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Tourism & Travel

Tourism numbers: who’s coming to SA and why



Image: Iol

Tourism figures are important not only for those in the industry, but also an indicators of the overall South African economy.

In the April 2019, Tourism and Migration Report released by Statistics South Africa, there is an insight into traveller numbers into and out of the country.

The month of April is compared to the previous month as well as April 2018.

In April 2019, the distribution of overseas tourists was as follows: 

  • Europe, 134 273 (61,8%)
  • North America, 32 950 (15,2%)
  • Asia, 24 952 (11,5%)
  • Australasia, 11 889 (5,5%)
  • Central and South America, 8 954 (4,1%)
  • The Middle East, 4 113 (1,9%)

The ten leading overseas countries in terms of the number of tourists visiting South Africa in April 2019:

  1. United Kingdom 39 755 (18,3%)
  2. United States of America 27 760 (12,8%)
  3. Germany 25 823 (11,9%)
  4. France 14 275 (6,6%)
  5. The Netherlands 11 273 (5,2%)
  6. Australia 10 615 (4,9%)
  7. India 8 534 (3,9%)
  8. China 6 712 (3,1%)
  9. Belgium 5 777 (2,7%)
  10. Brazil 5 534 (2,5%)

The report also confirms that “virtually all tourists from Africa, 671 079 (98,0%), came from the SADC countries.”

The ten leading SADC countries in terms of the number of tourists visiting South Africa in April 2019:

  1. Zimbabwe, 199 611 (29,7%)
  2. Lesotho 144 143 (21,5%)
  3. Mozambique 100 392 (15,0%)
  4. Swaziland, 90 022 (13,4%)
  5. Botswana 75 903 (11,3%)
  6. Namibia 20 030 (3,0%)
  7. Malawi 13 647 (2,0%)
  8. Zambia, 13 571 (2,0%)
  9. Angola, 5 004 (0,7%)
  10. Tanzania, 3 025 (0,5%)

Credit: NATHAN ADAMS/iol

Tourism & Travel

8 handy items to ensure stress-free travel




Don’t forget to pack your camera. You shouldn’t be relying solely on your smartphone to take pics.

Now that you have taken the step to travel after months of planning, there are a few things you need to know. Packing the right items can be quite hard, so we have compiled a guide of the 10 items that every traveller needs, and why.

A camera: With the rise of smartphones, many travellers prefer carrying their cellphones than a camera. But a camera has many benefits. It comes in handy when your phone battery dies and usually takes better images and videos than your phone.

Hand sanitiser: Germs are everywhere and they can cause serious health issues. Alcohol-based hand sanitisers prevent the spread of germs and illness-causing bacteria, whether you at the airport or in a tourist site.

Moisturiser: Travelling takes a toll on the skin, especially during long flights and harsh weather conditions. Take a dermatologist-approved moisturiser to hydrate your skin and keep you looking in top shape.

Don’t forget your travel pillow.

Travel pillow: Whether you are flying or travelling long periods of time, a travel pillow can help you get that much-needed shut-eye. There are nifty travel pillows that deflate into small packages.

A travel wallet: For those people who tend to lose things quickly, a travel wallet is just what you need. It stores everything from your passport, plane tickets, travel cards and itinerary. It’s easy to store and compact enough to take anywhere.

Also Read Interview with Badejo Stephen, CEO and Founder of The Removalist Logistics

Universal adapter: There is nothing more frustrating than not having an adapter to charge your devices. Instead of running low on power on your travels and decreasing the brightness on your screen to save your battery, carry along a universal adapter. It is usable in most countries.

Always make sure you have a power bank when you hit the road.

Power bank: These nifty gadgets come handy during full-day tours or during power outages. With all the videos and pictures you will be capturing, a power bank will help juice up your device until its next charge.

A wet bag: Or any other bag to store your messy clothes: unless making use of the hotel’s laundry service, a traveller should carry a wet bag in their suitcase. Wet bags are waterproof cloth bags meant to store clothing that you have used. It separates your clean and dirty clothes.



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Tourism & Travel

A luxury Big Five game safari with a twist




Game drives are unique, as travellers get a history lesson about the Zulu Kingdom. Picture: uMfolozi Big Five Game Reserve.

I am seated in a green game vehicle, soaking up the view of the rugged wilderness before me. For someone who has been on more than a dozen safari trips throughout South Africa, you’d think I would tire of seeing the “Big Five” and natures other charming creatures. But my trip to uMfolozi Big Five Game Reserve, on the other hand, was different.

Having spotted the endangered white rhino, a cheeky elephant answering the call of nature and dozens of impala, it was the area’s rich history that piqued my curiosity.

The Hluhluwe–Imfolozi Park, known as Africa’s oldest proclaimed nature reserve, contains the legacy of King Shaka and Dr Ian Player – the global conservationist who founded Operation Rhino. Player helped protect the white rhino from extinction in the late 1950s.

Our game ranger Artist Gqwetha, who has accumulated a wealth of knowledge in his 10 years on the job, brings the vehicle to a halt and turns to our group of intrepid explorers.

A family of elephants captivate guests with their antics. Picture: uMfolozi Big Five Game Reserve.

He points to the valleys King Shaka once called his home and where he encountered many battles. Shaka was at the forefront of conservation and played a critical role in how man interacts with the wild today.

Game drives at uMfolozi merge culture and wildlife seamlessly, painting a perfect picture of conservation and the strides locals have made to protect the area.

Game drives are unique, as travellers get a history lesson about the Zulu Kingdom. Picture: uMfolozi Big Five Game Reserve.

