SA travellers opt to stay in Africa

2014-05-19 08:00

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The staycation is dead?–?long live African travel.

Local travel experts say they have noticed a surge in regional hospitality tourism, with Namibia, Mauritius and Zanzibar proving to be particularly popular. Although the economic crunch has eased a little, it’s still far cheaper to travel in Africa than to hit exotic destinations elsewhere in the world.

Nick Paul of travel agency Travelstart said local airlines were increasing their capacity to destinations around Africa for business and pleasure trips.

In October, Fastjet launched flights between Joburg and the Tanzanian capital, Dar es Salaam. SAA also increased its frequency on this route, offering 12 flights a week in both directions.

SA Airlink commenced twice-daily flights between Joburg and Gaborone in Botswana from January.

Pan-African travel was on the agenda at Indaba 2014 in Durban last weekend.

At the event?–?billed as Africa’s biggest travel exhibition?–?Environmental Affairs and Tourism Minister Marthinus van Schalkwyk said there should be travel hubs in Africa – possibly in South Africa, Kenya, Nigeria and Senegal – so that tourists would not have to hop between African countries via Europe or the Middle East.

For those willing to explore destinations closer to home, there’s plenty on offer. Last month, the World Travel Market Africa in Cape Town showcased many African adventures. These included a stay in the four-star Manta Resort’s “underwater room”?–?a luxurious glass-encased bedroom submerged in the sea at Pemba Island on Zanzibar’s azure coast

Eleven night packages at the resort, including flights from Joburg, cost R33?000 per person sharing.

Outdoor enthusiasts might fancy taking a stroll on an active volcano flanked by lush forest on Reunion Island, about 200km southwest of Mauritius in the Indian Ocean.

You can also gaze on the Okavango Delta in Botswana from a hot-air balloon, an airborne safari which hospitality management company An African Anthology will offer from August at R4?200 a person.

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