Francophone Africa offers beautiful landscapes, friendly people, and abundant history and culture. Here are our top 5 French-speaking countries that you should visit.
Due to its history of colonization, there are more French speakers on the African continent than in the country of France itself. In fact, French is the official language in 21 African countries and spoken in at least 29, primarily in West and Central Africa. American and other English-speaking tourists often overlook the Francophone countries due to a perceived language barrier, but those adventurous enough to explore will find beautiful landscapes, friendly people, and abundant history and culture. By learning some basic French words and hiring a bilingual tour guide, English speakers can have an enjoyable time in Francophone Africa. Here are our top 5 Francophone African countries that you should visit.
Known as the land of “Teranga” (a Wolof word for hospitality), Senegal is quickly becoming one of West Africa’s most popular tourist destinations, with visitors lured by its vibrant culture, historical sites, and fabulous beaches. Its capital and largest city, Dakar, sits on the Cap-Vert peninsula, the westernmost point of Africa. At only 7.5 hours from New York, the flight is one of the shortest from the United States to the African continent.
The first stop for most tourists is Dakar, the bustling capital with a fascinating mix of old, traditional, and religious juxtaposed against new, modern, and secular. It’s not uncommon to see a Range Rover drive past a horse-drawn cart on the same street or to see two Senegalese men greet each other, one dressed in a traditional boubou and the other wearing jeans and a tee. Though more than 90% of the population practices Islam, Muslims and Christians live side by side in relative peace. In fact, two of the city’s most notable buildings are the Catholic Our Lady of Victories Cathedral and the Mosque of the Divinity. But don’t let this deeply religious nation fool you. Dakar also has a vibrant night life and you’ll need plenty of stamina to keep up. Most parties don’t start until after midnight and continue well into early morning.
For those interested in heritage tourism, Goree Island and the House of Slaves is a pilgrimage destination. Once a slave trading post during the transatlantic slave trade, today it is a UNESCO World Heritage site and memorial to those affected by the suffering and brutality of slavery. Dakar is also home to the Museum of Black Civilizations – the world’s largest museum dedicated to the history of Africa and the African diaspora, as well as the African Renaissance Monument – Africa’s largest statue. This massive bronze statue of a Black man, woman and child represents the end of slavery and Africa’s emergence from colonial rule. Other noted attractions include IFAN Museum of African Arts, Village des Arts, Ngor Island, and the Pink Lake.
If it’s beaches that you want, Senegal has plenty to choose from. Dakar is surrounded by water on three sides and its public and private beaches provide a break for locals and tourists alike. But the most popular Senegalese beaches are found along the Petite Coast, in the coastal towns of Saly, Somone, and Popenguine. Another popular beach area is the Casamance region, in southern Senegal, where Cap Skirring, Abene, and other coastal villages boast some of the most beautiful and unspoiled beaches in the country. The Sine-Saloum delta region, south of the Petite Coast, is a fascinating area of lagoons, islands, and coastal villages and well worth a visit.
French and Wolof are the most widely spoken languages in Senegal. Though it’s possible to find a few English speakers, we recommend learning some greetings and phrases in French and/or Wolof.
For more insider tips and information about things to do and the best places to visit in Senegal, check out our Senegal Travel Guide.
2. Côte d’Ivoire
Côte d’Ivoire (commonly called Ivory Coast) is one of West Africa’s fastest growing tourism destinations, having seen a near ten-fold increase of visitors between 2010 and 2020. Tourism largely centers around nature, beaches, culture, and architecture. Côte d’Ivoire is an interesting country of contrasts with the 3rd largest French speaking population in the world.
Abidjan is the de facto capital and largest city of Côte d’Ivoire. It’s also West Africa’s second most populous city and a cosmopolitan city renowned for its shopping, food, and nightlife. Its Plateau area has been called the “Manhattan of Africa” because of its gleaming skyscrapers and manicured gardens. Landmarks include La Pyramide building, St. Paul’s Cathedral, Plateau Mosque, Félix Houphouët-Boigny stadium, and the Museum of Civilizations of Côte d’Ivoire. From the markets, maquis (local restaurants), and caves (local bars) to the many rooftop bars, lounges and nightclubs, there’s always something fun to do. By contrast, Yamoussoukro, the official political capital, is a much smaller urban town explored by most visitors as a day trip. Its pièce de resistance is the Our Lady of Peace Basilica (Basilica Notre Dame de la Paix), the world’s largest church. The Fondation Felix Houphouet-Boigny, Presidential Palace and surrounding Crocodile Lake are other popular attractions there.
