The Digital Revolution in Safari Travel

The internet has fundamentally changed the travel industry, and now has brought upon a new digital revolution in safari travel, writes Paul Steyn

The internet has swept through the travel industry and simplified almost every aspect of the booking process. First it was airline bookings, and then hotel bookings, then Bnb‘s. And now, there’s a new industry ripe to be turned on its head; the digital revolution in safari travel has begun.
Due to the complex nature of African travel“”with it‘s remote locations, lack of information, and the fact that travellers want to go to various lodges and countries“”the continent has remained limited to the wealthy few who can pay for the services of travel agents.
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But smart tech is not far behind: New startups, such as the recently launched Timbuktu, are empowering travellers to go online and have fun creating their own trips. The interactive platform allows you to choose, chop and change an itinerary like you would an outfit, and send through enquiries direct to people on the ground in Africa.
In the past, traditional travel agents have focused on the higher end of the market because that‘s where the biggest commissions can be found. However, this model only serves to drive up the price of safaris and keep it exclusive to the wealthy few.
There is a rapidly growing segment of the market who want to take control and be involved in the creation of their trips to Africa. They want to have the tools and information available to make an educated choice on their own terms and at their own pace.

“The Timbuktu platform is driving a machete between the traveller and the traditional safari booking models”

The Timbuktu platform is driving a machete between the traveller and the traditional safari booking models, allowing travellers to do more of the choosing and booking themselves, while communicating directly with the operators on the ground in Africa“”the people who know the most about what makes a great safari.
“œAfrica-travellers have been waiting for a platform like this,“ says Giles Trotter, investor and founder of Scott Dunn travel in the UK. “œIt finally simplifies the safari process, making planning a trip as fun and easy as it should be.
“œSome of the greatest lodges are not necessarily the most expensive,“ says Trotter. “œIt‘s fantastic that travellers can now create their own trips and take control of their safari destiny.“
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The internet‘s ability to simplify and disrupt travel in nothing new, and with a bit of bold thinking and nifty tech, it‘s ripe to happen all over again.
What are your thoughts on the digital revolution in safari travel? Be sure to let us know in the comments below!
Follow Paul Steyn on Twitter: @paulsteynless