Estimated reading time: 15 minutes

Drawing from our internal data, we are thrilled to present our 2023 Annual African Safari Travel Report, highlighting trends shaping the safari industry across Africa. We craft this comprehensive report each year, offering invaluable insights into travel across East and Southern Africa, as well as the Indian Ocean Islands.

Key insights

  • Interest in sustainable travel continues to grow with more than 1000% increase over the last four years; average monthly searches in Google grew to over 5000
  • South Africa, Kenya and Tanzania make up 60% of all interest in Africa
  • July is the most popular month of the year for an African safari
  • Although making up less than 1% of enquiries, Italy has the highest average spend for an African safari, the United States comes in 4th highest average spend with over 60% of enquiries
  • Interest in Beach and safari combos has grown by 20% compared to 2022, while safaris remain a popular choice for family and intergenerational travel.

Who Are We?

Go2Africa is a multi-award-winning and B-corp-certified travel specialist with over 25 years of on-the-ground experience in the safari industry. Based out of Cape Town and Nairobi, our motto “we know because we go” is a testament to the fact that our expertise isn’t just based on research, we collectively spend more than 365 days each year on safari.

We know how to tailor the perfect safari because we’ve travelled the length and breadth of every destination that we recommend, sharing our first-hand experience and unbiased advice, ensuring that every part of your itinerary is tried-and-tested.

We value Positive Impact and creating long-lasting relationships with the communities, environments, and wildlife at the core of what we do. For us, visiting Africa is not just about showcasing its beauty, it’s also about sustaining it so that we can all continue to explore this magical continent that so many of us call home. We strive to provide transformative experiences that leave a lasting impact, ensuring that every journey changes you forever and beckons your return.

Annual Report 2023 Positive Impact for Go2Africa

Our Methodology

Our approach for our report on the current state of safari in Africa involved examining enquiry data from 2022 and 2023 to identify prevailing trends in traveller preferences and behaviours. By delving into this information, we gained valuable insights into who is travelling where and when. Additionally, we supplemented our analysis by studying Google search data to uncover any emerging trends in safari destinations and activities.

Section 1: Who is Travelling Where & When?
Section 2: Budgets & Planning
Section 3: Country Comparison
Section 4: Predictions for 2024

Where & When

1. Who is Travelling Where & When

What Does African Travel Currently Look Like?

Annual Report 2023 Global Search Volumes Trend African Safari

Our previous travel report was compiled after the COVID-19 pandemic, as global travel restrictions were being lifted and borders were gradually opening. As a result, a Quarter 1 year-on-year comparison in Google search data showed a 38% increase in African safari search interest. Since then, 2023 was the first year with very few restrictions, and Google searches for African safaris more than doubled over Q1 in 2023 compared to the previous year. With an increase of 111%, this is indicative of the general growing interest in travel in Africa and African safaris outside of the influence of a pandemic.

Where Are People Going on Safari in Africa?

Annual Report 2023 Decided vs Undecided Travellers

While only two thirds of people had decided on their ideal safari destinations in 2022, the percentage of travellers confident in where they wanted to go when visiting Africa rose from 65% in 2022 to 72% in 2023, that’s a 7% increase.

Our research has shown that even more people are confident about which destinations they want to explore while on safari – this could be due to a range of factors from an increase in referrals to greater marketing for specific destinations. That being said, we have found that when travellers do enquire, a greater number than those in previous years do so having done little to no prior research, trusting our expertise and our Africa safari experts to guide them.

Which Safari Countries are Most Popular?

What African Countries are Most Popular Safari Destinations

South Africa came out on top as the most popular safari destination for Go2Africa, followed by Tanzania and Kenya. These three destinations make up 60% of all interest for African safaris. While these three countries have remained incredibly popular safari destinations, there has been increasing interest in many of the other safari destinations, such as Uganda, Namibia and Congo which all offer something unique when it comes to African safaris.

Are People Travelling to Single or Multiple Countries in Africa?

Annual Report 2023 Single vs Multiple Safari Destinations

There was a 5% decline in inquiries for single destinations compared to the previous year, further speaking to the trend of including a beach holiday in African safari itineraries. Seychelles serves as a fantastic destination to end off an East Africa safari, while Mauritius or Zanzibar are both easily accessible after a Southern Africa safari.

When are People Travelling?

Annual Report 2023 Most Popular Months for an African Safari Graph

While the months of June to October are known to show increases as these are the peak travelling seasons, there was a rise in in the number of people who travelled outside of these months. More individuals opted to travel during the shoulder seasons – the transitional periods between peak and off-peak travel seasons- or opting for a green season safari, resulting in a slight decrease (less than 2%) in travel during peak seasons.

What Do Travellers Want to Do & See in Africa?

Annual Report 2023 Safari Activities

While the Big 5 remain a prominent attraction, safari-goers are increasingly recognizing the diversity of experiences Africa has to offer beyond this traditional focus. This has led to a decrease in interest in the Big 5 as travellers explore a broader range of experiences on the continent, such as experiencing local communities and including some rest & relaxation during their trip to Africa.

“I highly suggest throwing out the term “Big 5” and instead focusing on what truly matters when in the wild. There are abundant opportunities for encounters with diverse predators and wildlife in both open and dense vegetation, ideally seeking a mix of water and land for variety, and remember, patience is key—after all, this is nature.”

Emma Hill, African Safari Expert

Budgets & Planning

2. Budgets & Planning

How Long are People Travelling For?

Annual Report 2023 How Long are People Travelling for on Safari

As with the previous year, 2023 saw most people travelling for a week or longer, with the greatest number of travellers at 10 days.

