What is MindFul Travel and how can you incorporate this into your Namibian experience!

What is Mindful Travel?

Mindful Travel is about slowing down and embracing every aspect of the destination you choose to explore. This includes slowing down and appreciating everything from the food to the people and the cultures, the environment and wildlife, and taking some time to disconnect from the hustle and bustle of home. Given the chaos of the past two years, this kind of travel is a welcome relief to the action-packed holidays that we have been seeing pre-pandemic. 

Here are some ways to embrace MindFul Travel in Namibia:

Consider the Environment and Reduce Your Impact

This one is a no-brainer and goes along the lines of the adage, ‘Take nothing but photos and leave nothing but footprints’. There are many ways to reduce your impact, and here are four ways to get started:
*Travel longer – offset your flight carbon emissions by staying longer in one destination
*Travel slower – Avoid the need to pack in as much as you can by slowing down your trip. Not only does this allow you more time to see each destination in more detail, but it also gives you the feeling that you are actually on holiday when you don’t have to repack your bag every day.
*Travel in a group – Not only is group travel more affordable when you can split all the costs, but one vehicle of 5 is a more eco-conscious way to travel than five vehicles of 1 person.
*Avoid single-use plastics – Like at home, when on holidays, you can limit your eco-footprint by reusing and recycling wherever possible. Reusable water bottles and shopping bags are the easiest place to start and will go a long way to making your holiday more sustainable.

Give Back

This is perhaps one of the most rewarding aspects of mindful travel, and there are so many ways you can give back on your Namibian adventure. Namibia offers a range of different projects that travellers can get involved with, from wildlife conservation, community development projects to land rehabilitation and human and wildlife conflict projects. These projects are run in some of Namibia’s most remote areas. In addition to contributing to the people, landscapes and wildlife of the area, they also allow you the chance to disconnect from your reality and embrace each incredible moment that you are there. So while joining these projects, you will get as much out of the experience as you are giving back to the project! Want to combine a Mindful travel experience with a safari? Check out our Volunteering Safari options here!

So you can’t spare the time to volunteer, consider ‘packing for a purpose’ instead. Fill your bag with items communities in your destination desperately need. Not only does this leave you feeling good, but it also creates space in your bag so you can support local craftspeople by purchasing their goods as souvenirs of your adventure for your return home.

Embrace Local Culture

Namibia is culturally rich from the Himba to the San, to the Herero, Damara, Afrikaans, Owambo and more!!! Yes, there are at least 13 different cultural groups in Namibia, and this offers a plethora of opportunities to embrace any number of the local cultures. This, however, doesn’t mean just taking photos of the local people but getting to know more about what makes them so unique. And remember, the more you engage with the PEOPLE, the more you will get out of each experience, so be sure to take a moment to put down your phone/camera, and to dance, to try the local delicacies, to ask questions and engage all the people that you meet! Learn more about the Namibian cultures here.

Enjoy the Local Cuisine & Eat Seasonally

While Namibia might not be known internationally for its local cuisine, there are many local delicacies that you can enjoy while in the country. Where possible, choose to eat locally produced foods, which in addition to being more cost-effective, also benefit the local communities.

For meat lovers, Namibia is a producer of some of the best beef and lamb in the world, as well as a variety of game meats, and all at rock bottom prices so you can enjoy the chance to indulge in locally produced protein. This is served in everything from fine dining restaurants with premium cuts of steak to roadside barbeques (braai) to the local market stalls as kapana!
While at the local market on a Windhoek City & Township Tour, why not try some mopane worms, biltong, droewors, all delicious protein-filled snacks perfect as padkos (snacks for the road)!
During our summer months, enjoy the local delicacy Omejova, giant mushrooms that sprout from termite mounds, and enjoy the variety of fresh fruit and vegetables available countrywide.

Travel without Expectations

Let go of everything you have seen, read and heard about other Namibian adventures and travel with an open mind. No two experiences in Etosha National Park are the same, so sit back and enjoy everything you see.

So you didn’t spot a lion in Etosha? Just another reason to go on safari again!
So it rained in the desert? WOW, what an incredible event to experience!
So your safari vehicle had a breakdown, and you spent an hour by the roadside? That’s an hour of solitude to explore on foot, to take out your camera and practise your photography, or play a game of backgammon with your fellow travellers!

When you travel without expectations, everything you encounter can be exciting. A chance to learn more about yourself, your fellow travellers, and your surroundings and even those moments that you think are a disaster will become a story about an epic adventure!

Live In The Moment

Holidays are genuinely only a break when we can switch off. This might mean travelling somewhere with limited connectivity forcing yourself to disconnect from emails, news, social media, etc. It might mean making the conscious effort not to purchase a local sim card when travelling and staying on ‘flight mode’ so that you can check in occasionally. Instead, enjoy nature walks, climb dunes, dance with the Himba people, try local food, and enjoy evenings around the campfire taking in the millions of stars and the flickering flames and enjoy the feeling of tranquillity that only comes when you are truly relaxed and happy!

Embracing just a couple of these different aspects of mindful travel will leave you feeling like you’ve had more than just a holiday. That you have positively impacted the destination that you have explored and the people that you have encountered along the way, something we should all aspire to do more of!

If you are looking for the perfect Mindful Travel experience then look no further, Namibia is a perfect option so get in touch and we can help you plan the right experience for you.

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