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Young, digital and keen to travel: Youth Travel at ITB Berlin

Why not explore the world instead of lying on the couch? This year, at ITB Berlin trade visitors and the general public can immerse themselves in the world of youth travel again. Tour operators, tourism associations and organisations will be gathered in Hall 4.1 where they will be showcasing their latest products and innovations in the Youth Travel & Economy Accommodation segment. Exhibitors will be presenting digital innovations such as VR goggles, information on new youth travel destination, events on festivals, and communicating with emojis. All these things will be just the ticket for their target audience, a new generation that is keen to travel.

At last, the ITB Berlin Youth Travel segment in Hall 4.1 has come of age, and in order to mark its eighteenth anniversary the youth tour operator ‘ruf Reisen’ has produced a special film. Inside the Language Zone, Europe’s market leader will also have information on language courses abroad and summer trips with a focus on ’sports and beach’, ’partying and beach’ and ’chilling and beach’ holidays. VR goggles will be available for visitors to enjoy sports on the beach with, and for chilling out afterwards in a special area.

In 2017 ‘Das Reisenetz – Deutscher Fachverband fur Jugendreisen’ will be occupying its largest combined stand to date in Hall 4.1. Schliersee and Arberland, two youth tour destinations of the future, will be exhibiting for the first time. These two regions will be represented as a pilot project of the travel network ‘Jugendreise-Qualitatssiegel fur Destinationen’ alongside Bayerischer Landes-Sportverband e.V. The South African Youth Travel Association (SAYTC), a new partner of the travel network, will have information on youth tours in South Africa. Together with several of its members, this is the first time the organisation will be represented at ITB Berlin. Numerous events organised by the travel network and featuring high-ranking figures from politics and business will have information for visitors on the latest developments in the youth tour market on the stage in Hall 4.1 and in the Youth Incoming Germany Lounge (YIG). On Thursday, 9 March 2017, a get-together of the youth tour sector will take place at the big ITB travel network party.

In Hall 4.1a, at numerous workshops, the World Youth Student and Educational Travel Confederation (WYSE) and other experts will be discussing millennials and Generation Z. They will present case studies and best digital marketing practices as well as strategies for youth destinations and working with bloggers.

On Wednesday, 8 March 2017, from 1 to 3 p.m., the first Youth Travel Startup Forum will have information on trends and developments in this growth segment. Among those taking part will be Andre Baumeister of FRAM – Science Travel, Mark van der Heijden of Wanderbrief, Frauke Schmidt of Unplanned, John Donnelly of Welcome Groups, and Sebastian Dopp of IT Jugendreisen.com.

On Thursday, 9 March 2017, from 1 to 2 p.m., visitors to the stage in the Youth Tour hall can also find out more about ’Sound Destinations: Music, Festivals and the Youth Visitor’. Moderator Nick Hall, founder and CEO of the Digital Tourism Think Tank, will be talking with Katja Hermes of Sound Diplomacy, Prof. Greg Richards of the WYSE Travel Confederation, and Matthieu Betton of Sojern, about the attraction that music and festivals exert on young people and how destinations can benefit. Colourful emojis have changed the way Generation Z communicates and also pose a challenge for tourism managers. Thus on Friday, 10 March 2017, from 11 a.m. to 12 noon, ’How to talk to Generation Z in five emojis or less’ will be the topic of a discussion round. Taking part will be Michael Potscher of Tour Radar, Emmanuelle Legault of Destination Canada, and Dom Carter of What Marketing Company, who will provide some interesting ideas and examples of best practices. The event will be moderated by Rhett Lego of The Conjoint Marketing Group.

School trips are fun. However, when travelling, knowledge of safety and legal aspects is needed. This where Germany’s first ’school trip licence’ should be of help. On Friday, 10 March 2017, over four sessions and in cooperation with Hochschule Bremen, A&O Hostels & Hotels and Welcome Berlin Tours will have information on topics including school trip guidelines, safety, sports trips and learning in different locations on school trips. On Saturday, 11 March 2017, on the big stage in Hall 4.1, ’school trip licence’ certificates will be presented for the first time.

