Online travel agent Travelstart has bought a majority stake in Cape Town-based, South Africa’s largest accommodation booking website. has both the informal (self-catering and vacation rentals) and formal sector (hotels, guesthouses, bed and breakfasts).

“We want to supercharge our accommodation offering and with more than 23 000 listings on SafariNow, we can give our customers much better choices,” said Travelstart’s founder and CEO Stephan Ekbergh. will stick to its core business of selling accommodation and retain its current brand, CEO and team. Though SafariNow will continue to run as a standalone business, it’s 40-man team sees Travelstart fast-track the growth of its accommodation offering.

“Travelstart shares our mission of transforming the travel-booking experience to be simple and powerful,” said Tom Williams, CEO of SafariNow. “We’ve booked millions of bed-nights in the past 18 years and we’re excited to tackle this next chapter with a strong, supportive partner.

It’s a major plus for establishments who list with us as it will result in greater exposure for their listing.”

Terms of the acquisition were not be disclosed. The deal consolidates Travelstart’s business in Africa as and Airbnb expand across the continent. The acquisition is a matter of supply; Africa in general has many complexities where global players like Airbnb and struggle to navigate.

Travelstart and SafariNow definitely have home ground advantage in terms of getting the right supply at the right price for African consumers. They also understand the nuances of the various African markets

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Jeanette Philips

Jeanette Phillips joined the team in 2016. She developed a passion and love for all things-travel related in her role as travel journalist, a position she held for over seven years. A brief exodus into the corporate marketing sphere proved that there is no better industry than the travel industry. Research and writing are two of Jeanette’s greatest passions, but she is always open to new challenges and different ways of doing things.