10 Major Cruise Ports in Africa

The African continent is a melting pot of cultures, traditions, and ethnicities. Here, you can see nature in its best and most pristine form. From the majestic African elephants to penguins and lemurs, Africa offers one of the best wildlife excursions. It also boasts natural white sand beaches, calming resorts, and beautiful scenery. 

Africa is enclosed by the Atlantic and Indian oceans and the Mediterranean Sea. Hence, many cruise ships call on numerous ports allowing travelers to explore the continent. One can go to the African Gold coast or the tropical Verde Islands. Southwestern Africa is known for the plains and plateaus in Namibia, the Kalahari desert, the eastern tropical forests, historic plantations, and much more.

Mentioned below are 10 major Cruise ports in Africa.

1. Port of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania

Dar es Salaam is the most visited tourist spot in Tanzania. It has a strong economy based on tourism and shipping. It is the biggest and richest city in Tanzania, boasting enormous cultural diversity. It was once a tiny fishing village, established by the Sultan of Zanzibar in the 19th century; however, today, it is a developed city with modern amenities and a leading center of Fashion, Arts, Music, and films in Africa.

Dar es Salaam is a busy commercial and trade hub. It is also the second busiest port in East Africa, handling most African cargo and over a million cruise passengers. Cruise ships dock in different berths as the port does not yet have a dedicated cruise terminal. However, talks are ongoing for constructing one by the end of this decade.

Port of Dar es Salaam
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Tourists can experience the untainted indigenous African culture in Dar es Salaam. The city has an open-air museum village depicting the traditional way of living. It has 16 huts, and tourists can try their hand at weaving, making pottery, and carving. One can visit Mbudya island, observe the fishing community, relax on the beaches, or watch dolphins in the Marine Reserve.

 Nature lovers must visit the Udzungwa Mountains National Park, famous for its closed-canopy forests with over 400 fauna and 2500 plant species. It is ideal for camping and trekking.

2. Port Elizabeth, South Africa

Port Elizabeth is an industrial city between Cape Town and Durban within Nelson Mandela Bay. It is the third busiest port in Africa and the fifth largest city in South Africa. About 57 cruise itineraries featured the city as a port of call in 2019. Port Elizabeth lacks a proper cruise terminal, and ships dock at a commercial quay in the small harbor. 

It is home to the Alexandria Dune fields, the largest in the southern hemisphere. It is also believed that Port Elizabeth was not named after the British Queen but the wife of Rufane Donkin, the Governor of Cape Colony, in 1820.

Port Elizabeth
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Port Elizabeth has witnessed considerable modernization; however, the historic streets and victorian buildings are reminiscent of its colonial past. It has many plantations and art museums as well. One such is the Red Location Museum of People’s Struggle. There are several historical attractions like the Donkin Heritage Trail. The most famous attraction is Addo Elephant Park.

Holidaymakers can also enjoy the beaches of Humewood and Summerstrand. Many bars and local restaurants sell authentic food at affordable rates.

3. Port of Casablanca, Morocco

Casablanca is the most important port in Morocco. It is also a regional trade center and a popular African cruise destination. Facing the vast Atlantic Ocean, the port is an open roadstead, capable of accommodating one cruise ship at a time. Rabat, the capital city, is just 90 kilometers east of Casablanca.

After disembarking, a shuttle bus takes the passengers to the exit gate. The port is close to the Central Market, abundant in local foods and handmade goods. People can visit Isesco Park, a visual treat with blooming flowers and crystal clear ponds. Église Notre-Dame de Lourdes is a 1954 Catholic church with marvelous frescos and tainted glass windows.

Port of Casablanca
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An excursion to Rabat would enable you to see the Hasan Mosque built in 1986, the Mausoleum of Mohammed V, and the Kasbah of the Oudayas. Old Medina takes you back in time. The souk runs along the city’s ancient fortifications and hosts 18th-century buildings and residential houses.

4. Tolanaro Port, Madagascar

Port of Tolanaro, earlier known as Fort Dauphin, is located on the southeastern coastline of Madagascar, facing the Indian Ocean. It is the Tolanaro district’s and Anosy region’s capital, housing around 50,000 people. It is the oldest town in the country and a vital trade and commerce route since the 15th century, when the first French settlement was set up.

Large cruise ships anchor away from the island. Passengers are transferred ashore by tender boats. Steep and lush green mountains enclose the town, and it experiences drier weather. Tourists love its beaches and turquoise waters.

Tolanaro Port
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The Nahampoana Reserve is known for Lemurs, gardens, and beautiful mountains. The Lokaro beach is best for camping and relaxing. Parc National d’Andohahela offers mountaineering and trekking excursions on its beaten paths amidst the rainforests.

5. Port of Dakar, Senegal

Dakar is the principal seaport of Senegal, a country in West Africa. Senegal was once a French Overseas territory that attained independence in 1960. The port is located on the Cape Verde Peninsula, the westernmost point of the African continent.

Cruise ships dock at the Mole 1 terminal at Dakar cruise port. The city center is approximately a kilometer from the port. One can get taxis or get onto a bus to explore the city. However, crime rates are high in Senegal, and pick-pockets are common. So, booking a cab with a reliable and reputed agency is advised beforehand.

Port of Dakar
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In 2020, DP World entered into agreements with the country’s government to construct a new port facility 50 kilometers from the existing port. The 600-hectare new port at Ndayane would be used as a commercial port and a cruise terminal, strengthening the country’s maritime infrastructure.

