If ever there was a place made for slow travel – “an intentional move towards more mindful, more environmentally responsible, less purely convenient modes of getting around”, according to writer Sebastian Modek’s definition – it is Africa.
In his article for Condé Nast Traveler, Modek goes on to say: “Slow travel can be best understood as a collective reaction to our post-industrial obsession with convenience, where time, and using as little of it as possible, is the biggest priority in getting from point A to point B.”
Time, and its value, is something we find ourselves contemplating at Rare Earth Retreats. Our bucolic wine estate, boutique beachfront hotel and collection of soul-stirring safari lodges lend themselves to exactly the type of slow travel that has become popular with our guests – people for whom the journey is as much of an adventure as the destination.
A safari offers travellers the chance – and, indeed, the time – to leave the chaos behind and adopt a more thoughtful and considered way of doing things. From walks in the wilderness which force you to be fully present to a blissful digital detox thanks to a lack of cellphone signal, opportunities abound to stop and reconsider your priorities.
The experience at The Outpost, in the remote, northernmost corner of the Kruger National Park – a private concession inaccessible to the public and home to just two commercial lodges – epitomises a “slow safari.” The vast landscape and low vehicle density (you could easily go for a three-hour game drive without seeing another person) creates opportunities to connect more meaningfully with nature. With this in mind, we encourage our guests to drink in every moment in the wilderness rather than rushing from one sighting to the next, embracing a more leisurely pace and finding calm and stillness along the way.
The retreats we have created at Welgevonden Game Reserve offer a different kind of escape. With its oversized proportions, spacious, standalone suites and views of a sweeping, grassy plain, Ekuthuleni Lodge is an idyllic home-away-from-home for families and groups of friends. Tshwene Lodge is a romantic hideaway perched in the treetops of a lush valley, giving guests a space in which to find blissful seclusion and the luxury of quality time together. Distinct in style and atmosphere but sharing a welcoming feeling of home, these two safari lodges inspire more meaningful, mindful travel.
The Old Rectory Hotel & Spa sits a few sandy steps from the beach in Plettenberg Bay, enclosed by a walled garden that creates a sense of tranquility that is otherwise difficult to find in this bustling seaside town. The pool deck, shaded by ancient milkwood trees, is a delightful place to spend a quiet afternoon, as is the in-house spa, where guests can indulge in a healing treatment or two, melting away any stress or tension.
Guests of The Old Rectory and other visitors to the Garden Route also often find themselves at Kay & Monty Vineyards, our family-owned wine farm in The Crags. Our team in the restaurant specialises in long, unhurried lunches in the fresh country air with a menu of gourmet salads, flavoursome flatbreads and delectable sharing boards designed to complement the four boutique wines we make by hand on the farm. Those looking for a quiet country escape will find it at Country House – once the original farmhouse on the property which is now an elegant, five-bedroom private villa.
Whether it is marvelling at the raw beauty of the northern Kruger, enjoying a Big 5 safari with your loved ones or soaking up the serenity of the Garden Route, each hand-picked property in the Rare Earth portfolio allows our guests to find a grounding sense of perspective; to experience the gradual unspooling of themselves into a place where time is to be savoured rather than saved.