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10 Most Dangerous Cities in Africa (2022 Update)

City of Africa

Note: This article’s statistics come from third-party sources and do not represent the opinions of this website.

Traveling to Africa can be a rewarding experience that immerses you in a number of new experiences and cultures. Unfortunately, some cities in Africa are considered dangerous. Many of these areas have problems relating to drugs, kidnappings, and even armed conflicts.

Before traveling abroad, it’s important to have all the information upfront. Below, we are going to go over the 10 most dangerous cities in Africa. These cities are known to have some of the highest murder rates and violent crimes on the continent, making them particularly dangerous.

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10 Most Dangerous Cities in Africa: A Quick Look

1. Rustenburg, South Africa

SouthAfrica-Rustenburg-Royal Bafokeng Stadium
SouthAfrica-Rustenburg-Royal Bafokeng Stadium (Image Credit: Mart Bouter, Wikimedia Commons CC SA 4.0 International)
Population: 549,575
Poverty rate: 55.5% (South Africa, no data about Rustenburg specifically)
Violent crime rate in 2021: 79.05

The most dangerous city in Africa is Rustenburg, South Africa. The crime rate in the city is so high that even the mayor admitted publicly that the police cannot do anything about the crime spree terrorizing the city.

Rustenburg is known for having a lot of drug and human trafficking problems. Likewise, burglaries, break-ins, and kidnappings are common. There are plenty of cases of political violence as well.

At night, it is incredibly common to be the victim of a car break-in. Authorities recommend keeping valuables outside of the vehicle and never stopping on the freeway. Because of how dangerous this city is, it’s best to avoid it for the time being.


2. Pietermaritzburg, South Africa

Pietermaritzburg City Hall
Pietermaritzburg City Hall (Image Credit: Johan Pretorius, Wikimedia Commons CC SA 3.0 Unported)
Population: 618,536
Poverty rate: 55.5%
Violent crime rate in 2021: 85.95

Pietermaritzburg is the second-largest city in the province, only second to Durban, another city we will look at shortly.

This city is the runner-up for the most dangerous city in Africa. It has a serious problem with violent crimes, including sexual assault, arson, and murder. Car-jackings and car thefts are common as well in the area.

Since 2015, crime rates have increased significantly in this area. Xenophobic attacks have even been seen in the city and quickly spread. If you can, it’s best to avoid Pietermaritzburg as a result.


3. Benghazi, Libya

Benghazi. Omar Mukhtar Street
Benghazi. Omar Mukhtar Street (Image Credit: Siculo73, Wikimedia Commons CC SA 3.0 Unported)
Population: 632,937
Poverty rate: 40%
Violent crime rate in 2021: 68.75

Benghazi is an incredibly dangerous location. This country has been in an ongoing civil war, and Benghazi has seen the brunt of it. As a result, terror attacks are very high in this country and claims countless lives.

In addition to terror attacks, Benghazi has high rates of robberies, sexual assaults, and murder. Many of these crimes happen with weapons that were looted from the government’s artillery.

It is recommended to avoid Benghazi. As a foreigner, you are prone to becoming the victim of dangerous crimes. Women especially need to be careful in Benghazi since sexual harassment has been on the rise.


4. Johannesburg, South Africa

Johannesburg, South Africa
Image Credit: misio, Pixabay
Population: 5,738,536
Poverty rate: 35%
Violent crime rate in 2021: 88.43

Johannesburg is South Africa’s biggest city. It has an estimated population of just over 5 million people. The city is also known for having one of the top urban areas in comparison to other cities on the planet.

Like most other urban areas, Johannesburg has a lot of crime, murder, and assault. The city is known for high numbers of robberies and hijackings. There is even a problem with xenophobic violence, and that has been the case since 2015.

You can visit Johannesburg, but it’s imperative to be safe. Stay in safer neighborhoods and do not walk around at night. Also, keep your valuables out of sight from possible thieves and criminals.


5. Durban, South Africa

Durban Harbour, Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
Durban Harbour, Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa (Image Credit: South African Tourism, Wikimedia Commons CC 2.0 Generic)
Population: 3,721,00
Poverty rate: 44%
Violent crime rate in 2021: 87.11

Every year, hundreds of thousands of tourists flock to Durban, South Africa, because of its gorgeous beach and coastal town offerings. It is especially loved by surfers looking to surf all the seas.

Even though Durban sees a tremendous number of tourists, it has a serious crime problem. Many criminal activities can be found in this city, including vandalism, burglaries, and assault.

Most government officials and professionals recommend avoiding being out on dark or lonely streets. It is also recommended to avoid the central business district, especially at nighttime. Unfortunately, murders have been increasing in the city over the years.


6. Lagos, Nigeria

Lagos, Nigeria
Image Credit: ArtisticRealms, Pixabay
Population: 15,300,000
Poverty rate: 80%
Violent crime rate in 2021: 73.48

One of the biggest cities in Africa is Lagos, Nigeria. In fact, with an estimated population of a little over 15 million, it is one of the largest cities in the world. This city is interesting because it is a mixture of cultures.

Crime is a serious problem in this large city. Locals, expatriates, and tourists are all victims of muggings, robberies, kidnappings, rapes, and extortion. Armed robbers are notorious for going to great lengths to invade compounds or climbing fences.

