It doesn’t matter what kind of business you are involved in or what sector this might encompass, the truth of the matter is that with technology, we are able to fill our available time with more. Invariably, it also means it is difficult to switch off in this ‘always on’ connected society and as a consequence, brain drain, increased stress levels and physical burn out are prevalent – from the boardroom to the shop floor.
Taking ‘leave’ is counter-intuitive to most senior executives, mostly because we have been schooled into believing that hours at the wheel of commerce will land us that advanced driving certificate. But actually it’s the reverse. Productivity suffers and even worse, executives could fall asleep at the ‘wheel’, jeopardising business longevity, as well as their own health if not rested sufficiently.
There has been a fair amount of research over the last few years, into the benefits of a number of short getaways dispersed throughout the year.
Some psychologists even recommend a break every six weeks for top executives in order to help them maintain their focus and business creativity.
Time being of the essence, how does one spend quality time refreshing and reinvigorating the mind and body, giving themselves a break from the everyday routine, without spending long periods of time away from the driving seat of the organisation? Enter the rise of the executive mini-break.
Unlike other ‘vacations’, senior executives and the well heeled are looking for something beyond the average deck-chair pool lounging, safari or skiing holiday. They are in search of collecting ‘experiences’, and making ‘memories,’ especially those that have been curated to appeal to their discerning palates and where they can congregate with other like-minded individuals.
Most will not have the time to search the Internet for the best places to visit or the resources to check out guest comments to ensure that where they are going is up to their standards. This being the case, Leadership has collated a number of top, relatively close-by destinations and experiences that should appeal to South African ‘Time Travellers’ for three to four days of wellbeing and R&R.
Mozambique’s Quirimbas Archipelagos
The Quirimbas are now a firm favourite with local travellers and the international jetsetter alike. Try Ibo Island Lodge, described as one of the ‘most unusual places on the whole of East African coast.’ This is not a classic beach holiday. Aside from its stunning private location, world-class beach, luxury accommodation, spa and dhow trips, Ibo Island is also an ‘authentic island community experience.’ With the lowest density of tourists on the Mozambique coast, it is designed to meet the exacting tastes of a ‘particular type of traveller’. Need help getting there? Try Journeys By Design. Mozambique also affords travellers the opportunity to take in a safari. For something remote, unique and totally tranquil, Nkwichi Lodge on the banks of Lake Malawi, is the perfect setting to experience the wild and the beautiful simultaneously.
Tanzania, Kenya, Zanzibar and Rwanda
A little further afield, and perhaps for a slightly extended ‘long weekend,’ Tanzania, Kenya and Zanzibar offer some exceptional opportunities to free the mind, such as a hot air balloon ride over the Masai Mara, a bee-keeping course in a Tanzanian village or even drop into Mahali Mzuri, Richard Branson’s luxury Kenyan tented camp, which has a deeply entrenched community and sustainability outlook. Indeed, Branson’s travel outfit, Virgin Limited Edition, is leading the way in travel conservancy, affording travellers the ability to do their bit for planet and people while unwinding.
Another unique and quiet location to forget about time and place is Lamu Island (North-Eastern Kenya) on the Indian Ocean. Here you can take in the sights of a UNESCO World Heritage Site while sipping on champagne and marvelling at the surrounding historical sites.
Gaining in popularity but still offering remarkable peace and very definitely something special, is a trip to Kibuye (Karongi) in Western Rwanda. It’s a paradise on the shores of Lake Kivu, where peace and quiet are assured.
For those looking to get back to nature, with many five star hospitality offerings available, including tented camps and guided safaris. Here you can experience bathing under the stars, even sleeping under the night sky and the next day, awaken to walk with elephants. There are a number of operators specialising in tailoring packages – try Jacada Travel, Sanctuary Retreats and Abercrombie and Kent.
Staying in South Africa, and on a different note, the Escape Music Experiences are a new set of ‘experiences’ aimed at senior executives, corporate clients, as well as select society. If you love music, enjoy a more intimate setting, relish the possibility of meeting a celebrity, as well as indulging in luxury experiences (including a champagne safari) all under one roof, look no further than these ‘Escapes’. According to the organisers, espAfrika (also the producers of the Cape Town International Jazz Festival), each different ‘escape’ has been designed to appeal directly to the nascent African luxurian looking for something out of the ordinary, as well as to the top brass in search of some much-needed R&R. The first in the series – the Royal Escape - took place at the Palace of the Lost City at the end of July, with new venues and other ‘experiences’ to be announced shortly.
Also making it into the list of our favourite spots for local luxury is another of the Virgin Limited Edition properties, Mont Rochelle in the Western Cape. Here the family is also welcome, with over 100 acres, in which to ‘play’ and explore.
Don’t work harder work smarter - even for just a few days, disengaging from the workplace and routine is enough to boost flagging energy levels and critical thinking ability. With these obvious pluses and an array of unique memory making experiences on offer, there is no excuse not to have that break. The doctor ordered it, so what are you waiting for?