Although many of Africa's capital cities are not necessarily places of touristic interest, it's always good to know as much as possible about the country you're traveling to—including the location of its government. It also makes logistic sense to brush up on your knowledge of Africa's capital cities, as they are often the places where you'll find important resources including tourist offices, embassies, major hospitals, large hotels, and banks.
A country's international airport is usually located in or just outside its capital city, so for many overseas travelers, the capital inevitably acts as a gateway to the rest of the country. If you're traveling through anyway, you may want to plan a stop-over in order to explore whatever cultural highlights the capital has to offer.
African capital cities vary widely in population density. Victoria, the capital of Seychelles, has a population of around 26,450 (according to a 2010 census), whereas the metropolitan area of Cairo in Egypt had an estimated population of 20.5 million in 2012, making it the largest urban area in Africa. Some African capitals are purpose-planned and don't have the history or character of other, better-known cities within the same country.
For this reason, the identity of a country's capital often comes as a surprise. You may, for example, expect the capital of Nigeria to be Lagos (population almost 8 million in 2006) but, in fact, it's Abuja (population 776,298 in the same census).
In order to clear up the confusion, we've put together a comprehensive list of African capitals, arranged alphabetically by country.
Africa's Capital Cities
|Central African Republic||Bangui|
|Congo, Democratic Republic of||Kinshasa|
|Congo, Republic of||Brazzaville|
|São Tomé and Príncipe||São Tomé|
Cape Town (legislative)
Mbabane (administrative/ judicial)
Lobamba (royal/ parliamentary)
Article updated by Jessica Macdonald on August 17th, 2016.