Away to Africa, a Way to Africa. Committed to offering guided cultural tours throughout a select number of countries in Africa, Away to Africa is your one-stop destination management company for travelling within the continent. I spoke to Founder & CEO of Away to Africa Tiffanie Anderson to find out more.
When and why did Away to Africa start?
The idea of Away to Africa originated when I studied abroad at UWC law school in Cape Town, South Africa in the summer of 2006. Prior to travelling to the continent, I had preconceived notions of Africa. After travelling throughout South Africa, studying with South African students and getting to learn more about the culture and history of the country, I fell in love. It may sound weird or cliché but I never felt more welcomed or at home than I did when I was in Africa.
When I returned to the states shortly after I began telling all of my friends that Africa was not how the media portrayed it. Remember this is pre-Instagram days and before Africa was trending. A few friends took me up on my offer. I started thinking to myself I would love to create a way for people to travel to Africa…and the idea of Away (or A Way) to Africa was born.
How were travel destinations selected and why were they chosen specifically?
When I create itineraries and decide which countries to travel to I consider what appeals to me from a cultural, historical, scenic and business standpoint. Ghana, Benin and Togo were chosen because of the direct connection to the Caribbean, states and Black people throughout the diaspora. Ethiopia because of its authenticity as the only African nation to withstand colonization (and also because of Lalibela). South Africa because it is a soft landing onto the continent, its natural beauty and truly a hub for outbound travel onto the continent. Tanzania because you can visit places such as Ngorongoro Crater and view nature in its truest form, sing and dance with the brothers and sisters of the Maasai tribe and you are within the world where animals roam freely and you as a human must respect that. Morocco because of the landscape, spices and seeing how Moroccans are proudly African and culturally rich. Kenya because of so many reasons but I am in love with Lamu… the list can go on.
Could you tell me more about Afrochella?
Afrochella is an annual music festival taking place in Accra, Ghana on December 28, 2019. Afrochella is undoubtedly the biggest festival for December in Ghana and the tour that our clients are most excited about.
2019 is officially coined ‘The Year of Return’ in remembrance of 400 years since Africans were taken from the soil of West Africa [and] arrived in Virginia for the slave transit. The people and government of Ghana are welcoming Black Africans throughout the diaspora to ‘Return Home’ to Ghana.
Our clients are travelling from the Americas, Caribbean, London and even throughout Africa to meet up in Ghana to attend the Afrochella celebrations and for ‘The Year of Return’ festivities.
Which destination are you most excited about and why?
My excitement varies year to year but honestly, I am giddy and overly excited about our tour to Ghana for Afrochella.
This is the first time that an African nation has collectively said ‘Return Home’ to Africa. I’m not sure if people truly understand how important it is to hear someone welcome you home. Africans throughout the Diaspora are travelling to Africa at increasing numbers to learn more about the culture, history and our brothers and sisters in Africa. To receive a warm welcome as you land in the continent is an indescribable feeling that everyone appreciates and love[s].
I am looking forward to our Away to Africa guests receiving this loving welcome as they set foot on Ghanaian soil for our end of year tour to Ghana for Afrochella and NYE Celebrations.
I hope in the future Africans throughout the Diaspora and even on the continent are welcomed throughout other African nations as we travel to bridge the gap.
What is Away to Africa’s ethos?
Away To Africa’s ideals and belief[s] as a company is to always highlight the true beauty and culture of Africa and this is through the people of each African nation. There are many marketing campaigns mentioning ‘Changing the Narrative of Africa’. For so long, and even now, people think of Africa’s Big 5 safaris when learning of Africa.
Away to Africa pridefully highlights the music, food, scenic routes, history and personal relationships built when spending time with the people of Africa.
The only rule we have for Away to Africa travellers are no ‘drive by shootings’. You cannot take pictures of people without speaking to them and asking them first. Don’t assume it’s okay to take pictures of children without asking or take pictures from a bus as you drive by.
What makes an Away to Africa experience different from other ways to travel?
Away to Africa is the only Black owned company offering 18 tours to 12 countries throughout the African continent.
Aside from the quantity of tours, we focus on the quality of our tours. When creating tours and itineraries I ask myself what would a person travelling to this country for the first time want to experience. I consider every step and stop if the tour and most importantly choose the best accommodation options.
For instance, there are a few Moroccan tours on the market but after travelling to Morocco and stopping at a saffron farm where I was able to soak my feet in Argan oil and rose petals I thought why not create a tour where the clients are pampered?
Our Morocco tour taking place in October highlights ‘Saffron, Wine & Thalasso’ where our guests will enjoy three massages in different locations, visit a wine vineyard and enjoy saffron tea throughout the entire tour.
What can eager travellers look forward to when they travel with Away to Africa?
Every day on our tours offers a new adventure guaranteed to allow the traveller to fall in love with Africa day by day. From Traditional drumming and dancing classes in Accra, cooking lessons teaching you to cook local food in Lamu, sundowners on rooftops in Johannesburg, full body massages and carpet weaving classes in Morocco, to receiving blessings in rock hewn churches in Lalibela… it is the priority of Away to Africa for our client to depart the continent feeling connected and rich in spirit.