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Top 10 Safest African Countries to Visit in 2023

spitzkoppe-arch-in-namibia

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Are you looking for information on the safest African countries to visit? You’ve come to the right place!

Africa is a vast continent. With 54 countries, countless different cultures, unique and iconic wildlife, and some of the most breathtaking scenery on the planet, Africa is also an incredible place to explore.

I’ve spent a lot of time in Africa over the years. I’ve explored 15 different African countries and am always excited every time I go back. People say there’s something special in the air in Africa, and they’re right.

Yet, many people are put off visiting this magical continent because of concerns about safety.

It’s true, there are a few places in Africa that are dangerous. However, the majority of the African continent is totally safe, peaceful, and a wonderful place to visit.

To help you plan a safe and memorable trip, I’ve put together this guide to the safest African countries to visit. I’ll also be discussing some potential risks you should be aware of, and how you can stay secure while visiting the region.

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Things to Consider for Safe Travel in Africa

Firstly, when planning a trip to Africa, there are a few things to bear in mind to help ensure you have a safe and enjoyable experience.

Factors such as political stability and crime rates are obviously important when assessing the safety of a country. But there are other things to think about too.

Here are the key factors that I recommend you consider when planning a safe trip to Africa.

Crime Rates

One of the primary concerns for travelers to Africa is crime. However, crime rates vary hugely depending on where in the continent you are.

The top 10 safest African countries mentioned in this post all have relatively low crime rates. Some may even have a lower crime rate than your home country.

Political Stability

Political stability is also important for a safe travel experience. Countries with stable governments and peaceful environments are more likely to provide a secure atmosphere for tourists and travellers.

It’s usually a good idea to avoid countries with ongoing conflicts or political unrest. But that’s common sense, right?

Terrorism

Terrorism is, sadly, an issue in several African countries. For example, Burkina Faso, Mali, and Somalia are some of the most dangerous countries in the world in terms of terrorism risk.

However, all of the countries below have a low level of terrorism risk.

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Infrastructure

Reliable infrastructure is another factor to consider for safe travel. Good transportation networks, well-maintained roads, and access to medical facilities are all important.

Countries with well-developed infrastructure are better equipped to handle emergencies and provide necessary services. Some African countries have relatively good infrastructure. Others don’t.

Tourist-Friendly Environment

A welcoming and tourist-friendly environment is another thing to think about, especially if you’re not particularly experienced travelling off the beaten track.

Countries that prioritize tourism often have measures in place to help visitors feel safe and comfortable. These can include increased security and helpful tourist information centers.

Travel Advisories

Before traveling to any African country, it’s a good idea to check travel advisories issued by your home country’s government. These advisories provide up-to-date information on safety concerns, health risks, and any travel restrictions.

The UK government publishes this advice on the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office website. The American government publishes Travel Advisories on the U.S. Department of State’s website.

Sometimes, I find these government advisories can feel a little fear-mongering and over the top. (As a benchmark, check out what the U.S. government has to say about visiting France…)

But, it’s always a good idea to see what they have to say when researching a safe destination, especially if it’s somewhere you’re not familiar with.

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The Global Peace Index

The Global Peace Index (GPI) is a comprehensive report published annually that measures the relative peacefulness of countries, based on a number of indicators.

It provides a detailed look at how various factors such as conflict, security, crime, and terrorism affect peace in different countries.

Looking at a country’s GPI score can help you make an informed decision based on reliable data about the safety of that country. It can also be used to rank a country’s level of peacefulness compared to other countries.

For context, according to the 2023 GPI, the UK is ranked as the 37th safest country globally. The USA is (shockingly) the 131st safest, given its relatively high rate of violent crime.

You can find the 2023 Global Peace Index here.

Overall

Considering these factors can help you make informed choices about which African countries are safe to visit.

The following countries have all been selected based on a combination of these factors. This helps make them ideal places to explore the beauty and diversity of Africa while feeling confident and safe.

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10 Safest Countries in Africa

It’s true, there definitely are a few places in Africa that are dangerous for tourists. I recommend staying well clear of Somalia, South Sudan, most of the Central African Republic, eastern DRC, and various other countries and regions.

Fortunately, many other African countries are known for their low crime rates, political stability, and welcoming environment for tourists.

Here are 10 of the safest African countries to travel to. I’ve been to most of these countries, and know various people who have been to (and/or are from) the others.

