There has not been a better time to plan your adventures in Namibia or safaris in South Africa. Recent currency fluctuations have resulted in the South African rand and the Namibian dollar (which is pegged to the rand) holding a highly favorable exchange rate against the dollar and euro. This means that your money goes much further in this region than at any point in the last 5 years! As of January 2016, $1 now purchases R16.50; more than twice as much as in 2013 when $1 purchased R8.50.
Domestic prices in South Africa and Namibia have not yet had time to adjust to the economic situation meaning that inflation has been kept in check (meaning cheap prices on safaris).
“South Africa's depreciating currency has so far had little impact on inflation” [Reuters, Dec 14, 2015]
(Image courtesy of xe.com)
A simple example to illustrate current cost vs. value is comparing the price of a McDonald’s Big Mac in South Africa right now in US$ with The Economist's Big Mac Index . Currently the price of a Big Mac in South Africa is equal to $1.77 (compared to $4.93 in the US). This is quite a deal, if you are into fast-food burgers. That same price/value rate holds true for safaris in Namibia and safaris in South Africa right now too!
So what does this mean for you? More Safari for your buck!
Wildland Adventures departures to South Africa and Namibia are priced in local currencies and are an extremely good value right now. Your money will go further and buy you a 5-star safari for the typical price of a 3-star! Southern Africa has always been a great destination for families and our family-friendly safaris in South Africa are an even better value right now.
“With the rand at record lows, South Africa is cheerfully cheap to visit, too, for travelers with dollars or euros in their pockets” [The Economist, Sep 5, 2015]
My advice? Now is the time to plan the safari you've always been dreaming of!
Economic forecasts indicate the devaluation of the rand to persist through 2016 and likely into early 2017 but not much longer than that. If the cyclical nature of currency values offers any lessons, it’s that no sale lasts forever and either inflationary pressures or a strengthening currency will eventually correct this outlier. Similar currency swings in 2002 and 2008 were short-lived. Additionally, South Africa has taken proactive steps to correct some of its financial woes including a replacement of the country’s Financial Minister.
Your friendly safari expert,
PS: You might also like to read Eight Diamond in the Rough Destinations for 2016