Tourism: Latest News
Ishay Govender-Ypma, 8:09 am
We have parachuted out of planes, bungeed off bridges, and done tandem paraglides, but only one in the group has been in a hot air balloon. Compared to other adventure activities, hot air balloons may seem tame. For me, the idea of being in a basket rising uncontrollably into space is terrifying. There’s a powerful whoosh of flames. We feel the heat and reel back. Ropes are loosened, the basket wobbles and starts to lift 18 adults into the air. The Magaliesburg region is marketed as the Cradle of Mankind. Cameras click. The air is crisp and still.
Joe Kennedy, 8:01 am
Take a hike through the ice and mist to the summit of Kenya’s highest mountain. At least seven of Mount Kenya’s 18 glaciers recorded in the 1890s by early explorers have disappeared. The rest are shrinking and may be gone in our lifetimes. Of the 15,000 visitors to the national park each year, those who attempt to summit mostly climb Point Lenana, (16,355 feet). Mount Kenya’s tarns and alpine meadows, its exotic high-altitude equatorial vegetation, and its sunbirds and soaring eagles make the hike one of the most beautiful in the East African mountains.
Dana Sanchez, 3:21 pm AFKI Original
There are not a lot of hotels near Cape Town International Airport. Most business and leisure travelers are in a hurry to get to Cape Town, or reluctant to leave, and understandably so, given the city’s many attractions. That’s why the 145-room Hotel Verde, a three-minute drive to Cape Town International Airport, feels like such a game changer. I stayed there on a trip to Cape Town and it felt like a glimpse into the future of the hotel industry. General Manager Samantha Annandale told me the hotel got at least $2.6M in free publicity just for being green.
Staff, 8:02 am
Once a center of the slave trade, the ancient port of Calabar is now one of the prettiest cities in Nigeria. It has long sought to position itself as a tourist center and jumping-off point for exploring Cross River State, home to Nigeria’ s only population of drill monkeys. Drills are one of Africa’s most endangered mammals. You can see them at Pandrillus in Calabar, the world’s most successful drill monkey breeding program. Director Peter Jenkins is a hero to some and hated by others. He’s been the target of death threats for trying to change local attitudes against catching monkeys for bush meat.
Bridget Williamson, 3:59 pm
Victoria Falls gets all the attention when it comes to waterfalls in Africa, and deservedly so. It’s not the highest or the widest waterfall in the world, but it’s the biggest — about twice the height of North America’s Niagara Falls and more than twice as wide. Africa has other fabulous waterfalls that many people don’t know about. They’re on the periphery of the beaten path in regions previously overlooked or ignored. Some are hard to reach. They’re among the most underappreciated aspects of Africa’s natural heritage.
Richard Holmes, 1:00 am
Locals tell the weather by the clouds swirling around Cape Town’s Table Mountain. Don’t be surprised if driving directions involve phrases like “drive away from the mountain.” You can’t overstate Cape Town’s beauty. The city is built around its single greatest feature — Table Mountain. Its trailheads are usually just a short drive from most city hotels, which can be a problem. Because it’s so accessible, tourists often underestimate Hoerikwaggo, San for the Mountain of the Sea.
Joe Kennedy, 2:02 pm
The 28-mile Fanie Botha hiking trail is considered one of South Africa’s best. One of the country’s first officially designated hiking trails, it was originally imagined as the start of an Appalachian Trail-inspired hike stretching from the Soutpansberg in the north to the Eastern Cape escarpment. The big dream wasn’t realized but you can hike the Fanie Botha, named for the man who pushed for a national hiking trail system. Hikers often start in the town of Sabie. Four huts can be booked to spend the nights along the way.
Dana Sanchez, 1:15 pm
Tourism has been the fastest-growing sector of The Gambia’s economy until now, accounting for 18-to-20% of the country’s revenue. The country, population about 2 million, is marketed to vacationers as “the smiling coast of West Africa.” In the wake of the current political unrest, tourism revenue will likely fall 50%, a stakeholder said. The sector will have to rebuilt just as it was after the 1994 coup that brought longtime ruler Yahya Jammeh to power. “I feel sorry for everybody here,” an evacuating Brit said. “It’s going to take years for tourism to pick up again.”
Guide To Kairouan, Tunisia: ‘If It Looks Like You’re Staying At A Nice Resort, You’ll Pay Higher Prices Here’By Kate Thomas, 8:01 am
The road is short from Sousse, Tunisia, to the Islamic city of Kairouan. Just 32 miles separate the two, lined with dusty olive groves baking in the Tunisian sun. And yet Kairouan’s Mosque of Uqba, the world’s fourth holiest site according to Muslim scholars, feels a world away from the clubs and 24-hour bars of Sousse. As my taxi driver pulled up in front of the mosque, he recited a line from the Koran and urged me to remove my wristband from the hotel in Sousse. “If it looks like you’re staying at a nice resort, you’ll pay higher prices here,” he confided.
Staff, 2:20 pm
It’s somewhat disconcerting to look at gazelles with the roar of traffic as your soundtrack, or see a line of skyscrapers on the northern edge of the park, but this is Africa. If you’re visiting Nairobi and don’t have time to head out into the bush, you’ll find one of the best urban wildlife parks in the world just a few miles from the city’s central business district. All you need is a few hours. At the Nairobi National Park, I saw giraffe, Cape buffalo, wildebeest, baboons, impala, a rhino and her baby, and — unexpectedly — lions mating.
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