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Virtual Tourism in Africa Takes Off

African countries are offering tourists from all over the world the chance to travel the continent and even go on safari by virtual means. But is this a satisfactory substitute for the real thing? Since the coronavirus pandemic broke out, the tourism industry has collapsed across all the countries in Africa. National parks and hotels are empty and there is no trace of tourists, as they are all stuck at home. But several African tourism associations have come up with the idea of supplying avid travelers with digital impressions of the continent during the pandemic. Safaris in Kenya, strolls through the Namib Desert in Namibia, paragliding in South Africa or standing on the edge of the Victoria Falls at the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe: All of these experiences can now be enjoyed at home by virtual tourists. In a few weeks’ time, the first package tourists from Europe are due in Rwanda again. Tanzania, known for its lax approach to the coronavirus crisis, is already welcoming tourists, and Namibia has reopened its national parks. Kenya will allow tourists in from August 1 and South Africa’s tourism industry hopes to be able to open for business from September 2020 — whether that will really be the case, however, remains uncertain, as cases of coronavirus infection are currently rising. Countries like Uganda will probably have to wait a bit longer.