Source: traveldailynews

Ethiopian Airlines to Begin Regular Flights to Hawassa

Hawassa becomes the 20th domestic destination for Ethiopian Airlines, which has announced that it will begin four weekly flights from April 16, 2016.

Ethiopian’s Q-400 aircraft will make the 40 minute flight every Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday.

The Airline has pledged to offer international standard services for domestic travellers at the lowest possible cost. This will not only boost the region’s growing investment and tourism industry but will enhance the socio-economic relations of the state with others. Domestic and international travellers will be able to easily make flight transfers to and from Hawassa.

The city is the capital of the Southern Nations Nationalities and Peoples State and is one of the best tourist destinations in Ethiopia. Its attractions include one of the seven lakes of the Great Rift Valley as well as its diverse cultures and languages.

Hawassa’s 457 million Br Airport is yet to be inaugurated officially in the same week that Ethiopian Airlines will make its maiden flight to that destination.

Opening this route is part of the Airline’s Vision 2025 which includes the establishment of Ethiopian Express as a strategic business unit for the delivery of essential air connectivity. The new service is expected to attract the business community, public sector personnel, university students and lecturers as well as tourists.

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‘Botswana is Africa’s best-kept secret’

Gaborone – The International Tourism Bourse (ITB-Berlin) has described Botswana as “Africa’s best kept secret” and selected the country to be the first-ever Southern African official partner of the 2017 ITB travel and trade show set to take place in the German capital next year.

According to the ITB-Berlin, the agreement to make Botswana the 2017 official partner of the world’s leading travel and trade show was signed in Berlin on March 9 between Botswana Tourism minister Tshekedi Khama and ITB-Berlin chief executive officer of Messe Berlin.

In a statement released after the signing ceremony, ITB-Berlin head David Ruetz said Botswana was selected because of its successful implementation of sustainable tourism initiatives, and would benefit from the show by being placed on the spotlight as a leading global tourism destination.

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“Botswana is Africa’s best-kept secret. Two contrasting natural features characterise this country: the Kalahari Desert and the Okavango Basin with its many animal species, large forests, and innumerable streams that empty into small lakes. Particularly during the rainy season, visitors on trips and safaris can marvel at the unique fauna and flora.

“The diverse cultural heritage of the country, the warm hospitality shown by its people, as well as sustainable tourism make Botswana an unrivalled holiday destination in southern Africa.

“The fact that almost 40 percent of the country’s surface area has been declared a national park, wildlife or nature reserve is testimony to the exemplary efforts undertaken to actively preserve nature,” Ruetz said.

In his remarks, Khama said as the country’s premier tourism marketing authority, the Botswana Tourism Organisation (BTO) would seize the opportunity offered by the country’s prestigious status as the official partner of ITB-Berlin 2017 to share its nature conservation achievements and consolidate the country’s position as a top global tourism destination.

“The Botswana Tourism Organisation has taken the opportunity to become the partner country of ITB Berlin 2017 in order to share Botswana’s nature conservation achievements with the rest of the world and to raise general awareness of this country.

Botswana’s role as the partner country of the world’s largest travel trade show will ensure the long-term attention of the global tourism industry.

“It will not only place the spotlight on Botswana’s tourism successes but will also focus attention worldwide on our potential for economic development. In the past Botswana has achieved great success that has remained largely unnoticed around the world. Botswana will also benefit from this year’s fiftieth anniversary of ITB Berlin.

“Numerous activities and events will give us the opportunity to market and promote our country as a tourism destination and to improve our returns on investment,” Khama said.

In 2015 a total of 10 096 companies and organisations from 186 countries across the globe exhibited their products and services to 175 000 visitors at ITB-Berlin.

Of these, 115 000 were trade visitors. The annual showcase routinely include a trade exhibition that is run concurrently with networking and business conferences.

Botswana participated at the just-ended 2016 showcase, which was the 50th edition of ITB-Berlin.

The Bushcamp Company was also featured in this awards. In SA, Grootbos was named alongside two other proudly South African lodges.

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Source: iol


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#Travel: Finalists for 2016 Tourism for Tomorrow Awards announced

The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) has announced the 15 Finalists for its 2016 Tourism for Tomorrow Awards in the five categories; Community, Destination, Environment, Innovation and People. The 15 Finalists, which were chosen after a rigorous judging process, showcase the highest level of sustainability practices within the Travel & Tourism sector.

