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10 Countries Every Black Woman Should Visit | Traveling While Black

Are you a black woman who travels? Here are ten destinations to add to your travel bucket list.

I’ve written often about how “Traveling While Black” is different.  In a number of places around the world, your black skin color will get you noticed;  while most of it is positive, I’ve wondered aloud about whether I should be mad at all the extra attention.

It turns out I’m not alone.  As a black travel blogger with a decent following, I am routinely asked about African-American friendly countries; I frequently field questions from other melanin-blessed travelers about the best countries for black people to visit.

And as a sista who lives her best life abroad (and documents it online), a good number of those questions come from African-American women travelers specifically.

Now, keep in mind that it’s difficult to pinpoint the best countries for black women to visit– travel is so personal, after all.

But since I get asked all the time, here are my suggestions for ten countries every black woman should visit at some point in her life!

1. Brazil

Said to have “the body of America and the soul of Africa”, a getaway to Brazil is a no-brainer for black women.  While there is colorism, the African diaspora is felt strongly in the food, music, and shades of brown skin in the streets there.  Along with beautiful beaches, stunning scenery, and a weak local currency (meaning your dollar stretches farther), there’s no better time than the present to go.

2. South Africa

At a glance, South Africa has all the trappings of a great vacation spot: sun, sand, safari, and summits.  But dig a little deeper and you’ll discover that it also has soul. South Africa’s painful history of apartheid is of particular relevance to the African-American traveler and the cultural renaissance taking place in places like Johannesburg’s Maboneng district is a beauty to witness. 

3. France

France is the perfect place for a sista to indulge herself: from the beaches of the Riviera to the cafes of Paris, there’s no better country to practice self-care.

Whether you choose to castle hop in the Loire Valley, do a wine-tasting course in Bordeaux, or  get swept up in the romance of the historical Alsace region, France is where you can relax, unwind, and make everything all about you.

4. Thailand

There’s so much to love about Thailand: the beaches are divine, the temples are sights to behold, and the food is cheap and flavourful.  Thai people are also known for their warm and welcoming attitudes, especially when it comes Black women. While the stares might be intimidating, in my experience they’re mostly out of admiration and curiosity.  Don’t be surprised if you get called “Michelle Obama”!

5. Japan

The “Land of the Rising Sun” is probably the most fascinating place you’ll ever visit due to its bizarre fetish culture, outlandish fashion, and steadfast respect for ritual and tradition. Even more intriguing is the country’s deep appreciation for (and appropriation of) hip hop and dancehall reggae music– nightclubs filled with Japanese B-boys and dancehall enthusiasts can be found in most major cities there.

6. Ethiopia

Dubbed the “Cradle of Civilization”, Ethiopia is a necessary addition to a black woman’s travel bucket list. A visit to the capital Addis Ababa is a must to see the National Museum of Ethiopia, which houses one of the most important collections of fossils in Sub-Saharan Africa. A trip to Ethiopia is definitely an opportunity for a black woman to “know thyself”.

7. Jamaica

There’s a reason Stella went to Jamaica to get her groove back! The food, music, beaches, and “irie vibes” make this Caribbean isle a wonderful place to recharge after a hectic period.  The *ahem* local male population ain’t bad either.

8. United Arab Emirates

Dubai and Abu Dhabi are cosmopolitan destinations that serve as great introductions to the Middle East for first timers. Less conservative than their Gulf neighbours, they offer opulence, luxury, and a unique culture. With impressive attractions like the 7-star Burj Al Arab hotel, fun activities like desert safaris, and a popping club scene, you won’t want to go home!

9. The Maldives

A Maldivian getaway is the perfect way to treat yourself when the grind gets too difficult to bear. After all, the clear turquoise waters and luxury villas need to be seen to be believed. However, time is running out– due to rising sea levels the islands might be completely submerged in water in the next 50 to 100 years.

10. Tanzania

The reasons to visit Tanzania are numerous. Adrenaline junkies can climb Mount Kilimanjaro, keen observers can go on safari in the Serengeti, and sun worshipers can head to the beaches of Zanzibar. Besides, a visit to the Motherland is a prerequisite for any African-American hoping to understand a bit more about their roots.

These suggestions may not be an exhaustive list for the best countries to visit as a black woman, but they sure are a start! Do you agree with my selections?

Which destinations for African-American female travelers would you add or delete?  And do you have any suggestions for African-American friendly countries to visit?

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Are you a black world traveler? Read more posts on my tips, tricks, and musings about black travel here: Traveling While Black

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A version of this article was originally published on Essence.

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9 Comments

  • Reply
    Cultured Black Pearl
    August 26, 2017 at 3:52 am

    Totally agree with this list! I’m eager to get back to Japan after having the time of my life there. I could stay in Maldives forever. Dubai and Abu Dhabi are on my list. Safe travels Oneika!

  • Reply
    Stephanie (@Vaycarious)
    August 26, 2017 at 6:02 pm

    I definitely second South Africa! It’s a one-stop-shop for any kind of traveler. Beautiful beaches, lush highlands perfect for slow road trips, safaris you can drive through on your own or with a tour guide. And the shopping! OMG I came back with an entire suitcase full of beaded necklaces and handbags. I can’t wait to go again (hopefully with some friends and family)!

  • Reply
    Lah
    August 26, 2017 at 8:41 pm

    Great List! Thank you!
    Ghana and Dominica are great places to visit!

  • Reply
    Barbara Brown
    August 27, 2017 at 7:16 pm

    Thank you for the suggestions have you traveled to Venice and Greece

  • Reply
    Babes about Town
    August 28, 2017 at 10:42 am

    Great list but no Nigeria? I know we have a dodgy reputation worldwide, but Nigeria is still the largest black nation on the planet. Worth at least a look 😉 Lagos is what I call New York on steroids, there’s no city like it so I’d recommend checking it out sometime, although best if you know a local to help you navigate its many ups and downs!

  • Reply
    Chanel | Cultural Xplorer
    September 3, 2017 at 4:02 am

    I have have been to about half of these and I LOVE LOVE LOVE Japan (I cannot stay away). I also really enjoyed Cape Town 😀

  • Reply
    Cynthia Joanne
    November 7, 2017 at 4:55 am

    Thanks for this list! I’m not black, but I’m not white either- I’m Egyptian, and I find that my skin color actually really helps me blend in to different environments. When I lived in Belize, and traveled through neighboring countries, many people assumed I was a local. In New Zealand, they thought I was Maori, and in the South Pacific the same thing happens… just not in Thailand, which is where I actually live, haha. Thanks for this great list!

    • Reply
      Oneika
      November 8, 2017 at 3:27 pm

      That’s so cool that you can “fly under the radar” so to speak!

  • Reply
    yevandy
    November 10, 2017 at 10:14 am

    great list..
    *Furiously takes notes*

    becomingyeva.com

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