Authentic travel experiences.
After spending two years in slumber, travel has recovered. At Leopard, we are seeing excellent demand for holidays to Africa. People don’t want to put off their dream holiday for a year, they want to travel while they can. The next 12 months are going to be filled with sweet adventures and new ways of travelling.
One of the novel ways people are travelling is with a focus on authentic experiences and exceptional encounters that they will remember forever, instead of visiting only the usual tourist hotspots.
One of my most treasured travel memories is from 2011 when I visited Morocco. I booked a five-day tour of the Sahara Desert with a local travel company. (This was the second time I had used a travel company, after an excellent first experience in Central America using a local company in Cuba). It was the best decision because I was able to enjoy both the incredible beauty of the desert and meet nomads who have lived there for centuries. It was an experience I would have had difficulty achieving independently of the travel company.
I travelled during Eid al Adha, a time of celebration in Morocco. A nomadic family invited us into their tent (pictured above and below), where we drank sweet tea and ate a traditional dish of goat meat. It was the most delicious meal I have tasted and one I will always remember.
Here are a few tips if you would also like to have more exceptional, and memorable, experiences while travelling:
- Use a local travel company to book your holiday. This may feel riskier but there are a number of ways to confirm that local tour companies are reputable. It’s by far the best way to make the most of your holiday, especially if you are unfamiliar with the region.
- Take time at each stop. Don’t be in a rush to tick destinations off a list. Rest a while and explore, opening yourself up to seeing places with fresh eyes.
- Visit the highlights, like Table Mountain, but also spend a few nights in some off-the-beaten-track places, such as Gugulesizwe in Maputaland.
- Eat at local restaurants. This will give you the opportunity to taste traditional food, interact with local people and contribute to the local economy. You will be warmly welcomed, well-fed and will leave with lifelong memories!
- Use local guides. I am always surprised when I see groups travelling with guides from their home country. Local guides know the place infinitely better. Use them instead.
Wishing you exceptional and authentic travel experiences on all your upcoming holidays!
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