To understand how diverse responsible tourism is and the many ways it can help local communities and environments, you only have to look at below examples, carefully selected by Tourism for Tomorrow judges. The 2016 Awards saw applications from 62 countries across all continents. Following the first phase of the three stage judging process all applications have now been carefully evaluated by a committee of independent expert judges against established sustainable tourism criteria, which include community development, preservation of cultural and natural heritage, and innovative solutions for sustainable practices.

V&A Waterfront in Cape Town, South Africa and Wilderness Safaris from South Africa and Botswana led the way for the sector in Africa as shortlisted finalists, which will see them move forward into the second phase of on-site evaluations by international sustainable tourism experts, assessing the organisations and the business practices they have highlighted in their application.

Winners will be officially announced during the Awards Ceremony taking place in Dallas, USA on 7 April 2016 during WTTC’s Global Summit.

The Finalists of the 2016 WTTC Tourism for Tomorrow Awards are:

Community Award Finalists

  • Expediciones Sierra Norte, Pueblos Mancomunados, Mexico
  • Sapa O’Chau, Vietnam
  • Yayasan Ekowisata Indonesia, Indonesia

Destination Award Finalists

  • Parkstad Limburg, Netherlands
  • Swiss Parks Network, Switzerland
  • V&A Waterfront, South Africa

Environment Award Finalists

  • Alcatraz Cruises, US
  • Lindblad Expeditions, US and worldwide
  • Wilderness Safaris, South Africa / Botswana

Innovation Award Finalists

  • ANVR, the Netherlands
  • Northsailing, Iceland
  • PWC, Travel Foundation & TUI Group, United Kingdom

People Award Finalists

  • Jus’ Sail, Saint Lucia
  • Kinyei International, Cambodia
  • Youth Career Initiative (YCI), United Kingdom

Source: capitalfm


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Committee appointed to review SA Tourism

SA Tourism, the entity responsible for marketing South Africa as a domestic and international destination is going to be extensively reviewed, Tourism Minister Derek Hanekom has said.

SAnews.gov reports Hanekom has appointed a ministerial committee to review SA Tourism’s institutional alignment and strategic focus in the context of the broader public and private sector landscape for tourism marketing and tourism sector governance.

“The tourism sector operates in a dynamic and constantly changing environment. Technology is developing rapidly and is changing the way that we communicate and market ourselves, consumer preferences are evolving, and source markets are shifting,” Hanekom said.

“Continual change in the operating and market environment requires us to review how effective our organisational structures are to deliver against their mandates,” he said.

According to the report, tourism has been identified as a key sector with the potential to contribute to economic growth and sustainable employment in the National Development Plan.

Several tourism, marketing and governance experts are part of the review team: 

•    Mr Valli Moosa (Chairperson)
•    Dr Crispin Olver (Deputy Chairperson)
•    Mr Mavuso Msimang
•    Ms Kate Rivett Carnac
•    Dr Tanya Abrahamse
•    Ms Nunu Tshingila-Njeke
•    Ms Jeanine Pires

The panel’s analysis will include “a study of international best practice that guides tourism governance and marketing; the division of roles between national tourism administrations and destination marketing organisations, and key performance indicators of comparable destination marketing organisations”.
The review is expected to be completed by the end of April 2015. This will precede the appointment of a new Board which will assume duty on 1 June 2015.

Source: Traveller 24


 

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Should tourists be banned from Antarctica?

This season around 37,000 tourists are expected to visit Antarctica – home to about 20 million pairs of breeding penguins. But is it ethically acceptable to go on holiday to such a pristine environment?

Enfolded in two glacial arms the bay before us sparkles ultramarine, the water flecked with ice-lilies and dotted with bits of floating icebergs.

A sheer cliff towers dark above us, flanked by snow slopes as pure white as the glistening fronts of the little Adelie penguins whose spectacled eyes peer curiously around as they waddle and toboggan about their business just a few feet away.

This is Brown Bluff on the Antarctic Peninsula and togged up in layer upon layer of fleece, topped with vivid red wetskins I am all too aware that this is not my habitat.

