The Safest Countries in Africa (RANKED)
African countries are diverse, offering travellers a variety of stunning scenery, from golden beaches to snowy mountains, thick jungle to vast deserts. There are plenty of things to see and do, in bustling, vibrant cities and quieter, calmer rural areas.
For many travellers, safety can be a concern when travelling to Africa. Some countries have high crime rates, with a reputation for targeting tourists. At the same time, many countries in Africa are noted for their friendly and welcoming approach to foreigners.
Using the Global Peace Index, we looked into the safest and least safe countries that feature on the ranking, taking into account their political situation and risk of crime for travellers.
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Top 5 Safest Countries in Africa
According to the GPI, Mauritius is the safest country in Africa. The island nation located off the southeast coast of Africa ranks 28th in the world and has a GPI score of 1.570.
Mauritius has a low crime rate and violent crime in Mauritius is extremely rare. Some petty crime, such as pickpocketing can occur. This type of crime, as well as scams, can be quite prevalent in tourist hotspots. Mauritius is generally safe for women, but common sense should be used, as in any location.
One of the main risks in Mauritius is natural disasters, such as cyclones. The cyclone season is from November to May and can cause extensive damage to property. Travellers should always adhere to warnings and local advice.
Ghana is the second safest country in Africa, according to the GPI. The West African country is ranked 40th in the world, with a GPI score of 1.759.
Ghana has a relatively low crime rate, especially when compared to some other countries in Africa. However, there is still a risk of crimes, which can range from petty to more violent. Travellers should avoid carrying or displaying their valuables and should be especially vigilant after dark. Beaches in Ghana be more at risk of crime such as theft or even violence and assault.
As with many countries popular with tourists, there can be a high risk of scams. People are advised to use common sense and take precautions around any requests for funds from people offering friendship, romance, or a business opportunity.
The Gambia is the third safest country in Africa according to the GPI. This West African country ranks 45th in the world and has a GPI score of 1.792.
The Gambia is generally safe for travellers. It has a high crime rate, but this mainly consists of petty crime, such as pickpocketing. Care should be taken to conceal and secure valuables, and it’s advised not to carry all your money in one place. However, there is very little threat of violent crimes and muggings.
Corruption can also be an issue in the Gambia. It has been known for travellers to be offered marijuana to then find the police waiting to ask for a bribe. Scammers are also in issue in the Gambia, with people targeting tourists to extort money.
Botswana is the fourth safest country in Africa. This country, located in Southern Africa, has a GPI score of 1.801, ranking 48th in the world.
Tourist attacks are rare in Botswana, as are scams. Bag snatching and muggings can occur, as can carjackings. Travellers should be vigilant and shouldn’t resist if they are targeted.
Botswana is popular among tourists due to its nature reserves. Travellers should always follow local advice and guidance to keep safe from animal attacks. It’s also advised to avoid swimming in rivers and lakes, due to the dangers from animals and also diseases.
Sierra Leone is the fifth safest country in Africa, according to the GPI. Located in West Africa, it ranks 50th in the world and has a GPI score of 1.803.
Sierra Leone is known for being a friendly and welcoming country, but it also has a high crime rate. The greatest risk to travellers is from pickpocketing and mugging, which has been known to sometimes involve a weapon. However, most travellers find their trip is free of incidents.
While there have been great strides taken to improve democracy in the past few decades, there can still be political unrest in the country. In 2022, there were demonstrations held in a few cities across Sierra Leone that turned violent. It’s advised to avoid political gatherings and adhere to any local restrictions that are put in place.
Top 5 Least Safe Countries in Africa
Sudan is the 46th safest country in Africa, making it one of the least safe in the continent. This country, located in East Africa, ranks 154th in the world and has a GPI score of 3.007.
The UK Government, as well as many other governments, advises against travel to Sudan, to avoid harm. There was a pollical coup in Sudan in 2021, which caused a political crisis that is still ongoing. Efforts are being made to resolve the situation, but stability has not yet been achieved.
Due to the political situation, Sudan is at risk of political demonstrations and also terrorist attacks. There is also a risk of muggings and kidnappings, as well as more petty crime such as pickpocketing.
Sudan is also highly dangerous for members of the LGBTQ+ community. People can face discrimination and attacks and could be arrested and even face execution by the government.
Central African Republic
The Central African Republic is the 47th safest country in Africa. Located in Central Africa, this country ranks 155th in the world, with a GPI score of 3.125.
The UK Government, amongst others, advises against travel to the Central African Republic. The country has elections in 2020 and 2021 that saw violence and disruption, resulting in a six-month state of emergency. This has now expired, and a new government has been formed, but the situation is not yet stable.
The Central African Republic is currently experiencing extremely high crime levels, including muggings, robbery, and kidnappings. There has been a large number of political demonstrations which have been known to turn violent, plus there have been armed conflicts. Areas outside the capital have been deemed by some as “lawless” and should be avoided.
Somalia is the 48th safest country in Africa. Located on the Horn of Africa on the east coast, Somalia ranks 156th in the world and has a GPI score of 3.125.
Travel to Somalia is advised against by the UK government. Somalia has dealt with civil war, military coups, and border disputes over the past few decades. While currently run by a coalition government, the situation remains unstable, and there has been a rise in violent extremist groups.
Terrorism is a big threat in Somalia, with deadly attacks being carried out in and around the city of Mogadishu regularly. Kidnapping and armed robberies are also common, as are armed conflicts between the fighting factions.
The Democratic Republic of Congo is the 49th safest country in Africa. Located in Central Africa, it ranks 158th in the world and has a GPI score of 3.166.
There are some areas of the DRC where it is advised not to travel at all, and other areas where caution is advised. The country has seen a lot of political unrest and the situation is volatile. Demonstrations have been known to break out with no notice and can turn violent. There is armed conflict between the government forces and opposing groups in the east, with the area currently run by military administration.
Crime rates in the DRC are high, and foreigners are often targets for muggings and kidnappings. There have also been occurrences of authorities arresting foreigners and demanding payment for release.
South Sudan is the least safe country in Africa and is one of the least safe countries in the world, with only Russia, Syria, Yemen and Afghanistan below it. It ranks 159th in the world and has a GPI score of 3.184.
Many governments advise not to travel to South Sudan. The political situation is volatile, and armed fighting is a regular occurrence. Terrorist attacks are also common, with public areas such as hotels and government buildings being targeted.
Criminals are often armed and kidnapping, home invasions, armed robbery and carjacking are all common. Foreigners who are currently in South Sudan are advised to leave as soon as possible. Anyone who must travel there is advised to use personal security.
The Safest Countries in Africa, Ranked
Below is the full list of each African country that features on the GPI, ranked from safest to least safe:
|Central African Republic