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Though African countries may not be the most traditional tourist destinations for the average Westerner, the World Economic Forum’s Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Report 2013 ranked five African countries in the world’s top twenty-five most welcoming places to travel. This report, which evaluates destinations according to their “attractiveness and competitiveness,” also indicated that several African countries are frequent destinations for business trip extensions. While these measures cannot wholly encompass the subjective factors that draw people to specific tourist destinations, the WEF’s report highlights the burgeoning role of African countries in the global economy and encourages people to travel to Africa for their next trip abroad. Here are the top 5 countries to visit in Africa:

1.  Seychelles – Ranked as the top country for travel and tourism competitiveness in Africa, the Republic of Seychelles is a group of 115 islands located off the east coast of Africa. The islands’ scenery is replete with luxury hotels, sandy beaches, and palm trees, vastly different from the diverse climates of continental Africa.

2.  Mauritius – Mauritius came in second on the WEF’s list of Africa’s most competitive travel destinations, ranked highly because of its high safety and security ratings and desirable island environment. Located to the east of Madagascar, Mauritius is a popular destination for golf and deep sea fishing and is home to countless resorts and spas.

3.  South Africa – South Africa has become an increasingly popular tourist destination due to its historical significance, outdoor activities, and cultural opportunities. Listed as the third most competitive travel destination in Africa by the WEF, South Africa’s visitors embrace the country’s climactic and cultural diversity.

4.  Morocco – Ranked third in the world on the WEF’s list of the most welcoming nations for tourists, Morocco is home to many sites of cultural and historical significance. Visitors flock to the country in pursuit of its grand architecture, exciting bazaars and monumental cities such as Casablanca.

5.  Rwanda – Placed third on the WEF’s list of the African countries most recommended for business trip extensions, Rwanda is finally moving past the days of its 1994 genocide to become a popular travel destination. The country boasts mountainous scenery, hidden beaches, and extensive rainforests, a prime destination for visitors wishing to experience Africa’s beauty without traveling to its more frequented sites.

Katie Bandera

Sources: How We Made It In Africa, WEF, Lonely Planet
Photo: Vacation Rental Times