TOURISM IN HOEDSPRUITHoedspruit has been hit extremely hard by the devastating lockdown caused by the Coronavirus. The domestic travel market has come to the call and many businesses have successfully adapted their lodges and services to capture the local market.
We checked in with a few local companies to see how they are doing:
Tourism HoedspruitHoedspruit has been hit extremely hard by the devastating lockdown caused by the Coronavirus. The domestic travel market has come to the call and many businesses have successfully adapted their lodges and services to capture the local market. We checked in with a few local companies to see how they are doing:
CROSSROADS SAFARIS - JOSH BEATON
As with most businesses, notably those businesses focused on tourism, Crossroads Safaris was severely impacted by the covid pandemic. It has been a challenging 12 or so months to say the least but thankfully we have managed to stay afloat and we look forward to the world returning to a state of normality affording people from all over the world the opportunity to enjoy our beautiful country /continent. As with most businesses we have had to adapt to the circumstances that have come about due to covid.
And as we move and look forward we have adapted our activities and tried to use the time available to create more memorable activities for our clients. We now offer not only Kruger full day and half day Safaris but also morning and evening Safaris on pridelands conservancy which is a convenient 5 min drive from Hoedspruit in a big 5 conservancy. Added to that we also offer morning and evening drives along the tranquil Olifants River. This is a completely unique safari option as you spend the 4 hour safari exploring the banks of this magnificent river. As always Crossroads Safaris will always push to offer our clients the best service at an affordable rate and continually look for new activities for our guests to enjoy so that all guests can return home with lasting and happy memories of our beautiful continent and country.
SAUSAGE TREE SAFARI CAMP - RACHEL
So we reopened last October and we have essentially been receiving SA guests who pay a special SADC rate which is approx 50% of our overseas normal rate.
We recently launched a Sound Safari option with Derek and Sarah Solomon and this is proving to be successful as it provides seasoned safari goers with a different experience as well as equipping them with a new set of skills.
BUYA BUYA TRAVEL - NICK COETZER
We were returning from a Kruger Park tour when we heard that South Africa was about to go into lockdown and little did we know what lay ahead for us. We worked so hard to build up a strong client base and it was decimated overnight. We managed to adapt our services to fill in the gap left on the Johannesburg to Hoedspruit shuttle route and it has kept us going ever since. We look forward to welcoming clients back to South Africa soon.
EASTGATE SAFARIS - SONJA MULLER
Covid hit the tourism industry hard and it is still having a very negative effect on us as a transfer company.
In our region, due to Covid and a lack of tourism and mostly the lack of international guests which is mostly flying into airports like Eastgate Airport in Hoedspruit, KMIA and Skukuza, there was no income from the start of Covid until around end of October 2020. Currently South African guests are slowly starting to feel more comfortable to travel, although it's still very slow. As most South Africans prefer doing more self-drive to the Kruger and holiday destinations, we mainly do transfers for international guests to/from airports to lodges, and the business is far from getting there yet.
Our drivers/guides were hit very hard. They are all freelance drivers/guides, and if there is no work, they do not have any income at all.
We at Eastgate are part of the greater Cullinan Holdings Ltd and have been doing transfers and business in Hoedspruit since 1997. We are fortunate to still be in operation.
NALEDI GAME LODGE - KJELL BISMEYER
We are still in the fight and continue to survive the onslaught of the Covid effect!
This is not an easy fete but we have to keep believing that tourism as a whole will come back. Naledi is a family and will continue to fight together to keep our livelihoods. We have had to change our day to day operations in the sense that the Lodge opens when there are guests and then gets “moth balled” until our next group of guests arrive. In the face of everything, it is amazing to see the passion that has made Naledi what it is today continue. Our standards are as high as ever and our staff have a smile on their faces when they are able to come in and do what they love to do!
The effects of the last year have been devastating for most, but it is incorrect to talk about the effects of last year as the effects are still with us today and we are still fighting to survive. For some life has begun to possibly stabilise and with hard work there is a light at the end of the tunnel, with many who rely on tourism this is not so. We hear “but tourism is open”, in the true sense, it is not. The effects are still with us and will be for the next foreseeable future.
It has been an interesting journey to see the sheer will power of people to survive this mess and do the best that they can in the face of a year that took the world by surprise and still continues to do so.