When Silke left her home country to work abroad in Africa, she says that it was love at first sight! She claims to have gotten ‘addicted’ to Africa and its lifestyle; going on safari, beautiful places to stay, the sounds of the bush, the blue color of the Indian Ocean. As a result, she made the decision to turn her new passion into her profession.
Today, Silke is a travel agent based in Germany, specialising in Africa. She founded Destination Afrika and sells “Slow Travel Tours” to her clients who really enjoy the smooth and relaxing approach to discovering Africa.
How did you fall in love with travelling or start working within the industry as a career?
I loved travel even as a young child. Together with my family, I discovered almost every European country at an early age. But the last step to fall completely in love was the day I arrived in Africa. That was also my start into the tourism industry. I worked for several lodges and camps at the most amazing places, and also worked as a tour operator in Cape Town for a few years.
What kind of traveller are you?
I am a ‘slow’ traveller! I like to explore at my own pace. Of course, when I travel for business purposes, I am not able to stay put for very long, but if I take some time out for myself, I always stay at least 3 nights at one place.
Tell us about one of your most memorable trips/travel moments. Where and why?
One of my most special moments was a huge river crossing in the Serengeti. I had goosebumps for hours and it was a very special and also dramatical moment.
What lessons have you learnt from your experience during COVID – both personally and in your business?
It reminded me to stay flexible, to think outside of the box, and to make new plans. It taught me not to be too confident or set in my ways and to be thankful for what I have.
How confident are you that the travel and tourism industry in Africa (especially South Africa) will survive & prosper over the next 2-3 years?
I am pretty sure that we all will have another one or two years of a tough time. Once people start to travel again, there will be a chance of a new beginning – it will be different than before, but that does not mean that it will be worse. I think that tourism will have made a full recovery by 2022.
What do we need to do to make sure that happens?
We need to listen carefully to people’s needs. At the moment, for example, it does not make much sense to me to try to convince people to travel… let’s keep calm for a little bit until there is more trust.
Based on the five senses and thinking about travelling what do you…
- Like to see: A glimpse of the sun when it rises over the Cederberg mountains
- Like to taste: A nice glass of wine at my favorite wine farm
- Like to feel: The fabrics at a market in Uganda
- Like to hear: A deep roaring of a huge lion in the dusk
- Like to smell: Sunscreen on the skin on a hot and sunny day in Zanzibar