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April 20, 2018

Sub-Saharan Africa: Tell Your Story at Africa’s Travel Indaba

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Photo by Andrea Willmore/iStock/Getty Images Plus/Getty Images

When you visit Africa’s Travel Indaba, you touch base with most of the continent. Through all of your senses you will experience the richness of the African continent. What you’ll remember most when you leave, however, are the stories you hear and how these serve to connect people to business. Organiser of this major leisure show, South African Tourism, celebrates this with this year’s theme: “Africa’s stories, your success.”

Sisa Ntshona, CEO of South African Tourism, organisers of Africa’s Travel Indaba, says, “The modern traveller is looking for a travel experience that is distinctive and authentic, and travel in Africa offers exactly that: an unforgettable experience that leaves you with stories to tell. It is these real, incredible African stories that inspire our continent’s world-class tourism products and drive their business forward.”

“The world is increasingly looking to Africa as a vibrant continent where they can shape lasting travel memories. These are the stories we want to amplify at our continent’s premier tourism trade show in 2018. We want the African tourism economy to help write the story of Africa’s prosperity. We want the world to be moved by Africa,” he explains.

Sisa describes Africa’s Travel Indaba as a robust African conference, workshop and event. The exhibition was revamped last year; modernised and refreshed to maximise business success for exhibitors and visitors.

Case study: Wild Zambezi

Wild Zambezi is excited to introduce visitors at this year’s Africa’s Travel Indaba, its tenth as an exhibitor, to the magic wilderness and wildlife of Africa's Zambezi River, says director Sally Wynn. “Here is a world of nature where the pace is slow, the sun is warm, the sky is huge and the people are friendly.”

She shares her passion for what the region has to offer visitors: “Stand in the thundering spray of the Victoria Falls; pump adrenaline in the white-water of the Batoka Gorges; soak up a crimson sunset from the deck of your cruise boat on Lake Kariba; catch (and release) a magnificent Zambezi tigerfish; canoe silently downstream past crocodiles, hippos and herons to Mana Pools; walk with a guide where elephants roam; and, if you are lucky, witness the chase of a lion or wild dog kill. Take the best photographs of your life.”

Wild Zambezi helps visitors explore this wilderness paradise. They offer independent knowledge and local advice on how to get there, where to stay, what to do and how to keep safe. For those putting a trip together for clients or themselves, they can contact the listed products directly, or they can contact Wild Zambezi which will put them in touch with an expert travel planning consultant.

Sally says Zimbabwe is big news this year: “The changed political scene has made everyone curious to rediscover this wonderful country. And the good news is that it’s just as beautiful as ever! Wild Zambezi’s job is to show everyone how unique and unspoiled our wildlife and wilderness tourism areas are. We like it that way, and we want to encourage visitors to feel the same. Of course, everyone wants to see the Victoria Falls – the Adrenaline Capital – but do they know about the hidden gems in the nearby Zambezi National Park? Are they willing to venture further afield and explore Lake Kariba on a luxury cruiseboat, catch tigerfish and enjoy the best sunsets in the region? Would they sleep in a tent under the Winter Thorn trees and walk with the elephants in Mana Pools? Did you know that the stretch of the Zambezi River that passes through Zimbabwe has the largest, contiguous section of protected ‘wilderness’ in Africa (if not the world)? Wow! That’s really something special! We want the whole world to know,” she enthuses.

