Part two in a series on South Africa's KwaZulu Natal province
Building in an extra day or two at a game reserve can give clients a deeper understanding of how wildlife parks fit into their local communities and conservation initiatives.
That’s the advice of Christian Sperka, wildlife photographer and marketer for Thanda Safari Private Game Reserve, three and a half hours drive from Durban in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) province.
Rovos Rail fans will have to wait until 2020 for a berth on the new Trail of Two Oceans journey from Tanzania to Angola. When the July 2019 departure was launched in January this year, it sold out in three weeks. It now has a waiting list and the 2020 trip is filling up. ‘We are surprised at how quickly it has sold out,’ says Estee Badenhorst, marketing with Rovos Rail. ‘It’s been mainly repeat clients who have booked the journey,’ explains key account manager, Alicia Taljaard. ‘For ‘country tickers’, the train travels through four countries – Tanzania, Zambia, southern Democratic Republic of Congo and Angola.’ The once a year journey leaves Dar es Salaam on 19 July 2019 and, after a three-day turn around leaves Lobito for the return journey on 2 August (this leg is also booked out).
Taljaard says the changing scenery in Angola includes a vast watershed scattered with fisheries and where the railway line is built up on the water. ‘You then travel through green, lush jungle, baobab forests and dry arid dunes. In the Congo it’s remote. There’s jungle and copper mining but the thing I remember most is the warmth of the people.’ When the journey ends in Lobito, guests stay one night at the new Terminus Hotel. ‘We recommend guests then add a side trip to the capital Luanda, flying from nearby Catumbela,’ says Taljaard. In Luanda, points of interest include old forts and the trip incorporates a game drive and river cruise in nearby Kissama National Park.
– Trish Freeman
Micro-adventure is the new buzz term for millennial travellers, says Marie-Louise Kellet, of Cape Town-based Gravity Adventures.
Speaking at an Indaba seminar, showcasing award winning tourism operators, Kellet described how the company has deliberately developed shorter, fun adventure activities to appeal to younger travellers, as well as families.
‘We offer new micro adventures such as ‘coasteering’, at Simons Town, 45 minutes’ drive from Cape Town. It’s canyoning on the coast; snorkelling, swimming through kelp, jumping off rocks, it’s like behaving like a child for two hours!
South African tourism industry leaders are backing attempts to fix New Zealand visitor visa woes. Several operators spoken to at Indaba expressed anger and frustration over the process.
The visa requirement is appalling and uncooperative, says David Frost, SATSA chief executive, representing all inbound tourism operators in southern Africa.
‘It is a symptom of an ongoing struggle we have with Department of Home Affairs. Now we have a new Tourism Minister and a new Home Affairs Minister so we’re hoping these two heads can deliver something better.