The town of Man, located about 9 hours from Abidjan in western Côte d’Ivoire, lies between two of the country’s highest mountains and is popular with hikers and rock climbers. It’s also home to Les Cascades, a natural waterfall which is the city’s best-known attraction (the falls are most impressive during rainy season, but less so during the dry season from July to October). Korhogo, in the north, is a cultural hub known for its wood carvers, weavers, painters, and metalworkers. The handpainted pictorial Korhogo cloth, named after the village, is its most famous export. Kong, a few hours east of Korhogo, is known for its mud mosque reminiscent of those in Mali.
The beach towns of Grand Bassam, Assinie, and San Pedro are also popular with vacationers and locals alike. Grand Bassam is the closest to Abidjan and a popular weekend hangout. The National Costume Museum, Lighthouse, and Artisans Village there are worth a visit. Assinie, about 2 hours from Abidjan, is a resort area with boutique hotels lining the coast. San Pedro, about 7 hours from Abidjan, arguably has the most pristine beaches in Côte d’Ivoire and they’re swimmable, unlike those in Grand Bassam and Assinie which have dangerous waves and riptides.
For the nature and wildlife lovers, Côte d’Ivoire has 3 national parks on the UNESCO World Heritage List: Mount Nimba Strict Nature Reserve, a geographically unique mountainous area with unusually rich flora and fauna; Taï National Park, home of 11 monkey species and the pygmy hippo; and Comoe National Park, West Africa’s largest protected area, which is teeming with wildlife.
French is the lingua franca in Côte d’Ivoire. English speakers are few, particularly outside of Abidjan, so it’s useful to learn some basic French greetings and phrases.
Known as the birthplace of Vodun (aka voodoo), Benin is a popular destination for those interested in history, heritage tourism, and traditional African religions. Present day Benin was the site of Dahomey, a prominent West African kingdom that rose in the 15th century and specialized in the slave trade. Today, its ruined temples and royal palaces are a UNESCO World Heritage site and one of the country’s top tourist attractions. The 12 Royal Palaces of Abomey are spread over 100 acres in the town of Abomey and several have been converted into museums which illustrate the history of the kingdom.
Cotonou, a coastal city in the south, is Benin’s largest city and the primary entry point for most tourists as the main international airport is located there. But alas most people are surprised to learn that Cotonou is not the official capital; that would be Porto Novo, the former colonial port city known for its colonial architecture, Yoruba culture, and its connection to Afro-Brazilian history. One of Cotonou’s most famous buildings is the Grande Marché du Dantopka, where you can find fruit, spices, electronics, woven baskets, and just about anything else for sale. But the main draw for tourists is the fetish market, with skulls, bones, medicinal treatments, and other items used for traditional vodun rituals. Other Cotonou attractions include the Foundation Zinsou, an artistic space with artwork from local and regional artists; L’etoile Rouge, a monument in the center of the city; Centre Artisanal, an arts, crafts and souvenir market; and the Notre Dame Cathedral.
Ouidah, also in southern Benin about 50 minutes from Cotonou, is ground zero for heritage tourists. One of its most visited sites is the Slave Route, a 2.5 mile trail terminating at the beachside Door of No Return monument, a memorial to those who were kidnapped, sold, and shipped to the Americas. Ouidah is also the main site of the Vodun Festival, held every year on January 10th. This festival attracts visitors from around the world who come to celebrate vodun, the traditional animist religion that centers vodun spirits and other elements of divine essence that govern the Earth. At the Python Temple, dozens of pythons are revered and worshipped as religious symbols.
Benin’s most unique landmark is the lake village of Ganvie, affectionately called the Venice of Africa. The founders of the village escaped there 500 years ago to avoid slave traders and today the settlement has grown to more than 3,000 homes and buildings, all on stilts and accessible only by boat.
Most Beninese people speak French or Fon, so it’s useful to learn some basic French.
One of the smallest countries in West Africa, Togo draws visitors to its wildlife, nature, traditional religions, and historical sites. Its capital and largest city is Lomé, where popular attractions include the Lomé National Museum, Palais de Lomé, Grand Marché, Monument de L’independence, Sacred Heart Cathedral, and the Hotel Sarakawa’s Olympic-sized pool.
