09 June 2014 by Daphney Mngomeni

Millennials, the next generation of travellers

The next generation is here, and they’re set to take the travel spotlight in the coming years: Millennials, also known as Generation Y.

Image courtesy of Toshisyung

Although Millennials are not yet the core market for airlines, hotels and travel companies, according to the Global Hospitality Insights: Top Thoughts of 2014 report they already make up one-third of business travel expenses.

In the next five to 10 years it's estimated that this generation of go-getters will provide the majority of spending for travel and leisure.

Just as the previous Generation X differed from Baby Boomers in their approach to the world, Millennials have their own outlook on life. Born between the 1980s and early 2000s, Millennials are a generation that’s constantly plugged in digitally and very tech-savvy.

This next generation of travellers is not interested in jetting across the world just to gaze in admiration at popular attractions, and then head home. They’re more interested in going to places where they can be immersed in the local culture, and have truly authentic experiences.

For this and many other reasons, South Africa is the perfect travel destination for Millennials. Whether they’re travelling for business or leisure, they’re guaranteed satisfaction and unforgettable experiences.

Here are a few recommendations for Millennials who choose Mzansi (South Africa) as their next destination ...

Township tours

In South Africa, township tours, which are offered by many local tour operators, have become very popular with both domestic and international tourists.

Townships, which are situated on the outskirts of urban areas, were once segregated residential settlements that were meant for black South Africans.

Now everyone is welcome, and the hospitality of township residents is almost overwhelming. Great food, music and entertainment, and fascinating history, make for unforgettable experiences.

A tour of the country’s many townships – be it in Port Elizabeth’s oldest settlement, New Brighton, KwaZulu-Natal’s INK (Inanda, Ntuzuma and KwaMashu) or Gauteng’s Soweto – will not fail to interest Millennials.

Heritage and culture tours

Zulu maidens perform a traditional dance at the Lesedi Cultural Village in the North West. Image courtesy of RachelF2SEA

South Africa is a cultural melting pot, filled with millions of people who are more than happy to share their treasured and diverse heritage with visitors.

This country has an interesting history that dates back to some of the earliest human settlements in the world, and is also home to the Cradle of Humankind – the world's richest hominid site, which is globally recognised as the place from which all humankind originated.

A day trip to cultural villages such as the Lesedi Cultural Village in the North West province or the Dumazulu Cultural Village in KwaZulu-Natal will teach you about the rituals and traditions of the many people that call South Africa home.

Enjoy hearty home-cooked traditional meals such as mieliepap (stiff maize meal porridge) and meat, umngqusho (samp and beans) or ting (sour porridge).

Every great meal should go with a thirst-quenching drink. Sip on umqombothi (traditional sorghum beer), irhemere (home-made ginger beer) or khadi (Tswana beer made from wild berries).

Ancient rock art

The San are Africa’s oldest hunter-gatherers and their art adorns the walls of many caves across South Africa.

Ancient rock art. Image South African Tourism

San rock art consists mostly of images of animals, human figures and other abstract figures. Their art not only depicted what they saw everyday, but also expressed a lot about their spiritual and shamanic experiences.

The uKhahlamba-Drakensberg ParkBushman’s Kloof in the Western Cape, Peers Cave in Cape Town, and Driekops Eiland in Kimberley are the best places to visit to view San rock art.

Road trips

The N1 is the best-known road in South Africa, running from Cape Town through Bloemfontein, Johannesburg, Pretoria and Polokwane, all the way to Beit Bridge on the border of Zimbabwe.

However, there is usually more than one route to travel and if you REALLY want to get to know South Africa, then all back roads, motorways, turn-offs and alternative routes are the way to travel.

A road trip through South Africa is unlike any other, with various routes each offering their own unique experience.

The scenic Garden Route, which runs along the Cape's southern coast, is very popular with travellers, offering beaches, forests, stunning views and ample accommodation.

Route 62 will take you through wine country, where some of the country’s most enjoyed wines are created.

The Valley of the Olifants route takes travellers through the heart of Limpopo, home of the world’s largest baobab tree. Visit the village that’s the home of the Balobedu people and the Rain Queen, Modjadji.

South Africa, with its diverse cultures, historically significant attractions and natural splendour, is an ideal destination for the generation that’s curious, spontaneous, upbeat and open-minded: the Millennials.

Category: Arts & Entertainment, Attractions, Culture & History, Food & Wine, Routes & Trails

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