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Top Travel Trends for 2023 - Safari Edition!

Header photo: A sunset boat cruise on the Zambezi River - © Wild Wonderful World

2023: the year travel exploded

If 2022 was the year that travel returned, 2023 will be the year that travel explodes! We are currently seeing 90-95% occupancies in Africa’s top safari lodges for 2023 over peak travel periods. This means that if you were thinking of ticking off a bucket list safari in 2023, chances are that you may have missed the boat…

A walking safari in Pafuri - South Africa. © Mick Nagle

But fear not! We are here to help. The “Pandemic Years” (yes, it’s now a term apparently) have highlighted the benefits of using travel advisors & planners, initially for guidance around travel restrictions but more and more for getting the biggest bang for your buck, as well as insider intel on the newest, undiscovered destinations. And maybe, just maybe, securing those last few available spaces in Africa’s top wildlife destinations!

Having been deprived of world exploration and new adventures, travellers are looking more and more for curated, bespoke, bucket-list itineraries. If anything, repeated lockdowns have shown us that travel really is food for the soul! An urgency to make up for lost time has meant that once-in-a-lifetime trips are top-priority for 2023 and beyond, something we at Wild Wonderful World specialise in! This new-found sense of exploration of wild & unknown destinations, combined with lurking fears of “what if they lock us down again”, means that seeking counsel from seasoned travel specialists is all the more important to ensure all goes according to plan.

gorilla trek in the jungle of Uganda
A gorilla trek in Uganda's Bwindi Impenetrable Forest - a bucket list item even for seasoned safari-goers! © Wild Wonderful World

Personalised travel itineraries allow you to maximise value for money as travel planners can present comprehensive accommodation comparisons & assist you in weighing off positives and negatives of each option. Working with someone you trust on your dream holiday is more than worth its weight in gold, as it means that you can be sure your destinations are carefully vetted, bonded, and insured, as well as being thoughtful in their health and safety protocols. Gaining expert advice as to where to save and where to splurge, how much time to spend at each location, optimising transfers and travel in between them and tailoring experiences to your needs, ensures that you will be able to maximise the ROI of your hard-earned dollar. After all, if your money is rapidly losing value - amidst rising inflation - sitting in your bank account, why not rather spend it on experiences that enrich your life forever?!

“Jobs fill your pocket, but adventures fill your soul.” – Jamie Lyn Beatty

On top of this, travelling with a responsible organisation means that an investment in yourself and your holiday reaches far beyond your personal experiences. At Wild Wonderful World, we donate 2% of the total trip booking value directly to wildlife in need. Choosing to travel with us means that your impact automatically extends beyond the day-to-day joy that your holiday brings you. The real value of your trip is therefore so much more than creating lifelong memories with your family and friends, experiencing and reconnecting with nature, or simply living your best life. It is about leaving a legacy and knowing that because you chose to join us, you are leaving our wilderness a better place than before you arrived.

2023 travel trends

So, are you still looking for your slice of adventure for 2023? We can help you find it! Let’s connect over a free discovery call, to explore how we can help you turn your travel dreams into reality. In the mean time, let's look at our top travel trends for 2023:

1. Last-minute or lost-minute?

The rapidly changing travel regulations that we’ve all gotten used to over the past two years have meant that travellers are reluctant to book & plan holidays far in advance. However, this tendency is quickly turning on itself, as there are very little availabilities remaining throughout the African safari industry for 2023, with peak seasons in 2024 quickly following suit. Our tip? Beat the crowds (& the prices) and choose to travel in the off- or shoulder-season, ideally to lesser known or brand-new hotspots. This is the best way to boost your chances of creating unique memories & once-in-a-lifetime experiences, in our opinion!  

Recommendations: South African safari destinations offer superb game viewing year round – check out Kwandwe Ecca Lodge, Londolozi Tree Lodge and Mala Mala Camp for epic “off season” safaris.

two leopards lying in the long grass
Two leopards in the leopard Mecca of South Africa: the Sabi Sands! © Gareth Poole

2. More is more

After spending way too much time on our own, creating memories with friends and family has once again become number one priority! Exploring together on a trip-of-a-lifetime, sparked by a common interest in nature, adventure & wildlife offers the opportunity to both reignite friendships & family bonds, as well as re-connecting with one’s self. Not to mention the added benefit of cost-saving opportunities that group travel offers. One of our favourite options for groups are private safari residences or booking lodges out on an exclusive-use rate, offering incredible value for money for large families or groups of friends. They offer the best of both worlds, combining epic safari destinations and the expertise of locally guided experiences with the freedom of determining your own routine.

Our top pick are: Africa House at Royal Malewane - South Afruca, Tswalu Turkana - South Africa, Duba Explorers Camp in Okavango Delta - Botswana, Little Chem Chem in Tanzania, and Wolwedan’s Boulders Safari Camp in Namibia! Contact us to book your stay at any of these amazing safari lodges.

a tented safari camp in the okavango delta
Duba Explorers Camp in the Okavango Delta - Botswana

3. Conscious is the new luxury

Giving back while you travel is one of the most empowering things you’ll ever do. Africa in many ways has not had the chance to bounce back from the severe impact of the global pandemic. Travelling to off-the-beaten-path destinations and engaging in immersive, life-changing experiences with responsible organisations is just one of the ways in which you can actually reduce, rather than increase your ecological footprint. Investing in your holiday with organisations like Wild Wonderful World, means investing in our wilderness and nature so that we can preserve it together for future generations.

All of our safaris give a minimum of 2% of the booking value to conservation. If you are keen to do even more than that and get stuck into conservation in the field, check out our Impact Safaris:

A Touch of Congo Magic

In the Wild with Gorillas

On the Ground with Rhinos

Protecting an African Legend

Run with the Pack in South Africa

The Golden Pride of Africa

The Painted Dogs of Zimbabwe

Through the Eyes of Spotted Cats

rhino research on conservation operation
On the Ground with Rhinos - an impact safari focused on rhino conservation

Connect with us

If you are looking to travel to Africa in 2023 (or beyond!), pop us an email or book a free discovery call, to explore how we can help you turn your travel dreams into reality!

Text by

Evelyn Poole & Michelle Pengilly

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