Online travel booking website, Travelstart, announced on Wednesday (December 6) that it had bought a majority stake in Cape Town-based SafariNow.com, for an undisclosed fee.

SafariNow is an accommodation booking website representing both formal (B&Bs, guesthouses and hotels) and informal (self-catering and holiday rental) accommodation. It is the largest accommodation booking site for South Africa and East Africa.

Russell Jarvis, Communications Head for Travelstart, told Tourism Update that for the foreseeable future, SafariNow would continue to operate as a separate entity with its current leadership and team, while benefiting from new growth channels, top-level strategic input from experts at board level, access to experts within Travelstart and knowledge sharing in all aspects of the business. There will also be cross collaborations/business synergies between Travelstart and SafariNow in areas such as cross-branding marketing initiatives.

Both companies were established in 1999, and are the longest-running online travel players in Africa.

Travelstart Founder and CEO, Stephan Ekbergh, said: “We want to supercharge our accommodation offering and with more than 23 000 listings on SafariNow, we can give our customers much better choices."

SafariNow.com was founded in 1999 and will continue to stick to the business of selling accommodation and run as a standalone business. The company will keep its current CEO, team and brand.

“Travelstart shares our mission of transforming the travel-booking experience to be simple and powerful,” said Tom Williams, CEO of SafariNow.