Sabi Sabi Private Game Reserve on a Mission to Australia

Confidence for travel to South Africa on the rise again

Sabi Sabi Private Game Reserve returned to Australia last week to reconnect with the travel industry and media to assure consumers they are ready to welcome Aussies back to their luxury lodges in the South African bush.

Jacques Smit, Marketing Director, hit the ground running in Perth before heading to Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane.

“It’s been fantastic to be back in Australia reconnecting with our long-established trade partners, seeing their businesses growing again and meeting both old and new team members,” Smit said.

“What I have heard consistently over my last 2 weeks travelling around the country, is that Australians are ready to travel and enquiries and bookings for South Africa have really picked up in the last month so I feel confident that Australia can come back to pre-pandemic travel numbers and reclaim the position as number 2 international market for Sabi Sabi.”

From left, back row: Andrea Morgan, Adventure World Travel; Melyne Hovasapian, South African Tourism and Jacques Smit, Sabi Sabi Private Game Reserve. Front row: Jodi Dean, The Africa Safari Co; Sarah Hoyland, Classic Safari Company; Julie De Palo, Bench Africa; Leanne Ward, The Classic Safari Co; and Africa expert, Alisa Feillafe.

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With Sabi Sabi already back to pre-COVID booking numbers, Smit is sharing its own pandemic story to help instill confidence in Australian travellers, to come and fulfil their travel dreams of a South African safari.

Along with the rest of the world, Sabi Sabi were locked down for 5 months at the height of the pandemic in 2020 but kept a small team on the reserve to ensure the lodges stayed in working condition and the reserve remained protected. Four vehicles went out on safari every day to maintain the important relationship with wildlife and act as added eyes and ears to assist the very efficient anti-poaching unit, who remained fully employed throughout.

This time also afforded an opportunity to advance staff training, which resulted in much success for many of the employees who upskilled, some fulfilling dreams to be a tracker or ranger or moving to management and as a result the service levels across the reserve are exceptional

Sabi Sabi reopened with strict COVID protocols and a new onsite medical team in August 2020 and has been safely hosting guests from around the world who have been travelling since the end of 2020.

In terms of post-COVID trends, Smit identified that the average length of stay has increased to six nights as people are opting to stay in one place and they have had more multi-generational travel groups book this year than ever before.

“During the pandemic, many people reassessed their priorities and we have seen this reflected in the needs and wants of our guests.

“They are travelling with more purpose, they want to know that they are having a positive impact when they travel, they are travelling to reconnect and spend time quality time with their families and they also want to take their children to places that allows learning and growth opportunities,” Smit added.

Janaya Birse, Sway Communications; Rob Gurr, YNOT Concepts; and Jacques Smit, Sabi Sabi Private Game Reserve

To encourage guests to get the most of their time on safari, Sabi Sabi are extending their Pay 3, Stay 4 night offer across all lodges until December 2023.

For more information contact your preferred African wholesaler.

Lead image: Leanne Wild, Rob Gurr, Sarah Hoyland, Alisa Feillafe, Cuan McClaren, Patrick Barden, Jacques Smit, Julie De Palo, Melyne Hovasapian, Lara Behrens and Andrea Morgan.

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