It’s getting chiller by the day and already most of the country has gone into hibernation with curries on the stove (if load shedding’s not happening), under blankets watching Netflix. Winter has some perks like; hot chocolate (or glühwein if you like), roaring log fires, an excuse to drink more coffee, and early nights staying in and snuggling up. But the novelty of winter does not last long and there’s also no better time to enjoy great deals with Flight Centre than during the cooler months.
We’ve compiled a list of our top favourite places to escape the big freeze this year. Read on and be inspired by some tried and tested escapes as well as some new ones too.
While the Southern Hemisphere is experiencing shorter days and longer nights, the Northern Hemisphere is at its gloriously sunniest. Although the islands are experiencing their wet season, Maldives remain a popular choice all year round and with no visa or quarantine requirements, is a sure-fire holiday must. No matter your budget, there is a Maldives site, just waiting for you, from rustic beach chalets to opulent water villas.
If you want to stay a little closer to home, then the little gem of an island, Mozambique, is a great idea! “Moz” continues to bring South Africans back year on year, especially during winter. With a next to perfect climate, swimming here is pretty much, year-round. In winter, there’s very little rain and the humidity has thankfully dropped. Don’t pack away the shorts and sundresses too soon – head to destination sun! You’ll soon be lounging around on the beach, catching a tan, feasting on fresh seafood and enjoying the slow-paced island vibes.
Lazy Day Dullstroom
What about embracing all of winter instead of escaping it? There are certain places to visit that embody the very essence of the things we love about the season. Warm fireplaces and quiet lounge areas made to snuggle up and devour pages of the novel you’re reading. As the steam rises in the mornings from the trout fishing dames and the sun rays turn the leaves a palette of red and orange and yellow, you’ll sip your coffee thinking you’re someplace far away. Dullstroom is delicious home-style comfort food and warm days spent fly fishing. It’s the quintessential winter getaway.
Without having to leave SA borders during winter and still experience a warm, sunny climate, head to Durban. When the rest of the country is adding extra layers of clothing to their bodies, Durbanites are still donning shorts and slops. It’s almost as if Durban forgets that it’s winter or else, it’s slow to realise the fact. The average high for the day is roughly 24 degrees Celsius, great weather for outdoor exploring or relaxing around a braai without dressing like an Eskimo. Visit the sites in and around Durban, like uShaka Marine World and the Umgeni River Bird Park to get close and marvel at nature.
Majestic Drakensburg Mountains
Another ultimate winter getaway destination for those who want old-school winter charm is South Africa’s highest mountain range. The “Berg” has a distantly European feel during winter. Although there is no guarantee of snow, you might be lucky enough to book at the right time to experience mountains with snow-capped peaks, and lakes in the valleys, frozen over. Hiking is a popular activity in the Drakensburg and in winter the scenery is almost fairy-tale like. The Drakensburg offers many other activities for both young and old. At the end of the day, settle by the fire to sip sherry before indulging in some hearty cuisine with the mountains as a magnificent backdrop.
Braai in the Bush
Winter is a great time to get to the bush. With the vegetation less lush, game viewing is at its optimal. The winter months in Limpopo, Mpumalanga and KwaZulu Natal are drier months and dry months mean limited water supply and sparse vegetation. In terms of game viewing, both of these are gold to Big Five hopefuls. Because of the limited water supply, animals tend to flock around water holes. The sparse bushveld means that they are also much easier to spot, resulting in amazing opportunities to see and photograph African Wildlife at its best. Gather around the bonfire and exchange game spotting stories while the potjie bubbles in the coals. Another bonus of travelling in winter is that the risk of malaria is lower in the cold season.
And there you have it, our top favourite winter breaks that are sure to keep you warm this year. With winter in full swing, wouldn’t it be nice to spend a little time away from home and make some awesome wintery memories?
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