Q&A: South Africa

South Africa offers adventure, wildlife, culture and renown wine regions, just to name a few. travelBulletin asked Helloworld Travel’s Africa specialist April Selby from Waurn Ponds Travel how agents can get the most from this market.

Is there a lot of interest among Australians for travel to South Africa?

Yes, airfares have never been cheaper so that has created a lot of interest. It is often on people’s wish list. They regularly think that it is out of their reach but when I give them the quotes they are usually pleasantly surprised.

What sort of travellers are visiting South Africa?

Any kind of traveller can find their niche in South Africa. There is such a variety of activities and things to see from the wild to the tame. Accommodation can vary from the cheapest campsite to luxurious five star lodges. Self-drive holidays are popular as well as the myriad of tours on offer.

What are the must see highlights?

Kruger National Park is a must.It can’t be beaten for diversity and for those wanting to see the ‘Big Five’ (leopard, elephant, lion, rhino, buffalo). The nearby Panorama Route is spectacular as well.

Cape Town is the ‘Mother City’ flanked by the imposing Table Mountain Range and just beyond the Winelands area. The V&AWaterfront precinct is a fabulous place to stay and visit — restaurants, shops, markets entertainment and much more.

One of the hardest decisions is which winery to visit in the Winelands area, a decision made easier by the fun hop-on hop-off Franschhoek Wine Tram which is a great way to visit many wineries!

What is the best time of year to travel?

Anytime of the year is great in South Africa but if you want to avoid the hot and rainy season in Kruger then March through to October is best. Being in the southern hemisphere like us, it is warmer in the north and cooler in the south. I find that many people prefer the more moderate months of April/May and August/September when the weather is great, animal viewing is at its best and prices are good.

Are FIT or tour groups more popular?

I have a good mix of both.Tour groups are very popular with those who enjoy the company of others and the ease of travelling with a guide, and I love putting together tailor made itineraries for those who are more specific in what they want to do.

What advice do you have for other agent selling South Africa?

Use the specialist wholesalers like Bench Africa. They know Africa so well and they will make you so knowledgable that it will be easy to sell to your clients.

And if you have the opportunity, go and experience South Africa first hand.