In Sub-Saharan Africa, cowpea is well known for its ability to survive under conditions of water stress and it plays an important role in regions where drought is the factor most limiting to crop yield. In the present study, the drought tolerance levels of 20 African cowpea accessions from three countries were evaluated. A number of the genotypes showed drought tolerance, the merits of stomatal behaviour and cell membrane stability to assess drought tolerance was demonstrated. Damage to the cell membranes caused by drought was less in tolerant accessions. Stomatal opening was also better regulated; the opening was smaller under drought conditions, thus reducing transpiration (T). The wide range of drought tolerance observed among the accessions suggests the possibility of breeding drought-tolerant cultivars in cowpea. Drought-tolerant accessions included Bafoussam 1, M.66, Bafoussam 3, Hluhluwa, Bafoussam 4, Balen, Makueni, Bafoussam 2 and Okhalweni and these could be recommended to breeders as valuable material for drought tolerance improvement in cowpea.