Destination #Africa: that exciting and frightening, must-do #Travel destination seems to drop off the travel #Bucket List for fun-loving American travelers. Have fun-loving American travelers blacklisted the one continent that can allow them to experience the thrill of our untouched planet as it was thousands of years ago? Everyone wants to get in touch with their ancestral roots and Africa is the ultimate destination to do that -- right? That is the wrong answer: so why is Destination Africa scratched off the American bucket list?

Destination Africa: a handful of Americans vacation on the 'Dark Continent'

Americans do travel and while passport holders increased slightly from a measly 35 percent of the population after they became necessary for travel to Canada, there's still a significant number of around 115 million potential travelers that could be enticed to the 'Dark Continent.' Trade and Tourism hype in Africa is rife with the words "potential American tourists," but that is so misleading.

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Tourism Industries U.S. International Air Travel Statistics (I-92 data) Program indicates that in 2016, just under 32 million people flew out of the U.S.A. to countries other than Canada and Mexico. Only around three hundred thousand of those were to Destination Africa and most of those people were not on vacation. Statistics are boring but necessary so if you factor in that only about 13 percent of Americans indulge in international travel, those who holiday in Africa are hardly worth recording, let alone investing in an American-enticing travel venture.

Bucket list Africa travel confined to wealthy Americans?

America is massive and has so much diversity to cater for domestic travelers that there is no great need to travel overseas when precious vacation time rolls around. Joley Winters and her African American husband made it to Zimbabwe in 2015.

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They were not wealthy and had scraped and saved so hard on the salary of a Chicago police officer to take their dream holiday. "We are so disappointed," Joley told me. "We came here to see a real wild elephant before we die. On the documentaries, elephants are all over the place but we got here and found they are mainly in parks and a safari costs more than we could ever afford."

Joley is right -- safari style vacations in Africa lie mainly within reach of those with wealth. Millions of Africans will never afford the luxury of getting up close to the exciting world of their own continent several thousand years ago. Wealthy Americans travel to Africa. They can afford to put Destination Africa on their bucket list. There is no need to blacklist that destination when money can buy all the luxuries you are used to back home.

Five-star treatment is there if it fits your wallet. The wealthy can sail in hot air balloons above the famous migrations of the Serengeti plains. They can raft the wildest river on the continent in Zimbabwe and visit the Victoria Falls World Heritage Site, get major thrills bungee jumping off the bridge above the Zambezi river and walk through the wilderness that offers close encounters with Africa's big five wild animals.

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Best of all, their wealth protects them. They need not fear Africa for they seldom encounter the real stark and dark slums in failed cities.

Whatever happened to the American spirit of the 'Big O.E?'

Australians, New Zealanders and young people from Europe can and do travel. The 'Big OE' (overseas experience) is a catchphrase of the young people who want to do it all before college loans need repaying and the death trap of career and mortgage tie them down to the road of a cradle to grave existence. European travelers are found all over Africa. Few of them are there for the animals and the safaris. They are there because they want to know the big wide world. They are not afraid of Africa. You will find them doing volunteer work to pay for their vacation in all sorts of quaint places.

That is not to say that there are no middle-class Americans on vacation in Africa. I have met them propping up the beer bar in diverse countries such as Mozambique, Botswana, and South Africa. A lot of them seem to have served in the military so the fear factor could be mitigated by their belief that they can look after themselves. Then there was improbable Denver, an American from Ohio who was soaking up some sun in Kenya. What was he doing in Africa? "Chasing the blood diamond dream," he said. Probably he had not given much thought to ending his life in a Congolese prison one day and frankly he did not strike me as being a DiCaprio character who would try to do the right thing.

Africa, travel, wealth and guilt

Talking to the wealthier American traveler in Africa, it seems that hunting is a big attraction. Hunters can indulge their passion for slaughter with almost no opposition from anyone. One hunter I met in Zambia said he "feels good" knowing that his hunting vacation would "help to fund facilities for local school children." A middle-aged couple who preferred to shoot with their cameras told me that they always stay at a five-star safari lodge in Zambia's Luangwa wilderness as their hosts donate some proceeds to poor people. "And this makes us feel better about having wealth," Mrs. Middle-age American concluded.

Why the guilt? Why do wealthy Americans feel compelled to justify their African vacation? Nigel Nicholson, a psychologist at the London Business School told The Telegraph that the wealthy often feel guilty. "The ever-widening gap between rich and poor – has made our relationship with wealth ... fraught. “We live surrounded by stories of people who’ve ‘made it’ and images of things to buy that leaves everyone unsettled.” Apparently even the wealthy feel that unsettling association with their own boodle.

For the majority of Americans, it seems that Destination Africa is on the must-do blacklist. But if you don't want to strike it off your bucket list, you will find an exciting, sometimes frightening and fun-filled continent. Fun-loving young Americans will find plenty of people from across the world in Africa. Middle-class Americans who have visited Africa on vacation have huge bragging rights back home --and isn't that just to 'die for'?

Watch the fun-filled video below before you write off Africa as a travel destination