In our fast-paced world of inboxes and internet memes, one should always do an audit of how much time you spend in front of a computer. I would guess that whatever you do for a living, you spend a substantial part of your day locked into an online world via one or more devices, transporting your mind into every realm except the present. We spend so much time in the digital space that it becomes something of an addiction – and just like any addiction, you need time to detox! Time for digital detox in Africa.
Disappear from those world-wide waves and reconnect with the natural world
Luckily, you can still find places in Africa’s wild spaces where the long reach of modernity hasn’t yet taken its grasp; where the days start and end with the sun, and the world revolves around all the senses, not just the beep of a message. Here’s our list of spots across the continent that are miles and miles from the grid, and guaranteed to have you relaxed, soothed, and back on your natural rhythms in no time.
A walking safari
South Luangwa, Zambia
Sometimes, in order to disconnect completely, you need to simply walk away from everything – and that includes a roof above your head!
A walking safari in Zambia’s South Luangwa will have you so far from Wifi, you’ll wonder why you ever thought you needed it on a holiday. The national park is one of the last true wilderness areas in the world, and a famed walking safari destination. Here, you’ll make your way along the mighty Luangwa river on foot, following the ancient flow and ebb of the water, then sleeping under the stars, and communing with your primal self.
Serra Cafema Lodge
If you start in Windhoek, Namibia’s capital, and catch a plane northward, you will fly for hours and hours over vast desert-scapes and barren mountains without seeing a soul below. Eventually, you’ll land in the far northern boundary of the country, on the Kunene River. It’s here, in the vast Hartman Valley, that you’ll find Serra Cafema, one of the most remote camps in Southern Africa, possibly even the continent. There’s no cell signal, and definitely no Wifi, and as soon as you touch down in this vast and beautiful valley, you are all but gone. That’s what we call a digital detox in Africa.
Bushmans Kloof Wilderness Reserve
Cederberg, South Africa
If you’re looking for total isolation but within driving distance of Cape Town, then look no further than the Cederberg wilderness area. A vast, mountainous and totally alien landscape, the area echoes with the silence of eons. Here, Wifi waves and cell phone signals are few and far between. One of the most elegant lodges in the area is Bushman’s Kloof, a property that hosts some of the country’s oldest art works. As you walk through the rocky outcrops, take in these primal art works that had to be made only once by skilled hands, no digital erase tool or online drawing course in sight.
The Outpost Lodge
Kruger, South Africa
This beautiful bush lodge, perched on the northern tip of the Kruger National Park, is situated in one of the wildest regions of South Africa – the beautiful Makuleki concession. The area receives little tourist traffic, and certainly has that off-the-grid feel down to a T. If you’re looking for a quieter safari, where the focus is on absorbing all the bush has to offer, and looking to escape the madness (we’re talking cameras and cars, phones and people!) in the rest of Kruger, The Outpost is one of the best places you can go.
Odzala National Park
Republic of the Congo
If you want to disappear, then the rainforests of central Africa will swallow you up whole, and spit you out as a brand new person. A fairly new destination on the tourist scene, Odzala National Park in the Republic of Congo is practically empty of travellers, and a few days listening to the hum of the forest and searching for elephants and lowland gorillas, will have you disconnected from any concept of modernity. WiFi is available, but there’s something about being here that forces you to ignore it, and lock in to the sounds of the wilderness instead.
Likoma Island, Lake Malawi
Voted one of the top ten ‘Most Romantic Places in the World’ by Conde Nast Traveller, this island lodge in the heart of Lake Malawi is far from anywhere – and close to perfect. After a six year building project on the remote, baobab-strewn Likoma Island in Lake Malawi, Kaya Mawa was made for those who want to disappear or digital detox in Africa. Romantics will find the lodge particularly enthralling, and water-babies will love the gin-clear waters, ideal for snorkelling, scuba diving, and sailing.
The mantra is simple; when in need of escape, go to Namibia.
And if you really want to disappear, then go to Wolwedans. Set deep inside the NamibRand Nature Reserve, a vast privately-owned reserve on the border of the Namib Naukluft Park, the private concession has been rehabilitated into one continuous natural habitat. The result is a sanctuary, completely free of fences that allows the animals to once again roam their habitat unhindered. Here in the desert, the only calls you’ll receive will be from the jackals in the night, and the only messages will be those from deep in the cosmos as you stare up at a billion stars.
Mafia Island, Tanzania
Throw out your notion of a typical ‘beach holiday,’ and open yourself to something different; something closer to nature, and an experience so in tune with the natural rhythm of the ocean that you’ll have to physically tear yourself away. That place is Pole Pole, a rustic yet stylish lodge on isolated Mafia Island, just off the east coast of Africa, and a place that offers a true digital detox. The name “Pole Pole” means “slowly slowly”, and everything about the lodge has an emphasis on slowing down. When you’re here, time shifts, and your days begin with the rising sun, and end with the moon and stars. Considered one of the most exclusive eco-resorts in the world, Pole Pole balances luxury with a respect for the local environment and cultures; this is comfortable escapism at its best.