Vacations for Enthusiasts of All Kinds

Peru for Artists
Kruger for Golfers
Patagonia for Anglers
Laikipia for Cyclists
Serengeti for Runners
Seychelles for Watersports
North Africa for Hikers
Maasai Mara for Horse Riding
Marrakech for Shopping
Cape Winelands for Cooking

When the working week relinquishes its grasp upon us and free time beckons, we often turn to a hobby to help us unwind.

Even as we venture into retirement, pastimes help us retain our grasp on sanity, giving us endless entertainment, purpose and even social connection. While vacations are enjoyable in and of themselves and often plentifully endowed with distractions, there can sometimes remain a grain of disappointment that we can’t partake in our favourite hobby.

Combining hobbies and vacations can be hard when others are involved, specifically those who don’t share a fervent passion for your activity of choice. This need not deter you though, with many destinations and venues offering a host of opportunities to not only feed your enthusiasm but offer others plenty more to entertain them while you indulge.

Here are ten examples of how one can combine a favourite hobby with a vacation that caters to everyone.

Vacations for Artists

Art, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder. Your subject is where you find it and, in that sense, any vacation destination is an opportunity to enjoy your hobby. It will also depend on your medium and preferred subject matter. A still life or portrait artist might be as inspired on the flight as in a foreign location, but rich culture, vibrant colour and crisp, clear mountain light have a tendency to offer inspiration in abundance.

Peru combines a congenial climate with warm, charismatic faces, radiant textiles and fascinating produce with a breathtaking backdrop of undulating mountains and rainbow-hued landscapes.

From the centuries-old architecture and unfettered way of life in Cusco and the Sacred Valley to the iconic palette of Rainbow Mountain, whatever your subject of choice, Peru will keep your brush wet and your easel overworked.

Rainbow Mountain for hobby artists

Vacations for Golfers

Spending time on the links, wherever they may be, is vacation in itself, but the world is liberally peppered with holes conveniently grouped  into 18 for every golfer to enjoy. Scotland, Japan, Hawaii – even the Australian outback… packing your putter will rarely end in disappointment.

While South Africa is home to a wealth of spectacular golf courses, Leopard Creek Country Club offers the best of both worlds. Bordering Kruger National Park, and with water hazards incorporating hippo, crocodile and elephant, Leopard Creek Country Club brings safari to the fairway. The championship course offers views across Kruger from the 13th green and 14th tee, with the wooded holes ranging in difficulty and comprising a par 3 practice course and range.

Pack your clubs or rent from the luxurious colonial-style clubhouse, Leopard Creek is a South African must for every golfing enthusiast.

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Photo: Leopard Creek Golf Club

Vacations for Anglers

If your hobby of choice involves wetting a line, water, and lots of it, is essential. In Africa, The Okavango Delta and Lower Zambezi offer some wonderful angling for tiger fish. Off the Southern Cape, deep sea angling is a favourite pastime for bigger fish, including tuna, marlin and even shark.

Australia’s abundance of coastline also warrants spinning a reel, but for casting into a stunning landscape, Patagonia is our destination of choice.

As with many a hobby, fishing has its disciplines, and for Patagonia, the fly is the modus operandi. The foothills of the Andes teem with trout and other river fish, crystal-clear glacial rivers cascading from the mountains to wend their way across the grasslands. A tenkara rod and waxed line, a flick of the wrist and a little patience are all you need to serve up the freshest of dinners, with the region’s luxury lodges often offering to dress and serve your catch.

Vacations for Cyclists

Any road is an adventure waiting to happen when on two wheels, but a cycle isn’t exactly carry-on luggage.

For cycling hobbyists, off-road opportunities abound throughout Africa. With the rise in e-bikes, assisted mountain biking is becoming an increasingly popular addition to many activity portfolios, and the thrill of silently rolling across the plains. It goes without saying that there are many creatures in possession of numerous large teeth and rumbling empty bellies, so taking to the trails on your own isn’t advisable. However, some destinations are far more conducive to a hobby of the two-wheeled variety.

Kenya’s Laikipia county has plenty of tracks for you to venture down, meandering through the ranges of the Laikipia Plateau. Escorted by an expert Maasai or Samburu guide, you are able to approach wildlife without startling them, taking in the sights and sounds of the veldt in a manner that is simply impossible by motor vehicle.

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Vacations for Runners

With a good pair of running shoes, few places are off limits for hobby runners. Through historical alleyways, alongside winding rivers, on deserted white-sand beaches or surrounding by the urban metropolis, it is rare to find a vacation that isn’t at least occasionally conducive to a quick run.

However, even more so than cycling, jogging just anywhere isn’t advisable. Tswalu Private Reserve and several other venues present the opportunity to venture into the wild on foot and apace, but for those who prefer a more challenging jaunt, the annual Girls’ Run – a 40-mile (63km) multi-stage run for all abilities across the spectacular Singita Grumeti Private Concession – is an incredible opportunity. 

Hosted by Singita, the charity event raises funds for girls’ empowerment programs across the Serengeti region, so every single step is more than just another run and all for a good cause. With armed guides at your side, it is an unforgettable chance to venture into the bush on foot.

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Photo: Singita

Vacations for Watersports

From rafting down the Zambezi to kayaking on Lake Titicaca, wherever there is water, there can be watersports.