Similar to Benin, Vodou is one of its most popular animist religions and traditional healing methods are widely used. The Akodessewa Fetish Market in Lomé is the world’s largest voodoo market and a mecca for local practitioners and tourists curious about the oft-misunderstood religion. There you can find anything from talismans, leopard heads, and human skulls to Vodou priests who will bless you, create fetishes, predict the future, and make medicines to heal your ailments.
The coastal town of Aného (aka Little Popo), in southeast Togo, was founded as a slave port in the late 17th century and was once one of West Africa’s largest slave centers. Today, the slave house in nearby Agbodrafo is a tourist site where visitors learn about the legal and illegal slave trade in the region. It’s often a stop for tourists en route to Lake Togo and Togoville, known for its many sacred trees and vodou shrines.
Togo also offers a variety of nature activities. Kpalime waterfalls in the central region are the tallest and most beautiful waterfalls in the country. The falls are impressive during the rainy season, but less so during the dry season from late October to March. Nearby, Mount Agou, Togo’s highest mountain, provides hiking and climbing opportunities. Togo also has a range of wildlife in three national parks: Fazao Mafakassa National Park, Kéran National Park, and Fosse Aux Lions National Park.
The Koutammakou landscape, in northeast Togo, is a UNECO World Heritage site and home to the Takienta houses of the Batammariba people. These mud tower houses and village architecture have become a symbol of Togo and source of national pride.
French and Ewe are the mostly widely spoken languages in Togo, so it’s useful to learn some basic French.
Unlike the others, both French and English are official languages in Cameroon. But eight of its 10 regions are Francophone, with 84% of the population speaking French (the Northwest and Southwest regions are Anglophone, with 16% speaking English). Tourism is a minor but growing industry and typically centers around heritage tourism, history, and nature. Travelers are advised to avoid the borders with Nigeria, Chad and Central African Republic due to ongoing conflicts, but otherwise Cameroon has much to offer adventurous tourists.
Cameroon’s natural features include beaches, deserts, mountains, rainforests, waterfalls, lakes, and savannas. Wildlife and safaris are also popular, with Waza National Park being its largest wildlife reserve along with 18 other national parks. Mount Cameroon, an active volcano, is the highest point in the country and is popular with hikers and climbers.
Douala is its largest city and also the location of its international airport and largest port. Things to see include the Maritime Museum, Flower Market, La Nouvelle Liberte monument, Doual’Art gallery, and St. Pierre and St. Paul Cathedral. Sonara beach, in nearby Limbé, features black sand, a laid-back vibe, and the best views of Mount Cameroon. Tea plantations and the Limbe Botanical Garden are other oft-visited attractions there.
Yaoundé is the capital and 2nd largest city, beautifully spread over seven hills. Popular attractions include the Reunification Monument, Musée de la Blackitude, Mokolo Market, Place de l’Indépendence, Benedictine Museum of Mont Febe, and the National Museum of Yaounde.
Kribi, located about 2.5 hours south of Douala, is called the paradise of Cameroon. It’s renowned for its white sandy beaches, crystal blue waters, and fresh fish served in the many seafront restaurants. The Lobé Waterfalls, which cascade into the ocean, are also nearby. Kribi is also home to the Baka people (formerly known as pygmies).
Bimbia, in southwest Cameroon, was said to be Central Africa’s largest slave port during the transatlantic slave trade. Today, its slave village is a national monument and tourist site. While most of the structures were destroyed at abolition of slavery, a few remain albeit in disrepair due to the passage of time. Periodic enslavement reenactments are performed at the site.
For history buffs, the Foumban Palace and Bafut Palace are must-see attractions. Foumban, in northwest Cameroon, is home to the Bamoun kingdom, which has had a succession of 19 kings since 1394. The palace, where the current king still resides, houses a museum which tells the history of the Bamoun dynasty and displays a multitude of royal gowns, arms, musical instruments, statues, jewelry, masks, and colorful bead-covered thrones. The nearby Museum of Bamoun Arts and Traditions is also worth a visit. Also in the northwest, the Bafut Palace is the heart of the Bafut kingdom. The palace comprises over 50 buildings arranged around a shrine, which are used by the Fon (traditional ruler), his wives, and the royal court.
French, English, and several pidgin languages are lingua francas in Cameroon. But since most Cameroonians speak French, it’s useful to learn some basic French greetings and phrases.
Local African tour guides and tour companies with Bilingual guides:
Togo is the 14th smallest country in Africa and is known for the Takienta mud houses of the Batammariba people. Learn more fun facts about this interesting country.
