Africa's Safest Countries: Top 10 Ranked
Have you always wanted to visit Africa, but you're not sure where to begin planning your trip?
One perspective is to consider which African countries are the safest. While there is no single answer to the question of which countries are safest, the Global Peace Index (GPI) provides some insight. Global Peace Index scores each nation on a scale from 1 to 5, with 1 being the most peaceful and secure. However, the Global Peace Index should not be used as the sole criterion for selecting the most secure nations. After all, some of the world's most popular tourist destinations are among the lowest rated.
In comparison to the United States, which ranks 131st with a score of 2.448, France is ranked 67th with a score of 1.939.
To aid travellers, we've compiled a list of the 10 safest countries in Africa right now. Tourists visiting these countries can relax and enjoy the breathtaking scenery without worrying about their safety.
Located in the southwestern Indian Ocean, not far from the southeastern coast of Africa, Mauritius is widely regarded as the continent's safest nation. The island's safety ranking has improved dramatically, from the 28th to the 23rd safest country in the world in 2023, with a GPI score of 1.546 out of 163 Countries.
To put this into perspective, the Global Peace Index (GPI) for Afghanistan is 3.448, while the GPI for Iceland is only 1.124.
Crime in general and serious crimes are extremely rare on the island of Mauritius. As with most places with a high concentration of tourists, pickpocketing is a problem. Women should feel secure travelling to Mauritius, but common sense dictates they take the same precautions they would at home.
Compared to 2019, tourist arrivals to Mauritius are up 72.09 percent, and by 2023, they are expected to have recovered to within 90 to 95 percent of their pre-pandemic levels.
Cyclones and other natural disasters, however, pose significant risks to island residents. Large amounts of property damage can be caused by cyclones between the months of November and May. During these times, it is especially important for tourists to heed warnings and adhere to local recommendations.
Located in the middle of Southern Africa, the country of Botswana is considered to be one of the safest in all of Africa. Despite being one of the world's poorest countries when it gained independence in 1966, it has since become one of the most rapidly developing economies.
This African country has moved up the global safety rankings to number 42, passing South Korea in the process. Botswana's GPI dropped from 1.801 in 2022 to 1.762 in 2023, which is notable.
Tourists in Botswana rarely become victims of scams or physical attacks. However, things like bag theft, assault, and vehicle theft are always a possibility. Because of this, visitors should be on the lookout at all times and cooperate with authorities if they become victims.
Botswana is the most secure option for safari-goers across the continent. It's the best option for safety, and it also offers one of the most rewarding safaris.
The first three months of 2022 saw a total of 175,699 arrivals from other countries. 91.1 percent of that number, or 158,284, were foreign visitors.
#3 Sierra Leone
With a 2023 GPI of 1.792, Sierra Leone lags behind Botswana by a small margin. Before achieving independence in 1961, Sierra Leone had been a British Crown Colony since 1808. Although it is a member of the Commonwealth, it has the unfortunate distinction of being the poorest.
Sierra Leone moved up from the 50th safest country in the world in 2022 to the 47th safest country in 2023. The Gross Domestic Product of the country has been rising over the past four years.
Although Sierra Leone is known for its warm and welcoming people, the country also has a high crime rate. Pickpocketing and muggings, which can involve weapons, are the most common forms of violence against tourists. However, the vast majority of tourists arrive at their destination safely.
Although Sierra Leone's democracy has made great strides in recent years, the country still experiences periods of political instability. Multiple cities across the country saw violent protests in 2022. Avoid political events and follow the rules as they are written where you are visiting.
The United States Department of State reports high rates of violent crime throughout Sierra Leone, especially in the country's capital of Freetown, including robberies and assaults. In many cases, the local police force lacks the resources it needs to effectively deal with major criminal activities.
The crime rate in Sierra Leone is lower than in many other African countries, even though it is not as low as in Botswana or Mauritius.
Ghana, in West Africa between the Ivory Coast and Togo, has a 2023 GPI of 1.799, placing it fourth. In 2018, Ghana's economy was ranked as the second largest in West Africa, and it was one of the top 10 fastest-growing economies in the world.
At this time, it ranks as the world's 51st safest nation. Crime rates in Ghana are significantly lower than those in many other African countries. But there are still crimes of varying severity. Travelers are urged to conceal any valuables they may be carrying and to be extra vigilant after dark. Theft and even violent attacks may be more common on the beaches of Ghana.
Scams are common in Ghana and other tourist hotspots. Be wary of anyone offering you money for anything, whether it's a "friendship," "romance,” or "business opportunity."
The United Kingdom government estimates that annually around 90,000 British citizens travel to Ghana, with the vast majority of visits being trouble-free despite the prevalence of crime.
The United States Department of State warns its citizens to exercise caution in certain regions. In particular, they stress the importance of being cautious near borders, especially the northern one.
