As we kick off the new year, one of the things that we look forward to the most is planning our traveling itinerary. While domestic destinations such as Vegas, Atlanta and Miami have been the go-to for black men, there are a few places that I'd like to recommend if you're looking to switch things up. Whether it's a fella's trip or planning travel with your queen, these destinations are guaranteed to provide a combination of relaxation, adventure and the feeling of inclusivity.
Johannesburg, South Africa
Although most of South Africa's tourism is focused around the more popular Cape Town, Johannesburg offers a budget-friendly location with luxurious accommodations, especially if you can score a good flight deal. I asked my good friend Levell Exum why he thought Johannesburg was so dope and here's what he had to say, " Johannesburg is a metropolitan with more diversity than Cape Town. The culture and music are more authentic to South African culture. It's a melting pot of rich history and thriving urban neighborhoods. Over its broad landscape (outside of beach activities) with a plethora of activities to do."
Jollof rice, Afro Beats and Ankara fashions asides, Lagos, Nigeria is one of the fastest growing cities in the world. Home to the largest population of citizens age 25 and under on the continent, Nigeria has posh clubs, fine dining and a technology and entertainment scene that can rival any mega city. I asked my boy John Basil why men should visit Lagos and here's what he said "Black men should go there because they can see what it truly means to be black and be a part of a majority and be proud about it. It's emerging economy makes it a great place for black entrepreneurship. You can visit any time of the year, but the Christmas holiday is excellent fun if you're looking to party. Oh, and the women are amazing!'
Located on the Caribbean coast of Colombia, Cartagena offers a variety of good weather, culture, and food at an affordable cost. What shocked me the most about this coastal city was how black it is. The Afo Colombia influence there is profound! In fact, I later found out that Colombia had the largest population of black slaves in Latin America, second to Brazil. What I loved most was how vibrant and untapped the city felt. Didn't feel tainted by tourism. If you decide to visit, I highly recommend taking a day trip to Blue Apple Island. It's a 20-minute boat ride from mainland Cartagena. Another thing to note, if you have enough time, booking travel around Colombia is very affordable. Highly recommended if you have the travel time.
Port of Spain, Trinidad
Most men bucket list Rio in Brazil for Carnivale. I'd like to challenge that notion and ask you to consider taking your talents to Trinidad. This West Indian Island just 6.8 miles from Venezuela is a melting pot of culture and beauty. You'll find traces of African, East Indian, middle east, Chinese, Spanish, and European. The result, an island with a vast spectrum of beautiful people. The best time to is between January through March. The annual carnival celebration typically takes place in Late February/ Early March.
There are so many reasons to visit the east African country of Ethiopia. First is its history. Ethiopia was one of the few African countries to never be colonized by a European power. Secondly, Ethiopia has the fastest growing economy in Africa with an expected 8.5% GDP growth. Lastly, the landscape is incredible. Ethiopia boasts 70% of the mountains on the African continent. I asked my friend Able Hale, who is first generation Eritrean, why we should visit. Here are his three reasons:
1.The economic growth which is due to significant industrial investments in infrastructure and manufacturing. When you visit, you'll already see change happening everywhere, through the construction of new businesses (including restaurants and nightlife). Experiencing a country in a period of significant difference is exciting. And who knows, you may find an opportunity for yourself to invest.
2. Racial Acceptance- One of the most relieving things as a Black man, when visiting Africa in general, is the fact that, although you're still a tourist, you don't feel the discrimination based on your skin color. Regardless of how you decide to step out into the world that day, you won't see people nervous or intimidated by you, and you can feel that energy change. That alone makes visiting an African country a must as a Black man.
3. Friendliness/Humility- While there are countries you can visit and not feel the friendliness, Ethiopian people are very hospitable, and you'll feel this when at your hotel, restaurants, etc. I guarantee it will make you fall in love with the people, which is one of the best parts of the country.