Africa’s 25 Most Liveable Cities
Is your city competitive economically, socially, culturally, and environmentally?
Many cities on the continent offer attractive environments in which to do business, and the quality of living is an essential component of a city’s attractiveness. The appeal of cities as a place to live and work is a key aspect of attracting talent as well as global and local businesses.
In Africa, Port Louis is the city with the best quality of living and also the safest. It was closely followed for overall quality of living by the South African cities of Durban, Cape Town and Johannesburg, though these cities still rank low for personal safety, and issues around water scarcity contributed to Cape Town. Gambia’s progress toward a democratic political system and improved international relations and human rights meant that Banjul had the most improved quality of living in Africa, but also in the world, rising six places this year.
Living conditions were analysed based on these 10 categories:
- Political and social environment (political stability, crime, law enforcement, etc.).
- Economic environment (currency exchange regulations, banking services).
- Socio-cultural environment (media availability and censorship, limitations on personal freedom).
- Medical and health considerations (medical supplies and services, infectious diseases, sewage, waste disposal, air pollution).
- Schools and education (standards and availability of international schools).
- Public services and transportation (electricity, water, public transportation, traffic congestion, etc.).
- Recreation (restaurants, theatres, cinemas, sports and leisure).
- Consumer goods (availability of food/daily consumption items, cars).
- Housing (rental housing, household appliances, furniture, maintenance services).
- Natural environment (climate, record of natural disasters).
1Port Louis, Mauritius
Evening in Port Louis at the Caudan Waterfront. By Simisa, CC BY-SA 3.0
Port Louis is the capital city of Mauritius, in the Indian Ocean. It lies between a deepwater harbour, accessible to ships through a break in the coral reef, and a semicircle of mountains. The city is home to the biggest port facility in the Indian Ocean region and one of Africa’s major financial centers. The economy of the city is mostly dominated by its financial centre, port facilities, tourism, and the manufacturing sector.
Port Louis is divided by Mauritius’ only motorway, which runs by the harbour and Le Caudan Waterfront, a lively dining and shopping district where nearby vendors sell local produce and handicrafts. The city has a diverse, vibrant culture known for its French colonial architecture and many historical treasures including the Champ de Mars – the oldest racecourse in the southern hemisphere.
Port Louis has a mild tropical maritime climate throughout the year with two seasons: a warm humid summer extending from November to April and a relatively cool dry winter from June to September.
2. Durban, South Africa
Blick vom Kai uShaka Beach, Durban. By: Bgabel at wikivoyage
Durban, a coastal city in eastern South Africa’s KwaZulu-Natal province, located on the East coast of South Africa, looking upon the Indian Ocean. The city forms part of the eThekwini Metropolitan Municipality, which includes neighboring towns and has a population of about 3.44 million, making the combined municipality one of the biggest cities on the Indian Ocean coast of the African continent.
The city is a modern metropolis and home to the University of KwaZulu-Natal. It is known for its African, Indian and colonial influences. Durban is the second most important manufacturing hub in South Africa after Johannesburg, and it is the headquarters of South Africa’s sugar industry.
The seafront promenade runs from uShaka Marine World, a huge theme park with an aquarium, to the futuristic Moses Mabhida Stadium. Tourism is important and is based on the city’s proximity to KwaZulu-Natal’s game and nature reserves and on the beaches and their facilities, such as an esplanade and an oceanarium. Durban enjoys a humid subtropical climate with hot and humid summers and pleasantly warm and dry winters.
3. Cape Town, South Africa
Cape Town city centre. By Damien du Toit – CC
Cape Town is a port city on South Africa’s southwest coast at the northern end of the Cape Peninsula at the base of Table Mountain. It has a beautiful setting with parts of the city and its suburbs winding about the steep slopes of Table Mountain and edging the shores of Table Bay. Slowly rotating cable cars climb to the mountain’s flat top, from which there are sweeping views of the city, the busy harbor, and boats heading for Robben Island, the notorious prison that once held Nelson Mandela.
Cape Town is the economic hub of the Western Cape Province, South Africa’s second main economic centre and Africa’s third main economic hub city. It also home to the highest number of successful Information Technology companies in Africa.
