Africa's Gems: Top three travel cities of Africa

The African continent is quickly becoming the hot new travel destination. With the staggering exchange rates travelers can enjoy affordability and luxury all under the African sun. Choices of travel to Africa has never been more appealing and the expanding tourism's industries in South Africa, Kenya and Morocco alike, are offering competitive worldwide packages and rates for everyone. 

According to TripAdvisor's recent Travelers Choice Awards, these cities topped the tourism charts: 

1) Cape Town, South Africa

2) Marrakech, Morocco 

3) Mombasa Kenya 

4)  Essaouira, Morocco

5) Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe

6) Fes, Morocco

7) Masaai Mara National Reserve, Kenya

8) Nairobi Kenya

9) Kruger National Park, South Africa

10) Johannesburg, South Africa

Cape Town was voted by Conde Nast as "The second best city in the world" and the "Top city in Africa". CNNGo labelled Cape Town as "One of the World's Ten most loved cities", while the World Travel Awards awarded Cape Town with the "Top beach destination in the world". Cape Town city has something to offer everyone. It is a mix of African fusion with European architecture. The history of the city is symbolic to its popularity, and the diversity of cultures and ethnicities make up for its colorful and rich variations. Cape Town is located in the Western Cape of South Africa. The Western Cape boasts some of the world's best wine farms in Franschoek and Stellenbosch and is home to the worlds' most unique bio dome, Fynbos. Muizenberg on the outskirts of Cape Town is voted as one of the top surfing destinations and Camps Bay is the trending avant-garde lookalike of Miami boulevard. The famous Long Street situated at the foot of Table Mountain  is where the heart of the city bustles with partying tourists year-round. Highly recommended are picnics on Lions Head which boasts some of Africa's most magnificent sunsets. 

Marrakech was voted the second leading travel destination in Africa 2012 by the World Travel Awards and the first leading travel destination in Africa 2013. The red dusty city is filled with colorful alleyways, mystical gardens, magnificent palaces and aging mosques. Morocco has grown over the recent years into a desirable travel destination and the countries tourism industry has flourished over the past decade. Marrakech is a desirable destination because it offers tourists a splice of Middle Eastern architecture and culture, with the historical trade routes that brought a mixture of European and Northern Africa together. A serene and peaceful environment can be found at the Jardin Majorelle and the snaking alleyways and intimate courtyards of the Medina can take up a whole day. The magnificent symbol of Marrakech is the Koutoubia Mosque where you can circle around it as it majestically towers over Medina. Another popular tourist trend is learning Islamic scriptures and laws at the Ben Youssef Medersa, from 9 a.m. - 6.30 p.m. daily. 

According to the World Travel Awards, Mombasa is Africa's Leading Cruise Port for three years running. Mombasa is the largest coastal port in East Africa and the biggest city in Kenya. It too, like Cape Town and Marrakech, has a rich history that makes up of its cultural variations between the Arab-Swahilis, the Portuguese, the Omanis, and the British. On the coast of Mombasa stands the magnificent coral walls of Fort Jesus. Fort Jesus is richly historical and was used to enforce the Swahilis under Portuguese occupation. Main Market in Mombasa is bustling with stalls of fresh fruit and vegetables and colorful spices of eastern curry powders. Tamarind Restaurant is possibly Mombasa's finest dining restaurant and cuisine. It overlooks the water and is a must for seafood lovers. Vegetarians even get their own menus. 

by Tijana Huysamen

Lead Photograph taken by Tijana Huysamen
Pics supplied by istockphoto, morguefile and stockvault

Useful Links:

To see read more about Africa's top travel destinations visit TravelAdvisor Travel Choice Awards or Africa Travel Co.: http://www.africatravelco.com/top-destinations-in-africa.aspx