How Far in Advance are Travellers Booking Safaris?

Travellers are booking their safaris at varying lead times, with notable changes observed over time. In 2023, travellers tended to book their trips with a much longer lead time on average, with the longest lead time of three years in advance.

“We’re finding that our guests are booking way ahead of time for our safaris. Our trend has just very recently changed to a much longer lead time, often over 6 months in advance. Also, African Safari travel in particular needs planning due to limited rooms in most bespoke luxury lodges.”

Maija de Rijk-Uys, Managing Director at Go2Africa

What is the Average Budget?

Annual Report 2023 Which Country is Spending the Most on Safaris

There has been a notable increase in the average budget of travellers to Africa and safari-goers, with 70% of visitors from Australia, the US, and Canada now having medium to high budgets on average, a significant rise from 43% in the previous year. Similarly, travellers from South Africa, Europe, and the UK with medium to high budgets now account for 25% of visitors from these countries, compared to just 18% in 2022. The percentage of enquiries from these countries and regions are fairly small compared to the US, which ultimately affect these results.

This surge in medium to high budgets has led to a 25% increase in the average budget compared to the previous year, with the average budget now ranging between $5500 to $6500. This trend indicates a notable shift towards higher budgets for African safaris, reflecting an evolving preference among travellers for enhanced experiences. Find out what an African Safari costs in 2024.

Which Country is Spending the Most on Safaris?

Italy is the country that spent the most on safaris according to average spend, followed by Belgium in second place. Mexico spent the third most on safari, falling from first place in the previous year. While Italy and Belgium had the highest spends, travellers from here made up for less than 1% of bookings, creating very small sample sizes.

Who are the Top Safari-Goers?

Annual Report 2023 Who are People Travelling With

Year on year, there hasn’t been much variation in safari demographics. Similarly, to 2022, the greatest number of people in 2023 travelled with their partners, accounting for 47% of all travellers to the continent, with Seychelles maintaining its position as the most romantic destination.

Comprising the second largest demographic, families constitute 31% of visitors, with South Africa standing out as their most favoured destination.

“We’re witnessing a beautiful trend towards multi-generational travel, where parents explore alongside grandparents, and children embark on adventures with their parents. Safari, with its unhurried pace and natural surroundings, offers the perfect setting for families to bond and create lasting memories together.”

Maija de Rijk-Uys

Country Comparison

3. Country Comparison

Annual Report 2023 Where Are Travellers From

Go2Africa’s primary market continues to be the US, making up over 60% of enquiries. This percentage remains almost the same year on year, with a small increase of 2% in enquiries spread across various other markets. Canadians and Australians, making up 14% of enquiries combined, grew ever so slightly year on year by 3% and 4% of total enquiries respectively.

Which US State Loves Safari the Most?

Which US States Love Safari the Most

Within the United States, the state of Virginia, with 6% of US enquiries, came out on top as the most ‘safari-mad’ state according to population size vs number of enquiries. This position was previously held by Rhodes Island.

However, as was the case in the previous year, our data showed that the most enquiries came from California with 12% of US enquiries; as the state with the highest population, this is fitting for the Golden State. Florida follows with 9% and New York with 9%.

2024 Predictions

4. Predictions for 2024

Emerging Destinations

Annual Report 2023 Predictions for Safari

Liesel Van Zyl, Head of Positive Impact at Go2Africa had this to say about emerging destinations in 2024:

“Zambia & Malawi combination safaris are very popular at the moment. Zambia offers some great value with more untouched, uncrowded parks to explore compared to some of the more hectic areas in Southern Africa. It’s also a quick one hour hop and a skip to Malawi for incredible beach and freshwater snorkelling, kayaking & African sundowners.

“With African beaches on our client’s lists for next year, another popular spot is Seychelles which is only two hours from Kenya & Tanzania but not as busy as some of the other islands. It’s great for experiencing marine conservation projects in the wild and has a high regard for sustainability.”

Interest in travel to Zambia and Malawi increased by 78% and 41% respectively between 2022 and 2023. Meanwhile, Seychelles experienced a notable increase in visitors, credited to a 20% rise in bush and beach combinations compared to the previous year.

“Madagascar is a fantastic add on to a safari or a stand-alone for repeat travellers. It has everything you could possibly want for nature lovers, positive impact travel, culture & beach, snorkelling, kayaking and hiking.”

Liesel van Zyl


Annual Report 2023 Sustainable Safari Searches

The interest in sustainable safaris grew by 6.4% compared to 2022 but has seen more than a 1000% increase in interest over the last four years. While searches for ‘sustainable travel’ has seen a trend of sharp growth in monthly searches since 2018, the eco-travel trend has now filtered into more specific niches of travel, including safaris as more travellers become aware of choosing trips that positively affect the area they visit.

“Right now, we have a few travellers who have specifically asked if they can volunteer for a day on their safari, so we’re definitely seeing an increase in our guests’ interest in sustainability and connection with the local communities. Our clients look for experiences that foster authentic community engagement during their trip to Africa.”

Liesel van Zyl

Upsurge in Spending Habits

We anticipate a rise in travellers’ expenditure driven by a growing focus on booking worthwhile, luxury experiences for our clientele. Our aim is always to curate unforgettable African safari holidays for our clients.

“Moving into 2024 we see budgets increasing and an emphasis on luxurious experiences as we continue to focus on clients wanting a 4-5* experience. Currently our average luxury booking values are close to $25,000.”

Maija de Rijk-Uys

Download our Annual African Safari Travel Report:

For the full PDF version of our Annual African Safari Travel Report, you can download it here:

Annual Safari Report by Go2Africa

Written By

Megan Dominion

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