Slow Travel – 2020’s Top Travel Trend

|Slow Travel – 2020’s Top Travel Trend



The world is shifting in our perspective of how we behave, interact, live and impact our planet. As a result of this, the way we travel is also evolving and changing. Tourism is full of buzzwords – eco-tourism, voluntourism, flight shame, micro escapes, and undertourism, to name a few.

Out of these buzzwords, the one that we’re hearing a lot for travel in 2020 is Slow Travel. Slow travel is all about reducing pace and focusing on the journey. It is a remedy to the fast-paced, stress-filled lives we lead – counteracting jam-packed days with slow-paced, quality-centric holidays.

When once tourists were focusing on ticking off as many bucket list items as possible during their break, they are now choosing to spend longer getting to and staying in one destination – immersing themselves in a single place.

Hand in hand with this, comes the rise of the eco-tourism and flight shame, as travellers look for ways to reduce their carbon footprint and positively impact the planet during their trip.

As a solution to simultaneously achieve slow travel and eco-travel, tourists are turning to train travel, as endorsed by climate change activist, Greta Thunberg. Train travel leaves less carbon footprint than flying, as well as emphasises slowing down the journey and travel experience.

Why Choose Luxury Train Travel in Africa?

Luxury train travel in Africa transports you to some of the continent’s most exciting destinations whilst reconnecting, relaxing and unplugging as you slowly watch the world go by. It is the chance to rediscover a romantic and elegant era of travel – the days of high tea and dressing for dinner.

Of course, train travel is growing in popularity because it is more environmentally friendly than flying. It is also less frantic – no check-ins, trying to find the right gate, frenzied searching for passports and boarding passes. Not to mention the journey itself – flying is a recipe for stiff legs and stiff neck, fighting for armrests, having to climb over legs to get to the bathroom. A train journey on the other hand is sipping cocktails, relaxing with a book, and getting rocked to sleep by the gentle rhythm of the train.

Which Train Journey to Choose?

Africa is home to a number of scenic and elegant luxury train journeys – here are our favourites.

1. The Rovos Rail

The epitome of 5-star luxury travel, the Rovos Rail is famed for its elegance and extravagance. Vintage carriages, glamourous lounges, and first-class cuisine all take you back to the golden days of travel. It is slow travel at its finest – the train travels at a leisurely pace of 60km/h (37mph) allowing you to take in the scenery, sport wildlife and birdlife, take photographs and indulge in the experience. There is an absence of technology – with technological devices being restricted to use in the guests’ suites. Their ethos is about experiencing the journey, rather than rushing to the destination.

Their Journeys

  1. Cape Town / Pretoria

Starting Destination: Cape Town / Pretoria

Final Destination: Pretoria / Cape Town

Duration: 2 nights

This begins with cocktails and canapés before meandering through the Highveld grasslands, semi-desert Karoo, dramatic mountain ranges and lush vineyards of the Cape Winelands.

  1. Victoria Falls

Starting Destination: Pretoria

Final Destination: Victoria Falls

Duration: 3 nights

You’ll wind your way north, crossing the Tropic of Capricorn before traveling along the edge of Hwange National Park where you’ll spot wildlife from the train and stop for a game drive excursion. The journey ends at Victoria Falls on the beautiful Zambezi River.

  1. Durban Safari

Starting Destination: Pretoria / Durban

Final Destination: Durban / Pretoria

Duration: 2 nights

This is a 3-day rail journey with a focus on safari. You’ll take in the scenery of the spectacular Drakensberg Mountains, stop for a game drive in the Nambiti Private Game Reserve, visit an old battlefield, visit the Ardmore Ceramics Gallery, and traverse the breathtaking Valley of a Thousand Hills.

  1. Namibia

Starting Destination: Pretoria / Walvis Bay

Final Destination: Walvis Bay / Pretoria

Duration: 8 nights

This is an incredible 9-day journey that takes you through South Africa’s goldfields of the Witwatersrand and Fish River Canyon to Namibia’s Windhoek, Sossusvlei, Etosha National Park and Walvis Bay. Along the way, you’ll stop and visit the Fish River Canyon, go on a desert drive in the Sossusvlei and enjoy a game drive through Etosha.

