Slow travel doesn’t have to mean a trek to a monastery in the nether reaches of Tibet. Or a solitary footslog to Timbuktu. Slow travel can happen anywhere, as long as it invites the benefits of slowing down. Pausing the break-neck pace of everyday life and easing into a different way of living time, offers a dimension of life far greater, broader and deeper than haste-driven clock-time living. Slow travel means dispensing with that persistent sense of urgency, taking the time to live the moment more mindfully, notice the breathcatching small intricacies of nature, spend time with the locals. In short, slow travel is one way for us to start rewiring our busy brains and experience some of the beautiful “gaps” and “spaces” that frenetic living closes over. Try some of these lodges on your next slow travel getaway in South Africa …
Lily Pond Country Lodge is a private paradise at unspoiled Nature’s Valley on the Garden Route. Peace prevails here on the fringe of the Tsitsikamma National Park, and it’s particularly tranquil around a huge mirrored pond where water lilies smile up at the big, uncluttered sky. People often say the place has a Zen-like tranquillity, and they are right. The rooms are private and peaceful, and spill out onto big green spaces. It’s the sort of place where it’s easy – quite natural even – to slow down. The attractions of the Garden Route are very accessible should you want them, but there’s also ample space for quiet living, meditation, spa revivals and reading – thanks to the Honesty Library.
At Chintsa on the Wild Coast of the Eastern Cape, Prana Lodge is an enchanting escape with private access to 21km of untrampled beach. Slow barefoot luxury is the order of the day in this rugged coastal wonderland, enhanced by the tempting offerings of an in-house Thai Spa and Wellness Centre. Yoga, meditation and body treatments do much to help one slow down. The lodge is a sanctuary for body and soul, and downtime is fully on tap. Solitude is easily available, since the suites have their own private gardens and pools. The pristine beach goes on forever and is a miracle-remedy for smoothing out the inner landscape.
Life ticks over at a comfortingly slow pace at Three Trees at Spioenkop in the breathtaking Spioenkop Valley of KwaZulu-Natal. The landscape is irrefutably African, and ablaze with aloes at a certain time of year. There’s so much beautiful space here – for walking, or for surveying life slowly from the saddle. The Spioenkop Nature Reserve and the Royal Natal National Park offer the enchantment of nature and all her wonders, big and small. Accommodation is secluded and many thoughtful touches create a self-restoring experience. Slow life happens best on your private verandah, where you can gaze out into vast open spaces and watch animals moving by.
If you prefer to set the pace of your own safari, rather than have a “programme” set out for you, Garonga Safari Lodge is the place to go. It’s a gorgeous tented camp on the plains of Makalali in Limpopo, and the attitude of the staff is that you do as much or as little as you please. A hammock on the deck of your tented bush-home means you need go no further than that to view wildlife, but of course there are also the wonderful guided 4×4 drives if you fancy them. Commune with the wilderness at you own tempo, be enveloped by the bush during aromatherapy and reflexology treatments in an open-sided sala, and bath under open, starry skies. Feast on slow food and decelerate in a beautiful earthy tented pad in natural tones and textures.
Embedded in the far northern recesses of the Kruger National Park’s Makuleke Contractual Park, The Outpost provides a safari in glorious isolation. Perched up high, the suites are sleek, spacious havens of luxury, with decks perfect for slow living. There is little “traffic” in this concession, which means your safari is private and sightings are not shared with umpteen other converging Land Rovers.
Slow living for small groups and families happens at Singita Castleton, a private sole-use sanctuary in the Sabi Sands. Having your very own home-from-home entitles you to set your own safari plan and self-pace your encounter with the wilderness.
Mail us for bookings and slow travel suggestions, or call +27 21 797-7122.