Back in March I wrote about silence being the new luxury. I had stayed at the Four Seasons Tented Camp in Chiang Rai and basked in sound of birds and insects. The response to that post was a mix of praise and criticism. Those who posed the latter were quick to correlate the high price of the camp to both silence and luxury. But I think most understood the general point — we live in concrete jungles, we work nonstop and we talk nonstop. Hence, a little bit of silence does a lot of good for the soul.
I was in Nairobi, Kenya, for two weeks on business, and while my time there was fantastic (I can see myself living there for a bit), I was ready for a trip to the Maasai Mara before coming back to Hong Kong. The offseason was coming up, so I had few expectations to see wildebeest migrations or lions eating zebras. For me, I’d follow my general motto to hope for the best and expect the worst. I simply wanted to see the land. And so I booked a short getaway through Porini Gamewatchers, which owns and operates a circuit of eco-camps in Kenya that are sweet and simple, sensitive to the land and “one with wildlife” (the definition of porini). The interesting thing was that people in Nairobi felt sympathy for me because I was traveling solo to a destination built for couples, and assured me I’d have the opportunity to mingle with other visitors with whom I’d be sharing game-watching vehicles.
But that really wasn’t what I wanted. I wanted to enjoy the silence, go for a game drive without having to hear questions posed by six other tourists and make a dent in the thousand-page book I’m reading. In the end, I couldn’t have asked for more. It was a fenceless camp with hippos at my doorstep, lions within earshot and herds of wildebeests in view. But the best part of all? Precisely because it was heading into the low season, I enjoyed three days of private game-watching with my own guides and at my own pace, and a camp without the throngs of tourists that come through during the high seasons.
Silence is the new luxury, and traveling in the low season helps make that happen. If I can avoid it, I don’t think I’ll ever visit a top destination during the peak season. But other than dropping prices and offering package deals, what do you think are more creative ways to promote destinations during low peak periods? I’d love to hear your thoughts.