CNN Announces Uganda, Rwanda, and Tanzania As Top Travel Destinations 2023


We’re excited to share some great news: CNN has announced Uganda, Rwanda, and Tanzania are among its top picks for best travel destinations in 2023!

The three East African countries were included in CNN’s annual list of the top travel destinations not just for their wildlife and nature, but also for prioritizing local communities, developing new tourism adventures, and offering authentic, responsible tourism lodging.

As Uganda safari specialists, we are proud to be included on this list alongside stunning destinations in Europe, Asia, and the Americas. We know travelers have plenty of choices when it comes to where they’ll spend their vacations, and we couldn’t be happier to know that our home country and home region are getting more attention.

Below, we’re sharing more about each of the three destinations – Uganda, Rwanda, and Tanzania – including what CNN shared about us and how Kikooko Africa Safaris can help you explore them. 

Afterwards, we’ll share a breakdown of all of the destinations in CNN’s list, including a regional one, so you can make 2023 your best travel year yet!

Uganda Top Travel Destination 2023

This is what CNN had to say about Uganda:

“There’s considerable change brewing in Uganda’s travel offerings at the moment with the East African country looking beyond the traditional staples of safari and wildlife spotting to appeal to both regional and international visitors.

Keen to revitalize post-Covid tourism in all corners of the country, not just the big-ticket businesses offering wealthy visitors a glimpse of the Big Five beasts or mountain gorillas, it’s turned to marketing its other attributes.

And why not? From the expansive shores of Lake Victoria to the snowy Rwenzori Mountains, Uganda is a beautiful wilderness playground, with opportunities for adventure including treks through the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest or up to the craters of the Virunga volcano chain or whitewater rafting along the Victoria Nile.

There’s also an emphasis on connecting visitors with Ugandan communities — promising tastes of Ugandan food, music and culture. Last year saw the launch of the Uganda Cycling Trail, a 1,600-kilometer mainly unpaved 22-stage route designed to appeal to all levels of cyclist from hardcore solo bikepackers to fully-guided easy riders.” 

While we have long been honored to share Uganda’s natural resources with travelers, our priority has always been to connect visitors with our community. We do that through community visits, for one, but also through a number of programs that invest in community health, development, and education to make sure they continue to benefit even after your visitors return back home.

Seeing new tourism adventures like the Uganda Cycling Trail is also encouraging, and we’re hopeful to see how this attention from CNN can drive further innovation as we share our unique corner of the world with you. 

To get an idea about what safaris in Uganda are like, check out three of our favorites:

  • The Shining Pearl of Africa – 17-Day Uganda Safari – Filled with community visits along the way, this journey takes you across a whole spectrum of landscape; from the snow-capped Rwenzoris, to the dense rainforest at Bwindi, stunning lake at Bunyonyi and miles of savannah at Kidepo. Trekking, primate tracking, game drives, and birds – this adventure has it all.
  • Beautiful Birds of Uganda – 15-Day Uganda Safari – This 15-day Uganda birding safari is made for the avid birdwatcher who wants to get to know one of the most diverse countries in East Africa. From tracking the prehistoric-looking Shoebill to the Shelley’s crimson wing and the red bishop, this trip takes travelers across Uganda, delivering plenty of unique bird-watching moments along the way.
  • At Home With The Mountain Gorillas | 10-Day Uganda Safari – More than just the Pearl of Africa, Uganda is your home away from home.
    In addition to the warmth and hospitality of visiting a country frequently ranked as one of the most inviting in the world, Uganda is home to the rare mountain gorilla. With over half of the remaining mountain gorillas in Uganda, this is truly their home – and this 10-day Uganda safari is your invitation to come in and stay a while.

Rwanda Top Travel Destination 2023

This is what CNN had to say about Rwanda:

“January 2023 sees the official opening of Rwanda’s most exciting hotel yet: Sextantio Rwanda, a collection of traditionally crafted huts on an island on Lake Kivu, one of Africa’s largest lakes.

It’s the first project outside Italy for Daniele Kihlgren, whose part-hotel, part-living history projects keep local tradition alive. A nonprofit delivering money straight to local communities, Sextantio will see guests fishing on the 1,000-square-mile lake, paddling in dug-out canoes, trying local banana beer and wildlife-spotting — and not just the chickens, cows, pigs and goats that roam around the property.

Of course, you’ll want to see gorillas. Adjoining Volcanoes National Park, the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund opened the 4,500-square meter Ellen DeGeneres Campus in 2022. Its visitor center includes exhibits, virtual reality gorilla “encounters” and nature trails.

Over in Akagera National Park, white rhinos — transferred from South Africa in 2021 to aid conservation — are already calving. It’s easier to get there, too. A new route from London joins Brussels, Dubai, Guangzhou and Mumbai as the only direct flights to Kigali from outside the African continent.”

Despite its complicated history, Rwanda has been on an incredible streak of late. Lake Kivu is one of its more underrated destinations, and knowing that international developers are finding ways to both create interest and commit to local community development is inspiring.

As CNN mentions, Rwanda is also one of just three countries in the world where one can track the endangered mountain gorilla. Though slightly more expensive to do in Rwanda than gorilla tracking in Uganda, it is still an exceptional experience.

