If you’re being a wise early bird, you’re using this time, wherever possible, to plan your next getaway as soon as you’re able to hit the skies or roads once again.
International Friendship Day is coming up on 30 July. If you’re craving quality time, in-person, rally your tribe and check out these eight fabulous ‘friendcation’ destinations to bookmark and plan now.
Wild Coast adventures
Adventure-loving friends can head off the beaten track and make the trip to South Africa's Wild Coast.
Snap selfies at the iconic Hole In The Wall near Coffee Bay and play in the warm waters of the tranquil beaches (where you are likely to encounter only a cow or local fishermen). Stay in Coffee Bay or Port St. Johns, the only coastal resorts with tarred roads connecting with the N2.
A bush break
Spot wildlife on safari in winter. Winter is one of the most magical times to enjoy a safari break in the bush.
A game reserve getaway should be on every single South African’s bucket list.
Choose from one of the fabulous game lodges in:
• Kruger National Park
• Welgevonden Game Reserve
Midlands mountain escape
With dramatic mountain peaks, rolling farmland and green, green trees adorning country lanes, the romantically-named Midlands Meander is a soothing country escape for city dwellers.
The Midleads is the perfect road trip destination from Durban or Jo’burg.
No meander in the area would be complete without a feast. Whether you’re looking for a good caffeine fix, hearty pub meal or five-course dining (Hartford House and Cleopatra Mountain Farmhouse are favourites) or even some red wine to toast the cooler weather (try the Abingdon Wine Estate), planning your weekend around your meals is a good idea.
If you’d like to stay in the Drakensberg, consider the Alpine Heath Resort as the ideal base for a group of friends. Six-person chalets with self-catering facilities are perfect, and you won’t be bored with horse riding, hiking to a nearby waterfall and many on-site facilities available.
Clarens for beer and nature
The small town of Clarens at the foot of the Maluti Mountains in the eastern Free State, about three-and-a-half hours from Johannesburg by car, makes for a fantastic friends’ getaway from the city.
The town square has many quaint shops and restaurants to try, and of course, the renowned Clarens Brewery, one of the country’s first Brew-Pub, Cidery and Distilleries, is a must-do.
Clarens is the perfect weekend getaway for nature lovers, adventure seekers, hikers, artists, photographers, craft beer lovers, and frankly anyone who has a desire to slow down and escape the hustle and bustle.
Reunion on Reunion Island
Further afield, consider a tropical island with a difference. Visa-free and just a four-hour flight from Johannesburg, Reunion Island is the perfect place for a friendcation with a difference. It’s a nature and adventure lovers’ playground with the clear waters of the L’Hermitage lagoon, helicopter trips, hiking an active volcano and canyoning through magical waterfalls in lush cirques.
Dive into Mozambique
If you’re into seafood, scuba diving and snorkelling, or just endless kilometres of beach or lazing in a private splash pool, Mozambique is a fabulous pick for groups of friends. Easy to get to (Maputo is just an hour’s flight from Joburg) it is also visa-free for local passport holders.
If you’re looking for a beach break and an exotic destination with cultural delights and food, Zanzibar is just the ticket. It’s an amazing destination for a getaway with friends, with a wide variety of attractions and experiences to appeal to different interests.
Dune-bash in Namibia
Make the long drive to Namibia to discover endless dunes and kilometres where you’re unlikely to encounter any other humans. Marvel at star-studded skies, excellent wildlife viewing and unspoilt coastlines. Sandboard, climb and explore the surreal dunes on a quadbike.
4 Tips for planning a holiday with friends
Confirm budgets upfront
Get savvy with group saving
Consult a travel expert for invaluable advice on how you can protect your hard-earned holiday cash, travel with peace of mind and save you time and money. They will also help you tailor the holiday to suit all the personalities in the group.