Which begs the question: Should I be here? Am I, just by setting foot on this extraordinary continent, disturbing a pristine environment and polluting the last great wilderness on earth?

All visitors leave a footprint, admits my tour leader, Boris Wise of One Ocean Expeditions, and we all tend to go to the same places – the accessible coastline – which is also where the penguins and seals go to breed.

Nonetheless, he argues, carefully controlled tourism is not just OK but useful.

Without a native population of its own, Antarctica needs advocates and tourism creates a global constituency of people ready to support – and indeed fund – its preservation.

Not everyone is convinced the benefits outweigh the risks but most are pragmatic.

“It is better to have a certain level of responsible tourism than for it to go under the radar,” says Jane Rumble, Head of Polar Regions at the British Foreign Office.

This season 37,000 tourists are expected in Antarctica, although 10,000 will never go ashore.

About half the tourist ships are, like ours, flagged to Antarctic Treaty countries making them legally bound by the treaty’s environmental standards.

The other half are worryingly outside this regulation but most are part of the International Maritime Organisation which is just introducing a stricter polar code, and at present all the companies regularly bringing tourists here are members of the International Association of Antarctic Tour Operators (IAATO) which works closely with the Antarctic Treaty System.

As our ship crosses 60 degrees south into Antarctica we are given a mandatory briefing before gathering in the ship’s mud room for a “vacuum party”.

As a portable amp sets the rhythm with the music of aptly-named bands, Passenger and The Black Seeds, we biosecure ourselves, hoovering our clothes and kit and disinfecting our boots to ensure we introduce no alien species to Antarctica.

Does this really work, I wonder? Apparently it does. Non-native species have been accidentally introduced to the region but not, as far as anyone knows, by tourists.

In fact, research suggest that scientific programmes may have much more environmental impact than tourism.

Scientists, of course, argue that they also bring more benefit, including increasing understanding of how crucially changes in the Antarctic link to changes in the global environment.

Our ship never docks. We anchor and go ashore by biosecured dinghy.

There is no eating or smoking on land and we are instructed to take nothing away except photographs and leave nothing behind, not even a bit of yellow snow.

“So don’t drink too much at breakfast,” grins Boris.

We are told not to get any nearer than 5m from Antarctic wildlife.

But nobody told the penguins and, although we never touch, we have delightfully close encounters, especially with the confident little red-beaked gentoos.

One passenger is allowed to get as close as he likes. He is Phil McDowell, marine biologist and penguin counter from the independent research organisation Oceanites, who is hitching a lift on our ship to monitor the penguin colonies we visit.

There have been several studies comparing regularly visited colonies with those rarely in touch with humankind.

The results are strikingly inconclusive showing more-visited colonies variously doing worse, the same and even better.

Gentoos are thriving, McDowell tells me, increasing in both number and range.

Adelies, and the little helmeted chinstrap penguins, however, are in decline.

The Antarctic Peninsula has warmed by an average of 3C in the last 60 years, and winds have shifted, changing the pattern of the sea ice.

It is global warming that is changing the penguins’ fortunes, McDowell suggests, not tourism.

There are concerns for the future however. Tourist numbers look set to rise and membership of IAATO is voluntary.

Tourist ships are starting to offer activities like kayaking, mountaineering and diving which are potentially more invasive than simply looking.

The impact isn’t clear and more monitoring is certainly needed.

Back in London, enjoying my photos of ethereal icescapes and brilliantly comic penguins, I wonder again whether I should feel guilty for having been in Antarctica?

“No,” says polar expert Jane Rumble, “just do what you can to preserve it.”

Source: UK Progressive


 

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A fresh approach to ecotourism in Africa

When Albert Ndereki first worked at Chobe Game Lodge in 1971, beers were a mere US$ 0.04 cents each and guests were expected to wear formal attire at dinner in the evening. Guests flew directly into Chobe National Park with Botswana Airways (now Air Botswana), landing at Serondela Airstrip by the Chobe River and continued to the lodge on a well-graded road.

Today, he invites us on one of the first Ecotours now offered by Chobe Game Lodge.

