South Africa among the leading destinations for adventure travellers

The cooling towers in Soweto used as a bungee jumping centre. Picture: Unsplash

The cooling towers in Soweto used as a bungee jumping centre. Picture: Unsplash

Published Jun 21, 2024


South Africa is among the leading adventure destinations for travellers from across Europe, the Americas, Asia and Africa.

This was revealed by South African Tourism (SAT) following its Brand Tracker Survey. The survey is an international brand assessment to determine the appeal and demand creation within the markets where South African Tourism (SAT) operates.

Sat said South Africa’s tourism and appeal had adventure and wildlife as key differentiators and sought to lead in the offerings.

“Adventure Tourism is a major tourism drawcard in a traveller’s itinerary. South Africa fares well on the world stage, with leadership on adventure offerings among the top competing destinations across the globe,” it said.

With adventure tourism in the country on the rise, the survey revealed that adventure tourists made up 8.8% of tourists to South Africa, which was 722 900 of the 8.2 million arrivals in 2023.

“Adventure tourists to South Africa stay five nights longer and spend almost three times more than the average tourist to South Africa. During this period, they stayed 19 nights on average, well over the 14 nights by all tourists.

“They spent R30 000 on average compared to the R11 800 spent by the average overall tourist.”

Sat said Europe provided the highest number of tourists travelling to South Africa for adventure travel, with 468 800 of the 722 900 overall being from the region.

“Norway, Switzerland, France, Sweden and Germany are among the markets with the highest proportion of adventure travellers, and 14 of the top 15 adventure markets by incidence were in Europe.

“Overall, in 2023, almost two-thirds (65%) of adventure tourists in South Africa were from Europe, up from 60% pre-pandemic in 2019.”

Canada was the only non-European market in the top 15 and North America was the region supplying the second-highest number of adventure tourists, just over 107 000 arrivals and a share of 15%, followed by Africa with 77 400 tourists and a share of 11%.

Asia, Australasia, the Middle East, and South America all combined, contributed just 10% of all adventure tourists.

“South Africa is well placed to lead in adventure tourism and the adventure tourist spend is higher, with these tourists staying longer and spending more than other tourists.

“While a lot of work has gone into profiling South Africa’s adventure offerings, there is an opportunity for the sector to elevate its marketing efforts to realise the full returns from this category of travellers,” SAT said.