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5 local destinations for your December bucket list

Travel Tips

Cape Town - Dare say it? Winter is (almost) at an end and we are preparing the countdown calendar to our much-anticipated December break.

If you are still stuck on ideas for your great year-end escape – don’t fret, just think local. Sunny South Africa will never disappoint with options suitable for the entire family. Just because you are going local does not mean it has to be boring… Beach, bush or city getaway– the options are endless. To help you in planning the ultimate 2016/2017 summer break, Thompsons Travel suggests the following options (you might not even have thought of):

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Pilanesberg National Park provides the ideal getaway spot for any occasion, for any age group.Paternoster is known for its rich history, tradition and olden day charm and of course its abundance of crayfish.The Drakensberg region falls within four valleys.Besides being home to the worlds biggest bird, Oudtshoorn is also where you will find the world-renowned Cango Caves.

 

1. Oudtshoorn

Situated in the heart of the Klein Karoo between the Swartberg and Outeniqua mountains, Oudtshoorn is the ideal spot for the perfect family holiday. Besides being home to the world’s biggest bird, Oudtshoorn is also where you will find the world-renowned Cango Caves and the Swartberg mountain range which is part of the Cape Floral World Heritage Site.

Not to be missed: Cango Caves, Hot air ballooning, Ostrich farm tours, Mountain biking in the Swartberg Pass, Adventure Tours, 4x4 routes, arts and crafts and loads of shopping opportunities.

Did you know? The Klein Karoo is also known for its wines and Oudtshoorn forms part of Route 62 – the world’s longest wine route.

 

2. Dullstroom

Dullstroom, also known as Emnotweni, is a small town in Mpumalanga and one of South Africa’s premier fly fishing destinations. Besides fishing for record trout, a visit to Dullstroom will also provide for an array of adventure sport, culinary experiences and arts and crafts.

Not to be missed: Wild about Whisky in Auldstone House featuring the largest collection of whiskies in the southern hemisphere; Beans About Coffee Roastery; Shopping at Old Transvaal Inn for books, toys, hand-made mohair goods amongst others; Birds of Prey Centre, horse riding and mountain bike riding.

Did you know? Given its altitude at 2100m above sea level, Dullstroom is the highest village in South Africa.

 

3. Drakensberg

Leave the city life behind for some of the most spectacular scenery on offer in South Africa. The Drakensberg region falls within four valleys – Champagne Valley, Cathedral Peak and Didima Valley, the Royal Natal National Park and Amphitheatre Valley and the Middledale Pass Valley. Each valley shares the beauty of the area, however each offer a different experience and opportunities.

Not to be missed: The Drakensberg offers plentiful opportunity for outdoor activities such as horse riding, fishing, hiking and golf, however also look forward to arts and crafts, history and adventure activities.

Did you know? Cathkin and Champagne Castle feature peaks of 3 149m and 3 248m respectively. These peaks, together with Monk’s Cowl standing at 3 234m are some of the highest peaks of the Drakensberg Mountains.

 

4. Pilanesberg National Park

Situated between the malaria-free environment of the Kalahari and the Lowveld of South Africa, Pilanesberg National Park provides the ideal getaway spot for any occasion, for any age group. Home to most of the animal species native to southern Africa, including the Big 5, the park’s relatively small size makes game viewing a truly thrilling experience with an increased possibility of encountering wildlife in their natural environment.

Not to be missed: Game drives, walking safaris, hot air balloon rides, birding safaris, rhino tracking and superb spa experiences.

Did you know? The park’s location is set within the crater of an ancient volcano, formed 1.2 billion years ago by overflowing magma. The landscape and rock formations observed today are a stark reminder of this.

 

5. Paternoster

Paternoster situated on the West Coast of South Africa is one of the oldest fishing villages in the country. Paternoster is known for its rich history, tradition and olden day charm and of course its abundance of crayfish. This laid-back village is a true escape from the hustle and bustle everyday life and the perfect opportunity to reconnect with family.

Not to be missed: Sea kayaking; whale, dolphin, seal and penguin watching; walks along the sandy beach or among the boulders and arts and craft in the form of pottery and painting; mountain biking, hiking; birdwatching. Also fit in a visit to the West Coast Fossil Park and the Cape Columbine lighthouse for a more in-depth understanding of the area’s history.

Did you know? Building restrictions were put in place to preserve the community’s way of life. Also, the name Paternoster meaning ‘Our Father’, derived its name from the prayers of shipwrecked Portuguese sailors.

Adapted from a press release for IOL

Visit www.thompsonstravel.co.za for more details.

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