The 10 most dangerous cities in Africa with the highest crime rates

The 10 most dangerous cities in Africa with the highest crime rates

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Many cities in Africa have experienced significant growth over the last decade. However, some African cities are considered extremely dangerous due to high crime rates caused by narcotic abuse, kidnappings, and armed conflicts. Surprisingly, the most dangerous cities in Africa are also the economic hubs of the continent.

most dangerous cities in Africa

The African continent has something for everyone. Whether you want to have a fascinating cultural experience or enjoy white sand beaches with crystal clear oceans, travelling to Africa will give you memorable experiences. But which African cities are dangerous?

Which are the most dangerous cities in Africa?

Violence and crime have marred African cities, mainly because of rising unemployment, rural-urban populations, inequality, and social exclusion.

South Africa leads the way as one of the most dangerous countries in Africa; at least five of its cities are in the top ten list. Here are the ten most dangerous cities in Africa according to World Atlas:

1. Pretoria, South Africa

most dangerous cities in Africa

Pretoria CBD from the Union Buildings gardens Photo: ManoAfrica Source: Getty Images

Pretoria is a crucial rail and industrial centre of South Africa, where engineering, food processing, and diamond mining thrive. It is arguably the city in Africa that has the most crime. The city has seen an 85.82% increase in crime rates over the past three years. In Pretoria, people worry about their homes being broken into and their belongings being stolen.

Crimes that have plagued the city include muggings and robberies, car theft, attacks and assaults, and vandalism. Corruption is also rife in Pretoria, South Africa. In 2022, Pretoria’s chief magistrate was charged with corruption. Also, in March 2023, a South African accountant corruption investigator was shot dead along with his son.

2. Johannesburg, South Africa

most dangerous cities in Africa

Central Johannesburg cityscape from the top of the Carlton Centre. Photo: James Strachan Source: Getty Images

For many years, Johannesburg has maintained a reputation of being one of the South African cities with the highest crimes. Johannesburg experiences lawlessness, despite the heavy presence of police and security guards.

Crimes rampant in Johannesburg include armed robbery, carjacking, smash and grab, attacks on vehicles, and molestation. Sandton, a town in Johannesburg business city, has the highest crime rate in South Africa. Most people that suffer the brutality of crime in Johannesburg are tourists and minority groups.

3. Tripoli, Libya

most dangerous cities in Africa

Angle view of buildings in the city against clear Tripoli. Photo: Ziquan Ying Source: Getty Images

Tripoli is one of the most dangerous cities in North Africa. Many travel advisories from European and American countries discourage their citizens from visiting Tripoli because of high crime rates, terrorism, civil unrest, kidnapping, and armed conflict.

Tripoli’s high crime rates result from several years of civil unrest, corruption, and narcotics trafficking, especially after the ousting and killing of its leader Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.

4. Durban, South Africa

most dangerous cities in Africa

Durban, South Africa. Photo: Richard I’Anson Source: Getty Images

While Durban may not be the most dangerous capital city in Africa, it has its significant share of safety concerns. It experiences high crime rates, especially within the CBD and townships. The most prevalent crimes in Durban include murder, narcotics trafficking, robbery, and molestation. Also, people experience muggings, assaults, carjacking, vandalism, and theft.

In June 2023, eight people died after a shooting at a men’s hostel in Durban. According to the police, at least 12 men drank alcohol when numerous gunmen broke in, shot them, and fled. Mass shootings in Durban have been on the increase in recent years.

5. Bloemfontein, South Africa

most dangerous cities in Africa

Bloemfontein, South Africa. Photo: Christopher Furlong Source: Getty Images

Many consider Bloemfontein the most dangerous African city in the world. The city constantly experiences violent and petty crimes. Vandalism and theft have increased significantly in the city. The latest crime trend in 2023 is where criminals steal any item with copper and aluminium.

According to the police, criminals now target air conditioners because their radiator has copper and aluminium, which is sold for scraps. Bloemfontein also experiences high murder rates, cash-in-transit heists, bank robberies, sexual assault, carjacking, assault, muggings, and gun violence.

6. Lagos, Nigeria


most dangerous cities in Africa

A panorama shot of a Landscape showing the coastline of Lagos, Nigeria. Photo: Bassey Edoho Source: Getty Images

Lagos is one of the worst cities in Africa, with high crime rates and lawlessness. Most crimes in Lagos involve narcotics, theft, and vandalism. The city experiences high levels of armed robbery, assault, corruption, and bribery. Urban development challenges, such as unemployment in Lagos, have contributed to the increased crime rates in the city, making it a dangerous city.

7. Cape Town, South Africa


most dangerous cities in Africa

Cape Town. Photo: @Johannes Mann Source: Getty Images

Like many South African cities, Cape Town is one of the most dangerous cities in Africa. The city has always been known for crimes such as theft, muggings, carjacking, assault, and gang violence. Poverty has fuelled the high crime rates in Cape Town.

Cape Town has been the economic base of South Africa, with the most important industrial centre and a major seaport. Nevertheless, the city has high levels of inequality, unemployment, and marginalisation. All these have led to many violent crimes, including sexual assault and murder.

8. Windhoek, Namibia

most dangerous cities in Africa

The downtown district of Windhoek. Photo: @Fivepointsix Source: Getty Images

Windhoek is one of the most beautiful cities in Africa. The city has always enjoyed political stability and sound economic management. However, Windhoek has seen crimes increase significantly over the past three years. For example, between June and August 2022, the Windhoek police received at least seven cases of robberies a day.

Armed robbery is the most significant violent crime in Windhoek, Namibia. Most armed robbers target tourists. The city also experiences many other crimes, including theft, carjacking, pickpocketing, and purse snatching.

9. Luanda, Angola

most dangerous cities in Africa

Luanda bay area. Photo: AdemarRangel Source: Getty Images

Luanda has had increased cases of crime for many years. Generally, armed robbery, carjacking, muggings, and assault are the most common crimes. The city has incidents of molestation and organised crime, making it one of the most dangerous cities in Africa.

Armed criminals nowadays target slow-moving or stationary cars to steal items from passengers and drivers. Reports also suggest that small mafia-style groups have emerged in Luanda, most operating in several criminal locations. The groups deal with firearm and ammunition smuggling, and they get them from Cabinda, an oil-rich town in Angola.

10. Nairobi, Kenya

most dangerous cities in Africa

Nairobi, an East African country, is deemed one of the most dangerous cities in Africa. Crime rates have increased significantly in Nairobi, Kenya, over the last five years. The crimes are so high that even the National Police Service has an online platform that lists crime hot spots in the city.

Nairobi is the town that has the highest crime rate in Africa. The most rampant are muggings, assaults, violent robbery, carjacking, and housebreaking. On the other hand, the murder rate in Nairobi is 23.9%. Alcohol abuse, low levels of education, high unemployment rate, high cost of living, and overpopulation in slum areas contribute to the high crime rates in Nairobi.

African cities experience high crimes because of rising unemployment, rural-urban populations, inequality, and social exclusion. South Africa leads as the country with the most dangerous cities in Africa with high crime rates. Other African cities considered dangerous are Tripoli, Libya; Lagos, Nigeria; Luanda, Angola; Windhoek, Namibia; and Nairobi, Kenya. published a list of the richest countries in Africa. Africa is the world’s second-largest and most popular continent. The continent is endowed with natural resources and human capital. It comprises many prospering countries which are growing at a much faster rate.

The richest African countries have been successful in securing a good place for themselves in a competitive global economy. The economies of these countries are also increasing rapidly due to political stability.

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