As the popularity of African travel soars, a wave of exciting African e-travel startups is also emerging. From accommodation to adventure tour bookings – and a bit of duty free shopping thrown in for good measure – Disrupt Africa looks at the five startups to watch in this vibrant space.
Where else to start but Hotels.ng?
Founded in 2012, the Hotels.ng platform connects consumers to more than 14,000 hotels across 21 regions of Nigeria.
The Nigerian startup recently made the headlines securing US$1.2 million in funding from Omidyar Network and EchoVC; which followed hot on the heels of US$250,000 seed funding raised last year from Jason Njoku’s Spark fund.
The latest funding is set to fuel the startup’s expansion plans – it will help the platform cover 90 per cent of Nigerian hotels in the next three years and finance the startup’s roll-out to 50 per cent of hotels across Africa.
Hotel booking sites are in vogue continent-wide, with Kenyan startup SleepOut also making waves in the e-travel space.
SleepOut.com is a secure accommodation marketplace connecting travellers with individual hosts offering a place to stay.
Launched in December 2011 in Kenya, the startup secured US$200,000 in funding from a group of Amsterdam-based investors, and now has a presence across the continent, offering over 10,000 unique places to sleep in 27 African countries and 68 countries worldwide.
The e-travel space is not only about online hotel bookings, however.
Tastemakers Africa is a mobile app and content platform dedicated to revolutionizing what the world thinks about travel in Africa.
By providing a hybrid booking and content experience, travelers are guided from the point of inspiration to take an African trip, and accompanied with information and advice during the planning process and throughout the time they’re at their destination.
Freshly launched in December 2014, the startup already covers Accra, Cape Town, Johannesburg, Lagos, and Nairobi; and plans to scale to 20 African cities within the next two years.
Also answering demand from those interested in alternative travel, South African startup Gummie provides a curated online marketplace for travel adventures.
The platform lists handpicked tours and adventure activities around Cape Town and Johannesburg, and aims to set itself apart from competition by targeting millennials – people between the ages of 20 and 35.
The startup currently lists around 30 adventures at a time, but has plans to extend its backend in order to turn itself into the “Airbnb for tour guides” and allow tour operators to publish their own offers on the site.
Meanwhile the Ivory Coast’s Airshop is catering for the shopaholics among us.
The startup provides a platform that allows users to purchase goods and pick them up at a duty free shop while travelling.
Airshop was recently named winner of the Ivory Coast-based leg of global startup pitching competition Seedstars World, and will advance to compete against other regional winners at the global finals to be held in Switzerland in February 2016.