With the promise of a vaccine in the near future, individuals across the globe have set their sights on their next vacation, with many nations anticipating a surge in tourism as travel becomes feasible once again. Some countries – South Africa, Mauritius and Egypt, to name a few – have been popular destinations for decades, but certain others are severely underrated when it comes to tourism. While these five nations tend to fly under the radar, each one is equipped with abundant natural beauty, a fascinating culture, and a rich history that will turn any visitor into a lifelong fan.
Shared between Rwanda and the DR Congo, beautiful Lake Kivu extends for 2,370km² across the floor of the Albertine Rift, and hemmed in by a steep terraced escarpment that rises up to 1.5km above its surface. Ranked among the world’s 20 deepest and 20 most voluminous freshwater bodies, it is lined with pretty fishing villages and a trio of larger ports in the form of Rusizi, Karongi and Rubavu. The latter in particular has long served as a popular weekend retreat for residents of Kigali, and as the most northerly point on the Rwandan lakeshore, it also forms a great place to chill out after tracking gorillas in nearby Volcanoes National Park.
A nation dominated by water, roughly one third of this African state consists of Lake Malawi, the fourth-largest freshwater lake on earth by volume. This titanic body of water is a particularly prominent tourist destination, coming equipped with idyllic beaches as well as a spectacular snorkeling scene thanks to the lake’s large number of colorful endemic fish. After spending time lounging lakeside, visitors should make the trek south to Liwonde National Park, a prominent reserve that was established back in 1973. Though the park is best known for its high concentration of elephants, there are also opportunities to spot buffalo, rhinoceroses, cheetahs, and a vast array of native bird species as well.
Located on the eastern edge of South Africa, this tiny nation gained independence from the United Kingdom in 1968 and is one of the few remaining countries on earth to be governed with an absolute monarchy system. Despite the country’s small size, Eswatini is home to a surprisingly diverse array of landscapes, ranging from the highlands of the northwest to the wildlife-laden southeastern grasslands. For those hoping to spot native African species in their natural habitat, few destinations can compare to Mkhaya Game Reserve, a protected region that’s rife with indigenous Nguni cattle alongside antelope, hippos, buffalo, and a surprisingly large amount of white and black rhinoceroses.