From being born in the village of Satau in Northern Botswana to watching Richard Burton serenade Elizabeth Taylor in their private suite after their second wedding, Albert can tell you the stories of how he’s watched Botswana evolve from simple beginnings into the premier destination for safari goers around the world.

Albert talks about how challenging it was to establish Chobe Game Lodge, the first 5-star lodge of its kind in Botswana. “Things were very different then, many of the chefs, waiters, managers and other such people came from places like Zimbabwe, South Africa and overseas because there were no trained Batswana to employ” explains Albert.

“You know for the food waste at the lodge we used to dispose of it in a hole at the back of the lodge which we buried. During the Chobe River sunset cruises we used to tie reeds to fish so the guests could see the fish eagles fly down in front of them and take the floating fish.”

Albert noticed how the African Fish Eagle spent its days watching the boat waiting for its meal and quickly understood that the lodge had a responsibility to the environment and dreamed of changing how things were done.

The lodge now actively works towards benefitting the environment and boosting the local Chobe community. Albert now oversees the ecotourism initiatives at Chobe Game Lodge, inviting guests to explore the lodge on an ecotour and discover what goes on behind the scenes.

During the ecotour, Albert spends time talking about the community, what he calls the most important asset at Chobe Game Lodge, and how the lodge has invested in empowering Batswana from the region. More than 170 local youngsters have been trained and qualified through the Youth Trainee Development Programme initiated by the lodge in 2006.  18 of the graduates took up positions within Chobe Game Lodge while the others went on to further their career in the tourism industry.

“Our company medic ‘Doc B’ visits regularly to give us check-ups and provide any medicine we may need or even counselling and advice.  Every year when the company makes a profit our director calls us together to talk about the year and how we all worked as a team to make it successful. We also receive dividends through the company share scheme. So really for us working at Chobe Game Lodge, it is like being part of a big family community rather than just an employee” says Albert.

On the tour, Albert then introduces us to the ecotourism projects taking place at the lodge. Food waste is now processed in a large biogas plant which produces methane for cooking gas in the staff kitchens. Waste water is treated above ground with new technology that ensures all the grey water is safely recycled into irrigation. In fact, through processes involved in the reduction of rubbish, reusing of materials and recycling initiatives in place, less than 5% of the lodge’s waste ends up in the Kasane refuse facility.

Albert shows guests the first silent CO2 emission free electric game-drive vehicles and safari boats operating in Botswana. Travellers can now move silently through the Chobe National Park observing wildlife in their natural environment, undisturbed by the rumble of a diesel motor. A far cry from guests waiting on a boat for the Fish Eagle to be fed!

But it doesn’t stop there. There are so many fascinating initiatives in place that help keep the lodge environment pristine and natural. It’s incredible to see what can be achieved with a committed approach to responsible tourism and the ecotour is certainly a refreshing look into the future of safari lodges in Africa.

Albert tells us, “If I think back to when I was first offered the job at Chobe Game Lodge in 1971 to what we have now, I am extremely proud and happy to be a part of this place – so much care and attention goes into every part and I really enjoy sharing this with our guests.”

What a privileged to have such a passionate individual like Albert on a team.

Source: Travel News


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Ebola’s impact on tourism in Africa

Michelle Grant, travel and tourism manager at Euromonitor International, looks at the impact of Ebola on Africa‘s tourist industry.

Since the outbreak of Ebola was declared a global health threat by the World Health Organization in August, the outbreak in West Africa, mainly in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone, has had a disproportionate impact on international tourism to Africa. Tourism declines have been noted in countries thoughts of miles away and without the virus. However, the Ebola outbreak in the hardest hit countries seems to be improving and some scientists are optimistic about containment within a year. Once containment happens and is well known, Africa can start the process of rebuilding its tourism industry.

Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone account for less than 1% of international tourism arrivals to Sub-Saharan countries according to Euromonitor International, but fears about the virus are impacting countries thousands of miles away from the epicenter and have no cases of Ebola. A Safaribookings.com poll of 500 tour operators in Africa found that 50% of operators experienced cancellations due to fears about the virus and 69% said that they’ve experience noticeable declines in their future bookings.

