Home » 11 Safest Countries in Africa Today (Ranked)
Africa Business Defence Economy Featured Global News News Tourism Travel

11 Safest Countries in Africa Today (Ranked)

Have you always wanted to travel to the African continent, but you’re unsure where to go? One way to look at it is to look at the safest countries in Africa. While safety is hard to give a definitive answer to, the Global Peace Index (GPI) gives us some indication of the safest countries in the world. The GPI ranks every country from 1 to 5, with 1 being the safest and most peaceful. However, keep in mind that the GPI should not be the only indicator for deciding which countries are the safest. After all, some of the most-visited countries in the world are ranked quite lowly. For example, France comes in at 67 with a score of 1.939, and the USA is ranked at 131 with a score of 2.448.

In this article, we’ll list the 12 safest countries in Africa today, helping visitors make informed travel decisions. In these safe countries, travelers can focus less on potential dangers and more on the awe-inspiring landscapes and rugged beauty that Africa has to offer.

1. Mauritius

Aerial view of Mauritius island and Le Morne Brabant mountain with beautiful blue lagoon and underwater waterfall illusion
One of the most popular African countries to visit is Mauritius!©Myroslava Bozhko/Shutterstock.com

Mauritius, a nation in the southwest of the Indian Ocean, just off the southeast shoreline of Africa, is deemed the safest country in Africa. The island has seen a significant rise in its safety ranking, moving up from the 28th to the 23rd safest country worldwide in 2023, boasting a GPI score of 1.546.

To better understand this, consider that Afghanistan, the most dangerous country, has a GPI of 3.448, whereas Iceland, the safest, has a GPI of 1.124.

Criminal activity in Mauritius is infrequent, and severe criminal offenses are uncommon. Although minor offenses like pickpocketing do take place, they are mostly limited to tourist-populated areas. While Mauritius is generally considered safe for women, it’s always wise to exercise caution, as one would anywhere else.

The number of visitors to Mauritius has seen a 72.09% surge compared to 2019 and is forecasted to approach 90% to 95% of the visitor levels seen before the pandemic by the end of 2023.

However, natural calamities like cyclones are among the key threats on the island. Cyclone season spans from November to May, often resulting in substantial property damage. It is always recommended that visitors follow warnings and local guidance during these times.

2. Botswana

Botswana is the safest choice for an African safari experience.©evenfh/Shutterstock.com

Ranked as the second safest country in Africa according to the Global Peace Index, Botswana sits in the heart of Southern Africa. Despite being one of the poorest nations globally upon gaining independence in 1966, it quickly transformed into one of the most rapidly developing economies.

This African nation has secured its place as the 42nd safest country worldwide – just behind Vietnam and ahead of South Korea. Notably, Botswana improved its GPI score from 1.801 in 2022 to 1.762 in 2023.

Incidents involving tourists, like scams and attacks, are rare in Botswana. Nonetheless, occurrences like purse snatching, muggings, and car thefts may happen. Therefore, tourists should always remain alert and not resist if they become a victim.

For those seeking an African safari experience, Botswana stands out as the safest choice in Africa. Besides being the top pick for safety, it also delivers one of the most fulfilling safari experiences.

3. Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's flag
Surprisingly, Sierra Leone has a GPI of 1.792, making it the 50th peaceful and safe country in the world.©Tatohra/Shutterstock.com

Sierra Leone trails slightly behind Botswana with a 2023 GPI score of 1.792. A British Crown Colony since 1808, Sierra Leone secured its independence in 1961. Despite being part of the Commonwealth, it is unfortunately considered its poorest member.

In 2022, Sierra Leone was ranked the 50th safest country worldwide but improved to the 47th spot in 2023. The country’s GPI has been improving over the previous four years.

Renowned for its friendly and welcoming atmosphere, Sierra Leone also contends with a relatively high crime rate. The most common threats to tourists are pickpocketing and muggings, which occasionally involve weapons. That said, most visitors complete their journey without facing any issues.

Despite significant progress towards improving democracy in recent years, Sierra Leone can occasionally face periods of political instability. In 2022, several cities in the country witnessed violent demonstrations. Visitors are advised to steer clear of political gatherings and comply with any local regulations in effect.

As per the U.S. State Department, Sierra Leone experiences frequent violent crimes like robbery and assault, particularly in its capital, Freetown. The local police force often struggles with limited resources to efficiently manage serious criminal activities.

