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The smallest countries in Africa

Africa is the second-largest continent on the planet, but within its boundaries, there are some of the smallest countries in the world. Most of these smallest African countries are not located on the mainland, with the majority of them scattered in the waters of the Atlantic Ocean and the Indian Ocean. In fact, all of the top five smallest countries in Africa are island nations and the smallest in the mainland of Africa is the Gambia in West Africa. 

None of the countries is as famous or tourist-oriented as the richest countries in Africa, but all of them has a charm and waiting to be discovered.

smallest countries in africa

List of the smallest African countries

size in sq kmsize in sq mi
1Seychelles451 km2174 sq mi
2São Tomé and Príncipe964 km2372 sq mi
3Mauritius2,040 km2788 sq mi
4Comoros2,235 km2863 sq mi
5Cape Verde4,033 km21,557 sq mi
6Gambia, The10,380 km24,008 sq mi
7Eswatini Swaziland17,364 km26,704 sq mi
8Djibouti23,200 km28,958 sq mi
9Rwanda26,798 km210,347 sq mi
10Burundi27,830 km210,745 sq mi
11Equatorial Guinea28,051 km210,831 sq mi
12Lesotho30,355 km211,720 sq mi
13Guinea-Bissau36,125 km213,948 sq mi
14Togo56,785 km221,925 sq mi
15Sierra Leone71,740 km227,699 sq mi

 Seychelles

 Seychelles 451 km2 (174 sq mi)

Seychelles is the smallest country in Africa, occupying just 451 square kilometers. It is located in the Somali Sea section of the wider Indian Ocean in the northeast of Madagascar and around 1,600 kilometers east of Kenya. 

It is made up of an archipelago of 115 islands, characterized by lush tropical vegetation, stunning coastline, and diverse marine life. 

The largest and capital city of Seychelles is Victoria, located on the island of Mahe. 

Seychelles is not just the smallest nations in Africa, it also one of the smallest countries in the world.

 São Tomé and Príncipe

 São Tomé and Príncipe 964 km2 (372 sq mi)

Known for being one of the smallest countries in Africa and another island nation. Sao Tome and Principe is located geographically in central Africa, along the Equator in the Gulf of Guinea. It is made up of two main islands namely Sao Tome and Principe as well as a number of other rocky islets like Rolas, Pedras, Caroco, and Tinhosas.

Sao Tome is a tropical paradise for connoisseurs and nature lovers. You will find here beautiful, tropical beaches, magnificent coral reefs, rainforests and charming towns remnant of recent Portuguese colonial times.

Mauritius

 Mauritius 2,040 km2 (788 sq mi)

The island of Mauritius is located in the Indian Ocean off the coast of East Africa. The island was formed as a result of a volcanic eruption many months ago. Mauritius usually receives lots of tourists annually and is famed for its white beaches, sapphire waters, and luxury resorts. 

For travelers Mauritius is one of those places that rewards even the slightest attempts at exploration, you don’t have to go full-blown into the jungles or the beach to enjoy your vacation. 

Mauritius is surrounded entirely by coral reefs, with its mainland dominated by plateaus. 

Comoros  

Comoros 2,235 km2 (863 sq mi)

Comoros is one of the smallest countries located in the Indian Ocean several miles off the coast of East Africa. It consists of three islands, with the fourth one still under the administered by France. 

Nicknamed the “perfumed islands” due to their scented plant life, these volcanic islands are known for their stunning landscape and natural beauty. The islands have the perfect blend of Arabic, African, French, and Malagasy influences inspired by the ancient Indian Ocean trade between the Asian and East African ports. 

Comoros experiences a tropical climate with two seasons –colder season and warmer season. 

The largest city on the island is Moroni, which lies along the shores of the Grande Comore Island in the Indian Ocean.

Cape Verde

Cape Verde 4,033 km2 (1,557 sq mi)

Also known as Cabo Verde, the country of Cape Verde on the west coast of Africa is among the smallest countries in Africa. The country, which is named after the westernmost cape of Africa, includes ten volcanic islands with a total area of 4,033 square kilometers 

Despite being at the westernmost point of the continent, Cape Verde is highly accessible than most people think. The capital Praia receives direct flights from international destinations such as the United Kingdom, Portugal, and France. 

The Cape Verdean weather is also one of the main attractions to the country, with an average of five to nine hours of sunshine year-round. 

The Gambia

 Gambia 10,380 km2 (4,008 sq mi)

The Gambia is the smallest country in mainland Africa and is surrounded by Senegal with its western coast lying on the Atlantic Ocean. The country is divided by the Gambia River, which empties into the Atlantic Ocean. 

