Indaba round-up

Jo Austin rounds up the news from this month’s Indaba in Durban, South Africa

Indaba round-up

Jo Austin rounds up the news from this month’s Indaba in Durban, South Africa

Unlimited Africa sees no limits

Africa Unlimited was a key theme at this year’s INDABA in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa’s annual showcase of its tourism products.

Held in Durban between May 14-16, the Africa Unlimited tagline “promotes the unlimited potential of the continent, which offers diverse landscapes, cultures and experiences with limitless possibilities for growth and exploration,” said South Africa’s Tourism Minister, Patricia de Lille.

Added Nombulelo Guliwe, Chief Executive Officer at South African Tourism: “Africa’s Travel Indaba underscores tourism’s critical role in economic growth, job creation, and displaying the best of African tourism. We are delighted to be back in the province of KwaZulu-Natal, known for its world heritage sites, wildlife and adventure, rich culture and 600kms coastline”.

 “As we celebrate 30 years since the end of apartheid, we need to send out a unified message and we plan to launch a Brand SA slogan in the near future”.

Indaba attracted over 1,200 exhibitors from across the Continent, including 25 African countries, and is estimated to have generated R500m to the City of Durban’s economy.

South Africa looks beyond its popular hot spots

Zulu Wewlcome

South Africa offers a host of touring opportunities beyond its traditional tourism destinations of Cape Town and the Garden Route and must work towards promoting multi-centre holidays across its nine provinces and across all four seasons, urged Tourism Minister Patricia De Lille during an INDABA press conference.

“South Africa is a year-round destination and we want our provinces and the private sector to work together to attract tourism through all our seasons by taking visitors beyond our normal attractions,” she said.

The favourable rate of exchange for visitors was another major topic with South Africa recently awarded second place [out of 40 countries] for “best value for money for UK holidaymakers” by the Post Office Money Report 2024.

The report lists the cost of a three-course evening meal for two at £34.64, and a glass of wine at £2.41.

Meanwhile, over 120 tourism SMMEs showcased their products at INDABA in the Hidden Gems Pavilion, funded by the Department of Tourism’s Market Access Support Programme. 

Over 60,000 of these ‘gems’ will now feature on Google maps following a new agreement which also includes improvements of the Google maps’ directions to ensure self-drive visitors are only taken on routes that are deemed completely safe.

Club Med gets ready for South

South Africa’s first all-inclusive Club Med Beach and Safari Club is on track for a July 2026 opening, said Club Med Managing Director South Africa, Olivier Perillat.

Club Tinley in KwaZulu-Natal will be Club Med’s eighth property in Africa and hopes to attract guests from both the domestic and international markets. 

The family-friendly coastal resort, currently being constructed north of Ballito on the Dolphin Coast, will be built in tropical chic style and have direct access to a long and secluded stretch of pristine beach.

The resort will feature a range of activities, including dedicated zones for kids and teens, and watersports like windsurfing and kayaking as well as land-based activities such as archery. A resort centre will have shopping, a restaurant, an all-day dining court, a bar with a wine corner and a pool.

The Ballito area is known for its bottlenose dolphins.

Said Perillat:  “We are already in Africa but there is nothing quite like South Africa”.

Norse readies for Gatwick-Cape Town autumn launch


Norse Atlantic Airways will commence its three-times-weekly Boeing 787 Dreamliner flights from London Gatwick to Cape Town October 28, 2024.

Departing on Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday and with fares starting from £499 return in Economy and £1,199 in Premium, the launch signifies an important injection of competition into the market, which has the potential for driving down currently high airfares.

Outbound flights depart London Gatwick at 20.00 and land in Cape Town at 09.30 the following morning. Inbound flights depart Cape Town at 11.45 and arrive at London Gatwick at 21.35 the same day.

Rwanda is best tourism board

The Rwanda Tourist Board was the recipient of the ‘Best African Tourism Board’ category at the annual Safari Awards ceremony in Durban.

Tongabezi in Zambia was named the ‘Most Romantic Lodge in Africa’ while Singita Pamushana in Zimbabwe won awards for ‘Best Community Focus’, ‘Best Safari Spa’ and ‘Best Safari Experience’. 

The ‘Best New Safari Property’ went to Tanda Tula Safari Camp in South Africa. 

Awards were handed out in 18 categories.

Big five to return to Babanango


The 22,000-hectare Babanango game reserve in KwaZulu-Natal is overseeing the return of hundreds of native species after years of over-grazing, hunting and poaching. 

