20 Best Places to Visit in West Africa

by | Africa

Apr 15, 2022

A tour of West Africa is one of the most fascinating experiences a tourist can have. West Africa, I tell you, is home to some of Africa’s most aesthetic landscapes, people, art, and architecture. To get the best out of a visit here, you have got to visit these 20 places in West Africa.

1. The Pendjari National Park, Benin Republic

The Pendjari National Park is one of the biggest parks in West Africa. It lies in the North of the Benin Republic and spans up to 275,000 hectares. Here, the last number of elephants, African Buffalos, etc., are groomed. This park has once been nominated to be enlisted in the UNESCO list of world heritage sites. 

Tourists are welcome to walk around the park, coming face to face with different forms of wildlife and vegetation. Here, you will take some of the most memorable photographs ever. 

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2. Sine-Saloum Delta, Senegal

Photo by Anton Lecock on Unsplash

I am telling you, you have just got to visit here—to see for yourself the breathtaking landscape of Sine-Saloum Delta. 

The Sine-Saloum Delta in Senegal is an area that consists of mangrove forests and islands, and lagoons. 

Tourists who come here are fascinated by many things, including a ride to a spot from where pelicans can be spotted. 

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3. The Ruins of Loropeni, Burkina Faso

The ruins of Loropeni, found in Burkina Faso, are believed to be up to a thousand years old. It was the first site in Burkina Faso to make listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. 

The ruins of Loropeni tell a story of the gold trade across the Sahara. Tourists are welcome to tour around this site, guided by tours. The experience is nothing short of breathtaking. 

4. Fogo, Cape Verde

Fogo is an elevated island city in the small country of Cape Verde. The name Fogo translates to ‘Fire.’ The island stretches up to 476 sq. km. and reaches up to 2,829 meters tall. 

Fogo is called Fogo because its highest point—its summit—features an active volcano. It is one of the places to visit in West Africa if you love to explore the highlands.

Tourists are allowed to climb the highland and take breathtaking pictures. 

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5. Basilica of our Lady of Peace, Ivory Coast

This is one of the largest Catholic cathedrals in the world and stands in all its glory in the capital city of Ivory Coast, Yamoussoukro. 

This church can contain up to 18,000 congregants!

The sight is simply breathtaking. 

If you are looking for the best places to visit in West Africa, then visit the Basilica of Our Lady of Peace on a Sunday morning and have you full of awe. 

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6. Kotu Beach, Gambia

Best Places to Visit in West Africa - Kotu Beach
Photo by tino on Unsplash

You can’t leave Kotu Beach out of a list of the most relaxing, warmest places to visit in West Africa. Located on the Atlantic coast of Gambia, a holiday here can offer you the healing you need. 

Since the area welcomes a large number of tourists every year, there have over the years been improvements. You find the best hotels here, restaurants, and bars. 

You are welcome to sit on the beach and watch the water during the day. You can have picnics here also, making memories and bonding with your family. 

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7. St. George’s Castle, Ghana

Visit Elmina Castle Ghana
Photo by Peace Itimi on Unsplash

This ancient architecture is also called the Elmina Castle because it stands in a Ghanaian City called Elmina. It is amongst the oldest existing buildings in West Africa, having white-washed walls. 

The Elmina Castle tells the story of colonialism in Ghana. From here, colonial masters conducted trade. 

Read: Fascinating Facts About Ghana

A visit here will have you appreciating the landscape and the waters. The Elmina castle is a UNESCO World Heritage site.

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8. Fouta Djallon Highlands, Guinea

This is one of the most beautiful places in Guinea and one of the most visited in West Africa. 

Djallon Highlands sits in the heart of Guinea and comprises hills, valleys, and rocks. Visitors are welcome to hike this highland. 

From a high point here, one can overlook waters including Gambia, Senegal, etc. The view is nothing short of aesthetic and calming. 

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9. Bubaque Island, Guinea-Bissau

Bubaque Island is one of the islands that make up the Bijagós Islands in Guinea-Bissau. 

This island is a must-visit when one plans to visit West Africa. From here, one gets a view of the community, the waters, and the fishermen.

The Bubaque Island Hotel, which stands on the Bubaque Island, is one of the most prominent hotels in the country, and a treat here is as calming as it gets. 

You get to eat the most exquisite meals if you visit here. 

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10. Buchanan, Liberia

Buchanan is a city in Liberia three hours away from Liberia’s capital city. It is the third-largest city in Liberia and a welcome place for tourists.

A visit here brings you face to face to what a beautiful coast life in West Africa looks like. You get to see the beach, watch the water, and lodge in the best of hotels in Liberia. 