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Mauritius (Safest African Country per the Global Peace Index)

Mauritius is a small island nation in the Indian Ocean, known for its stunning beaches, crystal-clear turquoise waters, and vibrant culture.

It’s typically classified as an African nation geographically, despite its island location. It’s also often considered to be one of the safest countries in Africa for tourists to visit.

One of the main reasons for this is its low crime rate. The country has a very low level of violent crime, and the police force is also known for its efficiency and effectiveness in maintaining law and order.

This helps make it a very safe destination for foreign visitors.

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In addition to its safety, Mauritius offers a welcoming environment well-geared up for tourists. The locals are known for their friendliness and hospitality, and the country has a well-developed tourism industry.

There’s an excellent range of accommodation to choose from, lots of great restaurants, beautiful beaches, opportunities for hiking, watersports, and many other attractions.

Furthermore, Mauritius is known for its political stability, which is another important factor to consider when choosing a safe travel destination.

The country has a democratic government and a stable economy, which helps to contribute to its peaceful environment. In fact, the Global Peace Index consistently scores Mauritius as the most peaceful African country.

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In terms of infrastructure, Mauritius has a well-developed transportation system, including modern airports, roads, and public transportation options. This makes it easy to navigate the island and explore its various attractions.

When it comes to natural beauty, Mauritius really is a tropical paradise. From its pristine beaches to its lush green landscapes and breathtaking waterfalls, the country offers a wide range of natural attractions for tourists to enjoy.

Whether you’re interested in relaxing on the beach, exploring nature reserves and jungle waterfalls, surfing, diving, or enjoying the wide range of other watersports on offer, Mauritius has something for you.

The only downside is that accommodation can be a little expensive in Mauritius, although there are still plenty of deals to be found, especially if you book in advance.

Global Peace Index score: 23rd safest country globally

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Rwanda

Rwanda is a small landlocked country located in Central-East Africa. Often called the “Land of a Thousand Hills”, it’s an incredibly beautiful place, with thickly forested volcanoes, lakes, and lush rolling hills.

Rwanda is a great place to explore for people who love nature, wildlife, and culture. One of the best things to do in Rwanda is trekking in the spectacular Virunga National Park.

I did this over 10 years ago and still have very strong memories of the amazing day I came face-to-face with a family of critically endangered mountain gorillas.

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Sitting in a clearing, watching a large family of gorillas going about their business, holding extended eye contact with several of them, was one of the most incredible experiences I’ve ever had travelling.

If you get the chance to do this, I highly recommend it.

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Engaging in responsible tourism, such as organised gorilla trekking in Rwanda, not only offers a unique experience but also contributes to vital conservation efforts.

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Despite its tragic history, Rwanda has made remarkable progress in terms of safety and stability. Political stability has been a key focus of the Rwandan government since the tragic 1994 genocide.

The country has one of the lowest crime rates in Africa, and you can explore the whole country freely with total peace of mind.

Additionally, the healthcare system in Rwanda is relatively well-developed, so you would have access to quality medical care if needed.

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When I first visited Rwanda, I remember being very impressed by how clean, safe, and developed it felt. This reputation continues today and Rwanda is still one of the safest African countries to visit.

Global Peace Index score: 88th safest country globally

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Botswana

Botswana is widely regarded as another one of the safest countries to visit in Africa. It’s an ideal destination for first-time visitors to get a taste of the continent.

Known for its political stability and low crime rates, this landlocked country in Southern Africa is a paradise for wildlife lovers and is consistently voted one of the best countries to go on safari in Africa.

Home to stunning landscapes and incredible national parks (such as Chobe National Park and the Okavango Delta), there’s a huge variety of outdoor activities to enjoy in Botswana.

These include game-viewing safaris, bush camping adventures, boat trips, cultural tours, and even desert expeditions.

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The tourism industry in Botswana is well-developed, and you’ll find the country a welcoming place for tourists and other visitors.

When I visited Botswana, I did an overnight expedition into the Okavango Delta and a boat trip along the Chobe River. Both were incredible experiences that I’d recommend to anyone.

One of the main reasons why Botswana is considered so safe for travel is its political stability. The country has a long history of peaceful democratic governance, with regular elections and a strong rule of law.