Cape Town is not only a popular international tourist destination in South Africa but Africa as a whole. This is due to its mild Mediterranean climate, naturally beautiful setting, and well-developed infrastructure.
4. Johannesburg, South Africa
An aerial photograph of summer rain clouds over Johannesburg. By Ryanj93 – CC BY-SA 4.0
Johannesburg, a city in the Gauteng province, is the country’s chief industrial and financial metropolis. It is situated on the Highveld, the broad, grassy plateau that covers the South African interior. Greater Johannesburg consists of more than five hundred suburbs in an area covering more than two hundred square miles (520 square kilometres).
The city is a centre of mining, manufacturing, and finance. All the mining houses are headquartered in the city, as is the Chamber of Mines, which regulates the industry. Local factories in Johannesburg produce a great variety of goods ranging from textiles to specialty steels and a substantial engineering sector serves the needs of the mining industry. Virtually all the country’s banks, insurance companies, and building societies have their head offices in Johannesburg where the Johannesburg Stock Exchange lists more than 600 companies. The central business district is predominately four styles of architecture, Victorian Colonial, Edwardian Baroque, Art Deco and Modernism.
Johannesburg City Parks and Zoo is responsible for planting the city’s many green trees, making Johannesburg one of the ‘greenest’ cities in the world. It has been estimated that there are six million trees in the city thanks to the subtropical highland climate. Summer months (October to April) are hot sunny days followed by afternoon thundershowers and cool evenings, and the winter months (May to September) are dry, sunny days followed by cold nights.
5. Victoria, Seychelles
Victoria Clock Tower. Photo: Bjørn Christian Tørrissen
Victoria is the capital city of the Republic of Seychelles and is located on the northeastern coast of Mahé Island, the largest island in the Seychelles group. It is also one of the smallest capital cities in the world. Victoria is the business and cultural centre of Seychelles, with modern facilities including a hospital and a teacher-training college.
The city holds a unique Creole culture. At its center sits the Victoria Clocktower, a national monument reminiscent of London’s “Big Ben” that has kept ticking since 1903, unaffected by the modern glass and concrete development around it. Seychelles National Botanical Gardens showcases endemic palms and orchids, as well as giant tortoises and fruit bats. Then there is the colorful Sir Selwyn Clarke Market that sells spices, fruit, art, and souvenirs. The environment ranges from sweeping bays of white sand to a densely forested interior.
Victoria features a tropical rainforest climate with high temperatures throughout the course of the year. The city does have noticeably wetter and drier periods during the year, with June and July being its driest months and December through February is the city’s wettest months
6. Tunis, Tunisia
Tunis, Tunisia By M.Rais – CC BY-SA 3.0
Tunis is the capital and largest city of Tunisia, located on the northern African coast, between the western and eastern basins of the Mediterranean Sea, built on a hill slope down to the lake of Tunis. The greater metropolitan area of Tunis is referred to as Grand Tunis. At its core lies its ancient medina, a World Heritage Site.
Tunis is the centre of the country’s commercial and cultural activities. Agriculture remains a major source of income with the principal crop being olives. Manufacturing includes textiles, clothing, carpets, and cement and metal building structures. There are also super-phosphate, metallurgical, machine, electrical industries, and railway workshops. Tourism is also of particular economic importance in Tunis.
Tunis has a hot-summer Mediterranean climate, characterized by a hot and dry season and mild winters with moderate rainfall. The local climate is also affected somewhat by the latitude of the city, the moderating influence of the Mediterranean sea and the terrain of the hills.
7. Rabat, Morocco
Rabat, Morocco – Photo: AirPano.com
Rabat is the capital city of Morocco and is one of the country’s four imperial cities. It is located on the Atlantic coast at the mouth of the Wadi Bou Regreg, opposite the city of Salé.
It’s known for landmarks that speak to its Islamic and French-colonial heritage, including the Kasbah of the Udayas. This Berber-era royal fort is surrounded by formal French-designed gardens and overlooks the ocean. The city’s iconic Hassan Tower, a 12th-century minaret, soars above the ruins of a mosque.
