Top 10 African tourist destinations
Tourism in Africa is booming. The World Travel and Tourism Council projects the total contribution of tourism to Africa’s Gross Domestic Product will amount to $296 billion by 2026 and most of its countries are experiencing some kind of growth. Here are just some of the biggest draws to the ‘dark continent’…
Visitor numbers to Malawi have spiked over recent years although 2016 experienced a slight downturn. In a bid to counter the trough and to keep the trend upward, the tourism industry is currently targeting the super wealthy who they believe will attract 1.2 million tourists a year; a significant rise from its average of 900,000. Malawi has a lot to offer the high-net worth individual. A beautiful lake more akin to a luxury beach resort with white sand everywhere and turquoise waters that rival the look of the most expensive hideaways across the world, Lake Malawi also has more tropical fish than any other freshwater lake on the globe.
The Pyramids of Giza (Egypt)
These pyramids were constructed in 2650 BC from pure limestone and according to recent statistics, there were more than 2.5 million blocks that went into the creation of the pyramid of King Cheops. You can also marvel at the Chephren Pyramid that functions as a burial chamber of the king of the same name or pay a visit to the Pyramid of Mycerinus that is slightly smaller, but no less inspiring, surrounded as it is by many other tombs and pyramids that speak of the technological prowess of the ancient people. The number of tourists visiting Egypt has plummeted from 14.7 million to just 5.4 million in 2016, according to the United Nations World Tourism Organisation, costing the country billions. Russian flights to Egypt, which have been suspended since the Metrojet bombing in 2015, could resume soon, though. Nearly two and a half million Russians visited Egypt in 2014, making up roughly a third of the country’s visitors.
The Sahara Dunes (Morocco)
A total of 10.3 million tourists visited Morocco in 2016, an increase of 1.5 percent compared to 2015 and many are targeting the Sahara Desert on their holidays. You can make camp at Zagoura or Tazzarine and watch one of the most famous marathons in the world during the springtime – the Marathon des Sables takes place over a week.
Draa Valley (Morocco)
One of the most beautiful landscapes in all of Morocco stands here in the Draa Valley, a culture of date farming that cultivates red soil that contrasts incredibly against the natural sky. You are also incredibly close to Zagora, so will not miss out on any of the exquisite luxuries of the area, including the amazing food. You can also marvel at the Atlas Mountains, which give you a jaw-dropping lead into the beautiful valley structures in one of the most extraordinary road trips you will ever take. Morocco wants to attract 20 million visitors annually by 2020, which is roughly double the current figures.
The Sphinx (Egypt)
A holiday wish-list would not be complete without one of the greatest wonders of the world – Egypt’s Sphinx. Modern archaeologists still have trouble determining how this beautiful structure was built, and aside from the missing nose – shot off out of spite by some jealous Europeans – the 70 by 20 meter human/lion structure still stands beautifully today with its 9,000 years of history behind it.
Horse-back safari (Kenya)
Kenya is a popular tourist destination and arrivals rose by over 16 percent in 2016. Arrivals from the US to Kenya, despite the lack of direct flights, reached 97,883 during the same year, overtaking the UK as Kenya’s top source country for tourists. Kenya is on the up. One of the best ways to go through the country is on the back of a horse, where you can get the closest possible view of the savanna lifestyle. You will be able to gallop in stride with zebras in the Maasai Mara; these animals are capable of covering over 100 km every week. Throughout the safari, you can partake in local culture and cuisine, all of which is absolutely exquisite.
The Sossusvlei Dunes (Namibia)
Tourism in Namibia is a major industry, contributing HYPERLINK "https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Namibian_dollar" \o "Namibian dollar" N$7.2 billion to the country’s GDP. Annually, over one million travellers visit HYPERLINK "https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Namibia" \o "Namibia" Namibia, primarily to sample its ecotourism. Although the word Sossusvlei literally means ‘the dead-end marsh,’ there is actually no water here at one of Namibia's most famous and arguably most beautiful attractions: the Sossusvlei Dunes, which took millions of years for nature to create. Rocks, sedimentation and water flowed into the Atlantic Ocean from the Orange River, coloring the surface of the land and creating the beautiful, symmetric landscape. One of the most beautiful sites here is the Deadvlei; a huge landscape of white clay, haunted by skeletons of camelthorn trees.
The mountain gorillas (Rwanda)
Rwanda plays host to one of the world's most incredible up close and personal encounters with natural wildlife. Although you will be closely tracking silverbacks as they move throughout the dense forests of Rwanda, you will never be in danger. The tour guides that have been cultivated over years are masterful at proper angling and distancing to give you the best view without getting in nature's way. You will be treated to the best of Rwandan culture and cuisine in the off time too, as the area is surrounded by some of the best accommodation the country has to offer. Tourism in Rwanda is rapidly increasing since the genocide that took place in 1994, with tourism revenue often in excess of $200 million.
Victoria Falls (Zambia and Zimbabwe)
This cascading, gorgeous waterfall is, without a doubt, one of the most beautiful water features in the world. It is known as ‘the cloud that thunders’ because of the sound the water makes as it courses its way to the bottom of the falls. Water flows here at more than 12,800 cubic m/s, double that of the famous Niagara Falls at its highest peak. The interplay between light and water also creates beautiful rainbows and light structures that change with your perspective. The Victoria Falls – one of the Seven Wonders of the World and Zambia’s flagship tourism product – recorded 141,929 tourists in 2015. Neighbouring Zimbabwe attracted 2,167.686 visitors in 2016, according to its tourist board.
Lake Nakuru National Park (Kenya)
The resident flamingos are the main draw of this youthful national park, but the lake itself is an incredible sight; the flamingos attracted to it due to its breadth and clarity. Lake Nakuru National Park is one of Kenya’s protected sites that safeguard the flora and fauna and it helps draw more than a million tourists a year to the East African country.