Climate can swiftly change a pleasant dip into a frigid test of endurance, so tropical destinations are always preferable for your waterborne hobby. The warm, azure waters of the Seychelles fulfil these prerequisites exquisitely, with temperatures ranging from 73ºF to 83ºF (23ºC – 28ºC) year round. 

Graceful manta rays swoop and glide beneath the surface, scattering a conflagration of colourful fishes amongst the vibrant coral, and the Seychelles is globally renowned for its excellent snorkelling and diving. Sheltered coves and calm seas also allow for stand-up paddleboarding, kayaking and ocean swimming, and the tropical climate will beckon you seawards, whether you are a water enthusiast or not.

From May to September, stronger winds provide ideal conditions for windsurfing and kite surfing, though consistent tradewinds remain throughout the year.

Coral Reef With Turtle Underwater In Indian Ocean

Vacations for Hikers

If a gentle stroll isn’t your ideal solution for your hiking hobby, taking your walking vertical is a superb way to add a little more challenge to your vacation. 

Summitting Machu Picchu along the Inca trail, taking in an elevated view of Cape Town from the lofty heights of Table Mountain or reaching for the Torres del Paine in Patagonia present some incredible routes to undertake, but for this hobby we suggest Northern Africa.

Reaching the perennial snows of Mount Kilimanjaro, trekking the the jungles of Uganda, winding through Ethiopia’s  Simien Mountain National Park or a walking safari on the slopes of Mount Kenya are just a handful of hiking opportunities in North Africa.

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Vacations for Equestrians

On any safari, becoming one with the surrounding wilderness is the ultimate objective, allowing you to witness the natural flow of nature.

On horseback, you are afforded the opportunity to be accepted as one the herd, be that herd stripy, horned or trunked. Elephant allow you to approach, zebra and impala give little more than a glance and the millions of wildebeest of the Great Migration barely pay attention to your quadrupedal passage. The Okavango Delta makes this experience particularly unique, with water crossings, vast grasslands and a wealth of wildlife to witness up close and personal.

The Maasai Mara, with its expansive plains and abundant wildlife, is the ideal location to take the reins and giddyup, whether for a short gallop or several-day safari. As with cycling, this almost silent mode of transport allows you a perspective that few may witness, the horses’ familiar appearance causing little alarm to the creatures of the Mara, despite the funny-looking things astride their backs! 

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Photo: Safaris Unlimited

Vacations for Shopaholics

For many, a couple of well-chosen handcrafted mementos from a local village are enough to immortalise your vacation. But for some, retail therapy is a contact sport! If your hobby involves endless browsing of shops, souks and market stalls, the wide-open plains of the Serengeti are likely to leave you somewhat unfulfilled… at least to that specific end. 

We highly recommend cultural visits and the investment in local crafts (baring in mind, of course, that some artefacts aren’t permitted through customs), but if these fleeting interludes in your greater adventures won’t suffice, Morocco will certainly satiate your consumer cravings.

Marrakech is a fascinating city, with a deep history of Moorish and Berber influence, fascinating architecture, resonant culture and mouthwatering (and occasionally eye-watering) cuisine.

Wandering the medina, with its narrow, shadowed streets, bustling markets and tiny stores overflowing with rugs, brassware, jewellery, herbs and spices, is both thrilling and captivating. Walking back in time, you witness a way of life that has changed little for hundreds of years, and Marrakech will likely steal a little piece of your heart along with your entire vacation spending budget.

At night, the Jemaa-el-Fnaa comes alive, Africa’s largest marketplace and a bustling hub of the evocative sights and smells so indicative of Moroccan culture.

Crowd In Jemaa El Fna Square At Sunset, Marrakesh, Morocco. Peop

Vacations for Gastronomists

Travel is an experience of the senses. As renowned chef-come-mad scientist, Heston Blumenthal once said: “To me, food is as much about the moment, the occasion, the location and the company as it is about the taste.” To truly experience a culture, you must sit within it, break bread and partake in one of life’s most unifying and fundamental pleasures; to eat.

Dining with the Maasai, learning how the San bushmen claw sustenance from the barren landscape or sampling slow-cooked meats from a gaucho’s parilla in Argentina are all compelling culinary delights, but for the true decadent gastronomist, South Africa’s Cape Winelands are a Mecca of mouthwatering morsels. 

Accompanied by some of the world’s finest wines, freshly harvested local produce is served to your table by globally renowned chefs as they explain the source of each ingredient and method of cooking. Some venues offer private dining experiences, others allow you to enter the kitchen to oversee or even partake in the cooking experience, learning from masters to create your own delectable dishes.

The fertile and abundant landscapes of the Cape Winelands are an impeccable combination of incredible culinary produce and exceptional cheffing talent.

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Whatever your hobby, there will be the obvious destinations of choice, those places that are common knowledge and excessively frequented, and for good reason – their reputations are certainly not unfounded. But these are not the sum total of your opportunities, and can also be restrictive, especially when you are accompanied by a larger group or family.

Combining your hobby with a vacation can seem equally as restrictive, but with the advice of our expert Travel Designers, a world of experiential opportunity awaits. 

Header image: Tipiliuke Lodge