The initiative is part of a long-term rewilding programme that involves an investment of over R1 billion rand.

Fences have been removed and the land, under a 40-year lease from the local community, is being restored thanks to German philanthropists, Barbara and Helmuth Weisser. 

Three luxury lodges have been built on the reserve, including the spectacular five-star Madwaleni River Lodge nestled on the banks of the White Umfolozi River.

Offering an ultra-luxury safari experience, its design, location, cuisine, staff and dedication to sustainability make it one of the country’s premier safari options.
It is 180 years since the Big Five – lion, elephant, buffalo, leopard and rhino – roamed the region and the reserve and its award-winning luxury lodges promise to be one of the most significant projects undertaken in South Africa for several years.

Wilderness in the Delta

bots elephant 1024x683 1

Wilderness Mokete is opening this month (June) on the eastern fringe of the Okavango Delta in Botswana.

The 50,000-hectare concession is in the famed Moremi Game Reserve and the lodge will feature nine en-suite canvas tents with their own plunge pools.

Nightly rates at Mokete start from $1,450 per person (sharing), which includes all meals, twice-daily scheduled camp activities, park fees, laundry, and all local drinks.

Meanwhile Tubu Tree and Little Tubu on the Jao Reserve, also in the Okavango Delta, have both been fully rebuilt while still playing homage to their long history. 

In an operation to monitor elephant movement in the southern part of the Okavango Delta, and in the bid to alleviate human-wildlife conflict within its operational regions,

 Wilderness has donated five satellite collars to Ecooexist. The gathered data intricately maps the animals’ movements including key routes near Maun, Toten, and Nokaneng urban development zones.

Hermanus’ winning wines and culinary scene


A visit to ‘Heaven and Earth Valley’ above the popular seaside resort of Hermanus reveals a unique terroir where some of the South Africa’s finest wines are being produced. 

The 15 wineries on the route include some internationally acclaimed producers but also family-owned producers with their own inspiring stories to tell.

Visitors can dine, overnight stay and enjoy tastings amongst the natural fynbos and dramatic rugged hills.

The grapes of choice in the region are Chardonnay and Pinot Noir – so the effect is Burgundy without the prices or crowds. 

Spookfontein is one of these smaller producers that has also become a culinary destination.

Featuring inspirational architecture and a spectacular new tasting room, it is in the renowned Hemel-en-Aarde Valley, nestled between the Kleinrivier and Babilonstoring Mountains.

The 313-hectare farm offers a variety of robust wines cultivated from rocky soil and nurtured by Walker Bay’s cold sea air.

The menu at its award-winning restaurant features locally sourced items, with choices that include Springbok served with polenta and chakalaka, hake and chips and the Asian-style Yellow Fin Tuna.

ATTA goes big in Durban


The African Travel and Tourism Association (ATTA ) stand dominated the ICC Hall at Indaba this year with 69 exhibitor desks and the largest-ever delegation to mark its 26th consecutive year participating in the event.

Said Chris Mears, CEO Experience Africa Events (the events division of ATTA): “As Africa’s Travel Indaba has flourished, so too has our presence at this key event, culminating in our strategy over the past years to provide a space that buyers and exhibitors can truly connect in the heart of all the action.”

Building on the momentum, Experience Africa Events is now preparing for its upcoming shows in 2024.

Experience Africa 2024 will take place in 155 Bishopsgate, London from July 1-3 2024. uniting Africa’s top suppliers with buyers from the UK and Europe.

Virgin adds fifth African property

Finch Hattons Activities Brochure dragged

Virgin Limited Editions’ fifth property in Africa will be unveiled in July 2024 as the company takes over management of the award-winning Finch Hatton Luxury Safari Camp in Tsavo, Kenya’s largest and oldest national park.

Set at the foot of the Chy ulu Hills and located around natural water springs on 35 acres, the tented camp offers 14 luxurious tented suites, two two-bedroom family suites and the Finch Hattons Suite complete with private plunge pool.

The lodge was established in 1993 and named after Denys Finch Hattons, one of Kenya’s great adventurers and conservationists.

Along with game drives, guests can look forward to dining on sumptuous African cuisine in the camp’s elegant dining pavilion or on the star-gazing terrace, taking in views of the snow-capped peaks of Mount Kilimanjaro, cooling down in the pool, signing up for a treatment at the Chyulu Spa or joining a yoga session on the open deck. 

A special offer of pay three nights and stay four is running between September 1 and December 20 2024.

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