If you’ve been on more than one long haul vacation, you know there’s travel, and then there’s Travel. That capital ‘T’ is all about smooth logistics and feeling at ease throughout your journey. It’s almost always the direct effect of working with an expert who has firsthand knowledge of where you’re going; someone who can place you behind the scenes and beyond brochure-ordinary for unique encounters that most travellers never even hear about.
Private travel is about having hotel-standard accommodation in an independent residence, it’s about private transfers, charters and guides, it’s about a tailor-made holiday that’s filled with moments and experiences that you’ll still be talking about years later.
That’s my kind of travel – it’s luxury that is worth every penny. For me, luxury has nothing to do with the number of stars in my hotel’s rating and everything to do with how much of my vacation unfolds at my pace around my tastes and preferences versus days spent fitting in with the hotel or lodge’s schedule.
Africa’s luxury villas & private residences
The best reason to choose a safari villa or beach condo when you travel in Africa has to be the personal freedom. Staying in your own comfortable residence with exclusive-use facilities in a beautiful setting delivers generous flexibility – freedom from a pre-determined timetable and scheduled activities. Private travel in Africa means waking up when I wish, eating when it suits me best, going on tailor-made excursions and relaxing in the happy knowledge that I’m not missing out on anything!
Africa does private residences, villas and condos very, very well. You’ll find these secret hideaways overlooking the best views, staffed with passionate and skilled people, often near enough to make the most of resort or lodge amenities but far enough for peace and privacy.
Be warned, private holidays will spoil you rotten. They’ll positively ruin you for hotels. It’s not just the flexible schedule, private chefs and dedicated guides, it’s knowing that all the loungers around the pool are there for you and yours. I’ll never forget staying in a 5-star resort where, in the pre-dawn stillness each morning, guests would stumble from their rooms in a tragicomic race called “book-your-lounger”. The Germans always got the best loungers in the best spots. Always.
Private travel for friends and families
Private travel is ideal for families and groups of friends, most especially when you have different needs and preferences to accommodate. Travelling with my parents requires decent, early morning birdwatching and a ready supply of quality tea. Travelling with my goddaughter requires a glorious but kid-friendly swimming pool and activities catered to a six-year-old’s interests and attention span. My partner and our friends want a daily bite of active adventure, plenty of fresh air and sunshine, great food and sublime sunset cocktails… a few comfy spots to gaze at the horizon in a dreamy fashion don’t go amiss either.
Why go private?
It’s simply the most personal way to experience a destination and the best way to make the most of your vacation. See what you want to see, at your own pace and with the people you’ve chosen as travel companions. Eat what and when it suits you – live on picnics if you like! Go beyond the obvious and the brochure rack offering into the kind of tailored experiences that only true experts can deliver.
I know I don’t want to book gorilla trekking through someone who’s never been, nor do I want to book a holiday direct and miss out on where the locals go for the best-of-everything. I don’t want to queue with all the other tourists when I could have a private viewing at the time of day when the light’s just right for awesome photos.