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10 Most Stunning African Cities

Africa is the second largest continent in the word, and it is home to some exceptional wildlife, natural sites  and scenery, customs and traditions - and also some truly remarkable cities. Like all other cities, these African cities are teeming with history and heritage, as well as influences from all corners of the world. Here, we have listed 10 of the most truly captivating cities found in Africa, from Alexandria in Egypt to Cape Town in South Africa - and they are waiting for you to discover them...
 
 

1. Alexandria, Egypt

african cities
Image source: Daln Sandoval / Flickr
The old former capital of Egypt, Alexandria, has been a world-famous city ever since its heyday during the reign of Cleopatra. This city was founded by Alexander the Great back in 331 BC and was the country's capital for 1,000 years. Although it is now no longer so, this city is still famous for some of its enchanting sites, including the Catacombs of Kom el Shoqafa, which were one of the Seven Wonders of the Middle Ages.
 

2. Algiers, Algeria

african cities
Image source: Habib Boucetta / Flickr
The capital of Algeria is the largest city in the country, and possibly even one of the most historically rich. After being built by the Phoenicians, Algiers was colonized and invaded many times over, from the Romans, and the Vandals, to the Berbers, the Ottoman dominion, and the French. Although these all form part of the vivid history of this remarkable city, traces of its past invaders still liven up the city today, especially noticeable in the art and architecture they left behind. One example is the Notre Dame d'Afrique, as well as numerous other prestigious buildings and sites that you can visit here.
 

3. Antananarivo, Madagascar

african cities
Image source: Francesco Veronesi / Flickr

The capital city of the largest island nation in the Indian ocean is  Antananarivo, literally translated as "the city of a thousand". This name refers to the 1000 soldiers said to had been defending it in the past. After it became a colony of the French in 1897, where it was made into the established city it is today, it eventually won its independence later in 1960. It is now inhabited by 1.4 million people, spread across 12 steep hills, of which the area of the city is composed. Antananarivo has a lot in store for its visitors, including several beautiful monuments, the captivating  Lake Anosy and its landscapes, and stupendous sunsets that are simply out of this world.

 

4. Djenne Djenno, Mali

african cities
Image source: Carsten ten Brink / Flickr
Djenne Djenno is one of the oldest cities in Africa, also considered to be "the typical African city". It was first occupied back in 250 BC, where it formed part of the trans-Saharan gold trade. This ancient city is famed for its central mosque, the Great Mosque of Djenne, which stands to be the largest mud-brick building in the world (seen above). Every year at the beginning of April, locals from nearby areas come together to help add a new, fresh layer of mud on this unique building, to prevent it from crumbling. It is definitely a sight to appreciate whilst visiting this charming city.
 

5. Marrakech, Morocco

african cities
Image source: Christine und Hagen Graf / Flickr

Beautiful and colorful Marrakech, located between the Atlas Mountains and the desert, is the Moroccan capital and the fourth largest city in the country. Its location is said to have given it its name, literally translated as "Land of God" from the Berber language, as it used to serve as the perfect "pit-stop" for camel caravans, which would stop here to trade and refuel on water and supplies. Tourists visiting this remarkable city should make a stop at Djemma El Fna central square, where one can enjoy the busy market while being surrounded by musicians, dancers, monkey trainers and snake charmers, which all together make it one spectacular place to be in.

 

6. Dakar, Senegal

african cities
Image source: Jeff Attaway / Flickr
Dakar is situated on the Cap-Vert Peninsula on Senegal's Atlantic coast, where it sits along an important international trade route. It is the capital and largest city of Senegal, first established in the 1400s, and formerly used as a slave port by the Portuguese. Today, this city draws tourists through its fantastic attractions that include the Grand Mosque, the Dakar a Catherdral, the Renaissance Monument (which is the tallest monument in Africa), Gorée Island, amazing beaches, as well as a number of traditional markets.
 

7. Port Louis, Mauritius

african cities
Image source: Mlwok / Flickr
On the northwest of the island nation Mauritius in the Indian Ocean, stands the exquisite capital and the business, cultural and economic center, Port Louis. This city was founded by the French governor and colonist Bertrand-François Mahé de La Bourdonnais in 1735, and became the central point for all imports and exports in Mauritius. It has now developed into the most populous city on the island, offering thrilling places of interest and entertainment. There's a great nightlife with parties and relaxation going on every evening at the Caudan Waterfront, but if you're more inclined to the cultural aspect, there's plenty of impressive architecture and traditions for you to discover.
 

8. Zanzibar City, Tanzania

african cities
Image source: Richard Davies / Flickr

Zanzibar City is situated on the Unguja, one of the islands in the Indian Ocean that form part of the Zanzibar Archipelago, in Tanzania. This city is the capital of the region, and also the most tourist-friendly area in all of Tanzania. In the past, it was used as a major slave link between central Africa and the Middle East, and it has always relied on the trade of spices, such as cloves, cinnamon, pepper, and nutmeg, which are found to be of the highest quality here. The mesmerizing beaches and coral reefs, stunning sights, the extensive shops and bazaars, and the fantastic wildlife is what mostly makes people fall in love with this city. It also offers some interesting historical options too, such as the magnificent heritage site Stone Town, where one can enjoy food combinations in a myriad of styles inspired by various parts of the world.

 

9. Nairobi, Kenya

african cities
Image source: Ruth Hartnup / Flickr
The capital of Kenya, Nairobi, also called "the green city of the sun", is home to a staggering 3 million people. Its location is to die for close to the largest lake, Lake Victoria. With such scenery,   plus a multitude of places of attraction, this city is easily one of the best cities to be in while in Africa. At Nairobi National Park, one can witness Africa's native wild animals such as giraffes, lions, zebras, rhinos, and cheetahs. The National Museum, found here too, stands as a testament of Kenya's intriguing history and culture. All together, Nairobi offers one of the most remarkable city-life experiences you can get in Africa.
 

10. Cape Town, South Africa

african cities
Image source: David Stanley / Flickr
In Africa's southern-most point, stands South Africa, with its astonishing legislative capital Cape Town. Originally built by the Dutch "East India Company" in 1652, this heavenly port city is considered the "Mother Town" of South Africa. Its harbor has lent it a major role in world trade, connecting Europe and the Western World to the East. Apart from this, it is also absolutely fascinating to the people staying or visiting here, as is the inevitable scenery of the Table Mountain and Cape Point. It is no wonder that according to The New York Times and The Telegraph in 2014, Cape Town is "the best place in the world to visit".

 

H/T: Gipsy.ninja 

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