Tourism and travel in South Africa has changed forever, in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, SA’s Department of Tourism reveals in its 2021/2022 Annual Performance Plan. The tourism authority says travel restrictions and health and safety concerns are realising a huge shift in travel behaviour and preferences.
“A post lockdown yearning for open spaces along with the desire to avoid crowded spaces has shifted remote, empty destinations to the top of many travelers’ wish lists,” SA Tourism says, adding that travelers prefer staycations. What is a staycation? It is traveling to nearby or local tourism attractions without any overnight stay. Or traveling to tourism destinations that are close to home. Road travel is often the preferred mode of travel for staycationers.
One of the largest and most developed tourism markets in Africa, South Africa is currently in the midst of its third wave, and the adoption of a lockdown has witnessed a slowdown in visitors to this country. This means that staycations are here to stay, and will fuel demand for domestic leisure tourism. South Africans will benefit from the increased demand for staycations in 2021, and let’s face it, this country offers diverse beauty, so people seeking an escape from the boredom of lockdown are spoiled for choice.
The staycation boom is set to deepen as locals look for safe, relaxing venues that are set in the wide open spaces, and because South Africans are capturing feel good memories with their smartphones, and sharing these via social media.
As smartphones become more affordable and accessible to the average South African, micro-influencers have popped up in all provinces, sharing their lives, their travels, and their adventures while safely enjoying a staycation thanks to the high-quality feature photography made available by modern, affordable mobiles.
TECNO is a brand that’s been pioneering mobile device computing photography, and that has been recognised by international experts for breakthrough work in this field. Counterpoint Technology Market Research, a global research firm specialising in products in the technology, media, and telecom industry, recently charted the intertwined evolution of smartphones and camera technology. The researchers predict that smartphone and camera technology ecosystems will be increasingly dependent on each other for progress, given current trends in Artificial Intelligence (AI) computing power in smartphones.
The Counterpoint research identifies TECNO, the rising global smartphone brand that embodies this trend, incorporating camera technology, AI, scene recognition and more into a technologically advanced everyday product.
Counterpoint’s recent report also suggests that TECNO is recognised as one of the few brands that have made break-throughs in AI-enhanced mobile photography and videography. TECNO’s excellent photographic performance also enabled the brand to earn distinctions in Guinness World Records 2020 with the largest flip book shot by its photography pioneer CAMON product line and in IFA (Internationale Funkausstellung Berlin) with “Camera Technology Innovation Smartphone Gold Award 2020”.
For landscape shooting, TECNO provides a unique Magic Pixel mode that enables lossless zooming and allows travellers to capture clear and sharp shots of buildings and mountains.
Five Instagram-Inspired Staycation Ideas
To inspire your next Staycation photoshoot for your favourite social media, here is a carefully curated list of top staycation recommendations using local Instagram travel influencers for inspiration.
One – The Werf Picnics at Boschendal with @LaurasWorldZA
Where: Boschendal, one of SA’s oldest wine estates, is situated between Franschhoek and Stellenbosch in the Western Cape.
What @LaurasWorldZA has to say about Boschendal:
“Boschendal’s Werf Winter Picnic, in what has to be one of the most picturesque settings I’ve experienced to date. The combination of winter sunshine; lush, green Werf lawns, breathtaking panoramic mountain views, and getting to take it all in with a glass of wine in hand, has to be my favourite way to beat the winter blues and still be Covid-safe this year. Isn’t it just the most gorgeous way to spend the day?”
Two – @dezeekoe guest farm with @daniella_oursoulfultravels
Where: De Zeekoe Guest House Farm is situated in Oudtshoorn in the Garden Route’s Klein Karoo.
What @daniella_oursoulfultravels has to say about @dezeekoe: “I choose a life of freedom… A life that allows me to follow my to special, wild & magical places… @dezeekoe is one of those places I was privileged enough to visit last year & their secluded stone cottages are the perfect spot to stay in ‘social distancing approved’ luxury!”
Three – The Pilanesberg National Park by @mdukhambule
Where: Located north of Rustenburg in SA’s North West Province, The Pilanesberg Game Reserve borders Sun City, about 3 hours drive from Johannesburg or Pretoria.
What @mdukhambule has to say about The Pilanesberg National Park: “It took about 2 hours from Mountain Sanctuary to get to the land of Kgosi Pilane of the Batswana people, the national park is my home for a few days and I must say this camping spot appeals to me proper. Oh, and I got to setup the canopy all on my own.”
Four – @inafricaandbeyond on Kings Kloof Farm in Muldersdrift
Where? Kings Kloof is situated on a farm in the Muldersdrift area.
What @inafricaandbeyond has to say about Kings Kloof: “The mountains whisper for me to wander; my soul hikes to the call. I escape into the great outdoors; where freedom’s soul forever roars.” Angie Weiland-Crosby
It’s a scenic area with hiking, mountain biking and trail running routes. The trails range from 6 km to 27 km, and from very easy to very technical. You will walk through pretty wooded valleys and forests, across rivers and waterfalls and past a dam. We did the 12 km Blue Route. I’ve updated my post on best hiking trails in the Johannesburg area with more information on Kings Kloof.”
Where? Located in Modimolle, Monate Game Lodge is at the southern edge of the Waterberg Massif in Limpopo province.
What @letshego.zulu has to say about @monategamelodge: “The one thing that brings great joy to my heart is being outdoors. I am at my happiest when I am bonding with nature.
This time last week I had the pleasure of enjoying a 2 nights stay at @monategamelodge with an intimate group of beautiful women. @_nicolecapper and @thekcda I’m eternally grateful for that wonderful experience.”
With the vaccine rollouts in South Africa taking more time than expected, the trend to staycations will continue to be a strong feature of local travel. Locals will continue to delight in snapping mobile photos and sharing these images on social media, which will only deepen this trend going forward. So go on, grab your cell phone and take to the open road — it’s a surefire way to beat the pandemic blues.