Shamwari Private Game Reserve is looking to attract the domestic travel market this festive season.
CEO Joe Cloete said that the travel bans hindered the peak Christmas and New Year tourism season that attracted many international guests.
“It’s disappointing, but fortunately we have been able to grow our share of the domestic market by significantly discounting prices and looking at events and activities that appeal to South African travellers.
“We’ve started mountain bike safaris, and these are proving popular. We’re also planning to host another weekend with Watershed in the New Year after the success of the Safari Unplugged session we hosted with front-man Craig Hinds,” he said.
He’s hopeful that the fourth wave in South Africa will subside in the New Year in time for the wedding season in February and March.
“The domestic wedding market is a new one for Shamwari, but one it hopes to develop. In addition to a choice of accommodation from luxury tented camps to lodges that can be exclusively booked for a wedding party, it offers a refurbished indoor banqueting venue, a choice of outdoor bomas and a selection of luxury and premium packages,” he said.
Fly-in safari market
The fly-in safari market is another one that it is seeking to grow with enquiries increasing over the past year.
“In the past year, as well-heeled South Africans, fed up with the changing and inconsistent international travel rules, are looking for other options.
Shamwari has a 1.2km compacted gravel runway. For fly-in safaris, it provides a bespoke service, where guests are collected from the steps of the aircraft and transferred in game vehicles to the lodge where they are staying.
The reserve re-opened two of its seven lodges in mid-September last year, including the refurbished Long Lee Manor and five-bedroomed Sarili Private Lodge.
Cloete said earlier this year the team’s creativity helped Shamwari shine during the pandemic.
They developed themed weekends where they partnered with chefs and musicians to entice domestic guests and encourage them to book trips.
“We’re certainly going to continue hosting special events and have successfully piloted mountain biking safaris,” Cloete said.