entire country and is usually a pit stop, but if you decide to visit, it’s full of markets. It’s recommended to visit the Grand Marche where the home of the tribal leader resides at the Maradi palace and you can purchase some awesome shamanic jewelry and magic charms!
Right now, Chad tourist numbers rank about 87,000, which isn’t a lot considering it’s the fourth largest semi-desert in Africa. These low tourist numbers have a lot to do with a history of political instability and violence between the Muslim Arab north and Christian south.
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office aren’t really fond of the idea of people visiting Chad but Chad is pretty safe and very welcoming! Chad’s lake is the largest body of water in the country and the Tibesti Mountains are really hard to reach and explore but there are plenty of things for tourist to do.
Camel racing is popular, viewing the ancient rock art is pretty cool and there are hot thermal springs nearby! There is a brewery called Gala Brewery in Moundou, home to Ngambi people and that is pretty popular. There is also Douguia, which is located on the Chari River, where you can take a city tour of Chad’s landscapes, villages and waterways. Zakouma National Park is a rare experience and I recommend visiting here when you go to Chad. The park has a high number of giraffes and elephants. It has gone through a huge transformation after all the poaching and conflict that went on some years ago.
2. Equatorial Guinea
Equatorial Guinea is the seventh least visited country in the world, mostly because it is so hard for tourists to get a Visa here. However, rumor has it that it is starting to get easier now that the government has opened it up for more tourism. To visit any tourist attractions, you have to obtain a Tourist Permit, especially if you plan to access certain protected areas in the country. Using a travel agency is best and putting together an itinerary to make your travel easier and safer is highly recommended. Equatorial Guinea is small and only about 10,830 square miles with a population of a little over 1 million.
This scenic destination is full of rainforests, wildlife, beaches and history! This place is not on the equator, it’s actually over 100 miles from the equator and lies on the west coast of Africa. The weather is humid, warm and rainy the whole year round, though. The city is often overcast, most cloud cover between May and November, so think about that when you decide when you want to travel. ,Bioko, island is best around the dry season which extends from mid-November to February.
This island is also known as Fernando Póo or Fernando Po and is absolute paradise. Volcanic sands, rainforest, and woodlands cover this cloudy but warm island.
You might also want to visit
Río Muni where you will find similar weather conditions but different rainy seasons. It was
formerly a colony of Spain with the name Spanish Guinea, and the country achieved its independence on October 12, 1968. Annobón also known as Pagalu, is a volcanic island and has a dry season from June to October and a wet season from November to May. Most families come here in December for the festive season, so you might want to avoid this area during that time. Fun and popular things to do here are trekking across the volcanic scenery, whale watching and spending time at the beaches. The capital is San Antonio de Palé and nearly everything you need is within walking distance.
This is the least visited tourist spot in all of Africa and I have no idea why! The culture is amazing! Granted, it is an isolated island and those tend to be a bit expensive, but it is full of diverse groups from the coast of Africa, Madagascar, Persian Gulf, and Malay Archipelago.
If you are looking for a place to get away from it all, literally, this is the place to visit. It is very remote here and you won’t find tourists walking around everywhere, in fact, there is a huge lack of tourism infrastructure making it hard to navigate here, especially alone.
The people are mostly Muslim with traditional cultures in Swahili. There is no alcohol here either. If all of that sounds like a bummer, than this isn’t the place for you. If not, keep reading. One place I recommend to visit is Mohéli, which is full of snorkeling, sea turtles and cute fruit bats. It is the smallest island on Comoro but there is quite a bit to see and do. Parc Marin de Mohéli is a park you can visit that protects the turtles as well as a tropical paradise of beaches! Ylang Ylang plantations and distilleries can not only be visited but you can smell the Ylang Ylang all around. The more popular beaches are Nioumachoua and Itsamia.
There are hiking trails on all the islands and you can take a two-day hike up Mount Karthala, the active volcano in the south of Grande Comore!
Africa is full of wonder and magnificent places that aren’t crowded with tourists. If you do enough research, get a great travel agent and plan accordingly, you can bet you will have the vacation of a lifetime.