1. Togo is located in West Africa and is the 14th smallest country on the continent.
2. Its capital and largest city is Lomé.
3. Major languages: French, Ewe, Kabiye
4. Major ethnic groups: Ewe, Kabre, Wachi, Mina, Kotokoli, Bimoba
5. Major religions: Christianity (44%), Traditional and other religions (42%), Islam (14%)
6. It gained independence from France in April 1960.
7. The Togolese flag, adopted at independence, has symbolic meaning. The red square represents the blood shed for independence, the white star represents hope, green represents the forests, agriculture and nature, and yellow represents the natural resources. The five horizontal bands define the five regions of Togo.
8. Football (soccer) is the most recognized and national sport of Togo.
9. Togo means ‘house of sea’ in the Ewe language.
10. Voodoo is one of its most popular traditional animist religions. Traditional healing methods are widely used and medical treatments usually involve frequent visits to the voodoo house and the local fetish priest.
11. It has one site on the UNECO World Heritage List: Koutammakou landscape, home to the Takienta mud houses of the Batammariba people.
12. It offers a range of wildlife and has 3 national parks where animals can be seen: Fazao Mafakassa National Park, Kéran National Park, and Fosse Aux Lions National Park.
13. Things to see and do include: Lomé National Museum, Palais de Lomé, Grand Marché, Akodessewa Fetish Market, Monument de L’independence, Sacred Heart Cathedral, Hotel Sarkawa’s Olympic-sized pool, Aneho slave house, Togoville and Lake Togo, Kpalime waterfalls, hiking Mount Agou, fishing villages, whale watching, and beautiful beaches.
Sierra Leone is Africa’s 15th smallest country and its capital was founded as a home for repatriated former slaves. Learn more fun facts about this beautiful country.
1. It’s located in West Africa and is the 15th smallest country on the continent.
2. Its capital and largest city is Freetown, which was founded in 1787 as a home for repatriated former slaves from England, Nova Scotia, and Jamaica.
3. Major languages: English, Krio, Mende, Temne, Limba, Bengali
4. Major ethnic groups: Temne (36%), Mende (33%), Limba (7%), Kono (5%), Fula (4%), Loko (3%), Koranko (3%)
5. Major religions: Islam (78%), Christianity (21%), Traditional and other religions (1%)
6. It gained independence from the United Kingdom in 1961.
7. The name Sierra Leone means Lion Mountains in Portuguese.
8. It is rich in minerals, especially diamonds, and is known for “blood diamonds” which were mined and sold for weapons during the country’s civil war from 1991 to 2002.
9. Tourism is steadily growing and the main attractions are the beaches, nature reserves, rain forests, mountains, islands, historical sites, and culture.
10. One of the most historic and well-known symbols of Freetown is the Cotton Tree, a massive kapok tree where the first freed slaves gathered, prayed, and sang to celebrate landing on the soil of liberty and freedom. Today, citizens still pray and make offerings to the ancestors under the tree.
11. The Tacugama Chimpanzee Sanctuary is located in the rain forest of the Western Area National Park and is home to 50+ orphaned or illegally captured chimpanzees.
12. It has several islands, including Tiwai Island, home to a wildlife sanctuary and the Gola Forest National Park; Bonthe Island, which is popular for sports fishing; Bunce Island, a former slave trading station; the Turtle Islands, a group of 8 islands known for its beaches and bamboo-built villages; and the Banana Islands, a group of 3 islands known for its tropical forests, beaches and colonial and slave trading monuments.
13.Things to see and do in Freetown include the Cotton Tree, De Ruyter Stone, Government Wharf and King’s Yard, King Jimmy’s Market, Victoria Park Market, Marcon’s Church, National Museum, Lumley Beach, and the Freetown Harbor.
5. Major religions: Islam (90%), Christianity (5%), Traditional and other religions (5%)
6. It gained independence from France in April 1960.
7. It is well known for its griots, storytellers who have kept West African history alive for thousands of years through words and music.
8. Its most popular sport is wrestling (La Lutte: French). But Senegalese wrestling includes gris-gris, in which veneration of traditional amulets, the use of magic potions, and hypnotic drumming, song and dance form an integral part of the wrestling match.
9. Its newest museum, the 40,000 sq ft (3,700 sq m) Museum of Black Civilizations, showcases art, history and culture from across the continent and the African diaspora.
