There is an enormous sense of indulgence at being left to one's own devices. All the bells & whistles of a beautiful hotel suite cannot substitute time spent carte blanche. Yet even whilst travelling we are constantly harmonizing with someone else's programme, whether set hours for breakfast, evening turn down, check out time, or an unwanted call from the front desk. It's rare to feel completely in control of our own time & space. The same sentiment applies to safari - an industry awash with "luxury" products but which remains king of set schedules. Even paying upwards of $1,000US per person per night you will still more than likely find yourself discussing your daily timetable with barely a foot through the front door. Early morning wake-up call, departure at 6:30am, tune in to the radio to find out where the big cats are, return for leisure time, afternoon tea, game drive, sun downer, and dinner. It's a formula which works but can also feel like being on a safari circuit treadmill.
This is where the private ranches and exclusive take-overs deliver something a cut above. There is great sense of freedom in creating one’s own day and having time to enjoy the huge expanses of space, never-ending views, smaller species of wildlife, and general sense of well-being and connection with the natural world. Privately-owned land offers the opportunity for walking safaris, horse-riding, night drives, and a variety of scenic dining spots to choose from. But perhaps most luxurious of all is the hideaway factor - a sense of sheer space and solitude which comes from not bumping into another vehicle.
Our favourite experiences are those which allow for complete freedom of choice. It might be a private yoga session with panoramic wilderness views, heli safari to the remotest corners of the continent, or a language class on board a traditional sailing boat, a true adventure is about discovering the unexpected and the luxury element allows you to do so at your own pace.
"I don't want to be alone, I want to be left alone" Audrey Hepburn