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What’s the true meaning of luxury in travel?

What is luxury, and how should it apply to the world of travel? CAMERON NEIL from Bench Africa gives us his view.

How can you define luxury? Some will say you can tell it’s luxurious by looking at the price. Others will say it has to do with how many people are doing it, or how exclusive the trip is. They are both wrong. 


To feel luxury is to experience a feeling of fulfilment, of contentment, of comfort. Luxury without feeling is simply “posh” and sometimes, “pretentious”. 



With travel, luxury is the feeling you get when you wake up in the morning and share a breakfast with a hungry five metre giraffe. 


It’s the feeling you get when sleeping out under the stars in your comfortable treetop perch, hearing the sounds of the African bush. 


It’s the exploration of modern African cuisine from your cosy boma dinner or the extra mile your guides take to ensure you have the best sightings for your photographs. 


It can be a cold gin and tonic served with a sunset or a seat at a simple bush restaurant made for two, deep in the African wilderness. It doesn’t have to be the finest in the world to be the best in the world. 


Around the world (and Africa) brands constantly use the word “luxury”, talking about everything from their bath soaps to their brand of binoculars. 



That’s a shallow understanding of the word. If luxury is meant to evoke a feeling of comfort and to reinvigorate the soul, nothing is more luxurious than reconnecting with nature alongside the ones you love. 


If it’s about exclusivity, experiencing a moment on safari that will never be repeated for anyone else is the ultimate moment of exclusivity. That’s something money can’t buy, given to you and your significant others only. 


If it’s about relaxation, then what can be more luxurious than time away from the frantic pace of everyday life, adjusting to the soothing ebb and flow of natural life? It’s the reason the British royalty vacation in Africa, usually staying in a simpler property where they can enjoy the luxury of being their true selves. 


You may pay more for luxury, but price is only painful if that something has no value. What’s the value of living out a childhood dream? To have time on safari, that’s a true luxury in life. 

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Written by: Cameron Neil
Published: 5 September 2018

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