For the past few years, social media has been influential in helping travelers plan their trips, especially those traveling to the African continent. For prospective travelers, connecting with content creators in Africa provides access to insider advice and guidance that hasn’t always been easily accessible. One of those creators, Nabz Arah, has been documenting her life in Uganda and showing the rest of the world the beauty of the East African nation.
“I started creating content after I took a trip to Jinja, in Eastern Uganda, and took a boat ride down the Nile River. I remember being so taken up and falling in love with exploring right then and there,” she says.
Uganda has been gaining popularity with adventure travelers, and the country saw over 1.5 million visitors in 2019 before travel halted in 2020. Arah says some of the most sought-out activities in Uganda include boating on Lake Bunyonyi, gorilla trekking at Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, and hiking up Sipi Falls.
“I want people to see that Uganda is beautiful, but it's the people that make it even more beautiful.” Arah adds, “The future of travel in Uganda is brighter than ever before as more people in other countries learn about the country and more Ugandans embrace domestic travel.”
Kisoro Uganda beautiful sunset over mountains and hills of pastures and farms in villages of Uganda.
Tanzanian-born Fahad Fuad has a similar story. He started traveling through Tanzania and was blown away by how beautiful his country was. For the past seven years, he’s been sharing travel and wildlife photographs on social media, and he’s also built a travel platform, Unzip Tanzania, which aims to share Tanzania's hidden gems.
“I started creating travel content so that I can show the world what Tanzania has to offer beyond Mt. Kilimanjaro, Serengeti National Park, and Zanzibar,” Fuad says. “Tanzania has so much to offer than those three destinations, and I knew as a content creator there was something that I could do to change the narrative about my country.”
Fuad explains that there’s a lack of information about the more off-beat destinations in Africa and he’s working to raise awareness through every photo and video he shares online.
“I never knew how beautiful my country was before I started traveling. Apart from the history and culture, the landscape of Tanzania will leave you in awe. It has crystal-clean white beaches, untouched forests, beautiful waterfalls, hot springs, and lakes that are found at the base of majestic mountains, and the endless savannah in the Serengeti which hosts a huge ecosystem. All of this beauty made me change my entire lifestyle to become a travel content creator.”
Nathalie Bonte in Rwanda.
Courtesy of Nathalie Bonte
While travelers may be more familiar with Africa’s more visited destinations like Egypt, Ghana, or Kenya, countries like Rwanda are experiencing a renewed interest, partly because travelers have direct access to local content thanks to creators like Nathalie Bonte. After moving to Rwanda in 2014, Bonte started a blog, Joli Tropisme, because she was tired of being asked the same cliched questions. Bonte set out to counter the lingering poverty narrative that surrounds Rwanda and showcase why the country is nicknamed “the country of a thousand hills.”
“Rwanda has so many hills offering incredible views and landscapes,” she says. “It’s the perfect destination for the first trip to Africa or a solo trip because it's very safe and peaceful. You can do a safari, hike volcanoes, go canoeing and enjoy one of the biggest lakes, Kivu Lake. Because it's small, you can do all this in 10 days.”
Bonte says that it’s not easy being a content creator in Africa - finding well-paid opportunities is challenging, and she faces competition from foreign content creators for partnerships with big brands. But Bonte’s mission is unwavering - she wants to change how people see Africa.
“The best part is when someone tells me that my account put Rwanda or other African countries on their bucket list or when they thank me for helping them see our continent more positively,” the blogger says. “I see beauty everywhere in Africa. I see progress, and I see the rich cultures and talents of our people, and I decided to share my vision to change the many clichés people still have about our stunning continent.”
Bonte and her daughters in Rwanda.
Courtesy of Nathalie Bonte
Zambia is another overlooked destination but Dee Walker wants to change that. Walker created a food and travel Instagram account to highlight the under-the-radar country and some of her recommendations include spending time in Zambia’s capital Lusaka, which has a vibrant food and arts scene, and then making the trek to Kundalila Falls in the northern part of Zambia. Walker also says she’s excited to see the boom in African travel in recent years.
“I think the future of African travel is about to blow up even more than we’ve seen in the last few years. People are super keen and curious to visit the continent and I also think more Black travelers outside the continent are visiting and making it a popular choice,” she says.
While they face challenges, these content creators are opening doors for travelers to familiarize themselves with African destinations they may not have considered before.
“The old way of thinking about Africa as only being poor and downtrodden is changing because of how travel content creators like myself are showcasing our respective countries, and I think it’s definitely attracting more visitors,” Walker says. “It’s also a great way to address usual negative stereotypes and perceptions. We have a beautiful and varied continent and people are simply doing their best to enjoy themselves and represent well.”
Let’s make things inbox official! Sign up for the xoNecole newsletter for daily love, wellness, career, and exclusive content delivered straight to your inbox.
Featured image courtesy of Nathalie Bonte