There’s a clever buzzword for just about every type of vacation and travel activity. It’s hard to know how they get coined, but once they are out there, travel magazines and the internet are responsible for their spread — and sometimes annoying overuse. With apologies to the buzzword-averse, here we breathe new life into the tried-and-true travel buzzwords — and show you some new ones — all around the continent of Africa.
Definition: Gastronaut is the combination of “gastronomy” and “astronaut.” It differs somewhat from a foodie or chowhound, because gastronauts are those who will go to great lengths to find exotic and unusual foods.
For the curious gastronaut, have a feast at the Market on Main in the Maboneng Precinct every Sunday in Johannesburg, where you can dine on roosterbrood, boerie rolls and snoek. More common fare such as Indian and Italian are also available. If you have other plans on the weekend, the market is open every first Thursday night of the month, excluding January.
Definition: Also referred to as a “bizcation,” bleisure is just a portmanteau of business and leisure.
With people becoming more and more mobile by the day, combining business with leisure is much easier to pull off. While Joburg often gets the business spotlight in South Africa, Cape Town is also one of the best business cities in Africa, and provides the perfect backdrop to meet new contacts. Stay in the V&A Waterfront area for great hotels such as the Radisson Blu Waterfront or Cape Grace the next time you’re there.
Definition: A fusion of glamour and camping, glamping is gaining popularity around Africa amongst those who are a bit squeamish about the outdoors, or just want to get close to nature while staying in the lap of luxury.
You can go glamping in a luxury thatched chalet or any number of lodges in Chobe National Park in Botswana (pictured above). Most of the lodges in the park are near the Chobe River and offer beautiful surroundings with the opportunity to sleep in tents that spare no expense and exclude no amenity.
Definition: Slackpacking is a cross between slacking and backpacking, and describes one who wants to backpack, but not necessarily spend days out in the wilderness.
Being a slackpacker is easy in Africa with numerous opportunities for taking day hikes while anchoring oneself in a comfy hotel or lodge. An easy and beautiful place to slackpack is at the Mbotyi Lodge in the Wild Coast of South Africa. Hikes by the ocean or near majestic waterfalls are just a stroll away and are easy enough that children can make the trek as well.
Definition: A floatel is simply a floating hotel on a body of water. Several of them are popping up around the globe — and in Africa — offering travelers a unique aquatic experience.
For the most spectacular floatel experience, check out the gorgeous Manta Resort on Pemba Island in Zanzibar (Tanzania), which offers a private floating suite with a bedroom four meters below the ocean’s surface. (The floating island at Manta is actually hybrid floatel AND underwater hotel room, though we’re not sure if there is a buzzword for that yet.)
Definition: The word traincation is pretty easy to understand — it’s just a vacation that you take on a train. Many trains offer luxurious accommodation and food options, rather than the standard cramped overnight bunk.
There are many traincations available throughout Africa, including the legendary Blue Train, and the 14-day journey from Cape Town to Dar es Salaam on Rovos Rail. Here are 10 lovely choices to peruse through.
Definition: Spafari is when one combines a wild and adventurous safari with a relaxing spa. The combination seems like the perfect marriage of activities.
Fortunately, spafaris are plentiful in Africa. What better way to relax after a day of spotting lions in the scorching heat, than relaxing in a hot tub or having a nice spa treatment? While there are many to choose from, Karkloof Safari Spa is one of the best and offers hydrotherapy, a flotation pool and an open-air jacuzzi.
Definition: Voluntourism is a popular way to travel and give back at the same time. You can volunteer while still being a tourist and seeing the local sights and sounds.
If your going to an exotic place in Africa, why not do something good and give back to the local community where you are planning to stay. For a great guide to get you in the spirit of volunteering the right way, check out Travel in the Spirit of Ubuntu. Organizations like i-to-i can also hook you up with voluntour opportunities.
Definition: Digital detox is a much-needed practice for most people, and means going completely off the grid while on vacation. That means bye-bye iPad, and no more checking texts on your smartphone.
For better or worse, Africa is one of the easiest places to escape technology if you allow yourself to. And a great way to do a digital detox is to go somewhere where your technology just won’t have any reception. One such place is the two-day camping safari near Lake Manyara and the Ngorongoro Conservation Area in Tanzania.
Definition: A mancation is one of the oldest buzzwords around, and has probably existed since vacations were first invented. Simply put, it’s just when a bunch of the boys get together for a vacation.
While the classic mancation in Africa was often the hunting safari, there are plenty of other options to choose from. Another typical “manly” journey is scaling a mountain peak — but why climb just one peak when you can climb two on this Mount Kenya Trek and Samburu Safari. Once you are done, you can go back to the bar for a few beers. Of course, women could come along on this trek, but then it wouldn’t really be a mancation anymore.