Lukey at Tourism Indaba

Lukey at Indaba (13/05/2011)

For those in Africa travel, May equals Indaba, Africa’s biggest travel and tourism trade show, an annual event held in the sunshine city of Durban. There are representative from every corner of Africa from big safari companies to tiny lodges from specialists in kayaking safaris to balloon trips.  Those specialising in Africa converge on Durban from around the globe to ‘catch up' with old friends, find new products, and basically to discuss tourism in Africa.  I've been busy developing Wild Frontier's tailor-made trips to Sub-Saharan Africa, so it was a great opportunity to search for exciting camps and operators who offer something that little bit different and unique within the region.  It's exhausting and full on with three days of meetings and the obligatory dinner and drinks (essential networking I promise!),  and I  came across some really exciting stuff : a great mobile safari company in Botswana, who not only does great low impact and affordable safaris with renowned guides, but also runs a partnership with Okavango Guiding School, where you can learn the basics of becoming a safari guide including tracking game, weapons training and learning about the ecology of the Delta - what better way to get below the surface and come back having really achieved something from your safari.  In Tanzania, I was excited to find out about fabulous walking trips escorted by Maasai and donkeys from the Ngorongoro Crater to the Serengeti - what better way to travel between these two must sees on the Northern Circuit.  Further afield I was wowed by an ecolodge in a totally undeveloped delta in Senegal - it looks truly unique,  stylish and great value.  The buzz of the show was Zimbabwe. Before it's collapse it was undoubtedly one of the best safari destinations in Africa and it's great that it looks to be returning to the map albeit slowly.  It receives few tourists, is extremely reasonable in contrast to it's neighbours yet has outstanding natural beauty and diversity.  Great camps too so for those looking to get away from the usual safari spots it's a gem.   Information overload and partied out, it's time to get some 'practical' experience and fly to Maun to check out Footsteps in Africa's camps around Botswana - it's been nearly a year since I've been in the African bush and I can't wait.  It promises to be a great trip and I'll be back to tell all shortly.