  1. Dar es Salaam

Starting Destination: Cape Town / Dar es Salaam

Final Destination: Dar es Salaam / Cape Town

Duration: 14 nights

This is an epic 15-day journey begins in Cape Town taking you north to Tanzania’s Dar es Salaam. You will spend two nights in Madikwe Game Reserve, journey through Botswana into Zimbabwe, staying overnight at Victoria Falls, you on a bush walk at Chisimba Falls, traverse the Great Rift Valley and Selous Game Reserve (the largest in Africa), before ending in the bustling Dar es Salaam.

2. The Blue Train

The oldest luxury rail journey in South Africa, the Blue Train has been in operation since 1923. The Blue Train encompasses luxury travel, from the finest cuisine to personal butlers to Cuban cigars. It offers a scenic and relaxing way of taking in the contrasting and beautiful South African countryside whilst experiencing the luxury of a bygone era.

Their Journeys

  1. Cape Town / Pretoria

Starting Destination: Cape Town / Pretoria

Final Destination: Pretoria / Cape Town

Duration: 31 hours

This journey takes you either to Cape Town or Pretoria at a leisurely pace, allowing you to indulge in the romantic, 5-star luxury of train travel. You will enjoy 5-star cuisine, stop for an excursion at the Railway Museum and Kimberley Open Mine Museum, and indulge in high tea, before arriving at your destination.

  1. Kruger National Park

Duration: 2 nights

This trip takes you on a round trip from Pretoria to the Kruger National Park. You experience all the elegance and extravagance the Blue Train offers combined with the excitement of a safari experience. On your second day, you’ll disembark the train for a sunrise game drive and a bush breakfast in the Kruger National Park. Later you will go on a sunset game drive and enjoy a starlit boma dinner.

3. The Shongololo Express

The Shongolo Express is a firm believer in Slow Travel – their focus is to highlight the beauty of Southern Africa with 12 to 15-day itineraries traversing South Africa, Mozambique, Namibia, Swaziland and Zimbabwe. Itineraries include excursions, such as game drives, and visits to archaeological and historical sites, and river cruises. The Shongololo Express is the epitome of laidback luxury – you’ll take in all the sites without feeling rushed or frantic to fit it all in.

Their Journeys

  1. Southern Cross

Starting Destination: Pretoria / Victoria Falls

Final Destination: Pretoria / Victoria Falls

Duration: 15 Days

This panoramic journey between Pretoria and Victoria Falls will you take you across the epic Drakensberg Mountains, join the Panorama Route with game viewing in Kruger National Park. You’ll tour Mozambique’s capital, Maputo, explore the Kingdom of Swaziland, and game view at Hwange National Park before ending your trip with a walking tour of the Victoria Falls and sunset cruise on the Zambezi River.

  1. Good Hope

Starting Destination: Pretoria / Cape Town

Final Destination: Cape Town / Pretoria

Duration: 12 Days

This is a 12-day journey that gives you incredible insight into South Africa’s most well-known destinations. Beginning in Pretoria, you’ll traverse the Drakensberg Mountains, travel the breathtaking Panorama Route, enjoy a game drive in Kruger and explore the Kingdom of Swaziland. You will tour Durban’s botanical gardens, the city of roses (Bloemfontein) and the Diamond Mine Museum of Kimberley. In Oudtshoorn, you will visit an ostrich farm and marvel at the incredible Cango Caves. Crossing the Outeniqua Mountains, you’ll arrive at Knysna for a lagoon ferry ride, followed by a stunning meander along the Garden Route. After passing through Hermanus, you’ll end your journey in the cosmopolitan and buzzing Cape Town.

  1. Dune Express

Starting Destination: Pretoria / Walvis Bay

Final Destination: Walvis Bay / Pretoria

Duration: 12 Days

The Dune Express journey winds it way through Kimberley, the Karoo and the Fish River Canyon. You’ll tour the historical towns of Luderitz, Kolmanskop and Keetmanshoop. Arriving in Namibia, you’ll enjoy a night at Sossusvlei lodge surrounded by the dramatic sand dunes. You’ll go on game drives and spend the night at Etosha before ending your journey in the seaside town of Walvis Bay.

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