6. Port of Mombasa, Kenya

The 11 million USD Cruise terminal at Mombasa was completed in June 2021 but has witnessed low traffic due to covid restrictions. It is intended to make the coastal city an attractive cruise destination and boost the tourism industry, contributing around 4.5 percent to the Kenyan economy.

Situated at berth 1 of Mombasa port, the cruise facility has duty-free shops, conference halls, and seating areas for 2000 people. It is envisaged that with this terminal, Kenya could compete with South African cruise terminals, Mauritius, Cape Verde, and Seychelles.

Port of Mombasa
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A recent survey conducted by Tourism and Transport Consult International regarding Kenya’s cruise potential revealed that the nation could easily attract over 14,500 tourists annually.

Also, Kenya is the third most popular cruise destination in Sub-Saharan Africa, after South Africa and Nigeria. Thanks to its beautiful coastline, numerous exotic islands, clean beaches, indigenous communities living in harmony with nature, and wildlife reserves on the East African Indian Ocean coastline, it sees thousands of tourists.

7. High-Impact Cruise Boarding Terminal, Nigeria

The boarding terminal is a joint venture between Solution Media and Infotech Limited, owners of Nigeria’s biggest amusement park, Hi-Impact Planet, and the country’s first HD TV station.

The luxury cruise line is the latest edition for the family. It is a result of careful market research and planning, catering to the nation’s entertainment industry, especially the tourism sector of Africa. The cruise terminal is a modern facility welcoming cruises and yachts. One can organize many formal and informal events onboard by booking impact cruises.

High-Impact Cruise Boarding Terminal
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The Hi-Impact Cruise terminal has a luxurious cruise lounge and a classy waterfront venue at the boarding terminal for accommodating guests. The HIC Lounge is ideal for weddings, parties, anniversaries, and corporate events.

The cruise line guarantees all its guests a fantastic nightlife and party experience. One can enjoy exotic cocktails, great food, and fine musical performances every weekend. Sports lovers can watch exciting games in HD. The cruise ship has something for everyone. Regular cruises arrive every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. 

8. Port Said, Egypt

Port Said is one of the busiest container ports in the world; however, its cruise terminal is also renowned for its advanced features and reliable services. Most cruises commence with overnight hotel stays in Cairo for two to three days. The cruise package includes the domestic flight ticket to Aswan for embarking on the Nile o Lake Nasser Cruises ship. The Nile part from Aswan to Luxor is followed by the flight to Abu Simel for embarking on the Lake Nasser ship.

Port Said
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The cruise terminal serves Cairo, the capital city and one of Africa’s biggest and most developed cities and the Middle East. One of the world’s most densely populated cities lying on the Nile, it is famous for its rich history, fabulous medieval Islamic architecture, ancient pyramids, bazaars, old town, and the Egyptian Museum housing countless artifacts and mummies.

9. Port of Maputo, Mozambique

The Maputo Cruise Port lies along the southeastern coast of Africa facing the Indian Ocean. It is the largest city and the capital of Mozambique, known for colonial architecture and white sand beaches. Maputo attained independence in 1976 and was called Lourenco Marques, named after a Portuguese sailor who contributed to developing trade and fortifications in the city.

Maputo is an important commercial center; tourists can explore a lot, despite its hot and dry weather. The Feira de Artesanato and Flôres e Gastronomia de Maputo are known for local handicrafts and delicious food. The Church of San Antonio de la Polana was built in 1962. It is a fine example of modern architecture, designed like an upside-down flower with stained glass windows. The fortress of Maputo contains the remains of the last emperor of the Gaza Empire, Ngungunhane. Animal lovers must visit the Maputo Elephant Reserve located on Maputo Bay. 

Port of Maputo
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Cruise ships anchor at different positions in the harbor, depending on their size. Passengers are transported onshore through tender boats.

10. Port of Cape Town, South Africa

Cape Town boasts one of the most stunning harbors in the world. It spans 400 square kilometers in Table Bay and hosts significant cruise lines, including MSC, NCL-Norwegian Line, Crystal Silversea, etc. The cruise port is 220 kilometers from Cape Agulhas, strategically located amidst the Dutch East Indies and Europe. Its advantageous position made it the most influential African port in the 17th century.

It is one of the world’s most attractive cruise ports of call. Smaller ships dock in the Victoria and Alfred Basins, while larger cruise vessels are received at the Duncan dock, which contains many multipurpose terminals, a repair quay, and a dry dock.

Port of Cape Town
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Work for constructing a new cruise terminal commenced in July 2015. Created by Transnet National Ports Authority, it cost 15 million US dollars. Major attractions and landmarks include Table Mountain, Robben Island, Boulders Beach, Cape Whale Coast, etc.

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Disclaimer: The authors’ views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of Marine Insight. Data and charts, if used, in the article have been sourced from available information and have not been authenticated by any statutory authority. The author and Marine Insight do not claim it to be accurate nor accept any responsibility for the same. The views constitute only the opinions and do not constitute any guidelines or recommendations on any course of action to be followed by the reader.

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About Author

Zahra is an alumna of Miranda House, University of Delhi. She is an avid writer, possessing immaculate research and editing skills. Author of several academic papers, she has also worked as a freelance writer, producing many technical, creative and marketing pieces. A true aesthete at heart, she loves books a little more than anything else.

One Comment

  1. Thanks for sharing with me today.
    Very rich content of Africa ports.
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