As specialists in African tourism, those involved in the Zambesi Conservation Alliance have seen (even in the past few years) that tourism to Africa’s safari areas have grown exponentially. If we look further back to 50 or 60 years ago it is apparent the numbers that visited the continent in 2020 are staggeringly impressive. The continent is rich with so many amazing natural attractions, it’s not surprising that everyone wants to get a chance to see them up close and personal. The magic of the Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe and Zambia, the charming salt pans of Etosha in Namibia, the jaw-dropping Okavango Delta in Botswana – there are so many places that draw people from far and wide for an opportunity to have a truly life-changing experience.
Africa's safari tourism & conservation efforts hard hit by COVID-19
Along with the high number of visitors to Africa came billions in valuable tourism dollars. COVID-19 has put a halt to all that money which would have been going toward the limited conservation efforts in place, simply through bums-in-beds, And, as a result, wildlife conservation in Africa has been hit REALLY hard. Within a few short months of the pandemic going global, we noticed startling numbers of our precious animals being poached, driven by the illicit wildlife trade. Those big bucks that were coming in through tourists were contributing toward a number of conservation initiatives including (but not limited to) anti-poaching units, critical research initiatives, wildlife rehabilitation programmes, education programmes, and extraordinary veterinary efforts. And with no tourists, the continent has suddenly seen fuel thrown on a fire that was hard enough to battle with to begin with.