Forget ‘experiential’ travel. ‘Transformative’ travel is the next big thing!

‘Transformative’ travel, a term coined by the ‘Transformational Travel Collaborative (TTC), is rumoured to be the next big travel trend for 2017 for both leisure and incentive travel.

Travellers still want to connect with locals and have meaningful interactions while on holiday, but they want to take their experiential travel one step further and be ‘changed’ by their travel experience. Delegates and incentive travellers want to shift their perspectives, self-reflect and experience a deeper communion with nature and culture.

In Africa, delegates can experience transformational travel at its best. They can learn from the tribe elders they meet across the continent; they can gain a better understanding of conservation and get a clear view of how our modern way of living is impacting on our planet. Once back home, their trip will help them change their own lives and the lives of those around them for the better.

Here are four ways in which Africa can offer delegates a ‘transformative’ travel experience:

1.       Learn different ways of life

Africa offers limitless opportunities for travellers to exchange ideas with locals. In Namibia, delegates can visit a Himba tribe and learn about a completely different and secluded way of life. They’ll hear what plants the Himbas use to make sun cream for themselves, the different skins they use for different celebratory occasions such as weddings and how they hunt.

In South Africa, delegates can participate in community project and make a lasting impact on someone else’s life. Helping a family build a house in a rural township is likely to change the lives of everyone involved forever.

2.       Get closer to nature

Our planet is in danger. Global warming is causing havoc with our natural resources across the world, while in Africa the number of rhinos killed by poachers continues to increase. Although most of us say we realise how valuable and precious our world’s wildlife and resources are, there’s no better way to fully understand it than by participating in conservation efforts.

Get your delegates to be actively involved in conservation and participate in tangible conservation projects. They’ll be able to get right in the midst of the action and assist wildlife vets with animal relocations and notching. They’ll locate and dart animals from the vantage point of a helicopter or track the animal by 4×4. Once the animal is darted, delegates will assist the veterinary team to either notch or relocate the animals. They’ll help with critical functions like monitoring body temperature, blood pressure, respiration and keeping the animal calm and cool.

Following a trip, people often share how they were inspired to donate to conservation efforts for a species and the environment.

3.       Reconnect with your inner self

The African wilderness is an inspirational and spiritual place, where the pace of life simply slows down. This stillness will allow your delegates to find the inner peace they need to deal with the stresses of everyday corporate life.

Organise a ‘walking yoga safari’ for your delegates, allowing them to experience the wilderness of Africa while walking, practising yoga and meditating in Africa’s most remote areas. Delegates will be able to truly slow down and synchronise to rhythms of the wilderness surrounding.

Or set up a mobile safari camp exclusively for your incentive group in the middle of the African wilderness. Away from the noise and pollution of the big city, your delegates will experience the most rewarding soul searching amidst the wildlife and the beauty of Africa’s landscapes.

4.       From farm to table

Let your delegates embark on an African cooking safari. Locals in vibrant, urban townships will take travellers to the local markets, farms and vineyards to select the best African food and beverages. They’ll explain their culinary traditions and inspire travellers with fun-filled cooking sessions.

An African cooking safari is a great way to experience warm African hospitality and learn more about local culture through the theme of food. Once they return home, travellers will be more aware of where the food on their table came from. They’ll want to feel more connected and will better realise the stories behind the food they use every day.

Henk Graaff is the Managing Director and Owner of of Southern Africa Destination Management Company, SW Africa. A born and bred, sixth generation South African, I fell in love with Africa, as well as the travel industry, at a young age and have since enjoyed a wonderful career doing what I love, in the country I adore.

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