Africa is one of the unique continents on the earth. Deserts, jungles, and tropical paradise islands abound.
Unfortunately, many countries continue to be unstable, making mainstream tourism somewhat off-putting due to all the red tape. Many people travel to Egypt, Morocco, and South Africa regularly, but do you know where the least-visited places in Africa are? Let’s have a look.
The ranking is from data from the World Bank, which calculates international visitors’ overnight stays. Africa is an exceedingly tricky continent to assemble statistics, resulting in many countries not supplying up-to-date data.
So we’ve had to rely on information from various other sources. We couldn’t find any statistics for South Sudan because they combine tourist figures with Sudan’s. Due to a lack of precise data and information, there has also been an exclusion of Somalia.
- Equatorial Guinea (6,000 international visitors every year)
- São Tomé & Principe (10,000 international visitors every year)
- Comoros (21,000 International visitors every year)
- Mauritania (29,000 international Visitors every year)
- Guinea-Bissau (30,000 international visitors every year)
- Guinea (56,000 international visitors every year)
- Djibouti (63,000 international visitors every year)
- Central African Republic (71,000 international visitors every year)
- Sierra Leone (81,000 international visitors every year)
- Libya (93,000 international visitors every year)
Equatorial Guinea (6,000 international visitors every year)
Equatorial Guinea has the distinction of being Africa’s least visited country! Despite efforts to increase tourism by granting visa-free admission to US/American Samoan nationals, the country has not attracted many visitors.
This country is unusual in that there is a division of two parts. Rio Muni is on the mainland, and Bioko is an island in the Gulf of Guinea home to Malabo, the country’s capital. Both Portugal and Spain had colonized Equatorial Guinea. Oil was discovered only lately and is providing considerable wealth to the economy. The country is increasingly presenting itself as an eco-friendly vacation with beautiful beaches and wildlife, similar to many other African countries.
São Tomé & Principe (10,000 international visitors every year)
Sao Tomé and Principe gained independence from Portugal in 1975. Since then, it has struggled to find methods to grow its economy, relying on cocoa exports to make ends meet. These two small islands lie in the Gulf of Guinea, west of Gabon and south of Nigeria. Although regular flights connect the island with its former rulers, you’ll need a visa, which must be applied for before arrival. This makes a trip to So Tomé and Principe a little more complicated than you’d want. Many of the 10,000 guests are likely to have found the stunning clear waters by participating in one of the beautiful diving tours.
Comoros (21,000 International visitors every year)
It’s unlikely that you’ve heard of this island; if you have, you’re either a French national or an avid traveler! Comoros is an East African island republic located just north of Madagascar. The Comoros islands are one of the world’s poorest countries. It’s no surprise that they’re off the tourist map due to a lack of facilities and opportunities. You will not be disappointed if you visit the Comoros islands.
You will have the opportunity to hike to the crater of the Karthala volcano or even swim with dolphins. It’s possible to watch giant sea turtles laying eggs on Moheli island during specific periods of the year.
Mauritania (29,000 international Visitors every year)
To begin with, Mauritania does not appear to have released any official tourism data since 2008. Their official government website is no longer functional, leading me to wonder if they want to attract visitors. Due to its harsh rules and a visa process that makes North Korea looks like Disneyland. This country has never attracted widespread tourists. There are several unique things to do or see. You can board the world’s longest cargo train, which appears to be a fun but filthy experience.
It is not advisable to visit here due to the kidnapping of some tourists and a few terrorist assaults carried out by Al-Qaeda terrorists.
Guinea-Bissau (30,000 international visitors every year)
Guinea-Bissau is a former Portuguese territory in West Africa, sandwiched between Senegal and Guinea. It’s a pity that more people aren’t aware of this country’s tourism potential, which resides inside its 20 tropical islands. You will be able to witness hippos and even turtles on many of these islands. Because of much promise, this country has taken a new course and is marketing itself as an “eco-tourism destination.” Implementing an electronic visa application system in 2015 will make visiting Guinea-Bissau much easier, and I’m pretty tempted.
Guinea (56,000 international visitors every year)
To make matters more complex, there are three nations in Africa with the name Guinea. This is the most frequented of the three, although it still receives very few international tourists. Guinea is around the size of the United Kingdom, but it has relatively little infrastructure, making travel extremely difficult. Although abundant in natural resources, this former French colony also provides beautiful unspoiled beaches, trekking options, and local home-stays to entice the adventurous traveler.
Djibouti (63,000 international visitors every year)
Djibouti is one of the world’s driest regions, so it’s not exactly appealing. You’d be wrong; Lake Assal and the Red Sea are two of the most well-known sights. Several divers have traveled to the country to explore reefs teeming with sea life with fantastic diving prospects.
Central African Republic (71,000 international visitors every year)
Sadly, this country is in the midst of a vicious civil conflict with no end in sight. It is frequently referred to as one of the world’s most dangerous countries, with many Western governments recommending citizens to stay away. Because of the country’s remoteness, many travelers see “real” Africa, including wild elephants and gorillas. Because CAR is yet developing, flying is usually the only realistic alternative. This implies that visiting the country is sometimes prohibitively expensive, which may explain the low visitor numbers.
Sierra Leone (81,000 international visitors every year)
Sierra Leone, a country with significant tourist potential, has had a challenging few years fighting the Ebola epidemic, which has nearly halved the country’s already low international visitor numbers.
With some of the most excellent beaches in the world, I’m confident that tourists will return in no time. However, enormous promotion will be required to attract visitors. Banana Islands, a true representation of tropical paradise, is one of the most popular spots.
Libya (93,000 international visitors every year)
It’s no wonder that Libya has few tourists. The country has been spiraling out of control since Western governments toppled Gaddafi, with jihadists seizing power and forming breakaway groups. It’s a tragic situation for one of the most promising countries, considering opening up to Mediterranean cruises a few years ago. Hopefully, once Libya is back on its feet, there will be some historic locations to visit. The most well-known is Leptis Magna, a major Roman city that is still mostly intact. So, unless the situation changes, I’m sure this will be something I want to see when I visit.