Cross-Continental Tourism in Sub-Saharan Africa

Specialist niche market report that examines Cross-Continental Tourism in sub-Saharan Africa, discussing the major destinations and typical routes, methods of transport, size of the market, trip characteristics and operators in the market.

The Brief

Travel in Africa to more than one country has considerable appeal to tourists in search of challenging, exciting and self-fulfilling experiences.  With Cross Continental Tourism defined as a leisure tourism trip in sub-Saharan Africa that crosses two or more international borders by land during one trip, this specialist report sought to identify how the niche fits into the broader adventure tourism segment.

Our Solution

Commissioned by Mintel, the leading market intelligence agency, Acorn undertook extensive research into Cross Continental Tourism (CCT) in sub-Saharan Africa, analysing the preferred travel routes in East, South and West Africa, along with the longest of all routes, Cape to Cairo in either direction.  Major country destinations were profiled by region with an outline of the top attractions, an estimate of the market size provided along with key source markets.  

Mode of transportation was evaluated by travel type, such as independent travel, small group travel, and overlanding, defined as ‘travel of long distances across land’ and a popular and affordable way to travel through several different countries.  While CCT tourists share many characteristics with adventure tourists, differences were uncovered by major demographic group and by travel type.  


Acorn’s research found that the market for CCT tourism is dominated by younger tourists from the Millennial consumer group who have more time for long distance travel.  The UK was a major source market, a well-established source for many decades; mainland Europe and the US were other important sources for CCT.  The African continent has an extraordinary diversity of cultural heritage which is of considerable appeal to CCT tourists and cultural tourism products were identified as key to sustain CCT.  In the future, considerable opportunities exist for remote, off-the-beaten track destinations to attract CCT tourists through immersive, cultural experiences.