10. It is home to Africa’s tallest statute, the African Renaissance Monument, which symbolizes the triumph of African liberation and the unity of the Black family
11. It has 7 UNESCO World Heritage sites: Goree Island, Niokolo-Koba National Reserve, the island of Saint-Louis, Djoudj National Bird Sanctuary, Stone Circles of the Senegambia, Saloum Delta and the Bassari, Fula and Bedik Cultural Landscapes in southeastern Senegal.
12. Its annual religious pilgrimage, The Grand Magal, brings nearly 4 million Muslims to the holy city of Touba to celebrate the life and teachings of Cheikh Amadou Bamba.
13. Tourism is a vital part of Senegal’s economy and centers around beaches, nature, history, and culture. Popular places include the beaches of the Petite Coast, Sine-Saloum Delta, Lompoul Desert, Touba, Saint-Louis (the former French colonial capital), and Casamance.
14. Things to see in and around Dakar include: Goree Island and the House of Slaves, African Renaissance Monument, Museum of Black Civilizations, Village des Arts, IFAN Museum, Mosque of the Divinity, Our Lady of Victories Cathedral, Ngor Island, Pink Lake, markets and beaches.
Nigeria is Africa’s 14th largest and most populous country. Learn more fun facts about this rapidly growing country.
1. It’s located in West Africa and is the 14th largest country on the continent.
2. It is Africa’s most populous country, with more than 200 million inhabitants.
3. Its capital is Abuja. Its largest city, Lagos, is the most populous on the African continent, home to more than 14 million people. Lagos is one of three African megacities.
4. Major languages: English is the official language, while Yoruba, Hausa and Igbo are national languages. More than 500 distinct languages are spoken in the country.
5. Major ethnic groups: The three largest ethnic groups are the Hausa–Fulani, Yoruba, and Igbo, together comprising over 60% of the total population. There are more than 250 ethnic groups in the country.
6. Major religions: Islam (53%), Christianity (46%) Traditional African and other religions (1%)
7. It is a former British colony and gained independence from the United Kingdom on October 1, 1960.
8. Its flag, adopted at independence, has three vertical bands of green, white and green. The two green stripes represent Nigeria’s natural wealth and the white represents peace and unity.
9. It is Africa’s largest oil producer and also home to the 2nd-largest proven oil reserves in Africa.
10. The town of Igbo-Ora has the world’s highest rate of twin births. Almost every house has at least one set of twins. It is believed to be caused by high consumption of yams.
11. Nigeria has been home to several indigenous pre-colonial states and kingdoms, including the Nok, Nri, Ife, Oyo and Benin, among others.
12. Tourism centers largely on festivals and events, arts and culture, history, national parks, beaches, rain forests, savannah, waterfalls, and other natural attractions.
13. There are numerous cities and attractions to explore across the country, including Aso Rock and the Presidential complex in Abuja, the palace in Kano, colonial and art deco architecture of Ibadan, Gashaka Game Reserve, the Slave History Museum and National Museum in Calabar, the palace and museum in Ife-Ife, Benin City, Olumirin Falls, Gurara Falls, the sacred Oshun shrine in Osogbo, Cross River National Park, and Yankari National Park.
14. Things to see and do in Lagos include: Victoria Island, Nike Art Gallery, Lekki Conservation Centre, Lekki Market, National Museum, Kalakuta Republic Museum and Tafawa Balewa Square.
Niger is Africa’s 6th largest country and its annual Gerewol is a must see cultural event. Learn more fun facts about this interesting country.
1. It’s a landlocked country in West Africa and the 6th largest country on the continent.
2. Its capital and largest city is Niamey.
3. Major languages: French (official), Arabic, Buduma, Fulfulde, Gourmanchéma, Hausa, Kanuri, Zarma & Songhai, Tamasheq, Tassawaq, Tebu
4. Major ethnic groups: Hausa (55%), Zarma-Songhai (21%), Tuareg (11%), Fula (7%), Kanuri Manga (6%)
5. Major religions: Islam (99%), Christianity and traditional beliefs (1%)
6. It was named after the Niger River.
7. Over 80% of its land area lies in the Sahara Desert and its climate is mostly very hot and dry.
8. Its people are called Nigeriens (as compared to the Nigerian people of Nigeria).
9. Humans have inhabited the territory of modern Niger for millennia; stone tools, some dating as far back as 280,000 BC, have been in the northern Agadez Region.