In terms of crime rates, Botswana also has relatively low levels of crime compared to most other African countries. Of course, it’s still important to take common-sense precautions (such as keeping valuables secure), as you would do everywhere.

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The country has well-maintained roads, airports, and plenty of places to stay, making it easy to navigate and access various attractions.

The healthcare system in Botswana is also of a fairly high standard, ensuring that visitors have access to quality medical care if needed.

Global Peace Index score: 42nd safest country globally

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Senegal

Senegal is a vibrant and culturally diverse country in West Africa. It is known for its amazing musical scene, warm hospitality, beautiful landscapes, and rich history.

Senegal is also one of the safest countries to visit in West Africa and a great place for first-timers to the region. The country has a long history of peaceful transitions of power and a strong democratic system.

Senegal has low levels of violent crime. However, petty crime (especially pickpocketing) can be an issue from time to time, especially in crowded areas and tourist hotspots.

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Like any other destination, it’s always advisable to be aware of your surroundings and keep an eye on your belongings. But, as long as you exercise common sense, the chances are you won’t have any issues here.

Senegal also has fairly well-developed infrastructure, including a good public transport system, making it easier to navigate and explore compared with some other counties in the region.

The capital city, Dakar, is a bustling metropolis with modern amenities and various accommodation options to suit different budgets.

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In terms of attractions, Senegal offers a diverse range of experiences. From the vibrant markets of Dakar to the picturesque beaches of Saly, there is something for everyone.

The country is also home to several UNESCO World Heritage Sites, such as the Island of Gorée and the historic city of Saint-Louis.

Furthermore, Senegal is known for its rich cultural heritage. You can immerse yourself in traditional music, dance, and art, as well as sample delicious Senegalese cuisine.

Global Peace Index score: 52nd safest country globally

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Namibia

Namibia is one of my favourite countries to visit in Africa. I spent a month in this Southwest African nation, explored most corners of the country, camped out in the wilderness most nights, and loved every second of it.

There’s a lot to see and do in Namibia, and the country has more than its fair share of beautiful places. Some of my favourites include Spitzkoppe, Sossusvlei, Fish River Canyon, and Etosha National Park.

Having your own transport is a big advantage here. Namibia is a big country and many of its most spectacular places are only really accessible with your own car (and ideally a 4×4).

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Safety-wise, the government prioritizes the safety of tourists. While Namibia’s crime rate is slowly on the rise, violent crime against foreigners is still relatively rare.

Of course, you should still keep your wits about you, especially in urban areas and after dark, as petty crime (pickpocketing, bag snatching, etc.) can be an issue.

Be careful when taking taxis (especially at night) and when withdrawing cash from ATMs. Windhoek, the capital city, also isn’t the safest (or the nicest) place and I’d recommend not spending much time there.

Otherwise, as long as you take the usual precautions, you should be totally fine. I didn’t feel unsafe at any point during my time in Namibia.

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Politically, Namibia is a beacon of stability in the region, making it one of the most secure African countries to visit. The political environment is calm, and the country has a strong rule of law.

Namibians are known for their hospitality and friendliness, creating a welcoming environment for tourists.

The country also has reliable infrastructure, with well-maintained roads and good telecommunication services.

This, coupled with a range of accommodation options, from luxury lodges to campsites, makes Namibia a convenient and accessible destination for different types of travelers.

Of course, the Namib desert can be an unforgiving place. So, if you want to go on a self-drive expedition into the wilderness, you need to be well prepared. It’s awesome though and well worth the effort!

Global Peace Index score: 56th safest country globally

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Ghana

Ghana is another excellent destination for people who want to visit a safe, stable country in West Africa.

In terms of infrastructure, Ghana has made significant improvements in recent years. Its modern airports, reliable roads, and efficient public transport network mean that navigating the country is safe and hassle-free.

Ghana also has a relatively low crime rate.

It’s totally safe to explore its cities and attractions, as long as you take the usual sensible precautions such as avoiding displaying valuable items and being aware of your surroundings, especially in crowded areas.

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Ghana is known for its warm and welcoming culture. Ghanaians have a reputation for hospitality and friendliness towards visitors, making tourists feel at home during their stay.

Whether you’re exploring the bustling markets of Accra, visiting historical sites such as Cape Coast Castle, or immersing yourself in vibrant cultural festivals, you can expect to be greeted with open arms and a genuine smile.

