The Open Africa Initiative

Open Africa is a non-profit organisation founded in 1995 under the patronage of Nelson Mandela with a vision to assist rural entrepreneurs to increase their income and potential to employ more people, by buil-ding their capacity to trade and connecting them to markets. It does this by using tourism as an economic platform to create and sustain jobs for rural communities throughout Southern Africa.

Open Africa develops self-drive travel routes in rural, off-the-beaten-track place regarded as the real Africa and in which travellers are most interested, but about which no reliable source of authentic information exists. This programme is building up toward becoming the most comprehensive information source in brin-ging what was known as the ‘dark continent’ into the light for aspirant visitors.

Trade is the essential element of human advancement, cooperation, collaboration, discovery and prosperity. Trading is what makes entrepreneurs, what drives the wheels of society, what creates jobs and gives people a purpose in life. Trade is where people find one another, what connects and liberates them from isolation.

Since its inception Open Africa has created 62 self-drive travel routes in six countries across Southern Africa, supporting 2 454 businesses which employ approximately 28 438 people.


By travelling on Open Africa’s off-the-beaten track self-drive travel routes, travellers will create and sustain much-needed jobs in local communities. Offering life-enriching experiences that at the same time support local people is why Open Africa exists.

For more information about Open Africa, visit and plan your next life-enriching journey.