Joe Cloete, GM of Shamwari Group, which includes Shamwari Game Reserve, Jock Safari Lodge, and Sanbona Wildlife Reserve, has also witnessed an upturn
since 2015, claiming a huge increase in international and South African guests booking at the properties.
“There has been a very healthy growth in occupancies year on year, as South Africa has become a desirable destination across the world, and, of course, the favourable exchange rate has made South Africa a very affordable destination. We are seeing excellent growth out of the UK and Europe, but the very encouraging growth has come out of North America, and family travel has become huge.”
Cloete says sustainable conservation has always been the Shamwari model, and that there is probably an oversaturation of luxury lodges in the market — and certainly an overuse of the word luxury. “Unique, family travel experiences are what remain with you for a lifetime, not necessarily luxury décor,” he says. “There is a massive trend coming through where guests specifically want to support the right kind of conservation products that provide a positive social and ecological result.”