I love watching the trends arrive… food trends, style trends and – of course – travel trends!
Finding myself living in the middle of the African wilderness (where it can take months for the latest anything to arrive) I need to go trend-tracking for myself in order to stay current. Yes, online is one source but it can be rather generic and only really useful as a research tool when you already know what you are looking for.
For me, the best trends arrive from our beautiful guests every day. Each person who comes to stay with us has seen, been, and experienced adventure, food, style, and wellness from the best around the globe. The joy of a family-run hospitality safari lodge is that guests move fast to becoming wonderful and dear friends and so over the last 15 years I have gathered what I consider some of the best trend forecasters in the business (you know who you are). This group is trusted, honest and of course right at the cutting edge of their field.
So you can imagine that while on lockdown here at Londolozi I was thrilled to be able to take the time to reflect, connect and receive so many ideas and such wisdom from all over the world. This is especially true around the all-important ‘new era of hospitality’ as the world begins to open up to travel. Everything from new health and safety protocols to social distancing, dining distancing and deep cleaning of rooms to name but a few. It has certainly become apparent that sustainability is forming the cornerstone of high-end luxury travel experiences, while “off the beaten track” and remote destinations are fast becoming the new trendy spots to be. And so it came as no surprise that coming back to Africa on a completely private, exclusive tour certainly seems like the way forward. Each of these new insights came as beautiful reassurance to me that as the Londolozi family we are well down the road on all of this thinking and new practice.
The one idea that just kept popping up from multiple guest gurus around the world was that 2020 has shown us all that less is more and that travellers are waking up to the power of staying in one place for longer. Lucky for us, when it comes to long stays, the safari industry finds its self very well positioned and – quite by accident – ahead of the pack.
Long stays will be founded on good internet, small stand-alone camps for private and exclusive use, low numbers of people, and lots of diverse outdoor experiences in one place.
This will be coupled with a remarkable location, being connected to and surrounded by the natural world, warm climates, and lots of open air space (check, check, check…we are looking on-trend!). Being part of the global Relais & Châteaux (R&C) family means that we are connected to some of the finest stand-alone hotels in the world. Personally, when I travel I try and stay at family-run establishments ensuring authenticity and tailor-made experiences. Here in Africa we have a network of owner-run and operated hotels and lodges of the most wonderfully nuanced experiences. Combining any of these properties in the R&C Africa network will be the perfect way to relax and unwind in complete privacy, allowing for exclusive use for just your friends and family. We are all intrinsically linked and will provide the best of what Africa has to offer. We recommend combining a few R&C properties, connected through private air travel, to really get a feel for a uniquely African long stay.
Gone are the days of 2 to 3 night stays in multiple locations as travellers will now be looking to stay in one destination for longer. We all want less time traveling through airports, in planes, trains and cars; the focus will be on one or two quality destinations and really taking the time to “live” into the place that you are visiting. Sharing these experiences deeply with those you care about has also become a major focus. Many of the guests I have spoken to have said that lockdown showed them how to work from anywhere (providing you have internet, you have an office) and that it is possible to do what is needed to be done. Family time is key and spending time with loved ones in remote locations is high up on everyone’s list.
My “guest trend team” feels that small groups of friends or family will, in future, travel together. They will want to adventure together, be involved in true contribution to sustainability and greater community work, but do so in a private way. This could be from private Land Rovers, private wine tastings, private events, private experiences and private hosting teams with health, safety, and fun at the center of all that they do. This news is greatly welcomed as this is all possible when traveling on safari in Africa, and it’s something we at Londolozi have always prided ourselves in.
In the future, I too will be exploring travelling in this new way of less is more. We as the Londolozi family are ready to welcome any long stay pioneers! Our private safari homestead awaits you and your choice of long-stay safari immersion in the wilderness, your African home…
Nature connection is priceless and it takes time to truly understand why. If you are interested in a Londolozi long stay click here to get more information.