Africa as a travel destination has regained some popularity over the last few years. There is no longer the misconception that the everyday person rides along the streets on elephants and or gets chased down by lions (though they might do in some very remote regions). The infrastructure and business economy have boomed in many of the large and prosperous cities placing them as strong presences in global trade with their own unique identity. Trade aside; rich African cultural heritages are a great drawing card in terms of tourism.
1. Accra, Ghana
has built itself up from the starting points of a tiny village, to a bustling city with a mind of its own. This city has strong cultural beliefs, which tie into everything they do. For the traveler interested in a more holistic adventure a visit to some local children’s reading centers or immersing themselves in traditional festivals that provide insight and understanding of the culture can provide just that. The people of Ghana are tightknit communities who make you feel welcome from the moment you arrive. Walking through the streets is sure to stimulate the senses as street vendors peddle their delicious food and produce as well as enjoy the unique buildings and architecture. Accra will definitely make you feel one with vibrant energy and creative spirit of the country.
2. Gaborone, Botswana
Gaborone, Botswana has become a destination of choice for travelers interested in history and culture and has pushed itself to be seen. With its national monuments and cultural diversity, it is truly a remarkable place to visit. The Three Chiefs Monument sums up its history and beliefs beautifully in a few simple words: “boitshoko, maikarabelo, boipuso, botshabelo, bogaka,” meaning “endurance, global responsibility, independence, refuge and heroism;” words to live by.
3. Newtown, South Africa
Found in the city of in Johannesburg is considered a major contender as a cultural hotspot. Home and inspiration to the artistic and creative minds of South Africa, much of the area has been renovated and reconstituted for museums and studios with an abundance of thrift shops, street stalls, and visual delights. Newtown is fast becoming a tourist favorite on their journeys through South Africa’s Mother city. South Africa has 12 official languages and many well-engrained and diverse cultural identities.
Another favorite in South Africa is Braamfontein, a region that has undergone many a facelift reflecting the great changes in political and cultural history of the nation. You can see old bus depots become restaurants and markets become open-air theaters. The vibrancy and ethnicity of this area has attracted a lot of attention and is a go-to spot to look at the deeper stories of the city and the country as a whole.
This being said, every country could be considered a cultural “hotspot” in its own right. Each place has a story to tell, a rich cultural history molded by religion and transitions from traditional to modern livelihoods. Truly it is the people that create those hotspots, by recognizing these points of rich heritage, showing an interest in other people’s stories and creating an atmosphere of intrigue and curiosity. A journey through Africa is sure to quench your interest in culture, allowing many opportunities to show respect to those who were there before us and the legacy created.