Even though we’re all dreaming of a long-haul holiday, travel restrictions and quarantine rules make it feel like more hassle than its worth. Happily, regional borders are opening sooner rather than later, so if you find yourself needing a cure for those itchy feet, try these not-so-long-haul options on for size.
NAMIBIA: Get wrecked
Looking for wide-open spaces, social distancing and plenty of fresh air? You’ll find all three on tap at Shipwreck Lodge, cast away on the dunes of the Skeleton Coast National Park.
With a design reminiscent of the shipwrecks that pockmark this lonely shore, Shipwreck Lodge feels almost inter-planetary; the 10 freestanding suites landed amid the restless drifting sands. There’s no shortage of luxury, but exploring these empty dunes is the real reason to visit.
Excursions range from quad-bike adventures to daylong explorations of the Mowe Bay seal colony, and 4x4 journeys to the enigmatic Clay Castles of the Hoarusib River.
BOTSWANA: Safari icon rebooted
Set on the edge of the entrancing Makgadikgadi Pans, Jack’s Camp is an icon of African safaris. Founded in the 1960s by Jack Bousfield — an accomplished hunter and, later, legendary safari guide — it’s a camp where plush canvas tents are brimming with the charm of a classic Out of Africa safari.
After a yearlong closure, a revamped Jack’s Camp reopens in November 2020, retaining the same sense of glamour but with a long-awaited refresh. The nine under-canvas guest suites have been expanded — with the addition of a private plunge pool — while the signature tented pool pavilion has been entirely reimagined, including a new sun deck. If you can bear to leave camp, look forward to eco-sensitive quad-biking out on the pans, horse rides, nature drives, and memorable meerkat encounters.
MOZAMBIQUE: Island style
The Bazaruto archipelago is the stuff of your lockdown fever dreams: a destination of white-sand beaches and gin-clear seas, luxury suites set steps from the beach and spacious spa pavilions gazing down on empty islands. If you’ve got the credit limit to arrive by helicopter, a bird’s-eye view of it all is yours for the taking.
If not, there’s little hardship in the speedboat transfer that’ll whisk you from the mainland at Vilanculos to Anantara Bazaruto Island Resort, where 44 luxury villas lie scattered along a secluded beach. Fill your days with whale watching and dhow-sailing, snorkelling excursions and dune-boarding adventures, before settling into lamp-lit dinners on the beach.
RWANDA: A park reborn
Akagera National Park is something of a phoenix: a slice of African wilderness long neglected, yet brought back to life by the remarkable conservation work of African parks.
Ruzizi Tented Lodge sits on the shores of Akagera’s Lake Ihema, with nine tents hidden beneath lush forests of fig and palm trees. It’s a camp of simple luxury, of outdoor showers, campaign chairs and hammocks strung above private verandahs. Besides, you’ll spend most of your free time on the deck hovering above the lake, gazing out at this wilderness reborn.
KENYA: Wild escapes
East Africa has long been seen as the spiritual home of safari — fair enough, the word even comes from there — but most lodges surrounding the iconic Maasai Mara are priced well beyond the reach of those spending the humble rand.
But not right now, with lodges like Asilia Africa’s glorious under-canvas Naboisho Camp offering full-board rates for just $200 per person per night. It’s set in the community-owned Mara Naboisho Conservancy, adjoining the national reserve, so along with daily game drives, a stay here offers the unique opportunity for bush walks and fly-camping in one of the world’s great wilderness areas.
• Due to the rapidly changing nature of local and international travel under Covid-19 restrictions, we advise that travellers check up-to-date travel restrictions for the respective countries they are planning to visit before making any travel arrangements.