Barry and Sonja Theunissen are the brains behind the uMfolozi Big Five Game Reserve concept, which falls under the Mantis Collection portfolio. In less than eight months, they have launched two new lodges, Mthembu and Biyela. Zulu, a luxury tented camp, opens next July. The lodges, named after the five descendants of King Shaka’s chiefs, who offered their tribal land to enhance conservation in the uMfolozi Wilderness, prides itself on community development.

“It benefits everyone, especially community members who are hired to work at the 5-star lodges,” chief Mthembu tells our group later that afternoon, during a mandatory sundowner break overlooking the grand White iMfolozi river.

“It is the start of something extraordinary,” he says, raising a triumphant toast to our group of seven.

History with luxury 

As we arrive at Mthembu Lodge, the staff gather around – serenading us with songs that pay homage to Africa. They are in a joyous mood and prepare to treat us to an authentic African bush experience. Walking into the lodge feels surreal. The modern furnishings, coupled with fresh plants, transforms it into a paradise for any traveller. A refreshing drink in hand, we get a tour from managers Dave and Christina.

Mthembu Lodge, which opened in October, has seven private villas and two family villas. The villas mirror the original Zulu dwellings. Each villa is named after a Zulu King who played a pivotal role in the province’s history. Hand-built by members of the Mthembu tribe, the villas are tastefully decorated with African art and contemporary furniture.

I was booked into the King Solomon villa, which has mesmerising views of the wilderness. The villa comes standard with an oval-shaped bath, outside shower, air conditioning, stocked mini bar, wi-fi and a private deck perfect for when you want to escape for a few hours, with a good book and a G&T.
For those who prefer to explore, the lodge’s infinity pool is ideal for a mid-morning swim. Mthembu offers special boma dinners on request, with energising performances from the youngsters of the tribe.

The villas were built by the tribe. Picture: uMfolozi Big Five Game Reserve.
uMfolozi Big Five Game Reserve provides an authentic African safari experience. Picture: uMfolozi Big Five Game Reserve.

I couldn’t help feasting on the grilled prawns and spicy chakalaka, while others tucked into the braaied meat. The next day, we drove for an hour to Biyela Lodge. Biyela Lodge, which opened in May, caters for the modern safari traveller. Tiered on a descending cliff, overlooking an oxbow lagoon in the White iMfolozi River, Biyela is the perfect escape for travellers wanting to get away from the hustle and bustle of city life.

Also Read The Society Expects More From Youths

The villas each had a distinct wildlife theme. I stayed in one that lent itself beautifully to the magnificent zebra.

Boasting 12 villas, the lodge offers guests spa treatments, stargazing, and will soon launch walking safaris. Travellers have the option of booking into the honeymoon suites, with broad views of the park and wilderness areas, or the river frontage that offers astonishing views of wildlife. Guests can choose to skip game drives as you can view the game from the comfort of your deck chair. And the elephants and various species of antelope frequently pop by to quench their thirst.

Enjoy a soak in the bath, while taking in the views of the private pool and hillside. Nine of the villas come standard with a plunge pool.

All villas come standard with outdoor showers, a lounge and spacious bathrooms, and a viewing deck. Three of them are without a pool. However, it has night beds for those who want to sleep under the stars. The lodge’s infinity pool, with 180-degree views of the plains, is Biyela’s most attractive attribute.

Breakfasts – an elaborate affair – offers everything from fresh fruit, cheeses and baked goodies, followed by a hot breakfast of your choice.
Drinks and snacks flow freely throughout the day to keep your stomach satisfied until the afternoon’s high tea spread. Dinner at Biyela allows travellers to dress up and tuck into a mouthwatering fine dining meal – fit for a chief. We ended the night making S’Mores by the fire pit.

Clinton Moodley 

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Tourism & Travel

5 things to keep in mind if you’re travelling for business




Image: Security Intelligence

Business travellers know that they face a unique set of risks when travelling locally or overseas. And it’s unavoidable as statistics show that about 20 percent of employees are either engaged in business travel or longer-term assignments. Air passenger numbers alone are expected to double to eight billion in the next 20 years, and many of those passengers will be corporate employees. Your company has the legal and moral obligation to provide safety and security to employees when they travel on business.

According to research conducted by International SOS, risk management plans today are very often out of step with the needs of the modern workforce. Sally Napper is a Security Specialist at International SOS and Control Risks and says almost half of decision makers expected that travel risks would increase this year.

“Our research revealed that the evolving travel habits of the modern workforce are being overlooked by many organisations. Ensuring policies stay relevant to the needs of a modern workforce helps to keep your people safer and better informed, and also demonstrates the continuing importance of adaptive risk management programmes – and could help win board approval and support for other initiatives,” she says.

There are five crucial elements to keep into consideration when putting together a Travel Risk Management Plan. There are five stages of travel risk management: identifying the risk, preparing the traveller, tracking the traveller, communication and response. Each should be included in any TRM plan.

Risk varies according to location, environment and circumstance

Make sure the risks in each location your travellers visit is visible (not just the life-threatening ones). Just knowing where is a traveller is, doesn’t mean you have a workable plan in place to help when things go wrong. Make it clear to the traveller what those risks are and what measures are being taken in the interests of their safety.

Prepare your travellers before they travel

Make sure they have the latest advice on vaccination requirements. Educate them on potential health risks, and what to do if they do fall ill while away on business.

It is vital that health response plans cover extreme eventualities…

Such as a country closing its borders due to disease outbreak, but also more common risks and challenges, such as traffic accidents and personal theft. Travellers need to know what action to take and the support they will receive in these circumstances.

Having a TRM plan is excellent

But response processes, communication channels and traveller perceptions need to be checked and reviewed regularly. If they don’t work, you could be in real trouble.

Individual Customer Crisis Plans

Your TMC can work with you to review or implement your TRM solution and support your travelling employees with their individual Customer Crisis Plan.


Credit: IOL

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