With a GPI of 1.827, Senegal is the fifth safest country in Africa. It ranks 52nd in the world in terms of overall peace. Senegal, a country in Western Africa with an Atlantic coast, has one of the continent's more modest economies.
Travelers should use caution in Senegal, but the country is generally safe. Minor crimes are common and sometimes turn violent, but major crimes, terrorist attacks, and political unrest are uncommon.
Senegal is widely regarded as a safe country for women to visit on their own. But it's still important to keep one's wits about one and be aware of one's surroundings. Dress conservatively and stay indoors at night if you're travelling alone.
The United States Department of State, which typically errs on the side of caution, has issued a Level One travel advisory for Senegal. This alert level is lower than those for some countries commonly thought to be safer than Senegal, like France.
However, some countries warn their citizens to take extra safety precautions in Senegal.
Even though it is one of the world's largest islands, Madagascar has a poverty rate that is among the highest anywhere. Nonetheless, its GPI of 1.846 places it sixth among Africa's safest nations and, remarkably, ahead of France in terms of safety by 12 places in 2023.
In just one year, Madagascar has made remarkable progress, jumping from the 84th to the 55th position in the ranking of peaceful countries.
Compared to many other African countries, the crime rate in Madagascar is relatively low. But because of political unrest, crime rates have skyrocketed. Thefts of property and motor vehicles fall under this category. Be wary of pickpockets in crowded places like markets and transportation hubs.
The United States Department of State has designated Madagascar as a Level 2 country, requiring its citizens to take extra safety precautions.
Keep your wits about you and don't walk around with a lot of cash. Your trip will go off without a hitch if you take the same safety measures that other visitors have.
Namibia, located on Africa's southwestern coast, is a mineral-rich country noted for its dry climate and low population density. A GPI of 1.859 places it as the sixth-safest nation in Africa.
From 2022 to 2023, Namibia jumped from 68th to 56th on the list of safest countries in the world. The risk of being mugged, however, necessitates extra care when handling money in public places like ATMs. Most of these crimes occur on the outskirts of town, and taxi drivers are frequently implicated by the police as being in on the act.
The people of Namibia are known for their openness and hospitality, welcoming visitors of all backgrounds to their relatively tranquil country. Namibia is widely regarded as one of the safest African countries for female travellers to explore independently.
Here, more people worry about staying hydrated and avoiding attacks from desert wildlife than they do about being robbed.
The United States Department of State has issued a Level One travel advisory for Namibia, the same level given to Senegal.
The Gambia has a GPI of 1.888, which places it above many other African countries in terms of safety and peace. If you're looking for a poor country, look no further than The Gambia in West Africa.
It's important to note that The Gambia fell from 45th to 59th in global safety rankings between 2022 and 2023. In general, tourists can feel secure in the Gambia. There is a high crime rate in the country, but most of the crimes are petty, like theft. Travelers should secure their valuables and keep them out of sight. Violent assaults and robberies are unusual occurrences.
Another difficulty that the Gambia faces is corruption. Tourists have reportedly been lured into traps with offers of marijuana, only to be confronted by police officers demanding bribes. Tourists are also a common target for con artists, who may try to extort money from them.
The United States Department of State has issued a Level 2 travel advisory, advising its citizens to exercise greater caution in The Gambia.
Zambia, with a Global Peace Index score of 1.898, is marginally less secure than the Gambia but still fairly secure. Located in the middle of Southern Africa, this massive landmass is rich in natural resources.
Zambia is one of the safest countries in Africa to visit. However, pickpocketing is more likely in urban areas and other high-traffic areas. Taking common sense measures will greatly reduce the likelihood of harm coming to you.
Pickpocketing and bag snatching are both possible, especially in crowded areas like tube and bus terminals. Nightclubs and certain shopping districts in Copperbelt and Lusaka towns, as well as other major cities, have also been linked to petty crime.
Zambia is one of the safest countries in Africa for women to travel to on their own. Women are advised to dress conservatively, especially in the country. The culture is predominantly male and traditional.
Zambia is a secure destination where locals typically go out of their way to make visitors feel at home. But remember to keep your eyes and ears open at all times!
#10 The Republic of Liberia
Located in Western Africa, Liberia is home to verdant rainforests, a wide variety of tropical birds, and waves perfect for catching some swell. It has a Global Peace Index of 1.946, placing it as the tenth-safest country in Africa.
Liberia's stability has improved greatly since the end of the civil war in 2003. The Liberian government, the UN, and the international community are all working together to guarantee continued peace and development.
Even with progress, there are still some instances of public unrest. Avoid such gatherings, as well as political rallies and crowded areas, if at all possible.
The U.S. Department of State warns that due to crime and occasional civil unrest, visitors to Liberia should take extra precautions. A quick review reveals that violent crimes, such as armed theft, are surprisingly common, especially in densely populated urban areas.
But even with all of the crime, Liberia is safer than the United Arab Emirates (a country with a GPI of 1.979)!
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