Jaxx, the Siberian Husky, has ended his #Ride4Huskies travelogue after riding 1,722 km over six days in the rear passenger seat doggy hammock installed in a Jaguar iPace all-electric SUV vehicle. I purchased the Pet Car Seat Cover for Dogs on Takealot for R299 (on special – usually R399).
The car seat cover worked well and did the required job of protecting the rear passenger seat door upholstery from paw scratches (an important aspect, considering that the Jaguar iPace we used for this trip retails at just over R2.5 million). The side panels zip up and clip to the hand rails to create a box-like hammock, in which Jaxx was very comfortable. Not sure about the water-proof claim as Jaxx thankfully didn’t need to pee while in the car (we did plenty pit-stops to recharge the EV’s battery, so Jaxx had ample time to stretch his legs and do what dogs do best).
It’s been fun writing Jaxx’s blog posts from a dog’s perspective even though we were often pressed for time. Most of his posts were written late at night, after checking-in at pet-friendly host establishments, where we invariably arrived late.
I doubt that Jaxx’s travelogue served its purpose as a fundraiser for his furry friends at Husky Rescue SA and at the National Council of SPCAs. The links embedded into his blog posts go direct to the beneficiaries website donation pages, so we’ve no way of monitoring funds raised.
Besides the fun and bonding time that Jaxx and I (aka The Fossil) enjoyed over the past week, I hope that our efforts have created awareness of pet-friendly travel and places that we featured along our travelogue route.
I spoke with many people during our journey, from hotel managers to restaurant owners and fuel stop station managers along the way, and was astounded by how few consider catering to the needs of pets as part of their service offering to guests. Besides the few pet-friendly places that hosted us along our journey, most establishments that do allow pets, seem do so in a grudging, almost half-arsed manner. I’m convinced that they simply have not considered the economic potential that pet owners represent.
So, let’s look at the stats. According to Nicole Cosgrove, the lead pet expert and “Pet-ditor in Chief” at PetKeen, 60% of South African households own at least one pet. In 2021, Statistics South Africa estimated that there are 18 million households, so 60% equates to 10.8 million households with at least one pet. South Africa’s domestic tourism stats indicate that 6.77 million individuals travelled in 2021, while 15.2 million domestic trips were taken in the first half of 2022 (January to June). Even working from the depressed post-covid domestic tourism stats for 2021, the 6.77 million figure represents 11.2% of the country’s 60.41 million population.
Given the aforementioned stats, we can assume that the 10.8 million pet-owner households, with an average household size of 3,34 persons, representing 36.07 million people, and assuming that 11.2% of these households travel for leisure purposes, then the potential market for pet-friendly places would be around 4.04 million (i.e. 36.7 x 11.2%).
That’s a sizable market. A market that would likely travel more often if they knew that their pets could accompany them and be catered for in a welcoming and dedicated manner. Of course, the pet-friendly decision is not always up to the hospitality proprietors discretion. There are municipal by-laws to consider. The local municipalities of Knysna, George,and Mossel Bay, for example, passed a by-law prohibiting pets from food preparation establishments (you can read Jaxx’s opinion of that by-law on his Day 2: Around Knysna Lagoon blog post).
Still, the fact remains that very few hospitality establishments in South Africa are pet friendly. To solve this apparent dilemma, to create a portal for pet owners to find pet-friendly places, and to provide resources for hospitality establishments to become pet friendly, I’ve registered the petfriendly4all.co.za domain.
Considering that this website (Walk4Africa) is dedicated to developing and promoting outdoor events, I’ll probably move Jaxx’s blog posts to the new domain where they will be more relevant. All current blog post links will be redirected, so don’t worry about having post links that you may have shared on social media not working. They will be redirected to the PetFriendly4All domain when the website goes live.
In conclusion, our heartfelt thanks to the pet-friendly places that hosted us on this Ride4Huskies travelogue. Namely, Mystical Paw Prints, JLR Vehicles, Nyati Valley Berg House, Garden On The Beach, and The Waffle House (the links point to Jaxx’s posts about his experience at these places, but the posts contain links to each establishments website). And, of course, thank you for reading and sharing Jaxx’s blog posts. Until our next adventure, keep well, stay safe, and remember to take your pooches with when travelling – they’ll love you all the more for caring!