Active Safari Adventures on The Rise, Says Africa Travel Expert

An Africa travel expert has shared that active adventures across the continent have risen in popularity this year, as more travelers opt for immersive safari experiences. Philip Rendel, founder of destination management company Where It All Began, which offers ethical adventures and safaris across Southern Africa, reports that he is selling roughly 30 percent more active adventures this year compared to 2023.

“We’ve seen a much higher interest in more active forms of travel here in Africa, from walking to horseback and even cycling safaris being the new go-to method to explore the country for many, leaving more traditional forms of transportation behind,” Rendel said. “With these more active safari adventures and styles of touring, travelers can reach parts of a country that aren’t accessible by more typical modes of transportation—like Jeeps—making their journeys all the more memorable as they meet new people and explore new aspects of local communities that they wouldn’t otherwise have the opportunity to.”

Rendel revealed that travelers are also taking into account how much of a destination these active adventures allow them to discover, showing a preference for those where they can explore more locations during their trips. “Previously, it has been the A-[to-]A activities, in which travelers check-in at a destination before returning to this location as a ‘base’ for their holiday at the end of each day, which have been more popular. But, now, I’ve noticed that they are favoring the A-[to-]B activities, in which they move between different stops, staying overnight en route.”

He added that another reason for this increase in the popularity of active safaris is that travelers are “more conscious than ever” of how sustainable their travel experiences are, shifting their mindsets to be more environmentally focused. This makes sense, as sustainable travel continues to be a priority for many, with 76 percent of travelers stating they want to travel more sustainably in’s 2023 "Sustainable Travel Report." Other reports share that 77 percent of 18- to 29-year-olds feel sustainability impacts their decision to travel, with 48 percent of travelers aged 51 and over feeling the same way.

Rendel highlighted another reason for the growth in active safari adventures: “These types of trips are emission-free, making them much more sustainable methods of having the safari experience, without having a negative impact on the environment.” Of all his active safari experiences, Rendel states that cycling is one of the most popular. “The areas cycling safaris can get to are often along routes that vehicles cannot reach, meaning travelers can get more up close to nature.

“Many travelers are favoring nature tourism in Africa now beyond just its more famous wildlife spotting experiences, which is likely another reason why they are taking a shining to two-wheeled adventures here.”

Alongside cycling, safari experiences on foot are gaining more attention. “It’s these two types of safaris in particular that offer travelers the most control as they travel through and to new destinations, empowering them as they explore and undoubtedly helping them form more of a connection with the places they visit,” he added.

Rendel concluded that travel advisors need to be more responsive to this recent trend, especially in line with wider industry research sharing that travelers’ preferences for immersive and sustainable experiences are on the rise. “Starting to make these active sustainable and immersive alternatives to travel more mainstream means that travelers can experience landscapes and their wildlife, nature, and local communities more authentically which doesn’t just cater to their current wants, but it will help to strive for a more environmentally-focused industry as well.”

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