Airbnb reveals South Africa’s most popular destinations as international travel makes a comeback

With summer just around the corner, Airbnb today reveals data showing that international travel to South Africa is making a comeback, with nights booked on the platform in the first three quarters doubling compared to the same period last year. Limpopo’s Bela-Bela tops the list of trending destinations, with travelers returning to the ever-popular Western Cape region.

Located in the famous Waterberg region, Limpopo’s Bela-Bela is fast becoming a must-see for tourists across the globe. Known for its extraordinary conservation and wildlife efforts, it’s no surprise that Airbnb bookings in the area have seen an increase of over 400% since 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 will 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 hosts in South Africa say they host to afford the current economic challenges, while over a third say the extra income helps them make ends meet.

Hosts South Africa collectively earned R1.4 billion during the 2021-22 summer season. Last year, the average host in South Africa earned around R25,400 by renting out space on Airbnb – the equivalent of around one month’s extra pay for an average earner.

The Western Cape also continues to attract travelers with historic towns such as Witzenberg, Theewaterskloof and Saldanha Bay. Drakenstein, located in the famous wine region of the Western Cape, also attracts guests with its important vineyards and beautiful scenery.

South Africa’s most popular Airbnb destinations for international guests 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 trending destinations for the summer season highlight the upcoming hotspots for international travelers and their desire for new experiences. The top countries of origin for guests visiting South Africa include travelers from the UK, Germany, the US, the Netherlands and France.

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

“The return of international travel to South Africa is fantastic news for the tourism economy, which supports local businesses and communities. Hosting is also proving to be an economic lifeline for thousands of South African families as it is a the opportunity to show off the beauty of their homes while also increasing their income in the light rising costs of living.”

Waterberg Academy graduate Rose Mashaba said:

“The Airbnb Entrepreneurship Academy taught me how to interact with customers and take my business seriously. I wasn’t business minded when I joined, but gained a lot of confidence in managing my property, Pendleberry Grove, thanks to the training I received. I am very grateful for the opportunity and excited to continue sharing my property with guests visiting Bela-Bela.”

Potential hosts can find out how much they could earn by sharing their space on Airbnb with the What’s My Place Worth tool. The interactive tool calculates estimated revenue based on geography, listing type, and also uses previous Airbnb booking data from the area. For more information, go to

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *