The adventure tourism industry has grown exponentially globally in the last decade with tourists visiting far distant exotic destinations. As the world shrinks and becomes a global village, more people want to add meaning to all aspects of their lives. This yearning drives them to seek out unique experience-based vacations that are different from the norm.
You might wonder what makes an adventure holiday different from a traditional vacation. Well, adventure tourism is normally a combination of a physical activity, natural environment and cultural immersion. Unlike the normal holiday, an adventure vacation has an element of risk and demands a certain level of skill and physical exertion from you.
Common activities that people engage in during their adventure tours include whitewater rafting, surfing, mountain climbing, scuba diving and kayaking among others.
Adventure sports in Africa
Africa is one of the most popular destinations for those seeking adventure. Everything about the continent seems to draw you in, seducing you with its wildness and untamed nature. There are forests, deserts, mountains, rivers and oceans promising untold thrills if you are courageous enough to head there.
The adventure sports industry in Africa is rapidly developing and has remained a key source of economic growth for most countries. The impact of adventure tourism on the economic and social development of the continent is enormous. Other than the provision of foreign exchange, this particular brand of tourism has created immense opportunities for development, especially in remote communities where it fuels the local economy while generating income and employment.
In fact, the idea that such travel can sustain local economies emerged from the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC). For more than two decades, the WTTC has been quantifying the economic impact of travel and tourism. According to the organization’s recent Annual Economic Report, travel and tourism generated US$7.6 trillion (10% of the global GDP) and created 277 million jobs for the global economy in 2014.
That’s not all. Most experts agree that adventure travel in Africa (in conjunction with ecotourism) can be an effective way to help free developing countries from the downward spiraling cycles of poverty and environmental degradation. The latter can be curbed when communities come to appreciate the financial value adventure tourists bring to them. Their perception of their natural and cultural resources gradually changes as they recognize them as sources of sustainable income. They then take great care to preserve this heritage, through environmental and cultural conservation.
As you can see, your decision to go on an adventure in Africa can have several positive outcomes. This should serve as an incentive for you to discover the wonders of this vibrant continent. Although adventure sports are still in their infancy in Africa, there is something to suit both novice and experienced adventurers.
Africa’s beautiful and expansive coastlines are perfect for surfing, scuba diving, jet skiing and a raft of other watersports. Move further inland and you’ll find numerous activities to satisfy your adventurer’s soul. You can settle for safaris in the Serengeti and Maasai Mara or trekking and mountaineering in Mount Kilimanjaro or Mount Kenya. If hiking through forests is your thing, you can try out gorilla tracking in the Virunga Range on the borders of Uganda and Rwanda or hiking in Kakum National Park in Ghana. Alternatively, you may opt to ride dune buggies or dirt bikes across sections of the Sahara or Kalahari deserts. The choice is yours.
One thing to remember is to adequately pack for the trip beforehand. Make sure you research the area you are going to visit as well as the activities you’d like to participate in. Consult your tour operator to get advice on what you should carry with you. It is a good idea to take your choice of compression clothing if you are going to be involved in intense physical activities. Compression clothing can aid circulation, provide support for better muscle performance as well as help you recover from any strenuous activities. Your preferred brand site online should have a variety of compression sleeves for arms, knees, wrists, etc. to suit your specific needs.
Adventure tourism is set to continue growing in the coming years. Tour operators specializing in this type of travel market should brace themselves for increased completion between countries as each try to woo more tourists. The best strategy for attracting and retaining clients is to differentiate destinations against the competition and to provide exemplary service.
On a global perspective, adventure tourism incorporates very desirable values such as the respect for different cultures and the protection of natural resources. It is therefore important for communities across Africa to understand what it entails and work together with adventure travel professionals for the benefit of all.