Even though Sierra Leone may not be as safe as Botswana or Mauritius, its crime rate is still lower than in many other African nations.

4. Ghana

Ghana Flag Flying
Ghana has relatively low crime, but you should always be watchful and vigilant.©Design_Bank/Shutterstock.com

Securing the fourth spot, Ghana, with a 2023 GPI score of 1.799, is situated in West Africa, nestled between the Ivory Coast and Togo. In 2018, Ghana made the list of the top 10 most rapidly developing economies globally and presently boasts the second-largest economy in West Africa.

Currently, it stands as the 51st safest country across the globe. Compared to several other African countries, Ghana experiences relatively low crime. Nevertheless, crimes ranging from minor to severe do occur. Tourists are advised to avoid displaying or carrying valuable items and to be particularly watchful after nightfall. The beaches in Ghana are areas where crimes such as theft or even violent attacks may be more likely.

Like many tourist-friendly nations, Ghana has a significant risk of scams. Individuals should be wary of any offers involving monetary exchanges, whether they come from supposed friendships, romantic affairs, or business opportunities.

As per the UK Government, approximately 90,000 British nationals visit Ghana each year, and most of these trips proceed without incident, despite the presence of crime.

The U.S. Department of State advises travelers to be cautious in certain areas. In particular, they recommend exercising caution when visiting border regions, especially the northern border.

5. Senegal

Flag of Senegal
Senegal is even a safe destination for solo female travelers!©Hybrid Gfx/Shutterstock.com

Securing the fifth spot for safety in Africa, Senegal boasts a GPI of 1.827. Globally, it falls into the 52nd position for peace. Located in West Africa and bordering the Atlantic Ocean, Senegal is among the smaller economies.

Generally, Senegal is safe for tourists, although it’s recommended to exercise caution during the visit. While petty crimes are quite common and can occasionally escalate to violence, incidents of violence toward foreigners, terrorist acts, and political turmoil are rare.

For women traveling solo, Senegal is typically regarded as a safe destination. Still, it’s crucial to remain alert and aware of one’s surroundings. As a general travel rule, avoid night walks and dress conservatively.

Interestingly, the U.S. State Department, which usually leans towards caution, rates Senegal as a Level One travel advisory. This is a lower warning level than that assigned to some countries often perceived as safer than Senegal, such as France.

However, other nations advise their citizens to exercise a higher level of caution while visiting Senegal.

6. Madagascar

Beautiful dream paradise beach in Masoala national park, Madagascar. Blue sky and clear sea, Wilderness virgin nature scene
Madagascar has a relatively low crime rate.©Artush/Shutterstock.com

One of the largest islands, Madagascar still grapples with one of the most significant poverty levels in the world. Despite this, with a GPI of 1.846, it ranks as the sixth safest country in Africa, remarkably sitting 12 spots higher than France in 2023!

Madagascar has impressively soared from the 84th position to the 55th in just one year in the peace ranking.

The crime rates in Madagascar are generally lower compared to many other African countries. However, the consequences of political instability have triggered a surge in crime. These crimes include robberies, muggings, and car thefts. It’s worth being extra vigilant of pickpockets in marketplaces and transit hubs.

According to the US State Department’s advisory, Madagascar falls under Level 2, recommending individuals exercise increased caution.

Ensure you are aware of your surroundings and refrain from carrying large amounts of cash. Follow these precautions, as many tourists have done, and your stay should be uneventful!

7. Namibia

Aerial View of Namibia's Capital at Sunset - Windhoek, Namibia
Namibia is given a Level One travel advisory. by the U.S. State Department.©Nate Hovee/Shutterstock.com

Known for its dry climate and low population density, Namibia is a mineral-rich country on the southwestern coastline of Africa. With a GPI of 1.859, it is the sixth safest country in Africa.

Namibia impressively improved its global safety rank from 68th in 2022 to 56th in 2023. However, the occurrence of muggings does warrant caution, especially when managing cash near ATMs. Most of these crimes typically take place beyond the city center, and the police often find taxi drivers complicit in these criminal activities.

Namibia’s residents are renowned for their friendliness towards all races, and they warmly welcome tourists to their predominantly peaceful country. Namibia comes highly recommended by solo female travelers and is considered one of the safest African nations for solo journeys. 

