5 lesser-known destinations to visit for every kind of holiday

Three attractions including the city at night, a mountain and sky rises and a purple bridge lit up in the dark

3.37min read

Published 13 January 2022


There’s never been a better time to opt for a lesser-known destination as opposed to the sought-after holiday hotspot. No stress, though as we’ve done the research for you!

Here is the Flight Centre team’s round-up of 5 incredible off-the-beaten-track destinations for every kind of holiday, from the bush to the beach and everything in between.

The bush holiday

Swap the Kruger Park for Lake Nakuru National Park

The Kruger National Park is the go-to for a safari vacation and some much-needed peace and quiet. However, if you’re looking to trade it in for something that’s not on everyone’s radar, we highly recommend a visit to Kenya’s Lake Nakuru National Park, nestled on the floor of the Great Rift Valley and awash with wildlife, birdlife and flora.

The park is a tiny 188 square kilometres compared to the Kruger Park’s sprawling 19 485 square kilometres. Ultimately, this translates into a more intimate, private experience courtesy of Lake Nakuru National Park’s two privately owned lodges, its standalone self-catering guesthouse, and its various campsites.

While Lake Nakuru National Park boasts a total of 56 different species of mammal, what it’s probably best-known for are its flocks of flaming pink flamingos. Plus, the park’s collection of picturesque viewpoints, such as Lion Hill and Baboon Cliff, all promise mesmerising views of the diverse terrain and the never-ending beauty that surrounds you.

A flamboyance of flamingos on the water

The beach holiday

Swap Durban for Smitswinkel Bay

When you’re looking for sunshine that never quits, warm, welcoming waters, and expansive beaches, many South Africans venture to Durban’s coastline. 

For a similar experience minus the crowds, it’s a good idea to scope out South Africa’s ‘hidden’ beaches, and Smitswinkel Bay is one of them. You’ll find this quiet bay at the bottom of a plunging cliff in Cape Town between Simon’s Town and Cape Point Nature Reserve’s main entrance.

The reason why this bay is so secluded? It’s only accessible on foot! You can reach it by taking a 20-minute walk down the steep, winding path towards the beach, paying close attention to the signage as you go. Once there, you’ll have the ocean and the mountain views pretty much all to yourself, and with no connectivity or reception, you’ll be able to savour every second with zero distractions to worry about!

Related content: 10 Local Places You Simply Must Visit

The vacation in the city

Swap Cape Town for Pretoria

If it’s shopping sprees and bright city lights that you’re after, your first thought is probably to travel to Cape Town’s lively city centre. Rest assured though that everyone else in search of this type of vacation is planning to do the same thing! Instead, swap out a trip to the Mother City for, yes surprisingly, a visit to South Africa’s jacaranda-lined administrative capital. If you visit in December or early January, the majority of Pretoria’s residents will be away enjoying their own adventures, leaving the city peaceful and wide open for you to explore.

Menlyn Park Shopping Centre and Brooklyn Mall will undoubtedly provide you with plenty of options in terms of making the most of both the larger retailers and the private boutique stores, and there’s also lots to look forward to for the more nature or history and heritage inclined. For example, other attractions to add to your itinerary include hiking Hennops Hiking Trail, game viewing at Rietvlei Nature Reserve, and sightseeing at the Union Buildings and the Voortrekker Monument.


Mountain on the ocean

The mountain escape

Swap the Drakensburg for Magaliesburg

Hiking in the Drakensberg is on every keen outdoor lover’s bucketlist.If you want to visit with minimal crowds, travel there during the off-peak season (any time outside of November to March). If, however, you intend to embark on an end-of-year hiking trip or an early mountain escape in 2022, why not consider heading to Magaliesburg instead.

Magaliesburg is a quaint little town found just outside of Johannesburg, Gauteng. It’s where you go to enjoy the simple life, breath-taking natural scenery, and adventures in the great outdoors. Most lodges and guesthouses are located few and far between, which means peace and quiet and effortless social distancing.

For most visitors to Magaliesburg, hiking is the main activity on the agenda. Having said that, there are many other ways to keep entertained, such as embarking on a hot air balloon ride, getting an adrenalin rush by throwing yourself into a canopy tour, relaxing with a spot of fly-fishing, or even just firing up the braai on your patio and admiring the majestic views.


The wine tasting and wellness getaway

Swap the Western Cape Winelands for the Eastern Cape

Who can say ‘no’ to a holiday in the Western Cape Winelands? You’re always bound to enjoy every minute of your stay – after all, there’s something on offer for everybody, regardless of whether or not wine is your ‘thing’, from art museums, stunning gardens, and gourmet restaurants to outdoorsy adventures and local heritage.

If, on the other hand, you’re keen to explore wine tasting and wellness somewhere different this time around, we recommend planning a getaway to the Eastern Cape. This province was officially named South Africa's newest wine region in 2009 and has made progress in leaps and bounds.

Looking for inspiration? Theescombe Estate Wine Farm is a must-visit boutique wine farm in Port Elizabeth offering rustic wine tasting and vineyard tour experiences. Mayime Winery is another stand-out establishment celebrated for producing South Africa’s very first community-owned wine. From a wellness perspective, keep your eyes peeled for various luxurious day spas open throughout the province, many of which advertise affordable half- and full-day packages all year round.


Related content: Fun things to Do in Gqeberha (Port Elizabeth)

When you choose your destination wisely, there’s no need to put off a holiday until further notice. Book today or contact a Flight Centre Travel Expert for up-to-the-minute advice, more travel deals, and general assistance when making any booking.

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