To get an idea about what safaris in Rwanda are like, check out three of our favorites:

  • Revel In Rwanda | 14-Day Rwanda Safari – Good things come in small packages. While Rwanda may be one of the smallest nations in the world, that doesn’t stop it from packing in the beauty. This is a terrific two-week Rwanda safari that lets you in on all of the secrets of Rwanda with game drives, gorilla tracking, and plenty of exploring of the Land of a Thousand Hills’ beautiful lakes, dense forests and towering volcanoes.
  • The Amazing Primates of Rwanda | 6-Day Rwanda Tour – There is perhaps no connection as natural, as human, as getting in close contact with our primate cousins – and perhaps no better country to explore that sensation than Rwanda. Savor this primate-centered six-day Rwanda tour in beautiful Rwanda as you spend unforgettable time with the endangered mountain gorillas and boisterous chimpanzees.
  • A Moment With The Mountain Gorillas | 3-Day Rwanda Tour – This is a chance many people wait their whole life for – to follow in the footsteps of Dian Fossey and meet the incredible mountain gorillas. This 3-day Rwanda tour is a lifetime experience you will never forget. During this encounter, time slows down as you get a moment to experience a connection with nature unlike any other.

Tanzania Top Travel Destination 2023

This is what CNN had to say about Tanzania:

“From the spectacular wildlife to the beautiful national parks and beaches, Tanzania is absolutely bursting with visual splendor.

The East African country holds a seemingly endless list of incredible sights, with Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest mountain, UNESCO world heritage site Serengeti National Park, and the Zanzibar Archipelago, among its many highlights.

This year, flag carrier Air Tanzania will launch new routes to West and Central Africa, along with the UK, in a bid to transform the country’s largest airport in Dar es Salaam into a transport and logistics hub, while construction on the country’s first toll expressway is also scheduled to begin.

Meanwhile, the Delta Hotels by Marriott brand is making its Africa debut with the opening of its Dar es Salaam Oyster Bay property later this year.

Tanzania has some of Africa’s most well-known natural elements, including Africa’s tallest mountain (Mount Kilimanjaro), some its most beautiful seaside (Zanzibar), and the Great Wildebeest Migration (which includes the Serengeti in Tanzania and the Masai Mara in Kenya).

Being well-known is one thing. Being accessible is quite another! That’s why we feel encouraged to see just how much work is being put into opening up more pathways to Tanzania – and to East Africa in general.

To get an idea about what safaris in Tanzania are like, check out three of our favorites:

  • Treasures of Northern Tanzania | 7-Day Tanzania Tour – From the great migration of over two million grazers and the world’s largest intact caldera to the greatest numbers of predators in Africa to its many natural wonders, Tanzania is a treasure waiting for you to discover it.
  • Wild Animals and White Beaches | 12-Day Tanzania Tour –  To enjoy the best of Tanzania’s natural wonders — including the great migration and the greatest number of predators in Africa — with a restorative visit to the stunning Zanzibar Island, where we can slow down and savor the moment.
  • Discover The Best Of Northern Tanzania and Zanzibar | 14-Day Tanzania Tour – To enjoy the best of Tanzania’s natural wonders — including the great migration and the greatest number of predators in Africa — with a relaxing visit to the stunning Zanzibar Island, where we’ll discover what makes this piece of paradise so special over a week of gentle exploration.

CNN’s List of Where To Travel in 2023 – Full Country List

CNN didn’t provide a specific ranking for the best places to travel in 2023, so we’re offering two full lists below. The first is an alphabetical (by country) list to make it easier for you to browse. 

Following that, we’re grouping by region in the world. After all, you might be able to visit a few of these countries in one go!

CNN’s Where To Travel In 2023 – Full Country List Alphabetical

  1. Western Australia
  2. Belize
  3. Manaus, Brazil
  4. Ottawa, Canada
  5. Bogotá, Colombia
  6. Cairo, Egypt
  7. Liverpool, England
  8. Fiji
  9. Thessaloniki, Greece
  10. Naoshima, Japan
  11. Laos
  12. Vilnius, Lithuania
  13. Oaxaca, Mexico
  14. Mustang Valley, Nepal
  15. Poland
  16. Rwanda
  17. Gothenburg, Sweden
  18. Gruyères, Switzerland
  19. Tanzania
  20. Uganda
  21. Ras al-Khaimah, United Arab Emirates
  22. Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA
  23. Charleston, South Carolina, USA

CNN’s Where To Travel In 2023 – By Region

To help you plan your 2023 travel, we’ve sorted each of the countries from CNN’s 2023 top travel destinations list by region. Be sure to say hi when you stop by East Africa!

CNN’s Where To Travel in 2023 In the Americas

  • Belize
  • Manaus, Brazil
  • Ottawa, Canada
  • Bogotá, Colombia
  • Oaxaca, Mexico
  • Charleston, South Carolina, USA
  • Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA

CNN’s Where To Travel in 2023 In Africa

CNN’s Where To Travel in 2023 In Asia

  • Naoshima, Japan
  • Laos
  • Mustang Valley, Nepal

CNN’s Where To Travel in 2023 In Europe

  • Liverpool, England
  • Thessaloniki, Greece
  • Vilnius, Lithuania
  • Poland
  • Gothenburg, Sweden
  • Gruyères, Switzerland

CNN’s Where To Travel In 2023 In Middle East

  • Ras al-Khaimah, United Arab Emirates

CNN’s Where To Travel In 2023 In Oceania

  • Western Australia
  • Fiji

Explore East Africa With Kikooko Africa Safaris

Ready to see what has CNN raving about Uganda, Rwanda, and Tanzania?

Get in touch with the safari specialists of Kikooko Africa Safaris. Based in Uganda, we’ve been offering boutique, tailor-made tours in the East African region since 2013, and we’re excited to hear how we can help you plan your dream safari.


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Warren Ankwasa

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