AFRICAN COUNTRIES TO ADD TO YOUR BUCKET LIST
From being the most underrated continent in the world, Africa is experiencing a much-needed surge in demand for 2023 as numerous countries are breaking tourism records.
As reported by Quartz, after two years of a COVID-induced retraction, Africa has recovered 65% of its pre-pandemic tourism, with visitor numbers more than doubling between 2021 and 2022 and set for further increases in the months ahead.
If you want to kick off your Grand Tour of Africa but are still unsure where to start, Kenya should be at the top of the list: ticking all the boxes on the ‘Stereotypically African’ category, it offers a vibrant city break in Nairobi, wildlife sightings in the Maasai Mara Reserve, and of course, a dramatic natural backdrop replete with savannahs and spectacular lakes. The Kenya Tourism Board hopes that the enhanced experience at the Kenyan Coast and other hinterland parts will help ‘accommodate global visitors of diverse interests and tastes’.
Straddling the Indian Ocean and encompassing the impossibly vast Kilimanjaro National Park, which includes Africa’s highest peak and remote safari routes, the lesser-known coastal gem of Tanzania is highly sought-after by beachgoers and thrill-seekers alike. In 2022 alone, it hosted 1.2 million foreign arrivals, only 300,000 fewer than pre-COVID 2019. They are mostly drawn to the nation’s untarnished wilderness, though Tanzania’s relevance as a cultural hub is being acknowledged lately as well, thanks to the promotion of its UNESCO World Heritage Sites, especially the off-shore Stone Town of Zanzibar.
One of the best-performing destinations in Africa, Ethiopia has grown by 3% compared to the pre-pandemic era, mostly powered by ecotourism. It is one of the most geographically varied nations South of the Sahara, rewarding guests with some unmatched vistas, from jagged terrains and rift valleys to majestic waterfalls and alpine peaks.
Tunisia is between 50% and 65% more affordable than other Medi ports: Americans will spend, on average, 58.5% less than they would in Nice, in France’s Cote d’Azur; when it comes to dining out at mid-range restaurants in downtown Tunis, they can expect to pay 72.4% less than in Barcelona, Spain; finally, long-term rental prices are 61.1% lower than Santorini’s in Greece.
As Gordon Clark, VP of Business Development at ForwardKeys, put it himself, West and Central Africa are benefitting the most from the continent’s newfound popularity, and Ghana specifically has led travel bookings in the American market due to the ‘improved seat capacity’ leaving from the States. In Clark’s view, this has attracted a ‘more premium travel crowd’. Responding to this trend, local authorities have been building more upscale hotels and investing heavily in the standardization of tourism establishments in order to cater to big spenders and boost the country’s competitiveness.
The renewed interest in Ancient History, Nile cruises, and Pharaonic tales followed the North African nation’s reopening in mid-2022 when all health-related entry requirements were revoked.
International visitors are no longer subject to strict health checks traveling to Egypt, and all are welcome irrespective of vaccination status, making it the ideal location for an international getaway. Our top two picks include Cairo, a global city serving as a gateway to the famous Pyramids of Giza, and the resort-packed Hurghada, on the shores of the Red Sea.
- South Africa
Boasting year-round warm weather, impressive ethnic and cultural diversity, 21 UNESCO-listed monuments, and abundant nature and the scenic coast, South Africa has plenty of wonders and historical value encircled within its immense territory to fill up a weeks-long travel itinerary – and trust us, you’ll never get bored here. The hard part is knowing where to start.
Luckily, Delta has relaunched the tri-city route connecting Atlanta to Cape Town and Johannesburg, two of South Africa’s main entry points. Cape Town is the go-to spot for culture due to the central role it played during Apartheid, housing the prison where Nelson Mandela was incarcerated, while Johannesburg is a major urban center best known for its gold-mining History and nightlife.