AFRICAN TRENDS IN WILDERNESS AFRICAN TOURISM/YOGA
African tourism lends itself to wellness travel.
According to the report, safari holidays – one of Africa’s most important segments – are increasingly including yoga, spa, and meditation as part of the itinerary.
The idea of “wellness in the wilderness” also resonates with travellers seeking unique and authentic experience, resulting in a demand for spiritual travel with an adventure component.
African Yoga. panafricanalliance.com
Furthermore, the Global Wellness Summit found that in 2014, wellness travel – defined as travel with a purpose of improving health and wellbeing – was growing at 74% more than regular global travel.
Another factor in the rise of Africa’s tourism is the emphasis on sustainable and reduced footprint holidays, with increasing importance placed on ensuring the benefits of tourism are directly and indirectly shared with the local economy.
Caroline Bremner, Euromonitor International head of travel, said: “Time spent with loved ones, including oneself, was consistently ranked as most important by respondents in our 2015 Global Consumer Trends Survey. Time is becoming crucial in a world where everything moves fast, so a safari in the middle of nowhere with loved ones is the ultimate form of wellness travel.”
Mindfulness travel is a fairly new concept that looks to capitalise on the emotional and spiritual benefits of tourism. It is complementary to the wellness trend and is another opportunity for Africa.
South Africa and Kenya are embracing this trend, but Euromonitor International believes the entire region could benefit. The great animal migrations seen across Botswana and Tanzania could be the focus of a wellness or mindfulness travel experience.
World Travel Market, senior director, Simon Press said: “Wellness in the wilderness combines a number of emerging travel and consumer trends, and Africa lends itself to adventure and relaxation in a natural environment which can also satisfy the demand from travellers for a sustainable and responsible experience.
“The Africa region at WTM London 2016 has showcased a number of suppliers and destinations combining safaris and wellness, many of which are at the forefront of what is an increasingly important segment.” WTM London is the event where the travel and tourism industry conducts its business deals. Buyers from the WTM Buyers’ Club have a combined purchasing responsibility of $22.6 billion (£15.8bn) and sign deals at the event worth $3.6 billion (£2.5bn).
How vegetarianism is going back to its roots in Africa
Health and climate concerns are behind the growth of plant-based diets which were once prevalent on the African continent.
In the meat-loving capital of Burkina Faso, customers at a small roadside joint eat bean balls, grilled tofu skewers and peanut butter rice while a report about chickens unfit for consumption being dumped on the street airs on the midday news.
In Ouagadougou’s first plant-based restaurant, there are no knives on the tables. https://www.happycow.net/africa/burkina_faso/ouagadougou/
The place is full of regular customers who greet Christine Tapsoba, the owner, like an old friend. But it wasn’t always like this. “At the start, it wasn’t easy. People thought it was weird, they didn’t know how food can be made without using meat. Some days, the restaurant was opened and nothing was sold.
In the years since Nasa opened in 2004, her clientele has grown exponentially, drawn in initially by giveaways of her popular barbecued tofu skewers.
Plant-based diets have also grown-on-blades-of-grass-and-bioreactor-chicken-nuggets the west, with vegan restaurants and products seeing meteoric rises in sales. But global meat consumption with burgeoning urban middle classes across Africa, Asia and Latin America powering the demand.
Across Africa, a growing number of plant-based restaurants are following in Tapsoba’s footsteps in response to health and environmental challenges. This helps vegetarians and vegans find places to eat around the world, lists more than 900 restaurants with vegan options across Africa. More than half of these were added in the past two years. Thirty fully vegan restaurants have been listed since the start of 2018.
“Demand has been way up in most major cities. It’s awesome times for those who like to eat plant-based,” says Eric Brent, Happy Cow’s founder. “Some of the catalysts have been vegan documentaries, popular YouTubers [including in South Africa], and plant-based alternatives to meat and dairy,” he adds.
South Africa has been at the forefront of this push, with veganism booming in Cape Town and Johannesburg. Cities such as Nairobi in Kenya, and Accra in Ghana, today boast a dozen meat-free restaurants. In Dakar, the Senegalese capital, upmarket seaside restaurants are quickly adding salad bowls and aubergine sandwiches to their otherwise meat- and fish-filled menus.
The continent is also at the forefront of some of the challenges veganism hopes to ease. Conditions such as heart disease and cancer have now overtaken infectious diseases such as cholera and measles to become the biggest drain on Africa’s economies, according to the World Health Organization. Much of the continent is already feeling the effects of the climate crisis – a common reason for reducing meat intake – as more regular and unpredictable droughts and floods wreak havoc for farmers and regularly claim lives.
Many of its advocates, however, argue that veganism is not a new trend – it is simply a return to traditional African diets. “I particularly think it’s important to spread veganism around Africa because it originated in Africa,” says Nicola Kagoro, a chef working in South Africa and Zimbabwe. “Our ancestors didn’t eat as much meat. It is through colonisation that we learned these crazy meat-eating practices.
In recent researches conduced, west African countries such as Mali, Chad, Senegal and Sierra Leone, which boasted diets rich in fruits, vegetables and whole grains, topped the list. Ethiopian cuisine relies on plant-based foods such as the sourdough flatbread injera, lentils and beans, and many of the country’s Orthodox Christians take part in regular fasts during which meals are served without any animal products.
Still, the trend is slow to take hold. “It’s hard to spread the vegan practice around Africa because Africans love their meat,” says Kagoro, who is known as Chef Cola. “The challenge is because Africans think meat is a form of showing wealth.”
With Nasa, Tapsoba helps the few Burkinabe vegetarians of Ouagadougou navigate an often difficult path to a meat-free life. “When a vegetarian is here and I am told they struggle to find something to eat, immediately I rise up to help them,” she says.
And with patience, free tofu, and a growing awareness of the consequences of meaty diets will convince others to join.