Hotel Buchanan Liberia stands here. From this hotel, you can have a clear view of the water. The weather is not harsh at all. 

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11. Lake Retba, Senegal

Beautiful Tourist attraction site to go in Africa - Lake Retba
Photo by aliunix on Unsplash

Lake Retba, a red lake, is one of the fascinating sites in Africa. Not just West Africa. Africa as a whole. 

This lake is about 18 miles away from the capital city of Senegal. 

Tourists are welcome to watch the water, which changes color depending on the time of the day one views it. 

Lake Retba is so buoyant, thanks to its salt content, that one can float on the water!

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12. The Great Mosque of Djenne

This is no doubt one of the most astonishing religious buildings in West Africa and a must-visit for tourists. It stands in Djenne, a city in Mali. 

The Mosque is the product of an old but effective architectural design. It is made from brick and stands many feet tall.

This Mosque is one of the wonders of Africa and will sure have any tourist gasping in wonder. 

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13. Chinguetti, Mauritania

This site, a ksar located deep in the desert areas of Mauritania, brings lots and lots of tourists to West Africa. 

It is an old town that has now been eroded and made not-so-inhabitable. 

Chinguetti was built in the 13th century. 

Tourists who visit here come face to face with the old buildings that used to buzz with people at some time in history.

Chinguetti makes up a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

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14. Zinder, Niger

Zinder is the third-largest city in the Niger Republic. The city is a buzzing city characterized by a network of beautiful roads and an array of astonishing buildings. 

In this city, the Sultan’s palace stands in its glory. 

Visitors are welcome to visit this palace—to have a taste of the Saharan experience. 

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15. Lekki Conservation Centre, Nigeria

Best places to visit in West Africa - Lekki Conservation Centre, Nigeria
Photo by Omotayo Tajudeen on Unsplash

Lekki conversation center sits in one of the busiest and most populated cities in Africa, Lagos, and is amongst the best places to visit in West Africa. 

One stops at Lagos and is first astonished by the busyness of the city. Then, one takes a stop at Lekki Conservation Centre, a quiet place to forget the bustling outside. 

Read: Fascinating Facts About Nigeria

The Lekki conservation center has been running for about 23 years. 

Here, one comes face to face with nature and walks across the longest canopy walk in West Africa. 

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16. Lompoul Desert, Senegal

This is a small and very beautiful desert in Senegal. It stretches only about 18 sq. km. 

The most beautiful thing about this dessert, the very thing that has put it on this list of places to visit in West Africa, is the presence of orange sand dunes. 

These sand dunes are breath-taking in every possible way. If you are a lover of desserts, be here! You´ll find it very thrilling.

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17. Banana Island, Sierra Leone

Banana Island is one of the most visited places in Sierra Leone and a recommended place to spend a holiday with your family in West Africa. 

Banana Island features a rich landscape, and a visit here offers tourists the chance to engage in some of the most memorable experiences there are. 

When you visit here, you get the chance to engage in sports, fishing, scuba diving, watching whales, and other water sports.

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18. Tamberma Villages, Togo

A visit to Tamberma Villages in Togo offers you the true African experience and nothing short of this. This is why it is one of the most visited places in West Africa. 

Take a trip down here and spend days and maybe even weeks with the friendly locals, who live in houses made of straw. 

Many tourists describe a visit to Tamberma as calming.

19. Ganvie, Benin

Ganvie is a small village in the Benin Republic, surrounded by water. The village is, in fact, a wonder. Every building here is built on water and is suspended in the air by large sticks that reach into the depths of the water. 

A visit here is likened to taking a visit to where everything rests. 

The village is so calm, and the view offered is nothing that won’t make your jaw drop. 

Have a taste of the food prepared by the locals, and listen to folklore. 

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20. Olumo Rock, Nigeria

This rocky mountain is located in Ogun State in the South-West of Nigeria. 

The area has a rich cultural heritage—the rock was believed to be a fortress for the inhabitants of the area during an old war. 

Olumo rock is a must-visit for tourists who are fine with hiking. 

The Yorubas, who form a majority of the population around Olumo Rock, are friendly people who practice a wide variety of arts and crafts.

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Other Interesting Reads:
The Best Tourist Destination in Africa
Pros and Cons of Living in Africa
List of the Most Beautiful Women of Africa by Country
Fascinating Facts About Africa

By Lonely Africa Editors

The Lonely Africa Team covers everything about Africa. Our team of experts provides in-depth analysis that helps you understand complex topics on the African continent.

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