Cities and Towns in Africa
You’ll find every kind of city in Africa, from dusty one-horse towns through bustling seafront metropolises to buzzing industrial giants.
Africa is alive with natural resources and you’ll find centers built up around these agricultural, mineral and touristic assets. Now and again, you’ll come across a town that seems to have no reason to exist except to break your trip along a dusty sand road or lonely highway.
Most towns will have the usual banks, pharmacies, fuel stations and general dealers and the larger cities have everything you need including hospitals, malls, forex, airports, hotels, and every kind of store you can imagine.
Even the smallest towns and remotest areas usually have some kind of accommodation option nearby.
Generally, roads in the towns and cities are tarred, and linked via major highways, although in some countries gravel roads are commonplace, especially in the outer lying areas. These are the major cities and towns in Africa:
- Cities & Towns in Botswana
Gaborone is Botswana’s capital and most densely populated city. Gaborone has all the modern city conveniences, including Sir Seretse Khama International Airport.
It is an important jumping off point for safari expeditions into greater Botswana and has enough museums, galleries and entertainment options to keep you busy for a few days. Maun and Kasane are touristic towns located close to the wildlife attractions of Botswana
and are suitable as a base for exploring further or spending a few days stocking up before your safari.
Maun is close to the Okavango and Moremi Game Reserves, while Kasane is considered the gateway to Chobe National Park as well as further travel to Victoria Falls and the Caprivi Strip.
- Cities & Towns in ESwatini (formerly Swaziland)
This tiny country is characterized by equally small cities. The capital, Mbabane has just 95 000 inhabitants and is the center of tourism in eSwatini, with a number of recreational sites, hotels, clubs and golf courses. Other notable tourist centers in Swaziland are Big Bend, Manzini and Piggs Peak.
- Cities & Towns in Lesotho
Maseru is the capital city of Lesotho, located on the country’s north-western border with South Africa. The city has 6 hotels and 2 casinos and is close to tourist sites like Thaba Bosiu, the Maluti Mountains, Lancer’s Gap, Sani Pass, Afriski resort, and Katse dam. Travel is slow in Lesotho due to mountainous terrain and gravel roads, but the rewards are panoramic views of the surrounding countryside and traditional Basotho folk with their pointy-hats, traditional blankets and native ponies.
Sani Pass is better accessed from the southern end of Lesotho via Underberg in South Africa. Lesotho is one of the few places in southern Africa where snow is common during the winter months.
- Cities & Towns in Mozambique
Lorenzo Marques, now known as Maputo, was once a favorite playground of the rich and famous, although years of warfare put an end to that. Today, Maputo is rising once again as a popular beach destination and gateway to the Mozambique’s picturesque islands. Other important cities in Mozambique include Xai-Xai, Beira, Inhambane and Pemba.
Namibia’s cities and towns are as diverse as the country itself. The capital Windhoek is located in the grassy highlands and is filled with both historic sites, modern conveniences and excellent accommodation to choose from.
Swakopmund, Lüderitz and Walvis Bay provide access to adventure activities among the Namib dunes as well as boat excursions, fishing and guided tours to see extraordinary fauna and flora in the Namib Naukluft National Park and West Coast recreation area. These coastal towns are filled with vestiges of their colonial past in the form of museums, cuisine and beautiful architecture.
In the wilderness of Namibia, you’ll find Otjiwarongo and Tsumeb, the main gateways to Etosha National Park with an abundance of accommodation options.
No list of Namibian cities and towns is complete without mentioning Solitaire. This tiny development has little more than a shop, restaurant and filling station, yet draws in droves of tourists every year to sample its world-famous apple pie.
South Africa’s major cities are Cape Town, Johannesburg, Durban, Pretoria and Bloemfontein, although you’ll find many large cities and sprawling urban neighborhoods in this country. Other notable touristic destinations include the following:
- East London
- Port Elizabeth
- Port Shepstone
Most cities in South Africa have a good infrastructure and traditional villages, while they do exist, are few and far between.
- Cities & Towns in Zambia
Zambia’s capital, Lusaka is one of Africa’s fastest growing cities. It is also where your explorations of this excellent safari destination will most likely begin, but little Livingstone is the most-visited town in the country. With direct access to the Victoria Falls, Livingstone is a bustling tourist hub of hotels, adventure activities and safari offerings. Other busy centers in this copper-rich country include Ndola, Chitwe, Mpika and Chingola.
- Cities & Towns in Zimbabwe
Just across the mighty Zambezi River, the little town of Victoria Falls, is the Zimbabwean equivalent of Zambia’s Livingstone, with a wealth of tourist activities for those visiting the Falls.
The capital, Harare, is an attractive city of tree-lined streets nestled high on the country’s highlands. Modern and inviting, Harare boasts numerous museums and historic sites, making it an inviting pitstop en route to the northern wildlife zones of Mana Pools and Chiwore.
Bulawayo is another major city in Zimbabwe and considered the gateway to Hwange National Park.
Getting Around the Cities and Towns in Africa
Due to the vast distances involved, it’s best to fly from destination to destination while visiting Africa. You can do this by means of domestic or charter flights.
Driving or taking a tour bus takes longer, but you will have the benefit of admiring the scenery along the way and experiencing quaint pit in remote areas. There’s also a chance you may come across some wildlife during your road travels, especially in the less developed countries in Africa .
While most of the major roads are tarred and easily navigable with a sedan vehicle, you should hire an SUV with 4×4 capabilities if you want to make the most of your travels around Africa. In some places, the roads are treacherous and even impassable during the rainy season.
Always check with your accommodation establishment if you are unsure about the condition of the roads where you are headed.
It is important to keep a supply of drinking water with you while travelling, in case of delays. Within the city confines you can make use of buses, taxis and Uber to get around. Again, walking is a good way to make the most of the city centers.
Like all cities in the world, Africa’s metropolises do have their no-go zones and high crime areas. Check with your accommodation provider about safe areas to explore on foot and avoid walking around after dark or make use of guided tours to get around.
Start planning your African adventure today with African Travel Guide. We are happy to help with any questions you may have about the cities and towns of Africa and guide you towards booking suitable accommodation and day trips.
Please Note: The details shared herein were correct at the time of publishing. However, with time some of this information may change. We recommend confirming information with suppliers prior to making final travel arrangements. If you do happen to find an issue with any information we’ve shared here, please feel free to contact us so that we can make the relevant changes.