10. It gained independence from France in August 1960.
11. Its biggest cultural event is the annual Cure Salée Festival, in late September. The centerpiece is the Gerewol, where unmarried Tuareg and Wodaabe men adorn traditional face painting and fancy dress, and gather in line to dance and sing chants in the hopes of finding a wife.
12. There is a limited tourism industry, but it is opening up and centers around national parks and wildlife, desert landscapes, ancient cities, festivals and culture. Attractions include the W National Park, Termit & Tin Toumma National Nature and Cultural Reserve, the last West African giraffe herd in Koure, the ancient palace, central market and labyrinth alleyways of Agadez, and the markets, museum and palace in Zinder.
13. Things to see and do in Niamey include the small and grand markets, the National Museum, botanical gardens and zoo, the Great Mosque, the Hippodrome (where camel and hippo races are held), and sailing on the Niger River.
Mali is Africa’s 8th largest country and its 3rd largest gold producer. Learn more fun facts about this historically rich country.
1. It is a landlocked country in West Africa and is the 8th largest country in Africa.
2. Its capital and largest city is Bamako. It is one of the fastest-growing cities in Africa.
3. Present-day Mali was once part of three pre-colonial Sudanic empires that controlled trans-Saharan trade from the 7th to 16th Centuries: Songhai Empire, Ghana Empire and Mali Empire. The Mali Empire was the largest, renowned for the wealth of its rulers, especially Mansa Musa who was the wealthiest individual of the Middle Ages.
4. The name Mali is taken from the Mali Empire and means “the place where the king lives”.
5. French is the official language of Mali. It also has 13 national languages: Bambara, Bomu, Tieyaxo Bozo, Toro So Dogon, Maasina Fulfulde, Hassaniya Arabic, Mamara Senoufo, Kita Maninkakan, Soninke, Koyraboro Senni, Syenara Senoufo, Tamasheq and Xaasongaxango.
6. Major religions: Islam (95%), Traditional religions (3%), Christianity (2%)
7. It gained independence from France in 1960, after 68 years of French colonial rule.
8. It is Africa’s 3rd largest gold producer. It has many other mineral deposits that are not commercially exploited, including iron, bauxite, manganese, lithium, uranium, tungsten, tin, lead, copper, and zinc.
9. It is one of the poorest countries in Africa.
10. Mali is largely flat and arid, with the Niger River running through its interior and functioning as the main trading and transport artery.
11. It has 4 UNESCO World Heritage sites: Timbuktu, Bandiagara Escarpment, the Tomb of Askia and Djenné. The Great Mosque at Djenné is the largest mud brick building in the world.
12. Tourism is not well-developed due to infrastructure and security issues, but primarily focuses on its cultural, historical and nature sites. There are many interesting places to visit, including the Great Mosque of Djenné, Dogon Plateau, Mount Tenakourou, Djinguereber Mosque, Ahmed Baba House, Tanezrouft desert, Boucle du Baoule National Park, Adrar des Ifoghas desert, Gouina Falls, Mamelon de Sikasso, and Sidi Yahya Mosque.
13. The world famous Festival au Desert, an annual concert showcasing traditional Tuareg music and music from around the world, has been put on hold since 2013 due to security concerns.
Liberia is the 39th largest African country and its capital was named after a US president. Learn more fun facts about this unique country.
1. It is located in West Africa and is the 39th largest country on the continent.
2. Its capital and largest city is Monrovia. It was named after US president James Monroe.
3. It began as a settlement of the American Colonization Society, which believed freed Black slaves would face better chances for freedom and prosperity in Africa. From 1822 forward, more than 18,000 Afro-Caribbeans and Black Americans were relocated there.
4. Liberia self-proclaimed independence from the US in 1847 and is the only African republic to have gained independence without revolt from any other power. It is the world’s second oldest Black republic, after Haiti.
5. Liberia’s flag closely resembles the American flag, reflecting the historical ties of Liberia and the USA.
6. Major languages: English (official), Liberian English, and more than 30 indigenous languages
7. Major ethnic groups: Kpelle (20%), Bassa (13%), Grebo (10%), Gio (8%), Mano (8%), Kru (6%), Lorma (5%), Kissi (5%), Gola (4%), Krahn (4%), Vai (4%), Mandingo (3%), Gbandi (3%)
8. Major religions: Christian (86%), Muslim (12%), Traditional and other (1%), none (1%)
9. Mount Wuteve is the country’s highest point at 1,440 m (4,720 ft) and 3 countries can be seen from its summit (Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea).
