Sandra Mallinson
South Africa ZA

Sandra is an Africa travel writer & photographer based in Cape Town. She has been to most of the top destinations & hidden gems in Southern Africa and Eastern Africa.

Categories: African Couleur Locale, Conservation, Family Safari, Namibia, Remarkable Projects, Travel Tips

Safari Travel Trends

Safari travel trends indicate a marked increase in travelers to Africa. Over 1.1 billion tourists traveled abroad in 2014, a 4.7% increase on the previous year (UNWTO World Tourism Barometer). The second half of 2014 saw some turbulent times for travel to Africa. Yet, a quarter of the way into 2015, the peaks and troughs have settled into a steady upwards trend.

As travelers seek out more excitement and new adventures, they are naturally drawn to an African safari. They anticipate tracking the Big 5, seeing the herds on the Serengeti Plains, and feeling the spray of Victoria Falls. There’s simply no substitute for these extraordinary experiences. But alongside Africa’s bucket-list destinations, which places are on the rise? And how is traveler behavior changing? Let’s take a closer look at the top African safari travel trends.

Take the Whole Family

Family travel, and in particular multi-generational family travel, continues to rise in 2015. Many luxury lodges now have the option of a safari villa with a private guide and vehicle. This allows families to set their own schedule. They can sleep in late and have shorter drives for the kids.  And, at the end of the day, they can sit down together to dinner served on their villa deck.

Celebrate in Style

Southern and East Africa reserves are also part of the global rise in destination celebrations. Linking travel to a special occasion is a fantastic way for friends to share the unforgettable experiences of a big game safari. Talk about celebrating a wedding or milestone birthday in style!

The Local Experience

Travelers want a more authentic way to connect with locals or to get a better feel for the places that they visit. This year is no different, as travelers seek to move from observer to participant. A cooking lesson in a local home or a walking safari with a Maasai warrior, or even learning first-hand how he reads the signs in the African bush.

Hands-on Conservation

A similar trend is being seen in conservation. Voluntourism continues to gain momentum, yet few working professionals have the time that these projects require. Instead, there’s an increase in travelers wanting to combine the relaxed luxury of an upmarket lodge with a morning spent on a high-impact project. For example, tracking rhino with a conservationist, planting a tree or working in a community garden.

Destination on the Rise

One destination that’s certainly set to flourish this year is Namibia. Based on data from the World Travel and Tourism Council, Namibia came top in a list of 50 up-and-coming travel destinations. And it made both the “Lonely Planet’s Top 10 Countries for 2015” and “Fodor’s Go List 2015”.

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