It isn’t in doubt that Africa is home to some of the most beautiful cultural destinations in the world. In Africa, you will find cultural destinations that make your jaw drop; that makes you appreciate the beauty of human civilization. While some of these destinations are common, others are not.
For tourists, Africa is an exciting cultural destination with attractions for everyone looking to discover Africa’s absolute beauty, from adjacent islands and idyllic beach holidays to seeing wild animals in their natural habitat and colonial architectures.
This article explores both the common and uncommon cultural destinations in Africa. Here are 15 best cultural destinations to visit in Africa
1. Luxor Temple, Egypt
Egypt is one of the oldest civilizations in Africa and so is filled with cultural and historical destinations. One of such is the Luxor Temple.
This temple was built around 1100 – 1600 B.C. It would be a shrine where the most referred Egyptian gods would be worshipped. Amun. Chons. Mut.
Luxor Temple, featuring fourteen 23-meter-tall columns, tells the story of a religious people who turned to gods for refuge.
At a time, Egyptian kings were crowned in this temple. The Luxor Temple is one of the most visited sites in Egypt.
2. Royal Palace of Abomey, Benin
The Royal Palaces of Abomey are also enlisted in the UNESCO list of the world heritage site. These palaces stand in Benin, West Africa.
Abomey was once the capital of a kingdom called Dahomey. Abomey was well known for selling slaves to the Europeans.
The palaces in Abomey were the throne room of the twelve kings of Abomey. Like all palaces, you will find beautiful arts and crafts here. There are murals, animal paintings, and even a throne that stands on human skulls.
Tourists from across the world are welcome to explore this cultural heritage. They will be guided by tour guides.
3. Cape Town, South Africa
Cape Town is one of the three capital cities in South Africa. It is the oldest modern European City and was founded in the 16th century. Cape Town has been ranked as a Beta World City.
Cape Town is a multicultural city. Here, you will find the Dutch, the French, the South African Xhosa, and the English.
The buildings and the landscape are a sight to behold.
The inhabitants of Cape Town bind themselves in the spirit of ‘Ubuntu,’ which translates to togetherness. This togetherness helps them get over the apartheid era.
A visit to Cape Town is easy, and you will be guided around the beautiful city by tour guides if you are fine with that.
4. Grand Bassam, Ivory Coast
Grand Bassam, a small town on Ivory Coast, is also enlisted on the UNESCO list of world heritages. It is one of those cities containing buildings that make clear Ivory Coast’s colonial history.
In Grand Bassam, there still stand buildings that once used to be Colonial Quarters. These massive buildings used to be the home of the colonial masters.
Grand Bassam is now a quiet town anyone seeking to understand the influence of colonialism should visit.
5. Old Oyo National Park
The people of Oyo are powerful and influential in Southwest Nigeria. The Old Oyo city, which now stands within the Old Oyo National Park (One of Nigeria’s oldest National Parks), used to be a vast city containing buildings, some of which are now mangled. There is an old palace compound, walls, and ditches.
Old Oyo City is believed to have been deserted in the 18th century following a war against the Fulanis.
In the Old Oyo National Park, you will also find an infamous cave called the Agbaku Cave. This cave used to be a shelter for warriors. They hid within it and were fortified.
6. Buildings of the Asante Kingdom, Ghana
The Asanti Kingdom is one of Ghana’s foremost and most powerful kingdoms. Their power dates back centuries, even before the existence of modern-day Ghana.
Asanti people were gold merchants and so amassed a lot of wealth and built remarkable architecture.
Some buildings raised by the Asanti people still stand in Ghana.
The Buildings of the Asante Kingdom are thirteen in number and are cultural sites in West Africa. These buildings have been enlisted among the 2 UNESCO world heritage sites.
The buildings are made of mud, and the roof is made of raffia.
7. Lamu Old Town, Kenya
Lamu Old Town, spanning up to 16 hectares, is one of the oldest Swahili settlements that is still standing in Africa. It is situated on an Island called Lamu.
Lamu Island has been lived in for more than 100 years.
It features architecture that is a sight to behold. The buildings here are made of stone that has maintained integrity through environmental hazards. These buildings are characterized by unique doors and impressive interior design, which includes colorful ceilings.
The Lamu Old Town tells the story of an ancient people who began a unique civilization.
