There has been a spike in Italian travellers staying at aha Makalali Private Game Lodge in Hoedspruit – including Main Lodge and River Lodge.

GM of aha Makalali Private Game Lodge, Hanlie Lombard, told Tourism Update that safaris were popular with the Italian market and training staff in languages such as Italian was on the cards for the lodge.

“Some of our employees have become quite fluent in Italian due to the number of Italian guests we have at the lodge. It’s been great to have our staff develop this skill to ensure our guests feel comfortable. This will help to increase the number of Italian tourists,” said Lombard.

Aha International Sales Manager, Deidre Ward, said the preferred travel time for this market was between May and August. “Many guests are coming here for a unique honeymoon experience and Makalali has many romantic surprise elements they can enjoy.” She said the lodges also offered safari experiences for families.

Italian travellers like experiencing the bush and are one of South Africa’s top European tourism markets, coming seventh of European countries with the most tourism numbers in November last year.

In the latest figures from Statistics SA, the number of Italian tourists between January and November 2019 grew by 1.6% compared with the same time period in 2018. Europe had the highest number of tourists who travelled to South Africa for holiday in November 2019.