If Africa isn’t on your travel agenda for 2018, perhaps it should be. According to new figures released by the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), tourism to the continent grew nine percent during 2017, which is a larger increase than any other region in the world.
In fact, Africa has been witnessing a steady increase in visitors since at least the 1990s. Between 1995 and 2014, international arrivals grew by an average of six percent per year, states a report from the United Nations. In terms of where to visit on the continent, there are many memorable options ranging from Kenya to Tanzania and South Africa.
To help narrow down the choices, Africa Travel Inc. recently released a list of the top five trending destinations.
1. Botswana – A huge, sparsely populated nation bordering South Africa, Botswana is never crowded because the government limits the number of people allowed in the safari camps and game reserves. There are more animals than visitors, according to Africa Travel Inc., which translates into remarkable game viewing. In addition, the company says poaching is rare in Botswana, making it easier to see endangered species here than in other countries.
2. Rwanda – For those who are seeking to truly get off the beaten path, Rwanda is a place that was made famous by researcher Dian Fossey and the movie “Gorillas in the Mist”. The gorillas are the country’s star attraction, of which there are only about 800 remaining. A select few visitors each year can see them up close in the dense tropical rainforests of the Virunga Mountains in the Parc National des Volcans.
3. Namibia – Often overlooked because it’s seen as an enormous, barren desert, Namibia is anything but that, according to African Travel Inc. It is a place of fascinating contrasts characterized by vast open spaces, magnificent wildlife and dramatic landscapes. The world’s oldest desert, the Namib, is home to diverse animal populations that have thrived for thousands of years. There’s also Etosha National Park, Namibia’s top wildlife destination where herds of game concentrate around waterholes.
4. Mozambique – With many parts of Africa growing in popularity, some travellers are seeking out places that remain less touristy. Mozambique is one such place. Visitors will have great stretches of Indian Ocean beach all to themselves. There’s also well-preserved coral reefs and remote archipelagos. The food of Mozambique, meanwhile, offers a unique mix of Arab and Portuguese cultural influences.
5. Kenya – A legendary destination, Kenya will continue to be popular in 2018, says Africa Travel Inc. A place that’s often referred to as the cradle of mankind, Kenya is home to hundreds of tribes. The country also offers classic safaris and balmy tropical beaches.