The city is the centre of an important textile industry and is noted for its carpets, blankets, and leather handicrafts. Other economic activities include fruit and fish processing and the manufacture of bricks and asbestos.
Rabat features a Mediterranean climate with warm to hot dry summers and mild damp winters. Located along the Atlantic Ocean, Rabat has a mild, temperate climate, shifting from cool in winter to warm days in the summer months.
8. Casablanca, Morocco
Casablanca is the biggest city of Morocco and also the largest Atlantic port of the country. It is one of the most influential trade centers in North Africa, and according to the Global Financial Centres Index, Casablanca is Africa’s leading financial centre.
Casablanca has Arabic- and French-language schools at different educational levels. There are also various cultural and utilitarian institutes, such as the Goethe-Institut, the Municipal College of Fine Arts, the Municipal Library, a prehistory society, an institute of fishing, and a horticultural society.
From fresh seafood and French cooking to traditional Moroccan cuisine, Casablanca’s restaurant scene is developing a bit of a reputation as a destination for foodies. As Morocco’s principal centre for recreation, Casablanca has a number of pleasant beaches, parks, and attractive promenades along the seafront.
The city’s French colonial legacy is seen in its downtown Mauresque architecture, a blend of Moorish style and European art deco. The Hassan II Mosque, completed in 1993, is the second-largest in Africa and boasts the world’s tallest religious minaret, at 200 metres high.
9. Windhoek, Namibia
Windhoek is the capital of the Republic of Namibia, located roughly in the centre of the country. It is the social, economic, political, and cultural centre of Namibia. There are administration buildings, a state museum, and secondary schools, including the large African Augustinian High School. Windhoek has two airports: the domestic airport Windhoek-Eros and the international airport Windhoek Hosea Kutako.
Especially interesting is the cultural mix in Windhoek. The legacy of colonialism can be clearly seen but the pride that Namibians have for their country and its culture is undeniable. In keeping with the history of Namibia, you will taste many international, mainly European influences. You’ll find German restaurants, German street names, German beer, bread and sausages. In some of the shops one can communicate in German even though the official language in Namibia is English.
Windhoek experiences a hot semi-arid climate with over 300 sunny days per year. It is hottest from December to February, while it can get very cold in June and July, especially at night.
10. Gaborone, Botswana
Gaborone is the capital city of Botswana. Credit: ODILRAK91 Wikimedia CC
Gaborone is the capital city of Botswana. It’s known for the Gaborone Game Reserve, sheltering native animals like wildebeest and impala, plus resident and migratory birds. To the city’s southwest, rhinos and giraffes inhabit the Mokolodi Nature Reserve. Footpaths lead to city views at the summit of Kgale Hill.
Gaborone is a young metropolis that experienced most of its boom with the discovery of diamonds in the 1970s. It is the seat of the University of Botswana, and The National Museum and Art Gallery which includes departments of natural history, archaeology, prehistory, art and cultural artifacts.
There is a range of hotels, and a choice of cinemas and casinos. Restaurants are numerous and varied, nightclubs often host live music by local artists.
Gaborone has a hot desert climate. Most of the year, it is very sunny. The summers are usually very hot and the nights are cool.
11. Lusaka, Zambia
Lusaka is the capital and largest city of Zambia. It is also one of the fastest developing cities in all of southern Africa. New buildings are going up everywhere, chain stores and shopping malls are springing up all over the sprawling suburbs. There are many good restaurants in the city including coffee shops, take-aways, night clubs, and pubs. There are upmarket clubs and restaurants in the suburbs.
Lusaka is the centre of both commerce and government in Zambia and connects to the country’s four main highways heading north, south, east and west. English is the official language of the city, and Nyanja and Bemba are also common. Zambia’s largest institution of learning, University of Zambia, is based in Lusaka. Most major world religions are represented in Lusaka with the outstanding majority belonging to Christianity.
The superb climate means warm sunny summers, interspersed with cooling thunderstorms and mild winters with loads of sunshine. It can get very hot between October and March if there’s no rain. The average rainfall, between November and April, is about 950mm. Summer temperatures range from 20 degrees to 32 degrees C. Winter temperatures from 10 degrees to about 26 degrees. Humidity is usually below 40%.
