Tourism: Latest News
Sarah Duff, 8:22 am
We felt them before we saw them. A few were up in the trees, dropping pieces of bark on our heads. The dominant gorilla sat on his own, munching vegetation and ignoring the khaki-clad tourists in a photo frenzy. A baby clung to its mother, looking like a teddy bear with shiny button eyes. An adult female walked right through our group, touching my leg as she passed. She could’ve ripped me in two. One gorilla seemed bored by us and sat with his arms crossed as if to say “And? The baby got off his mother’s back and went to his father, curling up in the gorilla’s baseball mitt-sized hand.
Becca Blond, 2:49 pm
No matter how many times I drive South Africa’s most famous road trip, the Garden Route never gets old. The scenery is some of the country’s most stunning, beginning east of Cape Town at Mossel Bay and finishing up around Storm’s River and Tsitsikamma National Park. The route follows the sea past lagoons and some of the largest indigenous forest tracks in SA. Book a township tour in Knysna, home to the country’s largest Rastafarian community. The government turns a blind eye on marijuana cultivation in accordance with residents’ religious beliefs.
Dana Sanchez, 1:45 pm
In the process of tapping into the sharing economy, Airbnb tapped into a relatively unfilled niche in Africa — the need for reliable, mid-range accommodation in African cities. Doing so helped Airbnb become the second most valuable U.S. startup in 2016. Valued at $68 billion, Uber is the most valuable startup in the U.S. and across the globe — proof that you can get rich by sharing.
Frank Mutulu, 7:26 pm
Other than an acacia tree at sunset, the most common icon of Africa is a Maasai warrior. We’ve all seen the images of tall and slender men draped in red shawls, standing stork-like on one leg and leaning on a spear shaft. Stories of tourists coming to Africa and falling in love with Maasai are now commonplace. They are known to be handsome people. In the evenings, Maasai warriors sometimes gather to dance in rhythm. One by one, they take turns jumping high in the air with spears at their side. The average Maasai warrior leaps up to four feet in the air.
Dana Sanchez, 4:40 pm
Local and international tourists flock to a centuries-old public circumcision ritual in Uganda and parts of Western Kenya. They watch teens and young men of the Bamasaaba tribe go under the knife without pain killers. If they show no pain, the “candidates” are rewarded with mobile phones, cash and cattle. More than 30,000 people attended the 2016 Imbalu festival. Ugandan tourism plans to build a cultural center celebrating and preserving the history of the Bamasaaba people. The goal is to attract international visitors.
Dana Sanchez, 11:00 am
At the southern tip of Africa where the Atlantic and Indian oceans meet, you can take a self-guided, five-day coastal hike. The Cape Agulhas Southernmost Walk rewards adventurous travelers with stunning views, beautiful beaches, and shipwrecks. You’ll meet fishermen and Khoikoi beach nomads. Accommodation is in three- and four-star lodges. Your luggage will be transported for you. All you take with you is a day pack.
Dana Sanchez, 11:00 am
Durban’s potential tends to bubble beneath the surface, not quite as bold and direct as Johannesburg or Cape Town. A laid-back city on many counts, its art scene, rumored to be burgeoning for the last decade, may be better described as simmering slowly. “Durban isn’t an easy city for creatives. But that isn’t to say the city isn’t home to some really staggering talent,” says Jonas Barausse of Street Scene tours. For a little more context, I spend a morning with Carol Brown, a freelance consultant and curator who’s considered a doyenne of the Durban arts scene.
Dana Sanchez, 11:00 am
Africa is a paradise for birdwatchers with almost 2,500 bird species. Topping the list is Democratic Republic of the Congo with 1,139 species, followed by Tanzania, Kenya, Angola, Nigeria, Cameroon and Ethiopia. An African eagle, the bateleur is the national emblem of Zimbabwe. Endemic to Africa, it’s one of the most colorful birds of prey with jet black plumage, a scarlet face and orange feathers down the back. In 2009, this bird was listed as “near threatened” due to a drop in population. The bateleur spends as much as 80% of the day in flight, covering up to 300 miles in search of food.
Julia Austin, 2:00 pm
If you learned everything you know about South Africa in a guidebook, broaden your horizons with this list of 15 amazing — and slightly crazy– things you never knew you could do. Like spend half a day hanging out with meerkats. Meerkats are immune to certain venom including the Kalahari Desert scorpion. They forage in a group with one sentry on guard watching for predators. Sentry duty is usually an hour long. Meerkat young learn by mimicking adults who teach their pups tricks like how to eat a venomous scorpion. A meerkat can dig through sand equal to its own weight in seconds.
Dana Sanchez, 9:35 pm
For centuries, humans introduced alien species into new environments, sometimes with the hope of solving a problem. These acts often disrupted native ecosystems. Native to India, common mynas escaped into the wild in South Africa in 1902. Strong territorial instinct and a preference for living close to humans make the common myna an enormous urban pest. They’re known to kick other birds out of the nest. Their range is increasing so fast that they’ve been declared one of the world’s most invasive species — one of three birds in the top 100 species that could impact biodiversity, agriculture and human interests.
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