The great African escape! It tops on footloose Bengalurean’s wish list

Two weeks ago recruitment platform Geektrust.in cofounder Sneha Jain was exploring the Maasai Mara National Reserve in Africa. Besides soaking in the sights and sounds of the Great Wildebeest Migration in Serengeti, a kill by a lioness and staying in the heart of the reserve with wild hippos and giraffes for company, she was jolted by yet another experience. “We spent nearly 12 hours in the Jeep daily alongside other tourists during our eight-day trip. We noted a lot of chattering in Kannada and and found that most of the tourists were Bengalureans!” says Jain.

Escape to Africa has emerged as a fashionable fascination for Bengalureans. Primitive living of the Maasai tribes, gripping wildlife, historic pyramids and bazaars, diverse biosphere, cricket, adventure, food and people its unique untouched landscape has namma travellers hooked. And the city’s travel curators are cheerfully screaming Hakuna Matata! Conservationist and founder of niche expedition and safari company Africa Under Canvas, Saad Bin Jung, says, “Bengaluru is one of the biggest markets for Africa today. We see a 30 % increase in the tourist traffic each year. Like India, Africa was a British colony . The old connect has grown stronger.” Observing Bengaluru’s growing interest in countries like Tanzania, Zanzibar and Botswana, Jung has been curating luxurious adventures for budgets ranging from $400 to $2,000 per person.

Seema Jaising, proprietor of Che Experiences & Travels, adds, ” Africa is on everyone’s bucket list since two years. Europe still rules. Asia is the second favourite. Africa places third.”

Like Jung and Jaising, other experi ential travel curators too are leaving no stone unturned. Byond Travel’s Vikram Ahuja offers packages like stay at a vineyard in South Africa, Nile river cruise, belly dancing class, a workshop at the papyrus-making factory , to the AfrikaBurn Festival in October.

“We have seen a 20% and a 60% drop in enquiries for Europe and Turkey respectively due to rising crime last year. In winter, freezing Europe loses tourists. Tropical Africa is thus gaining prominence,” says Ahuja, who notes popular African destinations for Bengalureans in Kenya, Zanzibar, Tanzania, Egypt and now Morocco.

Climbing Africa’s Mount Kilimanjaro this year inspired general physician Dr Anindita Bhateja to launch her own exclusive travel company! Called Afrikan Adventures, Bhateja’s travel menu highlights fully-equipped treks to Mt Kilimanjaro with professional Tanzanian mountaineers besides safaris and routine sightseeing.”Europe and Australia are safer.Africa has always had a fear factor.Africans are poor but professional and proud of their country. It is actually an oasis in the desert,” she says.

Time to book a voyage to the world’s second-largest continent!

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