Airbnb reveals top hot destinations in South Africa as international travel returns

As summer approaches, Airbnb today reveals data showing that international travel to South Africa is back, with nights booked on the platform in the first three quarters more than doubling from the same period last year. Bela-Bela in Limpopo tops the list of trending destinations, with travelers also flocking to the ever-popular Western Cape region.

Located in the famous Waterberg region, Bela-Bela in Limpopo is becoming a must visit for tourists from all over the world. Known for its extraordinary wildlife and conservation efforts, it’s no surprise that Airbnb bookings in the area have seen an increase of over 400% from 2021.

In June, Airbnb also expanded its Entrepreneurship Academy to the region as part of a three-year commitment to empower a new generation of tourism entrepreneurs. 51 Waterberg Academy participants are set to graduate later this month after receiving the skills, practical tools and support they need to succeed on the Airbnb platform in South Africa.

The increase in visitors is a welcome boost for locals, especially in the face of the rising cost of living. Half of the hosts across South Africa say they are hosting to cope with current economic challenges, while more than a third say the extra income helps them make ends meet.

The South African hosts collectively earned R1.4 billion during the 2021-22 summer season. Last year, the typical South African host earned around R25,400 renting out their space on Airbnb, which equates to about a month’s extra salary for the average income.

The Western Cape also continues to attract travelers with historic towns like Witzenberg, Theewaterskloof and Saldanha Bay. Drakenstein, located in the famous Western Cape wine region, also attracts visitors with its large vineyards and stunning scenery.

Airbnb’s most popular destinations in South Africa for international travelers in 2022:

  • Bela-Bela, Limpopo
  • Witzenberg, Western Cape
  • Theewaterskloof, Western Cape
  • Saldanha Bay, Western Cape
  • uMngeni, KwaZulu-Natal
  • Buffalo City, Eastern Cape
  • Ray Nkonyeni, KwaZulu-Natal
  • Msunduzi, KwaZulu-Natal
  • Drakenstein, Western Cape
  • Ndlambe, Eastern Cape

These trendy destinations for the summer season highlight the emerging hotspots of international travelers and their desire for new experiences. The main countries of origin for customers visiting South Africa are travelers from the United Kingdom, Germany, the United States, the Netherlands and France.

Velma Corcoran, Regional Manager for Middle East Africa at Airbnb, said:

“The return of international travel to South Africa is great news for the tourism economy which supports local businesses and communities. Accommodation is also proving to be an economic lifeline for thousands of South African families as it is a opportunity to showcase the beauty of their homes while increasing their income in light of the increase in the cost of living.

Waterberg Academy graduate Rose Mashaba said:

“The Airbnb Entrepreneurship Academy taught me how to interact with guests and take my business seriously. When I arrived I was not business-minded, however, I gained great confidence management of my property, Pendleberry Grove, through the training I received. I am very grateful for this opportunity and excited to continue to share my property with guests visiting Bela-Bela.”

Prospective Hosts can find out how much they could earn by sharing their home on Airbnb through the What is my place worth tool. The interactive tool calculates estimated revenue based on geography, listing type, and also uses past Airbnb booking data in the area. For more information, visit

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