12. Dakar, Senegal
Dakar, Senegal _By mostroneddo – Flickr , CC
Dakar is the capital city of Senegal, and located midway between the mouths of the Gambia and Sénégal rivers on the southeastern side of the Cape Verde Peninsula, close to Africa’s most westerly point. Dakar is one of tropical Africa’s leading industrial centres and one of the chief seaports on the west African coast. Its industries include peanut-oil refining, fish canning, flour milling, brewing, truck assembly, and petroleum refining. Its industries include peanut-oil refining, fish canning, flour milling, brewing, truck assembly, and petroleum refining.
The traditional culture is very centred around the idea of family. This even includes the way that they eat. When it is time to eat a typical meal, someone will say “kay lekk” which means ‘come eat’. Everyone will come together and sit around the plate and eat with their hands
Religion holds an important place in the cultures and customs of the people in Dakar. Islam is the predominant religion, while a Christian minority has established churches in the city as well.
The Dakarois climate is generally warm. Dakar has a hot semi-arid climate, with a short rainy season and a lengthy dry season. Dakar’s rainy season lasts from July to October while the dry season covers the remaining eight months.
13. Accra, Ghana
Accra is the capital city of Ghana, on the Atlantic coast of West Africa. The central business district of Accra contains the city’s main banks and department stores, as well as an area known as the Ministries, where Ghana’s government administration is concentrated. Economic activities in Accra include the financial and commercial sectors, fishing and the manufacture of processed food, lumber, plywood, textiles, clothing and chemicals.
Tourism is becoming a thriving source of business for those in arts and crafts, historical sites and local travel and tour agents. The Oxford Street in the district of Osu has grown to become the hub of business and nightlife in Accra. Makola Market is the city’s vast, colorful bazaar. Popular seafront spots Labadi Beach and Kokrobite Beach offer golden sand and high-energy nightlife.
As a coastal city, Accra features a tropical savanna climate that borders on a hot semi-arid climate. The average annual rainfall is about 730 mm, which falls primarily during Ghana’s two rainy seasons. The chief rainy season begins in April and ends in mid-July, whilst a weaker second rainy season occurs in October.
14. Libreville, Gabon
Aerial view of Libreville. Photo: Bajan28
Libreville is the capital and largest city of Gabon. As a port city, it has become a trading center for timber and other businesses. Over the years, the city has grown rapidly and now houses nearly half the country’s population. It is home to a shipbuilding industry, brewing industry, and sawmills, and exports raw materials such as wood, rubber and cocoa.
The city is divided into major districts; residential areas, busy commercial areas, first European settlements (Glass) and industrial areas. The Komo River which flows in Gabon, provides Libreville with hydroelectric power.
Libreville has a tropical monsoon climate that features a lengthy wet season and short dry season. The city’s wet season is from September through May (nine months) whereas the dry season lasts from June through August.
The city is home to Gabon’s largest airport which is located around 11 km north of the city. Libreville is well industrialized and is the educational centre for the country.
One of the city’s greatest assets is the incredible seafront where people visit daily to relax by the Atlantic Ocean. Along the seafront you will find beautiful Gabonese sculptures looking over the beach. In addition, the town is a perfect place to lay back and take things slowly.
Being a multicultural town, the people are very welcoming and are always ready to show you the true aspects of the city. The city centre is great for shopping, yet surprisingly expensive.
15. Kampala, Uganda
Kampala City, Uganda: The City of Seven Hills
Kampala is Uganda’s national and commercial capital bordering Lake Victoria, Africa’s largest lake. Hills covered with red-tile villas and trees surround an urban centre of contemporary skyscrapers.
Recently, Kampala was named among the fastest growing cities in the world with an annual population growth rate of 4.03 percent by City Mayors. The city has also been ranked as the best city to live in East Africa ahead of Nairobi and Kigali by Mercer, a global development consulting agency based in New York City.
The city is divided into five boroughs that oversee local planning: Kampala Central Division, Kawempe Division, Makindye Division, Nakawa Division, and Rubaga Division.
The city has a tropical rainforest climate that features two annual wetter seasons. Kampala also hosts the headquarters of the East African Development Bank on Nakasero Hill and the Uganda Local Governments Association on Entebbe Road.