Being located in West Africa, the Gambia has a lot in common with other West African countries, especially in the history of the slave trade. 

The largest metropolitan area in the Gambia is Banjul, with the largest cities being Brikama and Serekunda. Banjul is the capital city of the country and the fourth largest city in general.

Eswatini

 Eswatini (Swaziland) 17,364 km2 (6,704 sq mi)

Formerly known as Swaziland, Eswatini is the second smallest country in mainland Africa. The country is surrounded by South Africa and Mozambique. 

It changed its name from Swaziland to eSwatini in 2018 because of the need to fully break away from its colonial past as well as ending the centuries-long international confusion between Switzerland and Swaziland. 

Eswatini is not part of South Africa because, along with Botswana and Lesotho, became British Protectorates in the 1800s in order to curb the rapid expansion of the Boer republics into their territories.

 Djibouti

 Djibouti 23,200 km2 (8,958 sq mi)

The third-smallest county in mainland Africa, Djibouti is a country located in the Horn of Africa and is bordered by Ethiopia in the southwest, Somaliland in the south, Eritrea in the north, and the Gulf of Aden and the Red Sea in the east. 

Before it became a sovereign state, Djibouti was part of the Land of Punt, along with Eritrea, Somaliland, and Ethiopia. 

Rwanda

 Rwanda 26,798 km2 (10,347 sq mi)

A landlocked country located south of the Equator in east-central Africa, Rwanda is one of the smallest countries in Africa. It is famed for its numerous hills, thus the nickname ‘le pays des mille collines (French for ‘land of a thousand hills’). Its size and considerably large population make Rwanda one of the highest population density countries in Africa. 

Akagera National Park

A lot has changed since the infamous Rwanda genocide of 1994 and is now about reconstruction and ethnic reconciliation. 

 Burundi

Burundi 27,830 km2 (10,745 sq mi)

Just like its neighbor Rwanda, Burundi is also one of the smallest countries in Africa and share with Rwanda a long history of monarchical rule. It also shares an identical geographical location with Rwanda, being both located in east-central Africa and south of Equator. It is a landlocked country. 

Its capital is Bujumbura and is located at the northeastern edge of Lake Tanganyika, while the second-largest city, Gitega, lies near the source of the River Nile. 

Equatorial Guinea

 Equatorial Guinea 28,051 km2 (10,831 sq mi)

With an area of 28,051 square kilometers, Equatorial Guinea is one of the smallest countries in Africa. It is found on the west coast of Central Africa and was initially known as Spanish Guinea. However, after independence, it changed its name based on its location near the Gulf of Guinea and the Equator. 

The country is divided into two sections, a mainland region and an insular. The insula is made of islands of Bioko and the Gulf of Guinea and a small volcanic island called Annobon. Bioko is where you will find the country’s capital Malabo, which is located between Annobon and another one of the smallest countries in Africa, Sao Tome, and Principe. 

Lesotho

 Lesotho 30,355 km2 (11,720 sq mi)

Surrounded completely by South Africa, Lesotho is the largest of the world’s only three independent states surrounded by the territory of another country, along with Vatican City and San Marino. 

Because of its location within South Africa, Lesotho must depend on another country for access to the world outside. 

Guinea-Bissau

 Guinea-Bissau 36,125 km2 (13,948 sq mi)

Officially known as the Republic of Guinea-Bissau, this country covers an area of 36,125 square miles, making it one of the smallest countries in mainland Africa. 

It was once part of the Mali Empire as well as the kingdom of Kaabu. After independence, the country adopted the name of its largest city and capital Bissau to its official name to distinguish it from other countries with ‘Guinea’ in their names such as Guinea-Bissau and Equatorial Guinea.

Togo

 Togo 56,785 km2 (21,925 sq mi)

This West African country borders Burkina Faso to the north, Ghana to the west, and Benin t the east. It covers an area of 56, 785 square meters.

Lome is the capital of Togo, and it is located in the southwest region of the country along the Atlantic Ocean. 

Sierra Leone

 Sierra Leone 71,740 km2 (27,699 sq mi)

The Republic of Sierra Leone is a small country located on the southwest coast of West Africa bordered by Guinea to the northeast and Liberia to the southeast. With an area of 71,740 square kilometers, Sierra Leone is one of the smallest countries in Africa. Its largest city and capital is Freetown.

Liberia

 Liberia 111,369 km2 (43,000 sq mi)

With an area of 111,369 square kilometers, Liberia is the 15th smallest country in Africa. It borders Sierra Leone to the northwest, Cote d’Ivoire to the east, Guinea, to the north, and the Atlantic Ocean to the south and southwest.

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Ania James

photographer, traveller, mother of twin girls, wife, worldschooler, rulebreaker

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