Who else needs a holiday?To make planning a bit easier, I have taken weather into account and listed some great local options for winter.
Some general money saving tips for last minute planning:
- Booking.com is great for finding accommodation deals
- Go to places where you know people and stay with them
- For road trips, the more people, the merrier and the cheaper!
- Look for options close by, you don't always need to travel far for an adventure
Durban possibly has the best weather in South Africa and its warm Indian Ocean coastline makes it great for swimming and surfing. Enjoy the water slides, shark cave diving and the amazing aquarium at uShaka Marine World. Take a city tour by bus.
Go shopping at the largest mall in the Southern Hemisphere – Gateway Theatre of Shopping. Bungee jump or take a segway tour at Moses Mabhida Stadium. Did you know that Durban Botanic Gardens is Africa's oldest botanical gardens? It's 160 years old! You can learn a lot of things from the flowers…
If you are keen to get away from the city and enjoy the peace of nature, Drakensberg is a great option. Endless green hills and waterfalls make it a great hiking destination. For my most recent visit to Drakensberg, I stayed at Didima Resort in Central Drakensberg. The thatched chalets pair so beautifully with the mountain range backdrop. Honestly, Drakensberg looks like a painting. If you are not feeling up for hikes and outdoor activities you could make your Drakensberg trip a relaxing spa getaway with breathtaking views of the mountains.
I love Joburg. I love that there is so much to do and that there are so many great places to eat and eating is somehow better in winter. FOOD is happiness! I saw a post recently on the best burgers in Joburg and I have not been able to stop thinking about it. I think I would be satisfied if I spent the long weekend restaurant hopping. Who is with me?!
Visit the markets, I find that they are vibrant and have an authentic South African flare. Visit Neighbourgoods market, Jozi Real Food Market or The Shed on R59 on Saturday. Visit Market on Main or Fourways Farmer's market on Sundays.
If you are seeking an adrenaline rush, go to Soweto and bungee, swing or SCAD free fall from the Orlando Towers.
Coffee Bay has stolen my heart. The weather is great and the water is warm. It is so undisturbed and naturally wonderful. Hike to Hole in the wall, dip in cave pools, jump off a cliff into a rock pool, eat as much seafood as you can, party at Coffee Shack backpackers, reflect under the bright stars at night. Check my previous post on how to get there, where to stay and what to do in Coffee Bay.
I spent one night in Gonubie, East London and did not get to explore it completely. While there I went to Lavender Blue Market which is a fresh produce, farmer's market open daily. I also took a morning walk to Gonubie beach. Staying at The Edge Boutique Bed & Breakfast was the highlight. It is a luxurious space with a spectacular view and will most definitely leave you feeling refreshed.
Port Elizabeth, like Durban and Cape Town, is a major city on the coast. Because of its numerous beaches, it is a great place to try out water sports, go fishing or take a boat cruise. I went there once before, some years ago (pre-blogging days). It is definitely on my list of places to visit.
The Panorama Route
I stay in Secunda, Mpumalanga and took the time to explore other places in the province earlier this year. Graskop did not disappoint – in fact, it surpassed my expectations and I definitely want to go back soon. It is a 1hour15min drive away from Nelspruit. You can expect waterfalls and VIEWS and pancakes - The best pancakes in South Africa. Checkout my previous post on Exploring Graskop in one day.
Kruger National Park
1.4 million people visit the Kruger National Park every year. Make sure one of those people is you. Kruger National Park is the largest game reserve in South Africa and the second largest in Africa. In fact, it is larger than Israel. The big five can be spotted there (lion, buffalo, leopard, rhino and elephants). And guess what? The winter season is a favourable time to spot animals.
I have been to Sun City numerous times but it never gets old. Stay at one of 4 of their hotels or do a day visit. You can expect highs up to 26 degrees Celsius in winter so you can definitely enjoy swimming in the huge wave pool at the Valley of the Waves. Plus they have new slides! On my latest visit, I went for High Tea at the 5 star Palace of The Lost City hotel. High tea is served daily at 3pm. I share more on this lavish experience in a previous post: High tea at the Palace of The Lost City.
Hartbeestpoort Dam (aka Harties) is a 1hour 20min drive from Joburg. I have not yet traveled to Harties but it is definitely on my list. Why go there? For the water sports, the wildlife, to ride a hot air balloon or relax in a serene environment.
If you decide to stay home, try something different or visit a new spot in your home town.