Here, dealing with dehydration and local desert wildlife are generally bigger concerns than crime.

Just like Senegal, the U.S. State Department has placed Namibia under a Level One travel advisory, indicating that the country is relatively safe to visit.

8. The Gambia

Flag of Gambia
Make sure to keep valuables out of sight when visiting the Gambia.©iStock.com/Nabil Kamara

Boasting a GPI of 1.888, the Gambia may not be the highest ranking on the peace and safety scale, yet it offers more security than many other African nations. The Gambia is one of the poorest countries in Western Africa.

It’s significant to highlight that the Gambia’s global safety standing slipped from 45th place in 2022 down to 59th place in 2023. Broadly speaking, the Gambia is a safe haven for travelers. The country does report a high crime rate, but these are predominantly minor offenses, such as pickpocketing. It’s advised that visitors keep their valuables out of sight and well-secured. Serious crimes like violent attacks and muggings are relatively uncommon.

Corruption poses another challenge in The Gambia. There have been reported instances where unsuspecting tourists are entrapped with marijuana offers, only to be met by police officers demanding bribes. Scammers also prey on tourists, often with the intent of financial extortion.

The U.S. State Department’s travel advisory places The Gambia at Level 2, suggesting visitors exercise an increased level of caution.

9. Zambia

Although safe, Zambia still experiences petty crime like pickpocketing or bag snatching.©iStock.com/Jason J Mulikita

With a GPI of 1.898, Zambia is slightly less safe than the Gambia but still reasonably secure. This vast, land-locked nation, abundant in resources, lies in the heart of Southern Africa.

Compared to its African counterparts, Zambia is considerably safer for visitors. However, in cities and popular tourist spots, there’s a possibility of falling prey to thieves. You can significantly minimize this risk by taking sensible precautions.

Minor offenses like pickpocketing or bag snatching may occur, especially around bus and train stations. It’s also reported that some petty crimes happen in local nightclubs, certain shopping areas in Copperbelt and Lusaka towns, and other main cities.

When compared to other African nations, Zambia is relatively safer for women traveling alone. Given its predominantly male and conservative society, female visitors are encouraged to dress modestly, particularly when in rural areas.

Generally speaking, Zambia is a safe country, with locals usually extending a warm welcome and friendliness to tourists. However, it’s always a good idea to stay alert and mindful!

10. Liberia

Robertsport, Liberia
Since 2003, Liberia has become more stable.©Wirestock Creators/Shutterstock.com

Liberia, positioned in West Africa, is abundant with rainforests, an array of tropical birds, and beachfronts that offer excellent surfing conditions. With a GPI of 1.946, it stands as the tenth safest African nation.

Since the conclusion of the civil conflict in 2003, Liberia has steadily grown in stability. Collaborations between the Liberian government, the United Nations, and the global community are in motion to ensure further stability and progress.

Despite the improvements, occasional public protests and demonstrations do occur. It’s advisable to keep away from such events, political rallies, and crowded places.

According to the U.S. State Department’s advice, individuals should exercise increased caution in Liberia due to incidences of crime and sporadic civil unrest. A brief summary reveals that violent crime, like armed theft, is not uncommon, particularly within urban areas.

Nevertheless, despite these criminal activities, Liberia outshines even the United Arab Emirates (GPI of 1.979) in terms of safety!

11. Malawi

As long as you follow standard safety procedures, Malawi is a relatively safe African country to visit.©iStock.com/Tristan Barrington Photography

Malawi, the southeast African nation, is renowned for its Lake Malawi. With a GPI of 1.970, it secures the eleventh position on this list of Africa’s safest countries. 

Often referred to as the “Warm Heart of Africa,” Malawi takes pride in the welcoming and affable nature of its people. The locals of Malawi, known for their warmth, vibrancy, and vitality, often create memorable experiences for tourists through their interactions.

While Malawi is relatively safe for tourists, it’s not entirely free of violent incidents. In big cities, particularly Lilongwe, and in tourist-popular areas, there have been reports of muggings and robberies.

For this reason, it’s advised not to wander alone at night. There have been frequent carjacking incidents and an increase in pickpocketing cases, particularly in nightlife venues. To avoid being a target, do not carry excessive cash or flashy, valuable items such as cameras and electronics.

Source: AZ Animals