South Africa makes NY Times ‘52 Places for a Changed World’ travel list

Posted by David Henning on 11 January 2022

The New York Times has released their ‘52 Places for a Changed World‘ travel list, which looks at spots where visitors can be part of the solution to problems of overtourism and climate change. South Africa made the list, as well as Mozambique’s Chimanimani National Park.

Picture: Getaway Gallery

With the Coronavirus pandemic heading into its third year, global travel is slowly returning to normal, but it is still shrouded in uncertainty. According to NYT, travellers are starting to consider the effects of their tourist lifestyle on the sites they visit and the natural environment.

‘There is a profound shift underway in the world’s understanding of climate change and the swiftness and degree to which we are already seeing its effects. Wildfires, floods, dangerous storms, rising water levels and temperatures: all remind us how fragile our world is,’ reads NYT.  ‘The travel industry is responsible for somewhere between 8 and 11 per cent of total greenhouse gas emissions.’

There is also the problem of overtourism, where crowds have previously made Venice impassable in the high season and popular tourist neighbourhoods becoming Airbnb outposts, for example.

This list, instead, highlights places where change is happening, ‘where endangered wildlands are being preserved, threatened species are being protected, historical wrongs are being acknowledged, fragile communities are being bolstered — and where travellers can be part of the change.’

Along with South Africa and Mozambique, the list also include the suburb of Queens in New York, Red River Delta in Vietnam and El Yunque National Forest in Peurto Rico amongst others.

Chimanimani Nation Park

United Nations Secretary-General, António Guterres, called upon the international community in March of last year to help Mozambique, as it faces the triple threat of climate change, Covid, and conflict.

Tucker’s Falls on the Mudzira River – Chimanimani Mountains, Mozambique. Picture: Bart Wursten/ Wikimedia Commons.

This is unfortunate for a country with such bountiful natural resources that could easily turn it into a travellers paradise. Decades ago, poaching in the Chimanimani mountains help fund the civil war.

But the recently dedicated national park along the border of Zimbabwe is a testament to the country’s conservation efforts when the park was unveiled in May of 2021.

The beautiful landscape of Chimanimani includes Mozambique’s highest peak, Mount Binga, and is home to rare mountain elephants and boasting hiking trails that offer the chance of spotting some of the hundreds of species in the park.

South Africa

The identification of the Omicron variant had a detrimental effect on South Africa, where the tourism and hospitality sector lost R1 billion in cancelled bookings – in the first 48 hours after the most recent ban was implemented.

Kruger Shalati makes the IT List

South Africa has unrivalled natural beauty with unique destinations like the Kruger Shalati. Picture: Getaway Gallery

The initial hard lockdown at the onset of Covid caused a 96% drop in visits to South Africa’s national parks. Thousands of South African’s are dependent on these national parks for their income, which also play a role in benefiting their surrounding communities.

South Africa is more than a national park and has a wide array of options, from Limpopo’s ghostly gold towns and other haunts, a day in KwaZulu-Natal’s magical Midlands or exploring small towns hidden gems such as Worcester and its hidden valley of plenty.

For those who are not sure where to start with seeing South Africa, here’s a list of South African spots you can add to your bucket list. 


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