This year marks the 400th anniversary of the start of the slave trade in West Africa to America, and Ghana’s president, Nana Akufo-Addo, is telling survivors of the descendants—Black people of the diaspora—to come home. Travel to the continent has reached a fever pitch, so now is the time to go. The Year of Return, as it has affectionately been dubbed, has already turned Africa into the biggest homecoming party for diasporans.
Plus, cultural juggernauts like the release of Marvel’s Black Panther, the global rise of Afrobeats and homegrown festivals like Afropunk have many wanting their own authentic taste of the Motherland, says Cherae Robinson, founder of Tastemakers Africa. “We are moving beyond the academic, talented tenth as the only Black people visiting Africa and more toward Africa being aspirational for the masses,” says Robinson. “You are seeing a contemporary resurgence of the idea of Black unity that obviously involves visiting the continent. This idea of a unification of Blackness and Black curiosity is really dominating how people are making decisions. And travel is a natural extension of that.”
Breathtaking Instagram photos don’t hurt either. The old stereotype of Africa being a dark, mysterious place has been replaced with lush landscapes, bustling metropolises, vibey culture, exquisite food and a medley of beautiful people with an exuberant taste for life.
So you’re ready to catch a flight to the continent but have no clue where to go? We tapped a few of Africa’s hippest influencers for intel on what’s lit in their city. Whether you’re visiting for the first time or can’t find room for another passport stamp, these authorities offer up their best bets for when you finally do go home.
It’s a destination on almost every traveler’s vision board. This East African hub is known for its pristine white-sand beaches and impressive safari landscapes. And let’s not forget the capital, Nairobi, which is one of the most cosmopolitan cities in Africa.
JOY KENDI (@justjoykendi)
Fashion and lifestyle blogger and vlogger
Known for her signature buzz cut, Nairobi-based Kendi can be spotted at some of the city’s most exclusive events. Part of her charm is her ability to bring touches of her country’s rich heritage to her modern style.
SEE: The Giraffe Centre, Nairobi
“If you don’t have time to head over to our expansive game reserve, visit the Giraffe Centre, a nonprofit organization that protects our highly endangered Rothschild’s giraffes.”
EAT: Mama Rocks Gourmet Burgers
“My favorite is the Nollywood burger spiced with paprika.”
SHOP: The Designer Studio
“This store at Two Rivers Mall is the place to find amazing pieces by local designers.”
“This five-star boutique hotel in the Karen neighborhood has great food and a fabulous ambiance.”
PATRICIA KIHORO (@misskihoro)
Singer and actress
Kihoro is the girl to know. Her friendships with Kenya’s elite make her the perfect person to guide you through the country.
SEE: Sunset Dhow Cruise, Lamu
“A cruise through the mangrove channels while sipping wine and watching the stars appear as the sun goes down is a must.”
EAT: Peponi Hotel
“This place has great seafood, and the mojitos are the bomb.”
SHOP: Safari Doctors Shop
“This store carries local artwork, oils, and clothes, with proceeds going to local health services.”
STAY: Shela House
“Lamu is full of stunning beachfront villas. My favorite is Shela House.”
LISA FOLAWIYO (@LisaFolawiyo)
Folawiyo spends her days traversing the world’s fashion capitals, but when home in Lagos, the jet-setter knows exactly where to go to have a great time.
SEE: Terra Kulture, Lagos
“For the best dramatic and musical stage performances, African literature and Nigerian food, this center is a must.”
EAT: Nok by Alara (nokbyalara.com)
“They serve delicious African fusion cuisine and ewudu, a traditional Yoruba dish.”
SHOP: Temple Muse
“This lifestyle concept store carries cool Nigerian fashion and art. Try its new drink, Pedro’s, a distilled palm wine fondly called ogogoro by locals.”
STAY: The Wheatbaker
“If you’re looking for a quiet and private place to stay, this is it. The suites are comfortable, and the Sunday brunch is very popular.” »
JULIET OLANIPEKUN (@lovefromjulez)
Political events strategist
By day, Olanipekun works with some of the country’s biggest political kingpins, but most Nigerians know the style queen as Julez, from her popular Love From Julez Instagram page.
SEE: Nike Centre for Art and Culture, Lagos
“It’s one of the largest art galleries in West Africa that showcases local art and culture.”
“This restaurant is located on Victoria Island and offers fine French cuisine, with the best oysters.”
“Carrying brands from across Africa, this eclectic boutique will have something you’ve never seen before.”
STAY: The George
“It’s luxurious, accessible and extremely safe.”