It's no secret that millennials are a hyperconnected generation. They switch incessantly between numerous electronic devices to check messages, view emails, make calls or browse social media updates.
But Gen Z, the generation that follows the millennials, might be even more connected and overstimulated.
That is not the only thing that defines Gen Z, though. According to research conducted by Virtuoso, the generation travels with a global mindset and seeks authentic, unique experiences such as adventures they can have only in a particular destination.
"Africa is starting to position itself as the destination of choice for Gen Z as it ticks all the boxes this young traveler is looking for. Our continent still offers 'raw natural beauty' and vast open-ended landscapes as well as unique cultural and wildlife experiences you won't find anywhere else," said Henk Graaff, managing director of SW Africa.
Graaff said Africa offers uncommon adventure options, such as the possibility to explore the meandering waterways of the Okavango Delta on a mokoro canoe or traverse the Kruger National Park in a 44. "Gen Z can witness herds of elephants, prides of lions and roaming antelopes, just as they should be, in the pure, untouched wilderness. This is an experience that no YouTube video will ever come close to conveying," he said.
Cultural encounters in Africa can also give this generation a new perspective on life. Said Graaff: "Give Gen Z the option to live with the pastoral Himba in Namibia and experience what it feels like to live a humble and happy life away from Instagram, Facebook and YouTube."
"One of the most heart-warming characteristics of the 'iGeneration' (as Gen Z is also known) is their desire to make a real difference and to change the world. They've even been dubbed 'philanthroteens' by those in the know," said Stephanie von Allmen, general manager of Dana Tours.
Von Allmen explained there are numerous opportunities to make a difference in Mozambique, as Dana Tours works with communities and organizations in a way that can truly change people's lives. She said: "GenZ and their parents can spend a few days at a local school painting the classrooms, cooking meals and assisting with homework or reading."
One of the most rewarding destinations for Gen Z in Mozambique is Inhambane, according to Von Allmen. Of the city known as the terra da boa gente, or land of the good people, she said: "The destination got this name because locals are helpful and friendly and generally always welcome you with a smile. Where better to take your family and let them interact with some friendly locals and learn a bit about Mozambican culture?"
Heidi Newton King, sustainability director at Spier Wine Farm, added that authenticity is also very high on the agenda of Gen Z, and there is an expectation that businesses are concerned about and addressing social and environmental challenges.
She said: "At Spier, we have a number of experiences that would appeal to this generation, from Segway tours, which take guests on a farm tour and is a fun way to learn more about the place, and our Tree-preneur nursery, which can be discovered on a walk, to cycling up to the waste water treatment plant and dam, which is surprisingly beautiful and interesting to learn about. Great Instagram moments!"
Here are five experiences in Africa that are sure to appeal to Gen Z:
• Eat Mopane worms in Namibia: A finalist for the 2018 African Responsible Tourism Awards, which were presented at the World Travel Market Africa, Nande Junias lets travelers explore the heart and soul of Namibia at the Mondesa Township in Swakopmund.
Junias said: "Gen Z will love the unique chance to visit local homes in our township in Namibia. They can try our home-cooked Mopane worms, which I'll serve personally at my family home, and they can get a glimpse of the daily life in the township. They'll walk the streets of Mondesa, visit the local schools and explore community arts and craft projects. I will even teach them the click language from the Damara tribe."
To book, visit www.nandejexplorertours.com.
• Experience a rural homestay in South Africa: There are two ways to visit South Africa, according to Responsible Tourism Award finalist Abang Africa. "You can see our beautiful country or you can do South Africa."
Gen Z and their families will be given the opportunity stay with incredibly friendly families and get to know the country like never before. They'll be welcomed in Limpopo's Venda community and experience first-hand what this fascinating culture is all about. They'll walk the mountain forests with local guides, visit a goat dairy and learn how to sculpt African art.
For more information, visit http://abangafrica.com/.
• Explore the Okavango Delta on a stand-up paddleboard: Sean Kritzinger, co-owner and managing director at Giltedge Africa, said South Africa's tourism industry is competently adapting to the Gen Z market. He said: "We've seen that some brands in particular are really embracing this generation. Take, for example, Escape + Explore, who tailor-make day tours that include adventures and experiences depending on the group's preference, sportiness and adventurous spirit and on the weather on the day."
One of the original adventures Escape + Explore offers is to visit the Okavango Delta on a stand-up paddleboard journey. Setting out from the Bayei People's community concession in the heart of the Delta, travelers will spend three days paddling flanked by expert local Mokoro guides and the nights fly-camping on the Delta islands. This safari brings together the traditional Mokoros with modern paddleboarders for the first time, offering travelers an unusual perspective on the Delta, one usually reserved for the Mokoro Polars themselves.
To learn more, go to http://www.toescapeto.com/escapeexplore.
• Explore Africa in a retro ice cream truck: Escape + Explore Africa features in its portfolio an uncommon adventure, where travelers can visit rural Africa in a retro ice cream truck handing out frozen treats and new school shoes to young underprivileged children in the most rural corners of southern Africa.
"This is the ultimate African Top Gear adventure with a conscience," the company said. It provides a fun and exciting new way for people to not only see five different African countries but to truly experience Africa's deep and varied cultures and traditions.
"It is a fun and easy way to meet people, promote goodwill, cultural awareness, and respect and tolerance, whilst having the privilege of taking in some of the world's most incredible heritage sites," the company said.
Go to http://www.toescapeto.com/escapeexplore for more info.
• Have a Robinson Crusoe adventure in Seychelles: North Island is an exclusive, private-island hideaway that will appeal to Gen Z's Robinson Crusoe spirit.
"More and more, travelers are looking to immerse themselves in authentic experiences. With the always-on, highly connected and global nature of today's world, travelers have a wealth of information at their fingertips, demand to know more and wish to "travel deeper," said Tarryn Retied, conservation manager of North Island.
Retied explained North Island has turned back the hands of time through its intensive island rehabilitation program. She said: "Guests can spend time with resident environmentalists, learning about the island's conservation work and history whilst on guided walks and hikes. Gen Z can also give back by planting indigenous trees grown in the Island's own nursery or assisting with identification of key marine species on snorkeling and dive trips."