Of all the reasons why Australians should consider a holiday in South Africa - and there are many - one point often gets lost in the conversation: that is, the country’s affordability.
Yes, airfares may seem dear, but when you consider the price point on the ground, the quality of services, and the country’s distinguishing features - especially around its wildlife and culture - you’re talking about an excellent overall value proposition.
Sitting down with Traveltalk at Africa’s Travel Indaba, South African Tourism (SAT) acting CEO Sthembiso Dlamini called her country “one of the [best] value for money destinations you can ever get”.
“Your currency already places you in a better position to enjoy what South Africa has to offer,” Ms Dlamini said, referring to the Australian dollar’s strong position relative to the South African rand.
Generally, one Aussie buck will buy you ten South African rand. And with 100SAR, you can buy a meal in a good restaurant, your morning coffee for the next four days, or even a whole round of drinks for your friends.
Perhaps Dlamini puts it best when she says that while you wouldn’t call RSA a cheap destination, “you get amazing experiences ... which is repaid value”.
In an interview at Indaba, SCENIC Journey Designer Liz Crowley said that one of her favourite aspects to the South African experience is its value.
“I remember sitting in a waterfront restaurant in Cape Town, having pizza, salad and wine, and it was 20 Australian dollars each,” she told Traveltalk.
“I’ve been lucky enough to go to some of the best restaurants in Cape Town and they cost us $80 a head. That to me is always a surprise.”
Along with wining and dining, Ms Crowley pointed out the great value of shopping in RSA, whether it be for souvenirs, curios or even Australian brands, which she says are cheaper here.
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It could even be argued that safaris, which for so long have been perceived to be out of reach for a lot of people, represent good value.
“I think what many people don’t realise is that a lot of the safari lodges are all-inclusive packages. So it’s three meals a day,” Crowley said.
“And when you go out on safari for Sundowners, it’s a full-on bar - not just beer, wine and bubbles. There’s always morning and afternoon tea too.
“All of that value-add stuff, I certainly didn’t know about when I first came.”
Whilst in Durban, the writer stayed at the Southern Sun Maharani Hotel.
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