Safaris and girls, girls and safaris
10/10/08 / Kevin Raines
This is the fourth in a series of posts on our recent trip to Africa. To see our other posts, click here. This is a random observation, but we couldn’t miss it. During part of our vacation, we went to a game lodge in South Africa. While there was certainly a variety of household types and family types going on safari, one oddity struck us: a very disproportionate number of families had young daughters, ranging in age from perhaps six to twelve. For every boy we saw in that age group, we probably saw six or more girls. If you’re a peoplewatcher by nature, it was a pattern that couldn’t be missed.
Do young girls like African wildlife more than young boys? I don’t know. I don’t have kids myself, and maybe every parent in the world would nod knowingly and say, “Oh, yeah. They’re in their giraffe phase at that age.” Maybe that’s the case.
However, it struck us that the only reasonable explanation for seeing such a strong gender skewing is that someone – the daughters or the parents – was making a decision to go on safari for their daughters’ enjoyment. This means that a significant portion of the power to select an African vacation may not lie in the hands of the people with the pocketbooks, but rather in the wheedling power or the wistful vacation dreams of preteen girls. That may be insightful to those who market such vacations.
This observation links in with a global theory we’ve been developing about the social development of the next generations, by the way, but that’s not quite ready to be unfurled yet.