Tourists are especially targeted in the city since one of the most notable hotspots for crime is airport roads. These roads are hit during days and evenings. Furthermore, there are gang problems, email scams, and other cyber security threats.


7. Cape Town, South Africa

Aerial View of Sea Point, Cape Town South Africa
Aerial View of Sea Point, Cape Town South Africa (Image Credit: Hilton1949, Wikimedia Commons CC SA 3.0 Unported)
Population: 4,618,000
Poverty rate: 30%
Violent crime rate in 2021: 79.82

Cape Town is an important port city in South Africa. It is also the capital of the Western Cape province. The city sees a lot of tourist visitors, but it’s important that all of its visitors are aware of its high crime rates.

Over the last few years, Cape Town has become incredibly dangerous. It has high amounts of murders, drug dealing, and armed robbery. The high murder rate is often attributed to serious gang problems in the town.

Additionally, there is a lot of tension between the races. White households tend to make six times more than the black household in Cape Town. This leads to further gang violence and economic inequality.


8. Port Elizabeth, South Africa

City Hall Port Elizabeth-003
City Hall Port Elizabeth-003 (Image Credit: Leo za1, Wikimedia Commons CC SA 3.0 Unported)
Population: 967,677
Poverty rate: Unknown
Violent crime rate in 2021: 84.13

People all around the world are attracted to Port Elizabeth. It is a city with a rich heritage and beautiful beaches. If you get the opportunity to see Port Elizabeth, it certainly is worth the effort.

Unfortunately, Port Elizabeth is also known for high crime rates. Because it is such a high touristy area, pickpocketing, muggings, and drug peddling are incredibly common. Authorities recommend locking doors and keeping cameras off your shoulders where they can easily be snatched.

Whenever there is unrest in South Africa, you also want to be wary against xenophobic attacks. Port Elizabeth is known as being a common site for attacks against foreigners when xenophobic rhetoric is high in the country.


9. Luanda, Angola

Luanda, Angola
Image Credit: bmadeira, Pixabay
Population: 2,572,000
Poverty rate: 10%
Violent crime rate in 2021: 76.84

One of the lesser-known countries in Africa is Angola. Angola’s capital city is Luanda. From the pictures, Luanda is one beautiful city. It has fantastic beaches and colorful bridges, but the city has a serious crime problem.

Frequent crimes in Luanda include muggings, assault, rape, and even murder. Most government officials recommend avoiding nighttime activities and displaying cash whenever you are in this capital city.

If you are relatively careful about where you go and at what time, you can have a safe experience. Avoid areas with known high crime rates and do not be alone or out at night. Make sure to keep your windows closed when you are driving too.


10. Nairobi, Kenya

Nairobi, Kenya
Image Credit: ninastock, Pixabay
Population: 4,397,000
Poverty rate: 16.7%
Violent crime rate in 2021: 64.98

Nairobi is the capital of Kenya. It stands as the economic hub of the country, and it is even important for eastern African trade overall. Even though the city is imperative for the country’s economic state, it is one of the most dangerous cities in Africa.

Nairobi has critical crime rates. Some of the most common offenses include burglaries, kidnapping, muggings, grenade attacks, and even terrorism. For foreigners especially, cybercrime and credit card scamming are common.

In most cases, the thieves want money, not your life. Most reports show that if you work with the attacker, you are likely to go away unscathed. Still, Nairobi is a very dangerous city, and it does not look to be getting any safer.

Related Read: 15 Most Dangerous Cities In Europe

Divider 4What Is the Most Dangerous Country in Africa?

South Sudan is considered the most dangerous country in Africa. Authorities advise U.S. citizens against traveling to South Sudan because of the armed conflicts, crime, and kidnappings. There are problems of civil wars, tribal conflicts, land mines, and health.

Because South Sudan is the most dangerous country in Africa, you might be wondering why there are no South Sudan cities on this list. The reason for this is that cities that are considered war-torn are not classified in the same way as non-war-torn cities.

Whenever you are discussing the most dangerous cities, it is typically discussed in the context of non-war-related deaths, murder, and crime. As a result, South Sudan cities are not listed in this article since they are war-torn.

How to Stay Safe in Africa

Even though crime is on the rise in Africa, there are ways that you can stay safe in the country during your travels.

The most important tip for staying safe in Africa is knowing where you are and knowing which locations are the safest. All cities will have some crime, no matter what country they are located in. You want to look on the map and crime rates online to discover the neighborhoods that are the safest and stick to those neighborhoods.

Additionally, avoid walking around at night, even in a group. Don’t be flashy with your money or valuables, either. These should be tips to incorporate into all your travels, not just travels to Africa.

Lastly, listen to your instincts and be aware of your surroundings. This last tip can make a huge difference in your safety. If you feel unsafe at any moment, act accordingly. It’s better to be safe than sorry.

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Conclusion

Even though Africa is a place filled with rich history and culture that everyone should get a taste of, it also is a continent with a lot of crime. It’s important to know which cities are the most dangerous and how to keep yourself safe when you are traveling.

Always listen to government advisories and be cautious when you are traveling. Make sure to be smart when you are traveling as well so that you can hopefully remain as safe as possible.


Featured Image Credit: jozuadouglas, Pixabay

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