The population of Kampala grew from 1,189,142 in 2002 to 1,507,080 in 2014. In 2019 the population of Kampala is projected to be 1,650,800. Kampala has a diverse ethnic population. The city’s ethnic makeup has been defined by political and economic factors.
Kampala exports coffee, cotton, tea, tobacco, and sugar. Although second industrially to Jinja town, the city has numerous food, metal-products, and furniture enterprises and a tractor-assembly plant. It is the headquarters for most of Uganda’s large firms, education institutions and the chief market for the Lake Victoria region.
16. Cairo, Egypt
Cairo is the capital of Egypt. It’s located at the in northern Egypt, known as Lower Egypt, south of the Mediterranean Sea and west of the Gulf of Suez and Suez Canal. The city also les along the Nile River.
Its metropolitan area is one of the largest in Africa, the largest in the Middle East, and the 15th-largest in the world. The city association with ancient Egypt, pyramids and ancient city of Memphis is both intriguing and beautiful.
The mega city has a lot of buzz and noise from its more than nine million inhabitants attending to their day to day activities. No wonder it is considered a World City with a “Beta +” classification according to Globalization and World Cities Research Network (GaWC).
Cairo is home to the oldest and largest film and music industries in the Middle East, as well as the world’s second-oldest institution of higher learning, Al-Azhar University. Many international media, businesses, and organizations have regional headquarters in the city.
In Cairo, and along the Nile River Valley, the climate is a hot desert climate. Wind storms can be frequent, bringing Saharan dust into the city, from March to May and the air often becomes uncomfortably dry.
17. Banjul, Gambia
Banjul Albert Market Aerial view of city skyline.
Officially the City of Banjul and formerly known as Bathurst, is the capital of The Gambia and the least-populated capital on the African continent. Nestled on St. Mary’s Island at the mouth of the Gambia River, it is a tiny seaport town, crossed by sand-blown streets and dotted with fading colonial structures. Banjul is home to a busy harbour and market that show urban Africa at its best.
Banjul has several peanut decorticating plants and oil mills; peanuts, peanut oil and meal, and palm kernels are exported. Tourism is of increasing importance, alleviating some of the urban unemployment problem and encouraging handicraft (wood carvings, filigree jewelry, hand-dyed cloth) industries. Its colonial structures and cultural artifacts attract visitors to the village-like atmosphere. The 19th century architecture in MacCarthy Square and the landmark King Fahad Mosque with its twin minarets are just two points of interest.
As the nation’s educational centre, Banjul has the Gambia High School, two Roman Catholic secondary schools, a Muslim high school, a vocational school, and a public library. Associated with the city’s Royal Victoria Hospital are the Gambia School of Nursing, a mental hospital, and a tuberculosis sanatorium.
Banjul has a very warm climate year round. The city features a lengthy dry season, spanning from November to June and a relatively short wet season covering the remaining four months.
18. Blantyre, Malawi
A flight over downtown Blantyre, Malawi Photo: MT MightyTravels
Blantyre is the second largest city and country’s centre of commerce and finance. The city role in as a trading hub goes back to its beginning in 19th century. Located on the Shire Highlands, which are surrounded by low hills and three mountain peaks, the landscape of Blantyre is indeed beautiful.
The city is a busy tourist attraction and has offers a wide range of activities to engage in. It has an estimated 584,877 as of 2019. As an industrial capital of Malawi, the city provides employment to the country’s population.
Blantyre is one of the oldest urban centres in east, central and southern Africa; it pre-dates Nairobi, Harare and Johannesburg, hence it has the longest historic and cultural heritage in the region. The Chichiri Museum is next to the Civic Centre offices at Chichiri and constitutes a valuable asset of the city.
The climate of the city is classified as a Tropical climate, more specifically a tropical savanna climate and is greatly influenced by its location in the tropical zone and altitude.
The city was named “Blantyre” after the birth village of Dr David Livingstone in Scotland, one of the first missionary explorers who came to Nyasaland, as Malawi was originally called before independence. There are twelve National Assembly constituencies in Blantyre.
