Southern Africa Tourism Update recently asked their readers to submit products they deemed suitable for the US markets, and received over 40 different suggestions. These were put to a judging-panel of APTA members in the USA, who narrowed them down to the following top seven products… in no particular order:
• Victoria Falls Safari Lodge and Victoria Falls Safari Club
• Cape Canopy Tour
• Grootbos Private Nature Reserve
• La Petite Ferme
• Luxury Kruger & Cape Town Combinations
• Marine Dynamics Tours
• Tintswalo Safari Lodge
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The judges also added some suggestions and favorites of their own
• Sleep-outs under the stars. Treehouse/Platforms/Fly camps – call it whatever you want. It’s not something Americans get to do and see often, and it takes their breath away.
• Short-term volunteering. If anyone could offer a feasible way for guests to feel that they can make a worthwhile contribution anywhere in the course of a single day, that would be popular.
• Home-hosted dinners. If anyone could offer a practical way for guests to spend an evening with a local family over a home-cooked dinner, that would be popular
• Mandela Trail in Eastern Camp (Coffee Bay, Port St Johns, Mkambati Nature Reserve)
• Vundu Camp, Mana Pools (tie it in with Wild Dog conservation)
• Camp Amalinda and Mother Africa (tie in with community voluntourism)
• Singita Pamushana (tie in with rhino conservation on Malilangwe)
• Walking at Chem Chem (between Tarangire and Lake Manyara, Tanzania)
• East African Lodge Chain – One company that stands out in terms of locations, authenticity, excellent hosting and strong community commitment is Asilia Africa. They are a one-stop East Africa provider and are filling a gap in the market that has been sorely missing in East Africa.
• Best Gorilla Viewing Lodge – Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge. Very high specification. Best location and community-owned!
• Best new lodge in Africa? – Hoanib Skeleton Coast Camp in Namibia. There is simply nothing else like it. That day of driving out to the coast and then the scenic flight back – magic!