According to recent reports Africa safaris are continually growing in popularity not just in traditional tourist markets like US and Europe but also emerging markets like China.
The reports reveal that tourism travel in Africa is increasing, with a higher number of tourists coming from Brazil, Russia, India and China, as well as from the Middle East. These are all countries that are each deemed to be at a similar stage of newly advanced economic development.
The most popular destinations for Africa safaris include countries such as Tanzania, Zambia, Namibia, Uganda, South Africa, Kenya, Botswana, Democratic Republic of the Congo and Zimbabwe.
The increased safari-led tourism is also helping parts of Africa to develop and some of this is being channelled back into developing the safari experience for tourists. Strong economic growth, especially in East Africa, is helping to grow business tourism throughout the region, while rising incomes and urbanization are driving growth in domestic, inter-Africa travel. Tourists on safaris in Africa are often looking to catch sight of the big five (elephant, rhino, cheetah, lion and zebra). Chimpanzee and Gorilla trekking have also led to the increasing popularity of safaris in Africa.
Here are a few facts about the big five that most tourists want to see on an Africa Safari:
1) The African elephant is the largest land mammal on earth. Elephants live in woodlands, forests, deserts and savanna. Elephants can be over 14 feet tall and 30 feet wide. They drink 30-50 gallons of water every day and are herbivores.
2) Rhinos are large mammals. Adult rhinos can weigh up to 6000 pounds. There are two species of rhino in Africa, the Black rhino and the White rhino.
3) Cheetahs are rare and beautiful cats. They are the fastest animals on earth and prefer wide open spaces. Cheetahs are not easy to spot on safari since only around 12,000 remain in the wild.
4) Lions are social and live in prides (unlike other cats) so they are easier to spot than a cheetah or leopard. They are often seen resting rather than active. Lions can rest for up to 20 hours a day.
5) Zebra are fairly common throughout East and Southern Africa although mostly confined to national parks and reserves. Zebra are grazers and can gather in huge migratory herds. If a tourist is lucky, then they will spot each of these animals on most safaris.
Safaris have developed a long way from the traditional image of the ‘big game hunt’ and have steadily moved towards a type of Safaris are a form of ‘ecotourism’. Here tourists can not only enjoy and experience wild animals and rich geographic landscapes; they can, at the same time, become educated on the ecosystems and animal kingdoms of indigenous regions in Africa. The New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD), has been very instrumental in this new development.