International travel restrictions resulting from COVID-19 have resulted in South Africans discovering their country in new ways. One option that has seen a significant increase is glamping.
Sonja Newlands, owner of Africa Tour, told Travel News she had seen a definite increase in the glamping product from the South African market. She said while the demand was partly driven by travel restrictions, the glamping product was particularly attractive in the COVID context.
“A lot of the glamping options are smaller properties. It suits the COVID market, where people want to get away but don’t want to be in a big resort,” she said.
She added that the product was perfect for clients who usually booked four-star accommodation and wanted a bit of luxury but didn’t want to go into a big hotel.
Carina Greeff, AfriCamps’ marketing specialist, which operates camps across the country, including in Greater Kruger, Wilderness, the Midlands and Pongola, said the operator had seen a significant increase in bookings from the domestic market as soon as domestic travel opened up.
“International bookings were mostly postponed or cancelled, and local travellers filled up many of these released bookings,” she said.
“Listening to what others in the industry are experiencing, we believe South Africans have developed an interest in glamping specifically.”
Both Carina and Garland Mommsen, co-owner of Remote Locations, which opened a permanent glamping product at Witsand in the Western Cape in October last year, highlighted wide-open spaces as one of the key attractions to the glamping product.
Said Carina: “We consider it one of the safest ways to travel at the moment as locations are known for their wide-open spaces and closeness to nature. Guests can get away from the crowds and enjoy the outdoors while staying in the comfort of a private tent with private facilities. This combination gives guests peace of mind to travel in these times.”
Garland also said people were increasingly keen to spend more time in nature.
Commenting on the most popular destinations, Carina said, for South Africans, destinations that were closest to the larger city hubs had fared best, while occupancy was lower at camps that were most popular with international guests, such as the Klein Karoo and Garden Route.