Out of celebrations such as All Saints Day and Halloween where the focus is on the dead comes an interesting phenomenon, “Dark Toursim”. It is considered as travel to sites that are in some way connected to death or disaster. This catch-all term includes sites of atrocities and morbid locations.
Inside Togo’s thriving voodoo market
We start in West Africa in Togo at Marché Des Féticheurs, the worlds biggest voodoo market.Located in Akodessawa, the market features skulls, monkey heads, crocodiles Any dead animal carcuss – you name it they have it. Guests come here to consult traditional healers and witch doctors. The remains are used to find a remedy for all types of ailments: cat skulls against memory loss, bat bones to heal rabies, owl to ward off bad luck. Entrance fee is 3,500 FCFA or 5.34 Euros for a guided tour
Deadly Tanzanian Lake
In Tanzania, home to many natural wonders, among them, the eerie Lake Natron. This lake is known for the manner in which it petrifies and kills animals turning them into a stone figures. The lake got its name due to the mixture of salt and minerals, called natron, due to the neighbouring Ol Doinyo Lengai volcano. Lake Natron is blood red from bacteria growth. The waters are harsh with a highly alkaline PH ranging from 9 to 10.5. With temperatures peaking to 60° Celcius. So a bird may plunge into the water,the high PH pickles its body which is then calcified by the minerals in the solution. Animals that die in the lake are turned into statues, through the process of calcification.
South Africa: Charlotte the friendly ghost
In South Africa, in the heart of KwaZulu Natal is a little village in the breathtaking Midlands meander. The popular tourist site is considered the wedding venue capital in South Africa but it is also known for the Nottingham Road Hotel. It has 24 rooms but room 10 is the most interesting. Let me tell you about Charlotte the friendly ghost. Charlotte is said to have been a lady of the night or a maid at the hotel in 1902. Charlotte fell in love with a soldier who went out to the battlefields and was killed during the Anglo-Boer war. From being heartbroken Charlotte jumped out the window and subsequently died from her injuries.Tourists have reported strange things that happen in room 10. If you walk into the room and leave your luggage on the bed, Charlotte will remove your bags off the bed and unpack your clothes and put them neatly in the cupboard provided in the hotel. She reportedly also turns on the tv – I’m sure she it took her a while to figure out the new fancy flat screen TVs.
So whether we talk about voodoo, a lake that kills or sharing a room with the dead, when it comes to Tourism,Philip Stone of the Institute for Dark Tourism Research says death sells. Do you agree?@NyashaKMutizwa