Working on this, our 20th anniversary issue, got us thinking about the origins of Travel Africa and the travel context at the time. Our heads were too full of dreams to pay much attention to the workings of the travel industry. We were simply on a mission to encourage people to visit our homeland that we love so much.
That was 1997, before the Internet arrived, when people used to phone their local travel agent (on a landline) to request a brochure. There was a chronic lack of coverage on Africa in the travel media, and we hoped that a magazine offering reassurance, inspiration and advice to prospective safari-goers would get people flocking to the world’s most exciting continent.
Today, of course, there is so much content available to us in an instant, and we can delve deeper into Africa than we could ever have imagined and research and book holidays with ease, while on the move. In fact, there is so much information bombarding us now that readers tell us they like to get away from a screen and lose themselves in the age-old tangible experience of flicking through the pages of a magazine. At a time where they are overwhelmed with choice, Travel Africa helps to qualify their research. This need for a slow read, that enables readers to filter the noise and enjoy the very best travel writing and opinion in one place, will shape future issues.
Over the course of the last twenty years we have had the privilege of working with hundreds of companies, conservation groups, tourism-related organisations and individuals across Africa and around the globe, and I have been struck by the passion with which these people are committed to telling Africa’s story and protecting its natural resources.
Behind each advert in this magazine are remarkable people doing inspiring things to nurture the continent, its people and wildlife — while providing guests with evocative travel experiences. They are all heroes. I urge you to linger on their ads, open their door and explore their world. Ultimately, they are there because they want to show you their corner of the continent and share the work they do.
Every company involved in tourism in Africa today is deeply invested in the wider issues: supporting education, conservation activities and habitat preservation. These are social and environmental enterprises that are critical to the future of Africa. Tourism is such an important tool in protecting our wildlife and driving economic development, and it is more important than ever that you visit. But as you will see in this themed edition, never has Africa been easier or more rewarding to explore. We hope that the magazine will continue to inspire your travels.
We are grateful to all of our readers, advertisers, contributors and everyone who has worked on Travel Africa or shared our journey over the last twenty years. We are especially indebted to those who supported us at the outset and made this possible. It started as our dream, but it is a journey that has been shared through our common love for the world’s most exciting continent.
Thank you. Asante sana. Siyabonga.
CRAIG RIX, Publisher
This letter was published in issue 80 (October-December 2017)