Anyone can visit this beautiful cultural destination in East Africa. Tour guides guide visitors around the town.
8. Bafut, Cameroon
Bafut is something of a fondom. Fons are leaders or chiefs in Cameroon, and the area they rule over is called a fondom. It (Bafut) is located in Mezam.
Bafut is a cultural heritage in Cameroon which is ruled over by Fon of Bafut. This traditional village has stood for over 400 years.
A large Bafut Palace stands in Bafut and is a remarkable tourist attraction, thanks to its remarkable architecture. The palace is made up of around up to fifty buildings made from many materials, including wood, mud, etc.
A tour around this town will have you coming face to face with Cameroon’s amazing and friendly people, whose art and craft still maintain their beauty.
The people who inhabit this city are known for their dances and their storytelling. There are mostly farmers.
9. Windhoek, Namibia
Windhoek is the largest city in Namibia and is also the capital of the country. This city has seen a number of influences, including influence from Germans, Afrikaans, and the British.
Windhoek was founded in the 18th century.
A visit to this city will bring you face to face with the most beautiful parts of Namibia. You can see Namibians dressed in various cultural attires.
10. Omo Valley, Ethiopia
The Omo Valley sits close to the Omo River in Kefa and Gamu province. Many different Ethiopian tribesmen live in this valley, making it one of the dense cultural destinations in Ethiopia. The tribes include Bodi, Benna, Karo, and others.
A tour of the Omo Valley will bring you fascinating sights of Omo culture, which is diverse and beautiful. Cultural dances are going to thrill you, likewise Omo cultural songs.
11. M’zab Valley, Algeria
Algeria is a large country in North Africa known for its rich cultural heritage. The M’zab valley is one of Africa’s most appealing cultural destinations.
UNESCO enlisted this valley as one of the world’s heritage sites. The M’zab valley came to be around the 10th century when the Ibadites settled in the Sahara Desert.
There are 4 villages in this valley, called the ‘ksour,’ which means that they are fortified.
Buildings here are architectural masterpieces that have been preserved for such a long time.
The culture of the people who occupy the M’zab Valley has remained relatively intact over the years, too. The family structure is still intact, and many beliefs have remained.
When you visit the M’zab Valley, you will be guided by tour guides through streets and lanes. You will be shown the Mosque in Ghardaia and the market in Beni Isguen.
12. Tsodilo Hills, Botswana
Tsodilo Hills are among the UNESCO World Heritage sites. You will find these massive and beautiful hills in the heart of Botswana.
Tsodilo Hills are known for rock art. The rock arts tell the story of a people who were culturally inclined. A people who are artistic.
These are the San people. The San people are an ethnic group of hunters occupying South Africa and Botswana. They are termed the ‘bush people’.
Paintings across rocks include paintings of animals, human figures, objects, etc.
A particular kind of painting called the red painting is prominent on the rocks present in these hills.
Tourists are allowed access to the Tsodilo Hills and are guided around by tours.
13. Medina of Sousse, Tunisia
Sousse is a town in Tunisia, a North African Country. This town is situated in the north, near a city called Sicily.
The architecture of this town has been influenced by Islam, the major religion in Tunisia. Sousse is one of UNESCO’s world heritage sites.
Tourists who visit here are going to come face to face with the beautiful buildings buttressed by outstanding weather. The entire area is one of the leading cultural destinations in Africa and comprises major architectural highlights.
14. Tiébélé, Burkina Faso
You will find Tiébélé just by the border between Burkina Faso and Ghana, a small village that is home to the Kassena people. The Kassena people are one of the oldest Ethnic groups in Burkina Faso.
In Tiébélé, small, well-decorated African huts are scattered about. These huts give a picture of what old African cultures looked like.
They are built in a way that suggests that the inhabitants are united people who believe in sharing what they have.
15. Osun, Nigeria
Osun is a prominent Yoruba city in Nigeria. The Yorubas are people who have an undeniable influence on the country of Nigeria as a whole.
In Osun, one comes to face with one of the prominent cultural destinations of the Yoruba people: The Osun-Osogbo Sacred Groves.
These groves feature buildings (shrines), sculptures, artworks, and artifacts.
The area is known for the worship of Osun, the Yoruba goddess of fertility.
Tourists visit here every year and are guided by tour guides as they move around the city.
Photo by Sherif Moharram on Unsplash