As the new year dawns a natural tendency is to seek out predictions for 2017, and so we canvassed our top travel consultant’s opinion and scoured the web for the latest trends in tourism to bring you some of the top African travel trends for 2017.
In today’s fast-paced world time is the most precious commodity and time spent with loved ones and extended family (in particular multi-generational travel) continues to rate as one of the top trend in general for the coming year. 2017 is also tipped to grow the sustainable travel trend with adventure, authentic and customised experiences in lesser explored areas, as well as rest and relaxation travel all topping the 2017 travel trends. Adventure travel, in particular, is trending even higher this year … picture an African safari in remote wildlife rich Tanzania, swimming with whale sharks in Mozambique or going white river-rafting down the Zambezi River at Victoria Falls. South Africa has once again been singled out as an emerging international adventure destination.
1. Experiential Travel
Travel experts are forecasting that we will see a trend towards experiential travel, where travellers immerse themselves in a country, city or particular place by absorbing and connecting with its people, culture, and history.
Holidaymakers are no longer happy with a ‘cookie-cut’ itinerary but are looking for a customised, unhurried experience where they can connect on a deeper, more personal level. The rise in social media and the digital age have all helped trigger the desire for experiential travel, a more authentic experience and a need to ‘share’ (and show off) their experiences with friends and family.
Emerging markets such as Southern and East Africa are really coming into their own and are the perfect experiential travel destinations. Tanzania for example offers a thrilling mix of wildlife, adventure and culture where one can explore one of the biggest unbroken volcanic caldera in the world – the Ngorongoro Crater, witness the excitement of millions of migrating wildebeest, climb the ‘roof of Africa’ , or immerse yourself in the exotic blend of culture, cuisine and architecture in Zanzibar’s ancient spice trading post of Stone Town.
2. Multigenerational Travel
Multigenerational holidays remains one of 2017’s defining tourism trends and Africa is the perfect place for young and old to travel and share new experiences together.
More than ever before people are seeking more family-focused holidays that bring grandparents, parents and their kids together in a relaxing and yet fascinating-for-all environment. The fact that African destinations are often off-the-grid with little or no internet connection means that the entire family can enjoy valuable bonding time as well as the surrounding wildlife, free of the distraction of screens, phones and electronics gadgets.
Places such as Cape Town, the malaria-free Eastern Cape, Victoria Falls and the Kruger National Park are all wonderful family-friendly destinations. At Victoria Falls, for example, grandparents can enjoy a high tea at the edge of the Zambezi River whilst parents go on a helicopter ride over the falls and the children are on an exciting wildlife or canoeing adventure.
3. Sustainable Travel
Awareness around the plight of endangered species such as the rhino, as well as global warming and other environmental issues have led to a major rise in sustainable or green travel trends in tourism. More and more people who love to travel are seeking earth-friendly experiences that will not negatively impact the wildlife and our environment.
Safaris to see the wildlife have always been Africa’s biggest draw card but currently travellers wanting more hands-on and fulfilling involvement in the conservation process. At South Africa’s Phinda Private Game Reserve in KwaZulu-Natal, guests can take part in a thrilling Rhino Capture and Research safari where they accompany rangers and vets into the bush to track, dart and microchip these threatened animals.
Ecotourism in Africa is more and more in demand with travellers wishing to leave as small a footprint as possible. Countries such as Kenya are investing in ecotourism by ensuring that their camps, hotels, and lodges minimize their effect on the environment and that the income generated by tourism is ultimately ploughed back into local communities.
4. Mindfulness And Wellness Travel
Another hot travel trend 2017 is the concept of ‘wellness in the wilderness’ where people are looking to escape the daily grind and travel to places that promote wellness and provides the chance to ‘disconnect to reconnect’ with themselves, loved ones and nature. A safari to a remote place in the middle of nowhere is a great form of wellness travel, often accompanied by yoga, meditation and spa treatments.
Typically travellers seeking this kind of travel are older and more affluent (often female) who are looking for something more meaningful. The mindfulness trend also links in with those who have an increasing interest in sustainability and reduced carbon-footprint travel.
Stargazing In Namibia
Few other places in the world offer such absolute peace and solitude as the Namib Desert where the horizon and sky seem to go on forever. Here stargazing is taken to another level and Africa’s first ‘Dark Sky Reserve’, the NamibRand, offers visitors views of the galaxy as seen in few other places around the world. It’s the perfect place to unwind, reflect and bring a sense of inner calm and wellness.
Mozambique’s Uninterrupted Beaches
Mozambique is still one of the few places in the world that offers travelers the opportunity to find long stretches of uninterrupted beaches all to themselves. This is the perfect tropical African Island Paradise where guests can enjoy spa treatments right on the edge of the ocean, go snorkeling amongst hundreds of species of colourful tropical fish and diving along breathtaking coral reefs.
Walking Yoga Safaris In Zambia
One of the most unique wellness experiences is the Africa yoga walking safari where guests get the chance to walk, meditate and practice yoga in some of Africa’s most beautiful and remote, untouched wilderness areas such as Zambia’s Luangwa Valley. Just being on foot on the bush, treading carefully on the earth for several hours a day, can be therapeutic and very yogic.
Cultural Encounter In Tanzania
Increasingly travellers are seeking experiences with a human connection. Travellers want to experience local communities in order to gain an insight into another world, one that is based on more earth-based ways of living. Visits to Kenya’s colourful Masai tribes to see how their jewellry is made and gain insight into their fascinating culture are popular
Spa Treatments In Exceptional Locations
Africa lends itself to incredible wellness experiences due to its breathtaking nature. At Cape Town’s Twelve Apostles Hotel and Spa visitors can experience being massaged in an outdoor gazebo surrounded by mountains and natural fynbos overlooking the expansive Atlantic Ocean. Another award winning wellness retreat is Bushmans Kloof Wilderness Reserve, located in the ancient Cederberg Mountains.
5. Adventure Travel
Today’s travellers crave active experiences, making adventure travel another hot travel trend. South Africa is a top adventure travel destination due to the variety of amazingly scenic locations, a large number of established adventure operators and the weak currency. These days people are opting for ‘micro’ or ‘soft’ adventure trips that do not require previous experience, extreme fitness levels and tend to be low risk – anything from a simple sleep-out under the stars; kayaking with seals; cycling in the winelands; zip-lining; abseiling off Table Mountain and canoeing on the Orange River.
So whatever your motivation is to explore this incredible, magical continent, make 2017 great!