For tour operators building beach and bush itineraries, there are many options in Southern and East Africa. While some are the tried and tested winning formulas, a few fresh options are definitely up for consideration.
Mark Havercroft, Minor Hotels Regional Director, Africa, says the bush and beach concept is definitely popular with international tour operators.
“International tourists usually come to Africa to enjoy the incredible wildlife and safari experiences and the opportunity to enjoy the authentic, unspoilt island beaches. It really provides a ‘best of both worlds’ experience without having to go through the logistics of booking two separate holidays.”
The Minor Hotels hospitality group carefully curates its packages with the end-user in mind, and has a few excellent beach and bush offerings.
“We currently have the ‘More Paradise’ package, which gives guests a chance to experience the mighty Victoria Falls at The Royal Livingstone Hotel by Anantara in Zambia, combined with four nights of ‘Authentic African Paradise’ at Anantara Bazaruto Island Resort in Mozambique. This package gives guests the opportunity to enjoy two completely magical experiences. Eight nights for the price of six,” says Havercroft.
When it comes to cross-border logistics, he says tour operators need to be upfront and make sure that customers are informed about every leg of the journey.
“Guests need to be made aware that it is ideal to rather obtain their visas in advance to speed up the process when crossing borders and that they would need to apply for multiple-entry visas when they visit more than one country. They should always carry US dollars while travelling in Africa, as this is the universal currency most frequently used at our properties.”
The Kruger and Mozambique – a match made in heaven
The Kruger National Park and Mozambique definitely make a favourite bush and beach combination in Southern Africa. Numerous options include self-drive adventures, affordable alternatives and high-end luxury products.
The KNP covers a wide geographical area, and a variety of accommodation is available both in and surrounding the park. Operators should be aware that bookings for the main SANParks rest camps need to be made as soon as bookings open (more than 11 months in advance). The rest camps are generally self-catering, although there is an option for breakfast at some of the camps.
Sense of Oceans (a division of Tourvest Destination Management ) offers a few bush and beach packages (fly-in and self-drive) covering the KNP and Mozambique.
Martijn Mellaart, COO of Sense of Oceans, has been selling packages to Mozambique for the past 22 years and says it’s all about combining the best possible experiences, whether it’s game viewing in the KNP or going on a sea safari in Mozambique to see Humpback whales and swim with wild dolphins.
When it comes to self-drive itineraries, Mellaart says travellers seldom have challenges at the border post going into Mozambique. “We prep our clients beforehand and make sure they know what is expected of them, and know what documents to produce. I don’t think getting into Mozambique is more complicated than anywhere else in the world; it’s just important to brief customers properly.”
East African magic
When visiting Mozambique, a must on any itinerary is a visit to the Polana Serena Hotel in Maputo. Also from the Serena Hotels and Resorts group is the Tanzania Safari and Zanzibar Grand Offer. This package includes a seven-night, eight-day safari that includes staying in Serena hotels at Lake Manyara, Serengeti National Park, the Ngorongoro Crater and the tropical island of Zanzibar.
The Victoria Falls and Cape Town
Victoria Falls and Cape Town may be a popular combination for a package for those visiting the continent for the first time. Aha’s David Livingstone Safari Lodge & Spa in Zambia offers five-star luxury. Situated on the Zambezi River, it’s just three kilometres from the Falls. Activities range from game drives to helicopter flips over the Falls and white-river rafting. The lodge’s Lady Livingstone offers sundowner cruises on the Zambezi.
Tiro Moremi, Brand Manager of aha Hotels and Lodges, says: “Amongst the plethora of properties that aha Hotel & Lodges boasts, “David Livingstone Safari Lodge & Spa in Zambia is a great destination for travellers looking to experience some time in the bush.”
Combine a visit to the ‘smoke that thunders’ with the Mother City. Cape Town is known for some of the world’s finest beaches – Clifton, Muizenberg and Boulders to mention just a few.
To tick all the boxes, a combination of Vic Falls, Cape Town and the Kruger National Park, could be the ultimate top-three package to Southern Africa.