Gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) complicates pregnancies in Africa. Addressing the burden is contingent on early detection and management practices. This review aimed at identifying the barriers to diagnosing and managing GDM in Africa. We searched PUBMED, Web of Science, WHOLIS, Google Scholar, CINAHL and PsycINFO databases in May 2020 for studies that reported barriers to diagnosis and management of hyperglycaemia in pregnancy. We used a mixed method quality appraisal tool to assess the quality and risk of bias of the included studies. We adopted an integrated and narrative synthesis approach in the analysis and reporting. Of 548 articles identified, 14 met the eligibility criteria. Health system-related barriers to GDM management were the shortage of healthcare providers, relevant logistics, inadequate knowledge and skills, as well as limited opportunities for in-service training. Patient-related barriers were insufficient knowledge about GDM, limited support from families and health providers and acceptability of the diagnostic tests. Societal level barriers were concomitant use of consulting traditional healers, customs and taboos on food and body image perception. It was concluded that constraints to GDM detection and management are multidimensional. Targeted interventions must address these barriers from broader, systemic and social perspectives.