19. Cotonou, Benin
The Red Star in Cotonou, Bénin. Photo: Raziax
Cotonou is the largest city, economic hub and seat of government of Benin. Its official population count was 780,000 inhabitants in 2019. The name “Cotonou” means “by the river of death” in the Fon language. As the country’s largest urban centre, its home to many industries including palm oil processing, brewing and textile production.
The country’s president and most government ministers reside in Cotonou. The National University of Benin is also located in the city. The modern artificial deepwater port located in Cotonou serves both Benin and Togo. The fact that the city lies between Atlantic Ocean and Lake Noloue, it makes it a great tourist destination.
The Autonomous Port of Cotonou is one of the largest in West Africa. The city is connected to Parakou city in the north by the Benin-Niger railway. As a transport hub, the city has a crossroads of West African commerce. Cotonou features a tropical wet and dry climate, alternating with two rainy seasons (April–July and September–October) and two dry seasons.
At first glance, the city can be a little overwhelming but life is sweet in Cotonou with excellent shopping, amazing nightlife, awesome restaurants and excellent shopping opportunities.
20. Maputo, Mozambique
Maputo–Katembe bridge from the norther shore; Maputo, Mozambique. Photo: Jcornelius
Maputo is considered to be one of Africa’s most attractive capitals. It’s the capital and economic hub of Mozambique. The city features Mediterranean style architecture, wide streets line with acacia and jacaranda trees and waterside settling.
As the most developed city in Mozambique, its offers a wide selection of restaurants, supermarkets, hotels, sidewalk cafes as well as a lively cultural scene. The city is home to a bustling lifestyle and the old town (low lying baixa) spreads across North and East from the port.
Maputo is more expensive than elsewhere in the country. However, the prices are reasonable and it’s an ideal tourist destination no matter your budget. The city has a healthful climate, tempered by sea breezes. It is famous for fine bathing beaches that have contributed revenues to the tourism industry which is a major economic factor to the country.
The port is one of the most important in East Africa. Before independence, the port handled transit trade from the mines and industries of South Africa, Swaziland, and Zimbabwe, with which it has rail and road connections.
Maputo’s economy is centered around its port, through which much of Mozambique’s imports and exports are shipped. The main exports include cotton, sugar, chromite, sisal, copra, and hardwood. In addition to trade, the city has robust manufacturing and service sectors.
21. Algiers, Algeria
Buildings along the Mediterranean coast of Algiers.
Algiers is the capital and port city of Algeria. It is also the political, cultural centre and economic centre of the country. The city is built on the slopes of the Sahel hills which are parallel to the Mediterranean Sea coast. The city gets its name from several small islands that existed in the bay.
Algiers faces North and East and forms a big amphitheater of spectacular white buildings that dominate the harbour and the bay. The city’s population was estimated to be around 4,000,000. An estimate puts the population of the larger metropolitan city to be around 7,796,923.
The modern part of the city is built on the level ground by the seashore; the old part, the ancient city of the deys, climbs the steep hill behind the modern town and is crowned by the casbah or citadel above the sea.
Algiers has a Mediterranean climate. Its proximity to the Mediterranean Sea helps in moderating the city’s temperatures. As a result, Algiers usually does not see the extreme temperatures that are experienced in the adjacent interior.
As a commercial and financial center, it provides a lot of job opportunities for the country and contributes to the country’s stock exchange. Algiers has the highest cost of living of any city in North Africa. Its Cost of living rank 396th out of 451 cities in the world. Algiers has a cost of living index of 32.36.
22. Nairobi, Kenya
Nairobi skyline. Photo: Magical Kenya
Kenya’s capital city, Nairobi, is the most dynamic city, also known as the “city in the sun” for many reasons. It is the economic, education and industrial hub of the country. It is Kenya’s largest city with a population of more than four million. Nairobi is a modern city center with beautiful suburbs and is built on a plateau that aids to keep it cool all year round.
The city is also home to numerous local and international businesses and organizations. Nairobi bustles with activity – it’s a city that never sleeps; the rhythm is fast, day and night. There’s always something to do and see in Nairobi and its people are friendly and hospitable.
