Cecilia Garland - Apr 17, 2023
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Tourism in Africa is recovering faster than the global industry. After two years of decline caused by COVID, Africa has regained 65% of tourism that existed before the pandemic, with the number of visitors doubling between 2021 and 2022 as 45 million travelers arrived in the continent, compared to only 19.4 million the previous year. Tourism Review presents 7 destinations in Africa that are ranked as the best for both culture and amazing scenes. 

1/ Egypt


Egypt's tourism power will see arrivals jump 46% in 2023 to nearly 11.6 million, approaching an all-time peak of 13.02 million in 2019. Quite importantly, Egypt is the country that attracts the most investors in 2023 with 24,944 rooms spread over new 103 hotels.

Renewed interest in ancient history, Nile cruises, and pharaonic tales followed the reopening of the North African country in mid-2022 when all health-related entry requirements were lifted.

Egypt is the perfect place for an international holiday, as the top two options include Cairo, a cosmopolitan city that serves as a gateway to the famous Pyramids of Giza, and resort-filled Hurghada on the shores of the Red Sea.

2/ South Africa


South Africa has year-round warm weather, impressive ethnic and cultural diversity, 21 UNESCO-listed landmarks, abundant nature and picturesque coastline, and many wonders and historical value surrounded by its immense territory to fill a weeks-long itinerary. The hard part is figuring out where to start.

Fortunately, Delta has relaunched the three-city route linking Atlanta to Cape Town and Johannesburg, two of South Africa's main entry points. Cape Town is an ideal place for culture due to the central role it played during apartheid, housing the prison where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned, while Johannesburg is a major urban center famous for its gold mining history and nightlife.

Not all destinations on the continent grant visa-free, e-vis, or vis-on-arrival (VOAs) entry to U.S. and EU passport holders, and applying for travel authorization at the consulate in advance may be necessary in some cases.

3/ Kenya


If you want to start your Grand Tour of Africa but are still not sure where to start, Kenya should be at the top of the list: tick all the boxes in the "African style" category, and it offers you a vibrant city break in Nairobi, wildlife sights in the Maasai Mara Reserve, and of course an exciting natural backdrop filled with savannas and magnificent lakes. Kenya is one of the most popular destinations in Africa.

1.32 million tourists arrived in Kenya throughout 2022, with an annual growth rate of 74.5%. 2023 could be bigger now that port infrastructure has been strengthened and cruise ships are starting to return. The Kenya Tourism Board hopes the enhanced experience on the Kenyan coast and other parts of the outback will help "accommodate international visitors of different interests and tastes".

4/ Tanzania


Stretching over the Indian Ocean and including the impossibly vast Kilimanjaro National Park, which boasts Africa's highest peak and distant safari routes, Tanzania's lesser-known coastal gem is highly sought-after by beachgoers and thrill-seekers alike. In 2022 alone, it hosted 1.2 million foreign expats, just about 300 thousand less than before COVID 2019.

They are mostly attracted to the country's impeccable wildlife, although Tanzania's importance as a cultural hub has also recently been recognized, thanks to the promotion of UNESCO World Heritage Sites, especially the offshore stone city of Zanzibar, a complex maze of white buildings dating back to the European colonization of the island of the same name.

5/ Tunisia


According to easyJet, one of the largest low-cost airlines in Europe, the demand for travel to Tunisia has increased more than any other country in its catalogue since 2019, and it's not hard to see why. Located on the border of the Mediterranean Sea, it enjoys the same mild climate as Italy, Spain and Greece, with countless miles of sandy beaches and crystal-clear waters but much cheaper.

Tunisia is between 50% and 65% cheaper than other Medi ports: Americans will, on average, spend 58.5% less than they spend in Nice, on the French Côte d'Azur; when it comes to dining 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 in Santorini, Greece.

6/ Ghana


Experts point out that West and Central Africa benefit the most from the continent's newfound popularity, and Ghana specifically led travel bookings in the U.S. market due to improved seat capacity departing from states and it will attract a greater number of premium segment travelers.

In response to this trend, local authorities have built more high-end hotels and invested heavily in consolidating tourism establishments in order to meet the largest spenders and boost the country's competitiveness.

7/ Ethiopia


Ethiopia is one of the best-performing destinations in Africa, with Ethiopia growing by 3% compared to the pre-pandemic era, supported mostly by ecotourism, it is one of the most geographically diverse countries south of the Sahara, rewarding guests with some unparalleled views, from rugged terrain and cracked valleys to magnificent waterfalls and alpine peaks.

Reducing Ethiopia to natural attractions, however impressive, would be a grave mistake: stacked with rock-carved churches from the twelfth to fifteenth centuries, located in the small Ethiopian highlands discovered, world-class museums chronicling Ethiopia's rich past, restaurants serving a wide range of ethnic foods waiting to be discovered in Addis Abeba, the bustling capital, and friendly locals.

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