Africa is the second-largest continent in the world after Asia, and it is one of the most diverse places, thanks to its cultures and expansive geographic. The continent boasts a warm tropical climate, friendly people and exotic wildlife. It is also one of the most multilingual continents on the planet, with over 2,000 languages. Arabic is the most spoken language, mostly in Muslim African countries. For instance, Nigeria and Cameroon alone have more than 500 and 200 languages respectively. In terms of religion, Islam is dominant, followed closely by Christianity, and there is also an African traditional religion.
When people from other continents hear about Africa, often poverty and diseases come to their minds. Some also refer to Africa as a single nation, which is not right. Africa comprises of 54 countries, with unique cultural diversity. Even the hottest desert, Sahara is found in the continent; same with the Kalahari desert. Africa also has an abundance of great lakes, beautiful coasts with coral reefs and barrier islands, wetlands, mountain ranges, shrublands, rainforests and beautiful landscapes.
The number of visitors coming to Arica has recently hit high with a total of 67 million tourists reported to have visited the continent in 2018, according to a report compiled by Jumia Travel. However, despite the fast-growing tourism industry in the region, not all African countries experience tourists – unlike some well-known destinations like South Africa, Kenya, Namibia, Botswana and Egypt. Therefore, we have come up with a list of beautiful African countries with tourism potentials, yet, sadly neglected by tourists.
1. Sao Tome & Principe
The African island nation of Sao Tome & Principe receives the lowest number of visitors compared to other islands such as Mauritius and Seychelles. The low number of tourists to Sao Tome & Principe can be attributed to the depressing economy and poor infrastructures. Despite all the challenges, Sao Tome & Principe offers unspoiled landscapes, sandy beaches, warm tropical climate, national parks, full of species of flora and fauna. Sao Tome & Principe can earn millions yearly from its tourism industry, if well-managed.
Comoros is the third-smallest nation in Africa, which borders Mozambique in the North and Madagascar in the Northwest. Comoros, which has a population of about 700,000 people, is one of the poorest countries in the world. Its tourism sector is not robust, due to political instability.
Comoros has experienced more than 20 coups since gaining independence in 1975. Nonetheless, its breathtaking beaches are outstanding. Furthermore, its massive Karthala Volcano, located on the La Grande in the Western Indian Ocean is a beautiful tourist attraction site.
Despite rich in natural resources, aquariums, natural hot springs, mountainous terrain, hiking opportunities and untouched beaches, Guinea still receives very few tourists. Statistics reveal that the West African country welcomes an average of 56,000 visitors annually.
The main challenge tourists face in Guinea is insufficient infrastructure, characterized by poor road networks and shortage of communications equipment. If the government of Guinea can invest in infrastructure, the country will reap the tourism benefits.
Burundi witnessed a mother of demonstrations in 2015 after the country’s ruling party endorsed President Pierre Nkurunziza’s alleged unconstitutional third term presidential bid. As a result, thousands of tourists deserted the country for their safety. The tremendous decline of tourists has raised concern over the future of Burundi’s tourism industry.
It is expected that the tourism sector will pick up at a very high speed once the situation normalizes because Burundi is rich in culture and history. Apart from many beautiful national parks and natural reserves, Burundi’s Lake Tanganyika is one of the deepest lakes in the world. Hopefully, the newly elected president of Burundi Évariste Ndayishimiye will take the right steps to attract many tourists, who will contribute immensely to the economy.
5. Central Africa Republic (CAR)
Brutal civil war is to blame for the decrease in the number of tourists in the Central Africa Republic. Political instability and insecurity have often made many Western Governments advise their citizens to stay away from the CAR. Sadly, some individuals in the West have labelled CAR one of the most dangerous countries in the world, but that is not so.
Whatever instability CAR may be facing does not erase the beauty of the country and its tourism potentials. The war that began in 2012 has claimed several lives and displaced many in CAR. Furthermore, the Central Africa Republic is underdeveloped, as flying is the only option in most cases. Thus, a visitor to the Central Africa Republic must prepare for extra hassles, including mobility and infrastructure challenges.
However, despite all the challenges, the Central Africa Republic is a hidden gold, yet to be discovered by curious tourists.
6. Sierra Leone
Sierra Leone had gone through difficult moments of civil war and the Ebola outbreak that deterred tourists. The 11-year civil war, which ended in 2002, claimed over 50, 000 lives and displaced thousands of people.
Ebola also killed over 3,000 others in 2014. The country has been since declared Ebola-free. A safe country, blessed with some of the rarest wildlife, seductive beaches, friendly inhabitants, hopefully, Sierra Leone will soon start to experience an influx of tourists. It also has a rich food culture – an ideal destination for those who love seafood such as tilapia, lobster and crabs.
While in Sierra Leone, make sure you taste the famous Jollof Rice and Egusi soup.
7. The Democratic Republic of Congo
The DRC has experienced one of the most unfortunate chapters in its history, including, but not limited to brutal colonialism and exploitation to authoritarian rule and mismanagement. Yet, the country has much to offer in terms of beauty.
From large swaths of the rainforest with rare animals, including the mountain gorillas, panoramic mountains, beautiful gushing rivers to captivating volcanoes, the Democratic Republic of Congo ( formerly Zaire) is the ultimate African adventure, though neglected by many.
Mount Nyiragongo has one of the world’s most volatile volcanoes, which shower the city with lava. It is must-see-sight. Other abundant tourist attractions are Inga Falls, Lake Tanganyika, Lola ya Bonobo sanctuary, Kundelungu National park, Boyoma Falls.
Sadly, the abundance of natural minerals in the DRC has fuelled senseless wars and insecurity, which have caused enormous damage to the country’s tourism industry.
Political instability, insecurity, poor infrastructure, disease outbreak, underdevelopment are some of the factors hindering the growth of the tourism industry in several African countries. Tourism plays an integral part in the sustenance of any economy. It is a potential source of income for countries with good foresight; but for a country to reap from tourism, security is the sine qua non. A tourist needs to feel safe to enjoy a country and all it has to offer. Hence, tourism hardly survives without stability. Constant or less interrupted water, the power supply are all necessary for tourism to flourish. Equally, every serious government must combat any outbreak of diseases and develop infrastructure to earn revenues from its tourism sector. Are these neglected African countries listening?
More about this and other stories, visit : https://katakata.org/magazines/