Adventure specialist Acacia Africa is tipping Zimbabwe for further success in 2020 as the country continues to rebound following the fall of long-time leader Robert Mugabe in 2017.
The destination has shot to the top of Acacia’s list of most popular east and southern African destinations for 2020, edging out Tanzania, which remains second, and Uganda, which has fallen from first to third.
Acacia said the relative political stability afforded by the end of Mugabe’s 30-year reign as president had made the country both more attractive and accessible to tourists.
“Zimbabwe has been slowly making its way back onto bucket lists, and 2020 could be its best year yet, with hotel demand at Victoria Falls reportedly up 25%,” said Acacia, citing also Hollywood A-listers’ Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones’s decision to celebrate Christmas at Victoria Falls.
Arno Delport, Acacia sales and marketing manager, added: “Still crowd-free, there’s an added incentive to visit Zimbabwe, under-tourism well on its way to becoming a major travel trend.
“The main highlights are the majestic falls, [with] the country offering what are arguably some of the best views (15 points in all); Hwange, one of the largest elephant populations in Africa residing in the national park; and the Great Zimbabwe National Monument, the ruins second only in size to the Egyptian pyramids.”
Namibia climbed one place from fifth to fourth, while South Africa recovered from ninth to fifth, buoyed by the government’s decision to waive rules requiring families to provide their young children’s birth certificates; the 30th anniversary of Nelson Mandela’s release from prison; and an upturn in surf options along the Golden Mile.
New sustainable travel pursuits, meanwhile, include hiking in Oribi Gorge nature reserve; game driving at Addo Elephant national park; and nature trekking in Tsitsikamma national park.
Mozambique has fallen from third to sixth, and Kenya from fourth to seventh, albeit with Acacia predicting a significant upturn for Kenya next year after strengthening its commitment to eco-tourism and as of early June, introducing new wider curbs on single-use plastics on beaches and in forests, national parkers and conservation areas.
Acacia’s top 10 is rounded out by Botswana, Zambia and Malawi.