This paper reviews current knowledge of the potential impacts of climate change on water resources in Africa and the possible limits, barriers or opportunities for adaptation to climate change in internationally-shared river basins. Africa faces significant challenges to water resources management in the form of high variability and regional scarcity, set within the context of generally weak institutional capacity. Management is further challenged by the transboundary nature of many of its river basins. Climate change, despite uncertainty about the detail of its impacts on water resources, is likely to exacerbate many of these challenges. River basins, and the riparian states that share them, differ in their capacities to adapt. Without appropriate cooperation adaptation may be limited and uneven. Further research to examine the factors and processes that are important for cooperation to lead to positive adaptation outcomes and the increased adaptive capacity of water management institutions is suggested.