The African continent is not only home to breathtaking landscapes, incredible historical monuments, and lovely beaches, but also to a bewildering number of museums, each more fascinating than the last.
Whether you are interested in culture and art, science and environment, or history and archaeology, here is a list of the ten top museums in Africa that are well worth a visit.
Museum of Modern Art of Algiers – Algeria
This fantastic modern art museum is a must-visit when in Algiers; it is housed in a gorgeous structure with a wonderful neo-Moorish interior and contains some truly delightful paintings and sculptures by Algerian and international artists.
Egyptian Antiquities Museum – Egypt
The Museum of Egyptian Antiquities in Cairo is stuffed with mummies, statues, and artifacts from the Pharaonic period, presenting a breathtaking assortment of remarkable Pharaonic antiquities.
The two statues of Tutankhamun and Akhenaten are among the most impressive objects.
The Ethiopian National Museum
Although Ethiopia’s National Museum is most known for housing ‘Lucy,’ a 3.2 million-year-old skeleton of a human ancestor, it has much more to offer, including extensive collections of arts and crafts, ethnographic artifacts, and fossils.
The National Museum of Ethiopia is well worth a visit if you’re in Addis Ababa, and is just one of many reasons to travel to Ethiopia in general. It provides a comprehensive overview of the country’s and continent’s history.
Ghana’s Cape Coast Castle Museum
Documenting Ghana’s rich cultural past both before and after the advent of Europeans, the Cape Coast Castle Museum’s dungeons and ‘Door of No Return’ provide an essential glimpse into the impact of the slave trade on the country, and are particularly eerie to explore.
Mali National Museum – Mali
With its extensive archeological and anthropological holdings, the National Museum of Mali guides you through the country’s illustrious past. The exhibits regarding French colonialism and Mali’s independence are among the most compelling.
Museum of Marrakech, Morocco
The museum, housed in the majestic Dar Menebhi Palace in Marrakech, is awe-inspiring at first glance, even before you examine the relics and objects that illustrate the city’s Berber, Islamic, and Jewish influences. The Museum of Marrakech is a jewel with its beautiful tiling, glistening fountains, and stunning mosaics.
Slave House – Senegal
As part of the Goree Island UNESCO World Heritage Site, this museum’s bright buildings conceal a sad background, as many Africans left the House of Slaves for the Americas, never to return. Just a short ferry journey from Dakar, both the museum and island serve as a significant and eerie monument to the Atlantic slave trade.
South Africa’s Apartheid Museum
A visit to this museum, which documents the atrocities committed under apartheid – the policy of institutionalized racial segregation that prevailed from 1948 until the early 1990s in South Africa – is essential if you wish to comprehend contemporary South Africa. The visit concludes on a positive note, as the museum explains that by examining its harsh past, the nation may move towards a brighter and better future for everybody.
Iziko Museum of South Africa – South Africa
Iziko, the first museum in South Africa, contains some intriguing fossil and meteorite collections, as well as displays of rock art, indigenous knowledge, and biology. Over one and a half million specimens are stored in the museum, which offers the ideal blend of history, culture, science, and nature.
Tanzania’s Zanzibar National Museum of History and Culture
The Zanzibar National Museum of History and Culture is housed in the majestic “House of Wonders” and has several antiques and objects that demonstrate Swahili civilization and culture. The museum is a must-see in Stone Town, the laid-back capital of Zanzibar, due to its breathtaking views of the shimmering Indian Ocean.
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