Cape Town water taste

Image: Adobe Stock

Top 10 most searched destinations by SA travellers in 2021

Take a look at the most searched travel destinations by South African-based passengers over the past year.

Cape Town water taste

Image: Adobe Stock

Lockdown restrictions, travel bans, border closures, and the ensuing economic impact of the pandemic once again hit the travel and tourism sector this year.

Despite the restrictions, many South Africans and foreign residents living in the country still needed or wanted to take flights during 2021.    


Travel search engine released data regarding travel search enquiries for 2021 on its online platform.

The list includes destinations that were accessible to travellers in South Africa, by virtue of being located inside the country’s borders (Hoedspruit, Pietermaritzburg and Margate) or outside of the country’s borders but accessible due to eased entry restrictions (the Maldives, Mexico and Jamaica). 

Other destinations, such as Lilongwe, Bulawayo and Harare, appear on the list possibly due to the number of nationals from regional African states like Malawi and Zimbabwe wanting to travel to their home countries from South Africa A during the year.

  • Lilongwe, Malawi
  • Bulawayo, Zimbabwe
  • Harare, Zimbabwe
  • Montego Bay, Jamaica
  • Malé, Maldives
  • Hoedspruit, South Africa
  • Pietermaritzburg, South Africa
  • Cancún, Mexico
  • Bujumbura, Burundi
  • Margate, South Africa


After analysing millions of search queries on the Cheapflights platform between January and December 2021, other travel trends were revealed.  Despite the economic downturn,  a number of South African travellers opted to fly premium class.

Cheapflights found that the majority of users selected business class when searching for flights. Searches for first-class flights also increased by about 12% compared to 2019 data.

ALSO READ: Business class, please! Now you can with cheaper fares for ‘lite version’


According to The Citizen, many travellers are staying closer to home this year, resulting in increased flight searches (273%) for Cape Town. The Johannesburg to Cape Town route is the busiest on the continent with several airlines operating flights between the two cities.

Cape Town International Airport was voted Africa’s best airport for 2021 in the annual Skytrax World Airport Awards this year. The Mother City, which once hosted scores of visitors from across the globe during the festive season, is however now heavily reliant on locals to keep its embattled tourism sector alive