Top 10 smallest countries in Africa, ranked

Despite being the world’s second-largest continent, Africa is also home to a litany of tiny states that make it what it is. Here are the top ten smallest countries in Africa, ranked.

Africa is the second-largest continent in the world, spanning a huge 30,365,000 sq km (11,173,992 sq miles) and home to a total of 54 countries.

From Eastern Africa to Southern Africa, Central Africa to West Africa and South Africa, the continent lays claim to some of the most famous countries across the globe.

It rubs shoulders with both the Indian Ocean and the Atlantic Ocean and is flanked by many islands. At one point in history, you would find a French territory or British colony, but the African continent is now home to a vast collection of sovereign and independent countries.

Delving more into the continent, despite its massive size, we compiled a list of the top ten smallest countries in Africa, ranked.

10. Burundi – small in size but a home to many

Burundi is one of the smallest countries in Africa.
Credit: commons.wikimedia.org

Kicking off our list of the top ten smallest countries in Africa is Burundi, with a size of 27,830 sq km (10,745 sq mi). Burundi is one of the landlocked countries of Africa.

Burundi gained its independence in 1962 and, despite making an appearance on the list, is home to 10.4 million people. It has a $900 GDP per capita, making it one of the poorest nations in the world.

9. Rwanda – known for its stunning scenery

Rwanda boasts breathtaking scenery.
Credit: Flickr / Alliance of Bioversity International and CIAT

At 26,798 sq km (10,347 sq mi), Rwanda is next on our list of the smallest countries in Africa. Like Burundi, it is a landlocked nation.

Again, like Burundi, it has a huge population – over 12 million. The densely populated country in East Africa is known for breathtaking natural scenery. It is situated in the Great Lakes region.

8. Djibouti – gateway to the Suez Canal

Djibouti is one of the smallest countries in Africa.
Credit: Pixabay / MJO

Third is Djibouti, with a size of 23,000 sq km (8,958 sq mi). It is located in the Horn of Africa next to the Red Sea. It lies on the Bab el-Mandeb Strait and is a gateway to the Suez Canal.

Built on coral reefs, Djibouti is one of the smallest and most unique African nations.

The country speaks both Arabic and French, with a population of 850,000, a vast difference when compared to the first two entries on the list of the smallest countries in Africa.

7. Eswatini – formerly named Swaziland

Eswatini was formerly known as Swaziland.
Credit: Pixabay / karlins_u

The fourth-largest country on this list and the smallest landlocked country in Africa, Eswatini, measures only 17,364 sq km (6,705 sq mi). It was previously known as Swaziland but was changed in 2018.

It has a population of just over one million people and is almost enveloped in the south of the continent by South Africa.

6. Gambia – one of the smallest countries in Africa

The Gambia is one of the smallest countries in Africa.
Credit: commons.wikimedia.org

Next on our list of the smallest countries in Africa is the Gambia, coming in at 10,380 sq km (4,008 sq mi). It is one of the poorest countries in Africa, as a third of its population lives below the international poverty line.

The country has a small coast on the Atlantic Ocean but is completely surrounded by Senegal. It is the smallest country in West Africa.

5. Cape Verde – the largest of the island nations

Cape Verde is one of the largest island nations.
Credit: commons.wikimedia.org

A drop in size from the last entry, Cape Verde kicks off our list of the top five smallest countries in Africa, with a measurement of just 4,033 sq km (1,557 sq mi).

It is the largest of Africa’s island nations and has a population of 525,000 people. The UN designated it a Developing Nation in 2007, a testament to its thriving economy since independence in the 1990s.

4. Comoros – an archipelago in the Indian Ocean

Comoros is one of the smallest countries in Africa.
Credit: commons.wikimedia.org

Comoros in size is only 2,235 sq km (863 sq mi), making it a sure addition to our list. It is an archipelagic country in the Indian Ocean along the west coast of Africa.

The country is made up of a group of islands along the northern end of the Mozambique Channel, close to Madagascar. It has a population of just under 900,000.

3. Mauritius – filled with hiking trails, mountains, and rainforests

There is plenty to see and do in Mauritius.
Credit: Flickr / Sofitel So Mauritius

This is another island nation located in the Indian Ocean. It measures around 2,040 sq km (788 sq mi) and has a population of around 1.2 million.

Port Louis is the subtropical country’s capital, and the nation is also lush with mountains, rainforests, wildlife, hiking trails, and waterfalls.

2. Sao Tome and Príncipe – smallest Portuguese-speaking country in the world

Sao Tome and Principe is one of the smallest countries in Africa.
Credit: Flickr / Steve Evans

The second-smallest country on our list is Sao Tome and Príncipe, a mere 964 sq km (372sq mi). It is to be found in the Gulf of Guinea, off the coast of Gabon in Central Africa.

Sao Tome and Príncipe is composed of two main islands, along with a flurry of other small and rocky islands.

It is the smallest Portuguese-speaking country in the world and has a population of just 190,000. Its most popular religion is Christianity, practised by 81.1% of the people.

1. Seychelles – the smallest country in Africa, containing 115 islands

You need to visit the Seychelles.
Credit: commons.wikimedia.org

Topping our list of the ten smallest countries in Africa is the Seychelles. Despite forming a combustion of 115 islands, it measures only 451 sq km (174 sq miles) and therefore takes the crown.

Seychelles is home to some of the rarest endemic birds. Its capital Victoria can be explored on foot in a day, whilst it is believed the Saint Anne Marine National Park on Moyenne Island is haunted by a spirit that stands guard over buried treasure.

Notable mentions

Equatorial Guinea is one of the smallest countries in Africa.
Credit: Flickr / Embassy of Equatorial Guinea

Equatorial Guinea: Equatorial Guinea measures 28,051 sq km (10,831 sq mi). It was a former Spanish colony and can be found along the west coast of Africa.

Lesotho:At 30,355 sq km (11,720 sq mi), Lesotho was a contender for the list of countries in Africa.

Guinea-Bissau:Also found in West Africa, it spans a total of 36,125 sq km (13,948 sq mi). It declared independence in 1973.

FAQs about the smallest countries in Africa

What is the smallest country in Mainland Africa?

The Gambia is the smallest county in mainland Africa.

What is the richest country in Africa?

Nigeria is the richest country in Africa. It is followed by Egypt, South Africa, Algeria in Northern Africa, and Morocco, which are wealthy countries.

Are there 57 countries in Africa?

No. According to the United Nations (UN), there are 54 African countries. Our list compiles the ten smallest out of these 54 diverse nations.

Dan O'Muirigh
Dan O'Muirigh
Dan O'Muirigh is a keen travel writer from Belfast, County Antrim. He is a passionate sports man who plays Gaelic football for Naomh Gall GAC. He recently graduated with a degree in Law but instead wants to pursue a career in writing. He loves Ireland and believes the island offers something for everyone. He has immersed himself into the country by playing Irish sports, taking part in the culture and learning the Irish language.

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