From the famous wonders of Giza and Saqqara in Egypt, where the long-awaited Grand Egyptian Museum has undergone a stunning restoration and reopening, to the pristine splendor of Africa’s Eden in Gabon, we give TIME’s pick of the world’s greatest places to visit this year.
TIME invited submissions of places from its international network of journalists and contributors for this list, with a focus on those offering new and intriguing experiences.
The following are seven African destinations in the list:
1. Musanze, Rwanda
Musanze is Rwanda’s largest city and the gateway to Volcanoes National Park, which is home to endangered mountain gorillas. A limited amount of daily gorilla-trek entry fees of $1,500 allow farmers and rehabilitated gorilla poachers to make a living while avoiding invading the animals’ habitats.
2. Giza and Saqqara, Egypt
The Grand Egyptian Museum, often known as the GEM, is a massive museum in Giza, Egypt that is believed to be one of the world’s largest archeological institutions. The Great Pyramid can be seen from a mile away from the 5.2-million-square-foot museum on Cairo’s outskirts. GEM houses 100,000 objects, many of which were relocated from the overcrowded, century-old museum on Tahrir Square, and some of which have never been viewed by the public before.
3. Freetown Peninsula, Sierra Leone
Sierra Leone’s Freetown Peninsula is emerging as a dynamic coastal hub for both tourism and industry in West Africa. With its beautiful beaches, cultural attractions, and expanding economic opportunities, the region is gaining popularity as a vital investment and vacation destination.
4. Dakar, Senegal
Dakar, Senegal, is renowned as the West African fashion capital, having a dynamic and diversified fashion scene that combines traditional African designs with contemporary inspirations. You can see Chanel’s exhibition space, le19M Dakar, within the Theodore Monod African Art Museum, or Black Rock Senegal, which was founded by Kehinde Wiley, the artist behind Barack Obama’s presidential image.
5. Rabat, Morocco
Rabat, Morocco, is transforming into a burgeoning cultural city known for its rich history, thriving arts scene, and fusion of modern and traditional ideas. It houses the Mohammed VI Tower, Africa’s tallest tower, with luxury rooms and an 800-foot panoramic viewing terrace, as well as the cultural venue Grand Theatre of Rabat, which has a 1,821-seat hall and is the largest theater in the Arab world and Africa.
6. Loango National Park, Gabon
Loango National Park in Gabon is known as “Africa’s Eden” because of its pristine landscapes, abundant biodiversity, and unusual combination of untouched beaches, thick jungles, and diversified fauna. Loango National Park is one of the world’s rare areas where rainforest meets ocean.
7. Chyulu Hills, Kenya
The Chyulu Hills in Kenya are renowned for its breathtaking vistas, plentiful animals, and unique combination of lush forests and volcanic topography. It inspired Ernest Hemingway’s “Green Hills of Africa” and is a popular location for visitors looking for unimpeded views of Kilimanjaro without having to fly to Tanzania.