Header image featuring tourists on Lions Head.

Weekly Travel News Recap, 17 May: SA international arrivals are booming, Maasai Mara flooding, and more

Catch up on all the latest travel news with Drive South Africa.

Each week, our team scours the web for the most interesting, trending, and unusual travel news, conservation news, and motoring news stories. Here are this week’s biggest scoops.

Travel News

An aeroplan flies over Cape Town.


  • UK overtakes US to become South Africa’s largest overseas travel marketSpeaking at Africa’s Travel Indaba in Durban, Tourism Minister Patricia de Lille reported that over 125,000 Brits visited South Africa in Q1 of 2024, representing a 5% increase year-on-year. The US wasn’t far behind, with 118,000 travellers, up 12% year-on-year. De Lille cites the favourable exchange rate for the boom.


  • Visa exemptions increase international to South AfricaAccording to the latest statistics, the government’s decision to apply visa exemptions for travellers from certain African countries has resulted in a 15.4% increase in international travellers in Q1 of 2024. African nationals now make up 74.5% of all international arrivals.


  • EU Commission flags Booking.com as a travel gatekeeperThe European Commission is giving Booking.com six months to submit a compliance report after flagging it for potentially monopolising online travel bookings. The commission wants the platform to allow other companies to inter-operate with it.





Conservation News

A leopard in a tree.

  • At least 12 tented camps and lodges destroyed in Maasai Mara floodingAccording to The Star, the lodges were ravaged when the Mara and Talek rivers broke their banks in late April. However, international traveller cancellations have been “insignificant” and many tour operators have returned to normal operations while reconstruction efforts get underway.


  • Researchers trace South African leopard ancestry to the ice ageResearchers have successfully compiled the mitogenome of leopards from Mpumalanga, finding that South African leopards descended from two unique clades around 800,000 years ago. It’s the first time researchers have properly classified South African leopards and it’s hoped the research will guide conservation efforts.


  • Transferring Amboseli National Park to a new county could threaten its biodiversityAccording to The Standard, a proposal to move the iconic national park to the County Government of Kajaido represents “a blatant assault on Kenya’s natural heritage and conservation efforts”. It adds that the move “will unleash a cascade of detrimental consequences that will threaten the existence of Amboseli as a globally recognised biodiversity hotspot”.


  • Orcas attack and sink another boat in EuropeThe same group of orcas that has previously attacked boats in southwest Europe has sunk a huge sailing yacht in the Strait of Gibraltar after tearing a hole in its hull. This marks the fifth sinking in three years, with experts warning that more attacks are likely.

Motoring News

A BMW electric vehicle at a charging station.


Travel News Image Credits: Unsplash

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