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World Tourism Day: 7 African destinations to visit

Today Africa joins the world in celebrating World Tourism Day. This year’s celebrations are being held under the theme: “Tourism for All – promoting universal accessibility”. The continent is blessed with amazing natural treasures and we selected a few stunning examples of what the continent has to offer. We hope you will be swayed to visit.

Today Africa joins the world in celebrating World Tourism Day. This year’s celebrations are being held under the theme: “Tourism for All – promoting universal accessibility,” and we applaud countries and organisations working towards the creation and improvement of environments that can cater for the needs of everyone.

We celebrate the day and highlight the need to promote, and raise awareness of the importance of tourism and its social, cultural, political and economic value. Tourism remains a major sector in Africa. The industry continues to strengthen with growth projections across various indicators forecasted to continue steadily rising this year (direct and total contribution towards GDP, direct and total contribution towards employment, visitor exports and investment).

The continent is blessed with amazing natural treasures. We hope you can have the opportunity to experience the amazing beauty of various African destinations, the diverse cultures and people.

On this World Tourism Day, we selected a few stunning examples of what the continent has to offer, and we hope you’ll find these destinations and events interesting and tempting to explore (in no particular order).

1. Bwindi Impenetrable National Park (Uganda). The park is part of the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest and is situated along the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) border next to the Virunga National Park. The park provides habitat for 120 species of mammals, 348 species of birds, 220 species of butterflies, 27 species of frogs, chameleons, geckos, and many endangered species.

Bwindi Impenetrable National Park Photo: /Flickr/Jocelyn Saurini
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park Photo: /Flickr/Jocelyn Saurini

2. Mosi-oa-Tunya/Victoria Falls (Zambia and Zimbabwe). One of the biggest tourist attractions in Africa, Victoria Falls is undoubtedly amongst the most spectacular waterfalls in the world. Located on the mighty Zambezi River, Victoria Falls is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and it is one of the largest waterfalls in the world.

Aerial view of the Victoria Falls, 900 km west of the capital, Harare, Zimbabwe, 12 February 2016. Photo: ANP/EPA/Aaron Ufumeli
Aerial view of the Victoria Falls, 900 km west of the capital, Harare, Zimbabwe, 12 February 2016. Photo: ANP/EPA/Aaron Ufumeli

3. Wildebeest migration (Kenya and Tanzania). Certainly a must see, the migration is considered one of nature’s great spectacles and sees over a million wildebeest trek north from the Serengeti (Tanzania) to the Maasai Mara (Kenya). The wildebeests are joined on this epic journey by thousands of eland, gazelle and zebra as they cross the crocodile-infested Mara River to graze on the Maasai Mara plains.

Zebras walk towards crossing wildebeest in the Mara river during the annual wildebeest migration in the Masai Mara game reserve on September 13, 2016. Photo: ANP/AFP Carl De Souza
Zebras walk towards crossing wildebeest in the Mara river during the annual wildebeest migration in the Masai Mara game reserve on September 13, 2016. Photo: ANP/AFP Carl De Souza

4. Bazaruto Archipelago (Mozambique) Is a group of six islands. Bazaruto Island is the largest in the Bazaruto Archipelago and Bazaruto National Park. The archipelago is certainly a beautiful destination which needs to be explored. The archipelago  boasts of by a wide array of marine and wildlife, azure waters and amazing beaches.

Bazaruto Archipelago Photo: /Flickr/Richard Moross
Bazaruto Archipelago Photo: /Flickr/Richard Moross

5. Ennedi Massif (Chad). Ennedi Massif: Natural and Cultural Landscape, which was recently named one of UNESCO’s Newest World Heritage Sites. This sandstone landscape is one of the world’s finest examples of rock art and carvings. Ennedi Massif has been sculpted by water and wind erosion over time into a plateau featuring canyons and valleys that present a spectacular landscape marked by cliffs, natural arches and pitons. The site is indeed a cultural treasure.

Ennedi Massif Photo credit: Flickr/David Stanley
Ennedi Massif Photo credit: Flickr/David Stanley

6. Sanganeb Marine National Park and Dungonab Bay – Mukkawar Island Marine National Park (Sudan) recently inscribed as one one of UNESCO’s Newest World Heritage Sites. Sanganeb is a coral atoll 25km off the coast of Sudan. Sanganeb National Park is indeed a marvel. Dungonab Bay is another remarkable marine treasure, which provides a habitat for large populations of seabirds, marine mammals, fish, sharks, and turtles.

7. National Arts Festival (South Africa) One of the most important events on the South African cultural calendar, and undoubtedly one of the biggest arts events on the African continent. Starting at the end of June/beginning of July, it runs for between 8 and 10 days and is held in the small university city of Grahamstown. The programme comprises drama, dance, physical theatre, comedy, opera, music, jazz, visual art exhibitions, film, student theatre, street theatre, lectures, craft fair, workshops, and a children’s arts festival.

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