10. Much of the country is covered by rainforest and its Upper Guinea forests are one of the world’s priority biodiversity hotspots.
11. Sapo National Park is its largest protected reserve, home to 700 bird species and 125 mammal species, including the rare and endangered pygmy hippopotamus.
12. The Firestone Rubber Plantation, present in Liberia since 1826, is the world’s largest natural rubber operation. Though it has been dogged by controversy, unofficial tours are typically obliged.
13. Tourism is a small industry. Things to do include beaches, national parks, hiking, surfing, deep-sea fishing, Kpatawee Waterfalls, Lake Piso, Monkey Island, and urban attractions in the capital, including Waterside Market, Centennial Pavilion, Liberian National Museum, the defunct Hotel Ducor, JJ Roberts Monument, Providence Island, Rivoli Cinema, the Masonic Temple, the Executive Mansion, and great bars, clubs and restaurants.
Guinea-Bissau is the 13th smallest country in Africa, with a group of 88 beautiful islands off its coast. Learn more fun facts about this country.
1. It is located in West Africa and is the 13th smallest county on the continent.
2. Its capital and largest city is Bissau.
3. Major languages: Portuguese (official), Creole (national), Fula, Balanta, Mandinka
4. Major ethnic groups: Fula (29%), Balanta (23%), Mandinka (15%), Papel (9%), Manjaca (8%)
5. Major religions: Islam (45%), Traditional religions (31%), Christianity (22%), No religion (2%)
6. Independence from Portugal was unilaterally declared on September 24, 1973. Since independence, Guinea-Bissau has experienced considerable political and military upheaval.
7. The people are called Bissau-Guineans.
8. Tourism is a small industry and tourists are few and far between. But for the adventurous, this tropical country offers vibrant culture, beaches, national parks and wildlife.
9. The Bijagos Archipelago is a beautiful group of 88 islands off the coast. This UNESCO World Heritage Biosphere reserve offers excellent swimming, diving and fishing, as well as opportunities to see pygmy hippos, sharks, manatees, turtles, and a myriad of migratory birds.
10. Things to see include: Forests of Jemberem, Cantanhez Natural Park, Orango National Park, Varela Beach, the Portuguese quarter, Cathedral, São José da Amura Fort, Presidential Palace, and Bandim Market in Bissau, and the ruins of Boloma, the former capital.
11. Carnival is celebrated annually in February or early March, with vibrant street processions with displays of traditional grab, dancing and drumming.
12. Gumbe, a primarily vocal and percussive song tradition using slit drums and calabashes, is the most popular form of music in Guinea-Bissau.
Guinea is the 31st largest country in Africa and 35% of its land is protected for wildlife and conservation. Learn more fun facts about this beautiful country.
1. It is located in West Africa and is the 31st largest country on the continent.
2. Its capital and largest city is Conakry.
3. Major languages: French (official), Pulaar (most widely spoken), Mandinka, Susu
4. Major ethnic groups: Fula (40%), Mandinka (25%), Susu (18%)
5. Major religions: Islam (85%), Christianity (8%), Indigenous and other religions (7%)
6. It became a sovereign and independent nation in October 1958, after a referendum and withdrawal by France.
7. It is the world’s second largest producer of bauxite and has rich deposits of diamonds and gold.
8. Football (soccer) is the most popular sport in Guinea.
9. About 35% of the country is protected for conservation and wildlife. Protected areas include: Badiar National Park, National Park of Upper Niger, Mount Nimba Strict Nature Reserve, Nyalama Classified Forest, and Ziami Massif.
10. It is an off the beaten path location and tourism infrastructure is limited. But while it can be difficult to traverse, beautiful landscapes await nature lovers ready for the challenge.
11. Tourist attractions include the beaches at Îles de Los and Cape Verga, the source of the Niger River, hiking, rainforests, and wildlife in the Fouta Djalon highlands, Kakimbon Caves, and multiple waterfalls, including La Cascades de La Soumba, Le Voile de la Mariée, Kambadaga Falls, and Kinkon Falls.
12. Things to see and do in the capital include: Madina Market, Niger Market, Conakry Botanical Gardens, Sainte-Marie Cathedral, Conakry Grand Mosque, Camp Boiro, Sandervalia National Museum, Palais du Peuple, Presidential Palace, French cafes and patisseries, street performances, and a vibrant nightlife.