Simbavati Safari Lodges has kept the South African domestic market in mind with the reopening of Simbavati Trails Camp in Timbavati Private Nature Reserve, Mpumalanga.
“We are hoping to see international tourists return in the fourth quarter of this year but in the meantime, we are focusing on developing the domestic market,” said Simbavati’s Marketing Director, Henk Graaff.
He said Simbavati Trails Camp was ideal for the local market as it was mobile and didn’t require many staff, making it easier to keep pricing relevant for domestic tourists.
“We are aware that international travel is still clouded in a lot of uncertainty, and think that will have to clear before we see them again,” said Graaff.
He added that Simbavati had maintained a presence in the international market by attending trade shows and keeping its inbound clients informed.
“The lockdown presented a unique opportunity to focus on the domestic market and the different segments of it, such as leisure, corporate, weddings and events.” Graaff said this required a lot of adjustments to its products, which were developed and priced with an international market in mind.
“That’s what’s different about the trails camp. It’s basic but still elegant, which makes the international and domestic pricing very similar.”
The camp officially opened last March just before South Africa’s nationwide lockdown. This made it difficult to generate momentum in terms of opening numbers, but Graaff added that once interprovincial travel was permitted, uptake from the domestic market had been good.
He said the camp had closed for the rainy season but would reopen on March 1.
The camp has four en-suite safari tents and can host a maximum of eight guests. Meals are prepared over an open fire by a bush specialist chef, and dinner is served on the deck or in the open-air boma. With no electricity or WiFi, the camp offers an ‘off the grid’ experience.