The 5 African destinations that made it onto NY Times' top destinations list for 2020

2020-01-10 16:45 - Gabi Zietsman
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A new year, new travel aspirations to put on your 2020 vision board.

While European and Asian destinations are usually the first choices for South Africans when it comes to planning international holidays, we tend to neglect Africa despite being part of the continent.

READ: Travel Africa like an African 

So why not make your new year resolution to travel more like an African - and you can start with these top five destinations that made it onto New York Times' 52 Places to Go To in 2020

The US's capital - Washington, DC - was named as the number one travel destination, specifically because America will be celebrating a hundred years since the American woman won the right to vote in 1920.

While also being an election year, the city has cultivated an identity outside of its politics, yet "Washington holds to its historical ideal of a city built on a common heritage — a place for all Americans to reflect on a shared identity, even in a contentious election year."

SEE: Why SAA is expanding nonstop flights between Washington DC and Accra, Ghana 

As for our African destinations, our neighbour Lesotho came in at 12th as a "wonderland for adventures" and has seen steady growth in tourism numbers.

The mountain kingdom's e-visa launch has also helped make it more appealing to travellers.

It shares the Drakensberg mountain range with South Africa, filled with rock paintings and adventure activities, and its thriving culture can be experienced in a variety of ways - from pony treks and rural village stays to the new National Museum and Art Gallery set to open in Maseru later this year. 

And of course skiing!

QUICK GUIDE TO LESOTHO: Visa-free travel for South Africans 

Here are the other African destinations that will be trending in 2020:

Egypt

Egypt's tourism has been bouncing back since Arab Springs, and 2020 is expected to be a big year for the desert country. 

A brand new mega-museum will be opening in Cairo in the last quarter of the year, according to Lonely Planet, which will house the biggest collection of ancient Egyptian artefacts in the world - including the entire Tutankhmaum burial treasure collection.

And for South Africans, the exchange rate is favourable and pricing is very cheap - so you can see the lavish lifestyles of ancient pharaohs without having to pay a lavish price yourself. 

QUICK GUIDE TO EGYPT: What you need to know before heading to Egypt 

Uganda

The East African country's safari tourism is slowly growing, with lush national parks and Lake Victoria within its borders. Access has also become easier after the resurrection of its national carrier - Uganda Airlines.

It's biggest draw however is its gorilla sanctuaries, offering cheaper tours compared to its neighbour Rwanda. 

According to the New York Times, the top one to visit is Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park, which has a great track record for keeping contact between humans and gorillas sustainable.

PICS: Uganda Airlines flies again after 18 years, but the boarding pass has passengers doing a facepalm

Mount Kenya

If you want to avoid the crowds of Kilimanjaro, head over to Africa's second-tallest mountain in Kenya. 

It's an inactive volcano with a tropical glacier - however due to climate change the ice on Mount Kenya could disappear by 2030 - so now's the time to see it before it's gone.

The trek to the summit is the real pull, taking hikers through various eco-systems and offers the chance to spot many of Africa's wildlife.

QUICK GUIDE TO KENYA: Visa-free travel for South Africans

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Take a city break to Addis Ababa, a major aviation hub for the continent and a culinary mecca.

It was named the 2020 World Capital of Culture and Tourism by the European Council on Tourism and Trade, which will make it a popular city-layover spot. 

You can easily apply for an eVisa to visit and explore its cathedrals, museums and the remains of Aksum - an ancient Kindom claimed to have been the home of Queen of Sheba and the Ark of the Covenant.

QUICK GUIDE TO ETHIOPIA: Easy eVisa travel for South Africans 

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