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Top 10 Travel Trends for Africa in 2014

Africa is the soil my soul is rooted in; it is the scent of wild sage, the buzz of cicadas on a hot summer’s day and the heartsong of a fish eagle: all these whisper ‘home’ to me. But what does my love affair with this continent have to do with travel trends? It is at the centre of the top trend shaping travel to this continent in 2014: our desire, as travellers, for an authentic connection with the places we visit – for a genuine taste of what makes locals (like me) passionate about living there.

Here are Africa’s top travel trends to inspire your 2014 safari.

Travel Trends for 2014 - iconic Africa
Known as 'twiga' in Swahili and 'kameelperd' in Afrikaans, giraffe silhouettes grace an incredible African sunset.

1. Luxury Reclaimed

In 2014, we reclaim the idea of luxury travel, freshly defined as travel infused with a sense of ease, better-than-home comforts and touches of true opulence. Personalised service, exceptional menus and award winning wines are the minimum standard at our exclusive African villas and luxury safari lodges. We demand front row seats to nature’s greatest spectacles and one-of-a-kind experiences in exotic destinations. 

View our experts' picks of the Top 10 Best Safari Journeys for 2014.

Travel Trends for 2014 - Luxury Safaris
It might be wild outside but it's civilized in here - nowhere does opulence in the great outdoors quite like Africa.

2. Family Adventures

The trend towards multigenerational family travel in Africa continues to gain momentum in 2014. When we travel together - grandparents, parents and children of all ages - we expect greater flexibility in our accommodation, a richer diversity of activities, and the freedom to explore and unwind at our own various paces. We choose private villa stays complete with private guides and tour vehicles, cooks and cleaning staff, and topped off with all the modern conveniences and comforts of home.

Singita Serengeti House_gallery5
Escape into the wilderness with your family, but do it in style in a private safari villa like Singita Serengeti House in the Grumeti Reserves.

3. Wellness Travel

The wellness travel trend influences more travellers in 2014, as we seek out experiences and destinations that restore or deepen our sense of well being. We choose spa & wellness vacations that balance physical activity with time to reflect and relax. We seek spiritual satisfaction too – either through retreat and meditation, or through meaningful cultural encounters and volunteer tourism.

Combine the Kruger Park and Mauritius on our 13-day Safari, Beach & Spa Experience, or stay at one of our recommended wellness accommodations:

Travel Trends for 2014 - Spa & Wellness Holidays
Recapture your inner stillness in the peaceful spaces of the Indian Ocean Islands, like Shanti Maurice on Mauritius.

4. Vacation Planning

In 2014, we continue to rely on recommendations by friends and family, Google, YouTube and TripAdvisor when we research and plan our vacations. This trend shifts back towards including professional travel experts as we seek out more authentic experiences in far flung destinations, which requires the current and firsthand knowledge a credible travel partner provides.

Travel Trends for 2014 - Vacation Planning
Go2Africans Tracy, Ashley, Shelley and Carlien enjoy sundowners in the Okavango Delta.

5. Perceptions of Value

This trend marks a shift in our perceptions of value and reflects our willingness to spend more on our vacations as long as we experience much more value on every level. In 2014, we define value in broad terms, from demanding safe online transactions to getting the right assistance when it matters most and benefiting from the kind of professional expertise that saves us money and enhances our experience. 

6. Roads Less Travelled

This trend is specific to seasoned travellers who have already explored a favourite destination’s main attractions. In 2014, we return to destinations that have thrilled and satisfied us before, seeking a fresh perspective. We explore Botswana in the Green Season or Tanzania outside the Great Migration months, enjoying the excellent value, exclusivity and low traveller volumes. Foodie travel complements this trend as we enrich our safaris with the best of Africa’s rich culinary heritage, especially in the continent’s gourmet capital, Cape Town.

View our Top 10 Restaurants in Africa & the Indian Ocean Islands.

Travel Trends for 2014 - Road Less Travelled
South Africa is renowned wine and foodie destination.
Travel Trends for 2014 - Road Less Travelled - Delta
Botswana in the Green Season is a birder's paradise.

7. Travel Apps

In 2014, we benefit from the fastest growing App category, travel Apps. We are already armed with smart phones, tablets and a basket of social platforms hungry for our vacation photos and updates. A fantastic selection of useful, entertaining and informative travel Apps are being released, making our travels a little easier by keeping track of our itinerary, emergency details and e-diaries to record our thoughts and experiences as we travel.

Travel Trends for 2014 - Web Apps
Wi-Fi is now widely available in Africa and Apps are a great way to instantly track your safari game viewing.

8. Senior Travel

Senior travellers are affluent, fit and healthy retirees who are driving a revolution in destinations all around the world. We demand the highest levels of service, and expect all the creature comforts that allow us to fully rest and relax between activities. We choose destinations that are easy to access with good infrastructure, top notch food and wine offerings, and a full range of activities, from golfing, walking and birding to meaningful cultural encounters and world class spa treatments.

Travel Trends for 2014 - Senior Travel
Golfers can tee off in Africa in some of the World's most beautiful settings.

9. Life Changing Adventure

The most significant growth point in worldwide travel continues to be adventure travel. In 2014, this trend sees successful executives choosing authentic and extraordinary vacations that are defined by experiences that defy the clichés in exotic locations. We immerse ourselves in life-changing expeditions that deliver a meaningful combination of challenges for body, mind and spirit – emotionally enhancing, spiritually evolving and physically thrilling. 

Travel Trends for 2014 - Life Changing Travel
Will you ever forget coming face-to-face with an elephant in the wild?
Travel Trends for 2014 - Life Changing Travel - Adventure
Namibia's dunes combine Zen-like peace with a sense of accomplishment.

10. Live Like a Local

This 2014 trend is driven by our growing sense of connectivity to the greater global community and our desire to experience destinations more fully. We choose to immerse ourselves in the sights and sounds of an foreign locale, to taste the best local cuisine and experience the landscape as an insider. We want to understand, truly, what makes the local people passionate about their home city or village or about the vast savannah wilderness around them.

Explore our African villa neighbourhoods and learn to live like a local in Africa.

Travel Trends for 2014 - Live like a local
Cape Town has been raking in the travel awards and is also the World Design Capital for 2014. This is a great city to 'do as the locals do'.

Africa is one of the planet’s most exciting destinations – home to grand spectacles like the Great Migration, natural wonders like the Victoria Falls, and bucket list encounters like gorilla trekking. As travel trends evolve, this continent opens up new destinations and experiences, ready to welcome travellers back and thrill them, again and again.

Written by Donyale MacKrill. Connect with her on Google+

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