There’s a new type of traveller dishing out thousands of dollars for high-end safaris. The business director of a Botswana-based company says it’s all because of the millennial tech boom.

Wilderness Safaris is a luxury safari company that operates in Botswana, Kenya, Namibia, Rwanda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. Wilderness Safaris
  • A managing director of a luxury safari company says he’s seen their clientele become younger and more diverse in the past 14 years thanks to the “millennial tech boom.”
  • It’s no longer only 60-year-old CEOs who can afford to go on a luxury safari, says Chris Roche, the managing director for business development at Wilderness Holdings, which owns luxury safari company Wilderness Safaris.
  • “I think the millennial tech boom story has allowed younger people to make the required money faster or younger in their lives,” Roche told Business Insider.
  • There’s also been an increase in solo female travellers embarking on safaris, he said.
  • An average safari at Wilderness Safaris costs about $US8,000 per person for five nights, but prices can vary by country and type of lodging.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

High-end safaris can cost thousands of dollars per night. Now, the millennial tech boom is making this kind of travel accessible to a whole new type of traveller.

In the 14 years he’s been at Wilderness Safaris, which operates in seven African countries including Botswana,Kenya, and Rwanda, business development managing director Chris Roche says he’s seen an evolution in the company’s clientele.

While access to money and time has always been essential for safaris that cost an average of $US8,000 for five nights, luxury safari-goers are becoming younger and more diverse.

Millennial millionaires minted by the Silicon Valley tech boom can afford luxury travel

The trend of safari-goers skewing younger can be partially explained by the influx of Silicon Valley wealth in recent years, according to Roche, who said he’s seeing more and more California tech workers coming to Africa.

“I think the millennial tech boom story has allowed younger people to make the required money faster or younger in their lives,” Roche said. “So it’s not the case now that you’ve got to be the CEO of General Motors, age 60, before you can [go on a luxury safari].”

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Chris Roche
Chris Roche has worked at Wilderness Safaris for 14 years and travelled to more than 25 African countries. Wilderness Safaris

At Wilderness Safaris, a typical safari costs $US8,000 per person for a five-night stay. But costs vary by country and type of lodging, Roche says. For example, the highest-priced lodge in Botswana costs about $US3,500 per person per night, while in Namibia, prices are as low as $US400 per person per night.

The travel industry is becoming ‘less structured’ and more diverse

Roche said the changing profile of the typical luxury safari traveller mirrors what’s been happening in the travel industry in general.

“Everything’s become less structured and more heterogeneous rather than homogeneous,” he said.

Roche says he’s also seen an increase in solo female travellers coming on their safaris, which wasn’t common 20 years ago.

“I think many more people are prepared to travel to Africa,” he said. “Many more people have heard of safari and think of it as a viable option, whether it’s honeymoon, anniversary, or whether it’s, ‘I’ve got to escape the developed world.'”

Wilderness Safaris, which was founded in 1983 and offers customisable safaris in addition to set itineraries, fulfils one of the major desires of affluent travellers in 2019: Wealthy travellers are increasingly interested unique, tailored experiences over material goods, as Business Insider’s Lina Batarags previously reported.

As Roche put it, “You’re not going for the caviar and Champagne, you’re paying for the ability to have an exceptional, natural experience in a vast intact ecosystem that doesn’t have anyone else in it. You’re paying for the luxury of space … [and] you’re paying for the luxury of pristine nature.”