Travelstart Group acquires major stake in SafariNow.com

Johannesburg - Flight and accommodation booking website Travelstart has acquired a majority stake in Cape Town-based SafariNow.com.

SafariNow has become South Africa's largest accommodation booking website which represents accommodation over both the informal sector which includes self-catering and vacation rentals, and the formal sector, including hotels, guesthouses, bed and breakfasts.

The acquisition of SafariNow’s 40-personnel team will see Travelstart fast-track the growth of its accommodation offering, according to the company. 

“We want to supercharge our accommodation offering and with more than 23 000 listings on SafariNow, we can give our customers much better choices,” said Travelstart founder and CEO Stephan Ekbergh.

SafariNow.com, founded in 1999, will stick to its core business of selling accommodation and retain its current brand, CEO and team.

“Travelstart shares our mission of transforming the travel-booking experience to be simple and powerful,” said Tom Williams, CEO of SafariNow.

“We’ve booked millions of bed-nights in the past 18 years and we’re excited to tackle this next chapter with a strong, supportive partner.

"It’s a major plus for establishments who list with us as it will result in greater exposure for their listings.”

Travelstart and SafariNow started operations in South Africa in 1999 and are established players in Africa’s online travel booking industry.

SafariNow will continue to run as a standalone business. Terms of the acquisition will not be disclosed.

The move has been described by Travelstart as an opportunity to boost marketing ventures and leverage collaborative ventures through resource and experience sharing. 

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