The Hotels Association of Tanzania noted in October 2014 that business had declined by 30% to 40% compared to the pervious year and that bookings for 2015 were down by 50%. South African tourism players, One&Only and Go2Africa, have also discussed declines in their business due to fears of Ebola.

There may be hope for a turnaround in the near term, though. According to the WHO’s Ebola situation report from 10 December 2014, Ebola incidence is decreasing in Liberia, increasing or stable in Sierra Leone and slightly increase in Guinea. The race is on for vaccines and anti-viral medications while tests are being done on blood from survivors—all in hopes of containing the virus. Some scientists think that the Ebola virus can be contained within a year.
Once containment happens, it is likely that the positive news will be widespread, alleviating fears about the virus in Africa. It is during this time that private and public players in Africa should work together to promote Africa as a destination to international tourists, who are much more likely to come once the threat of the virus, is contained.

Source: Travelmole

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Two-minute guide to responsible tourism in South Africa

With easy access to its National Parks, fantastic roads, stylish cities, enticing cuisine and vibrant culture, South Africa is accessible Africa; a destination for families, first-timers and the less fearless.

Best known for the wildlife which wanders its vast parks and conservancies, it can be easy to consider a holiday to South Africa as simply a chance to tick off the ‘Big Five’ from a safari bucketlist. However we shouldn’t ignore the people, history and heritage which make this the real Rainbow Nation. Responsibletravel.com’s 2-minute guide to South Africa argues that for a truly authentic South African experience its culture shouldn’t just be a safari afterthought.

While South Africa may not have the ‘cliched’ tribal experiences found in other countries in Africa – for example encounters with the Himba in Namibia, or walks with the Maasai in Kenya – what it does have are far more real and accessible opportunities for tourists to really connect with culture, through music, delicious street food, festivals and art fairs, without the need for contrived tours.

South Africa’s townships are home to many millions of its residents, of all cultural backgrounds, and provide a real insight into modern South African life. Although these tours can be controversial, especially when tourists drive through, shooting pictures and giving nothing in return; when locally run, using local guides and with regular stops to visit markets, craftsmen and local shebeens these tours give some of South Africa’s poorest communities the chance to promote their heritage, generate income for their families and develop much-needed community initiatives.

Uthando, in Cape Town is a great example of people-led tourism products leading to genuine, grassroots development projects, and Durban’s Langa Township is now part of the city’s Hop-on Hop-off Red Bus Tours; a result of ongoing social enterprise developments around local jazz, heritage, arts culture and food.

South Africa’s very troubled recent history shapes the lives of everyone tourists will meet in the country, and to really understand the present day South Africa, tourists have to make the effort to learn more about its complex past. The Apartheid Museum in Johannesburg is a must-visit, yet moving place to put this history into the context of everyday South Africans.

Not solely a tourist museum, it also serves as a powerful place of peace and reconciliation. In its own words: “The museum is a beacon of hope showing the world how South Africa is coming to terms with its oppressive past and working towards a future that all South Africans can call their own.”

With such an array of cultures to explore it is possible to have the holiday of a lifetime in South Africa without seeing one wild animal. Which, of course, would be a real shame. So rather than trying to touch every colour of the Rainbow Nation, try instead to become immersed in just one or two places which will give you a balance of heritage and natural history, culture and wildlife.

KwaZulu-Natal, for example, tucked away in the east of the country is an ideal destination for authentic adventures and yet often overlooked for the more famous Garden Route or Kruger National Park. The customs and beliefs of Zulu culture underpin daily life here. Learning how the past has shaped the present, tourists can take informative tours of the 1879 Anglo-Zulu battlefields at Isandlwana and Rorke’s Drift with a local guide, before staying in a traditional Zulu homestead or ‘Umuzi’, offering homestay experiences for visitors. This is a unique, immersive way to understand the importance traditional tribal cultures have in modern South Africa away from more contrived tourist cultural shows.

KwaZulu-Natal also has world-class wildlife, and the sought-after ‘Big Five’ in abundance. Many reserves are doing key conservation work, including Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Park, where anti-poaching initiatives were successful in bringing back the white rhino from the brink of extinction in the 1950s. And with rhino (and other species) numbers continuing to be threatened, ensuring that a South Africa holiday supports key conservation efforts is vitally important.

Source: Travel Mole