In our fast-paced era of quick getaways and packed itineraries, wellness travel brings us back to the true meaning of luxury: time. Dedicating meaningful, quality time to deeply connect with a destination is what really nourishes the mind, body, and soul.
Luxury travel is no longer about quantity but quality. Speaking in an ILTM luxury travel webinar recently, Elizabeth Gordon, Founder and Owner of Extraordinary Journeys in the US, noted, “Luxury is space and time and not necessarily about the amenities. It’s about having a purposeful holiday and those moments of magic where guests constantly think to themselves, ‘Wow!’”
So, what should you look for in a time-luxurious holiday for 2024?
With time being the most precious luxury of all, you shouldn’t have to endure long flights and jet lag to find it. So, why not look closer to home on the African continent? One spot that remains as untouched as Mother Nature intended is Africa’s Eden, in the over 520,000 km2 Kavango-Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area – which is the world’s largest area of its kind, incorporating 12 national parks and protected wilderness regions. Africa’s Eden encompasses the Zambezi and Kavango Rivers, Victoria Falls, the Okavango Delta, Lake Kariba, the Lower Zambezi, and Mana Pools in northern Zimbabwe.
Forget crowds and mass tourism. Africa’s Eden is one of the continent’s last unspoiled wildernesses where you can truly connect with nature and escape daily stresses. Expect low-impact, sustainable travel in small groups.
Thankfully, combining some of these destinations is easily done on a combo holiday. One popular option is the Chobe River and Victoria Falls combo, with the Okavango Delta often added on for the ultimate bucket list adventure.
Take it slow – Promoting Restoration through Stillness
Start your journey in the Chobe River region between Namibia and Botswana. This wildlife haven is home to Africa’s largest elephant population, with herds of thousands along the riverbanks. Beyond the pachyderms, crocodiles, endangered wild dogs, lions, giraffes, and buffalo abound.
For birdwatchers, it’s a true paradise with over 450 diverse species represented. Cruising the river, you’ll glimpse colourful kingfishers, graceful skimmers, and giant kingfishers in the trees.
This serene wilderness inspires ‘slow travel’ focused on meaningful experiences versus busily rushing between sites. Cruises of two or three nights aboard the Zambezi Queen’s refined houseboat or one of the relaxed and smaller Chobe Princess vessels allow for a complete digital detox and immersion in nature’s beauty.
You’ll stay present in the moment, surrounded by wildlife and legendary Chobe River sunsets. These legendary sunsets with golden light dancing across the Chobe’s waters create lasting memories. Intimate vessels encourage long moments of stillness, whether soaking up the serenity on your private balcony or relaxing on the top deck of the Zambezi Queen with a sundowner in hand.
Accessible Escape – Seamless Travel
Wellness, and the true luxury of time, also stem from easy access. The Chobe allows quick, convenient regional access from South Africa without long flights or jet lag. Arrive relaxed and ready to fully unwind in a world away from home. The KAZA UniVisa facilitates hassle-free travel between Zimbabwe and Zambia, too. There’s easy air access via international airports in Victoria Falls, Livingstone, and Kasane.
Immersing yourself in the Region – Fostering a Sense of Belonging
Typical Zambezi Queen cruises last a couple of nights, so combining the Chobe River with Victoria Falls creates the perfect multi-faceted getaway in Africa’s Eden.
“Spending two to three nights in each spot is the best way to really soak up the region and completely relax,” says Kate Powell, General Manager of Sales and Marketing at the Zambezi Queen Collection. “Our guests love making the most of their time exploring this unspoilt corner of the world by opting for a combo package holiday. Victoria Falls is just a 60-minute drive away from our embarkation point in Kasane, so it’s a popular option.”
Powell recommends Mbano Manor Hotel, part of the renowned Mantis Collection, of which Zambezi Queen Collection is also a member. “We offer a new and exciting package that includes two nights in Mbano Manor, with three nights on board our flagship Zambezi Queen floating boutique hotel.”
Whether on the Chobe or in Vic Falls, there are also ample opportunities to connect with locals and experience daily life miles away from the hustle and bustle of your own routine. Powell highlights that all Zambezi Queen Collection staff are local and offer authentic insights into their homeland. Included excursions on the houseboats are village visits to allow for meaningful cultural connections.
The growing demand to soak in one of Africa’s most remarkable landscapes speaks to the increasing desire for depth of experience and moments of still and reconnection. So, for 2024, embrace the true luxury – time well spent.