Starting this December, travelers will for the first time be able to book a Trafalgar trip to the sub-Saharan countries of Namibia, Botswana, Zambia, Kenya and Tanzania.

Rounding out Trafalgar's extensive Africa portfolio is its existing product offering in Egypt and Morocco and a return to South Africa, which the company offered once before in 2001.

"I jump on many [Trafalgar] trips a year," said Trafalgar CEO Gavin Tollman. "And consistently, when guests hear my accent, the first question is, 'Where are you from?' I say, 'Africa -- South Africa.' And they go, 'How come [Trafalgar doesn't] go to South Africa, and we can't travel there with you?'"

Tollman noted that despite the demand from Trafalgar guests for Africa, the company needed to find the right partner on the ground to properly execute the program. That opportunity arose this March after Trafalgar's parent company, The Travel Corporation (TTC), completed the purchase of Cullinan Holidays Tourism & Leisure, a South African company that owns inbound operators, outbound operators and travel agencies. One of those inbound operators is Thompsons Africa, which will run the ground operations for Trafalgar's sub-Saharan Africa tours.

The trips will be more intimate in nature than typical Trafalgar tours, ranging from 12 to 15 passengers per trip, compared to the average of 40 to 45 guests on Trafalgar's Europe itineraries, and a maximum of 52 guests on its North America trips. Some of the Africa trips, such as an itinerary that includes Botswana, will be limited to as few as four people.

The launch is comprised of 10 itineraries in three trip styles -- country explorer (a single country trip), regional explorer (a multiple country trip), and mini stay (a condensed trip). The program's two first departures (African Safari Adventure and Essence of South Africa) begin in December 2018 and will continue to roll out with the remaining itineraries having their first departures in the first few months of 2019.

Itineraries range from a four-day Victoria Falls Experience trip priced from $3,150 per person, based on double occupancy, to the 15-day Best of South Africa, priced from $6,425 per person. The 14-day African Safari Adventure, which includes Kenya and Tanzania, is priced at $8,350 per person.

Tollman said that the pricing for its Africa program is comparable to that of its other destinations.

He said the program is not targeted to any one specific demographic such as family travelers versus couples or baby boomers.

Asked why it was important for Trafalgar to offer Africa rather than simply direct interested guests to sister brand African Travel, Tollman said, "Even though I wear many hats within TTC, if you cut me, I bleed Trafalgar red. Trafalgar is the very cornerstone of everything that TTC is, everything that TTC represents."

Not only is Tollman from South Africa, but he is a member of the larger Tollman family, which owns and manages TTC, all of whom have their roots in South Africa.

Said Tollman, "For us, to go home, and even more so, just coincidently to go home in the year of Madiba, Nelson Mandela's centenary, is the right decision for our brand at this time ... and giving our guests the opportunity to now go and discover Africa in my way."

Comments
JDS Travel News JDS Viewpoints JDS Africa/MI