As East Africa’s most cosmopolitan city, Nairobi is Kenya’s beating heart and offers natural beauty waiting to be explored. It has a fabulous National Park with wildlife-centric attractions, excellent National Museum and a series of quirky sights, Nairobi’s reality.
Nairobi is the 10th-largest city in Africa, including the population of its suburbs. The city has a subtropical highland climate (above sea level, evenings may be cool, especially in the June/July season, when the temperature can drop to 9 °C (48 °F). The sunniest and warmest part of the year is from December to March.
Nairobi is home to the Nairobi Securities Exchange (NSE), one of Africa’s largest stock exchange. The exchange is Africa’s 4th largest in terms of trading volumes and 5th largest in terms of Market Capitalization as a percentage of GDP.
23. Djibouti, Djibouti
Menelik Square, in central Djibouti City. Photo: Bloomberg
Djibouti, Arabic Jībūtī, is a port city and the capital of the Republic of Djibouti. Known as the Pearl of the Gulf of Tadjoura due to its location, Djibouti City is strategically positioned near the world’s busiest shipping lanes and acts as a refueling and trans-shipment center. The Port of Djibouti is the principal maritime port for imports to and exports from neighboring Ethiopia. Djibouti City has the second-largest economy of any city in the Horn of Africa after Addis Ababa.
The city is home to different architectural styles that represent various periods in its history. The older parts of the city are filled with bazaars and souks nestled along narrow streets. Many new apartments and housing developments are being constructed in and around the city to accommodate the growing middle class.
Djibouti’s population is predominantly Muslim. Islam is observed by 94% of the nation’s population, whereas the remaining 6% of residents are Christian adherents.
Djibouti City has an arid climate with very hot dry summers reaching maximum temperatures of 41.7 °C (107.1 °F). The winter season is very warm and brings little rainfall. Most of the annual precipitation falls between October and May averaging 163.5 millimetres (6.44 in) per year.
24. Kigali, Rwanda
The skyline of central Kigali. By Adrien K – CC BY 2.0
Kigali, the cleanest city in Africa, is the capital and largest city of Rwanda. The city has been Rwanda’s economic, cultural, and transport hub since it became capital at independence in 1962. Geographically the city is located in the centre of the country on the Ruganwa River.
The Northeast of the city provided a settlement for many and the Southeast is an industrial area. The city industry includes shoe, paint and varnish, radio-assembly, and tanning factories. Tin mining companies have their headquarters in Kigali.
The city is connected by roads, including several that are paved, to all four borders of the country. It also has an international airport and a technical college. The city’s urban area covers about 70% of the municipal boundaries.
Kigali lies between the two mountains of Mount Kigali and Mount Jali making it one of the top destinations to visit in Africa. The city also offers a vibrant restaurant and nightlife scene. The city’s Caplaki Crafts Village is the best place to shop traditional handicrafts, including woodcarvings and woven baskets.
Kigali has a temperate tropical highland climate, with lower temperatures than are typical for equatorial countries because of its high elevation.
25. Yaoundé, Cameroon
Center of Yaoundé with heavy traffic. By Gilles van Leeuwen
Yaoundé, also spelled Yaunde, is the capital city of Cameroon. It is situated on a hilly, forested plateau between the Nyong and Sanaga rivers in the south-central part of the country. The city has grown as an administrative, service, and commercial centre and a communications hub for road, rail, and air transport. It contains several small manufacturing and processing industries and is also the market for one of the richest agricultural areas in the country.
It is home to many educational institutions including the University of Yaoundé, schools of agriculture, health, engineering, journalism, administration, and international relations. The Pasteur Centre of Cameroon conducts biomedical research and is among Yaoundé’s many research institutes.
The city centre houses government offices, some hotels, and the central market. The Bastos district, with most homes owned by Cameroonians, is home to foreign embassies and the expatriate European, American and other continental communities. The presidential palace is in the Etoudi district. Yaoundé has a higher standard of living and more security than other areas of Cameroon.
Yaoundé features a tropical wet and dry climate, with constant temperatures throughout the year. However, primarily due to the altitude, temperatures are not quite as hot as one would expect for a city located near the equator. Yaoundé features a lengthy wet season, covering a ten-month span between March and November.