More than 30 million tourists visit Africa every year. Over half of the international arrivals are for business purposes, and may partake in tourist activities as well, while 15% travel for pure tourism and 30% visit friends and family.
Tourists select the continent as a destination for wildlife viewing and to enjoy the sunny skies. Africa is the world’s number one destination for safaris which range from the exotic to the very simple.
The tourism industry is one of the most important for the continent: it provided 12.8 million people with jobs, directly and indirectly, in 2011. Tourism in 2012 contributed over US$36 billion or 2.8% of the continent’s GDP.
The continent’s vast and diverse nature makes it complex and difficult to decide on the best region for a safari. But the east, central and southern parts of the continent are by far the preferred choices.
These areas generally have well developed or fast developing tourism sectors. There is an abundance of wildlife as well as low to no visa requirements.
Tourists to these regions mostly come from countries like France, the UK, the USA, Germany and Portugal.
Below is a quick guide to some of the safari hot spots on the African continent:
Etosha National Park
in the northern arid region of Namibia offers great chances of spotting endangered black rhinoceros as well as flamingos in the salt pans.
Kruger National Park
in South Africa is in its own league because of its diversity of animals as well as advanced environmental management techniques and policies.
Addo Elephant National Park
in the Eastern Cape province is the only park where you can find the Big 7: the African elephant, Cape buffalo, African lion, African leopard, African rhino as well as whales and Great White sharks.