Global Peace Index score: 51st safest country globally

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Kenya

The East African country of Kenya is one of the most popular destinations for tourism on the continent, and for good reason.

The country is blessed with a huge range of breathtaking landscapes, amazing beaches, rich cultural heritage, and some of the best national parks for spotting iconic African wildlife.

Kenya offers a huge variety of accommodation, from luxury lodges to budget-friendly hostels, catering to different types of travelers, including solo travelers and backpackers.

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In terms of safety, a few regions – especially in the north and northeast along the border with Somalia – should be avoided. These areas are quite lawless and have relatively high levels of crime and banditry (although foreigners aren’t usually targeted.)

However, most of Kenya is safe and fine to visit.

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The government of Kenya has invested significantly in ensuring the safety and security of tourists. Major tourist sites are well-guarded, and there is a visible police presence in cities and towns.

This has resulted in a drastic reduction in Kenya’s crime rate, particularly in areas frequented by tourists.

Politically, Kenya has maintained relative stability, enhancing its reputation as one of the more politically stable African countries to visit. Occasional political tensions do arise, but they rarely affect tourists.

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Of course, it’s wise to stay informed about local news and follow any guidelines provided by local authorities.

Many people speak English in Kenya too, and there’s an extensive public transport system, making it fairly easy to get about. I’ve also hitchhiked around Kenya, and it’s quite easy to do (subject to the usual disclaimers).

Global Peace Index score: 117th safest country globally

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Tanzania

Tanzania is a large country in East Africa, just south of Kenya. Like its northern neighbour, Tanzania is also known for its incredible landscapes, vibrant culture, epic national parks, and abundant opportunities for safari and other wildlife encounters.

The country is home to some of the most famous national parks and wildlife reserves in Africa, including the Serengeti National Park, Ngorongoro Conservation Area, and Mount Kilimanjaro.

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These protected areas offer incredible opportunities for wildlife viewing, including the chance to witness the Great Migration, when millions of wildebeest and other animals move across the Serengeti in search of food and water.

Tanzania is home to over 120 different ethnic groups, each with its own unique traditions, languages, and customs.

Immersing yourself in the local culture by visiting traditional villages and exploring local markets is likely to be another highlight of your trip.

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The country has a relatively stable government and has not experienced any major political unrest in recent years.

It also has a relatively low crime rate, although it is slightly higher than some of the other countries on this list (so take the usual precautions, etc.).

Given its popularity with overseas visitors, Tanzania has reliable infrastructure, especially in the common tourist destinations such as the Serengeti National Park and Mount Kilimanjaro.

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When I visited Tanzania, I spent a couple of weeks exploring the mainland and another week on the island paradise of Zanzibar, which you can easily reach via ferry from the coastal city of Dar es Salaam. Both were great.

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Also, if you’re travelling on a budget, my advice would be to skip the Serengeti (amazing as it is) and instead visit the (neighbouring) Ngorongoro Crater Conservation Area instead.

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It’s much cheaper and still has a huge range of wildlife to see.

Global Peace Index score: 91st safest country globally

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Zambia

Zambia is another beautiful country in southern Africa. I’ve only visited briefly, but what I saw of the country was great.

It’s also another one of the safest African countries to travel to, and Zambia is known for its low crime rates.

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You can explore the country’s national parks, go on safari, visit the famous Victoria Falls, or enjoy other activities such as bungee jumping, white-water rafting, and hiking trips without any major concerns about safety.

The country also has a relatively peaceful political climate, with a democratic government that has been in place for many years. This stability contributes to a safe and secure environment for tourists.

Global Peace Index score: 63rd safest country globally

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Morocco

Morocco is one of the safest North African countries to visit. It’s an excellent place to explore the continent’s rich Arabic heritage.

Morocco is home to ancient cities including Fez, Marrakech, and Rabat, which are known for their vibrant markets, medinas, palaces, mosques, gardens, and exquisite architecture.

The country is also home to beautiful coastal towns like Essaouira and Agadir, where you can relax on pristine beaches, or surf to your heart’s content.

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In terms of natural beauty, Morocco has a diverse range of landscapes.

From the imposing Atlas Mountains to the golden dunes of the Sahara Desert and the sparkling waters of the Atlantic and Mediterranean, it’s a paradise for lovers of the great outdoors.