The Wild Zambezi stand at Indaba 2018 is DEC2B19, in the DEC Hall right opposite the Zimbabwe Tourism Stand. They are planning to give the international and regional travel trade a tantalising taste of the varied travel products available in the Zambezi’s wild areas, with something for everyone, including:

Wild Zambezi – Online information resource for travel to the Zambezi River's iconic wild areas, searchable listings, travel reviews and independent, on-the-ground travel advice

  • Birdlife Zimbabwe – Travel portfolio of professionally-guided, specialist tours for birding enthusiasts to Zimbabwe's avian hot-spots
  • Kavinga Safari Camp – 14-bed safari camp on a private wilderness concession within the southern section of Mana Pools National Park
  • Masuwe Lodge – Tent-under-thatch accommodation and safari experiences just a few minutes' drive from the adventures of Victoria Falls
  • Rhino Safari Camp – An authentic, luxury-rustic camp on the shores of Lake Kariba in the Matusadona National Park, with no fences, just pure nature
  • Ride Zimbabwe – James Varden Safaris and Natureways, with world-class, pro-guided adventure safaris combining horse-riding, canoeing, camping and walking in Zimbabwe's best wildlife areas
  • River God Adventures – All-inclusive, five-day floating safaris along the Zambezi River in fully-staffed and equipped four- to eight-sleeper pontoon boats
  • Safaris 4 Africa – Experienced destination management company (DMC) providing safaris and holidays tailormade to the individual needs of clients
  • Tafika Zambezi – Fully-catered lodge and self-catering fishing camp on the Zambezi River downstream of Mana Pools in the Sapi Safari Area
  • Zambezi Cruise & Safaris – Luxury cruise and safari experiences on board a fleet of prestigious houseboats and at safari lodges either end of Lake Kariba

“I think that people who have held back from visiting Zimbabwe because of the previous political situation will be hungry for information and inspiration. They will want to be reassured that travel is safe, that it’s easy to get around, that food and supplies are readily available, that people will be welcoming (wherever they go) and that there are experts, with local knowledge, to help,” Sally maintains. “Zimbabwe has the friendliest people on Earth: you’ll find a bunch of them on our stand at Indaba 2018, and they are bursting to spread the good news. The change has been a long time coming, but we’ve been quietly preparing for it. There are some amazing new products, exciting upgrades to old favourites, some wonderful, wild new adventures and a whole load of Zambezi wilderness to explore. The pictures are only a taster. Come and visit us to hear the real stories! Zimbabwe is open for tourism at last. The wild wonders of the Zambezi await,” she adds.

City Lodge celebrates growth into Africa

“One of the main themes this year concerns the City Lodge Hotel brand which is a strong favourite amongst business travellers. Our aim this year is to demonstrate that the City Lodge Hotel brand is not just functional, but also built for comfort. The stand is designed to show a comfortable bed in a room built and styled for comfort. This also shows how the brand has been upgraded and refurbished into a stylish, modern brand offering all the main facilities and features needed by travellers. The bottom line is that the City Lodge Hotel brand of 2018 is selected services-PLUS,” says the brand of this year’s participation at Africa’s Travel Indaba. The group has exhibited at Indaba for more than 20 years.

“As our core focus is business, we utilise Indaba to set up appointments and meeting with travel industry partners and suppliers. It is an important annual event which certainly helps us to maintain and build the profile of our brand. It also helps us to update the market on our growing presence in East and Southern Africa.”

When asked what kinds of stories visitors to their stand like to hear, City Lodge Group says, “They like to be updated on our new locations and any of the new services, features and facilities we are bringing to the market. It is also an opportunity to update people on what we are doing from a corporate social investment point of view – focusing on our commitment to uplifting worthy causes and communities as part of our greater corporate footprint.”

Overview of the group:

  • African footprint – 59 hotels in in four countries, soon to be 61 hotels in six countries when Dar es Salaam and Maputo hotels open in the next few months. Currently in South Africa, Botswana, Kenya and Namibia.
  • Four main brands – Courtyard Hotel, City Lodge Hotel, Town Lodge and Road Lodge, and the Fairview Hotel in Kenya.
  • New things happening: Road Lodge is being developed in Polokwane and Town Lodge in Umhlanga; 62 rooms currently being added to City Lodge at OR Tambo International Airport, taking it to 365 rooms. Once Polokwane and Umhlanga have opened, there will be 63 hotels offering 7995 rooms in six countries.

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