When it comes to safety, Morocco’s stable political environment and low crime rates help ensure the country offers a secure and welcoming experience for tourists and other visitors.

Pickpocketing and scams can sometimes be issues in areas popular with tourists. But, as long as you keep your wits about you, you shouldn’t have any issues.

Global Peace Index score: 84th safest country globally

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Best Tours in Africa

If you’d like to explore more of Africa – but feel more comfortable leaving the planning and logistics to an experienced guide – you’re in luck.

Some truly exceptional tour companies operate in various African countries, and I’ve used several of them before. Here’s my pick of the best tours in Africa.

  • 12-day Namibia camping safari: includes game drives, bush camping, Etosha National Park, Skeleton Coast, Sossusvlei dunes, Fish River Canyon, Windhoek.
  • 7-day tour of Morocco: Casablanca to Marrakech via Fez, also includes Chefchaouen, Merzouga Desert, Todgha Canyon, Dades Valley, and Ait Ben Hadou.
  • Private 7-day safari of Arusha National Park, Tanzania: huge range of wildlife to spot including zebra, giraffe, buffalo, lion, and black rhino, includes all meals, transport, and entrance fees.
  • 5-day luxury northern Tanzania safari: forests, volcanoes, savannah, Serengeti National Park, multiple game drives, luxury hotel and lodge accommodation.
  • 6-day budget Tanzania safari: includes Ngorongoro Crater, Serengeti National Park, Lake Manyara, all meals, transport, and accommodation.
  • 9-day Serengeti Migration safari: designed to follow the great wildebeest migration, includes Tarangire National Park, Lake Manyara National Park, Serengeti National Park, Ngorongoro Crater, and more.
  • 4-day Kenya safari tour: includes the Masai Mara (known for the Big 5), Lake Nakuru, Lake Naivasha, the Great Rift Valley escarpment, and a walking safari on Crescent Island. Various accommodation options from economy to luxury lodges or tented camps to fit your budget.
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FAQs About the Safest African Countries to Visit

Here are answers to some commonly asked questions about the safest African countries to travel to.

Which is the safest country in Africa to visit?

Mauritius is often considered the safest country in Africa to visit. With its low crime rate, robust infrastructure, and efficient security services, Mauritius offers a safe environment for visitors.

What is the most peaceful country in Africa?

The most peaceful country in Africa is Mauritius, according to the 2023 Global Peace Index. It’s stable, with a strong democracy and low levels of crime.

Is South Africa safe for tourists?

South Africa is generally safe for tourists. However, it’s important to take certain precautions, especially in the big cities. Some urban areas in South Africa have very high crime rates, so it’s crucial to do thorough research before visiting.

Where in Africa has the lowest crime rate?

As a country overall, Rwanda has one of the lowest crime rates on the continent. Of course, crime rates vary by location too.

Are safaris in Africa safe?

Yes, going on safari in Africa is perfectly safe. As long as you follow the instructions of your guide, you should never feel unsafe.

Is Nairobi safe to walk around?

As with any big city, there are areas of Nairobi that have relatively high crime rates. Overall, Nairobi is generally safe to walk around during the day but may present more risk later in the evening or night.

It’s important to research the safety of an area before visiting and to always be aware of your surroundings when walking around.

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Final Thoughts: Safest African Countries to Travel to

Africa is a vast and diverse continent with many stunning countries to visit.

From the vibrant markets of Marrakech to the serene beauty of a savannah sunrise, Africa offers unique experiences that are unparalleled anywhere else on Earth.

But when it comes to safety, some African countries are definitely safer for tourists than others.

The countries described in this post are all perfect for those looking for a safe African destination to explore. Each one has a huge amount to offer for every type of traveller.

Whether you’re interested in wildlife safaris, cultural immersion, or simply relaxing on pristine beaches, you’ll find it here. Choosing one of these destinations will help to ensure you have a memorable and safe trip to Africa.

And if you’ve never been to Africa before – you’re in for a real treat! I hope you have an amazing time. 🙂

Which is your favourite country to visit in Africa? Let me know below!

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Who Am I?

Alex-Tiffany-photo

  • I’m Alex Tiffany.  Former corporate city robot; lifelong travel addict.

 

  • I’m on a mission to make adventurous travel accessible to all.

 

  • I created this site to inspire, encourage and enable as many people to get outside and explore as much of our beautiful world as possible.