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Forget island hopping, let’s go climate hopping

Published Jan 23, 2019


When it comes to planning a holiday, the options are endless. The choice between a tropical escape with infinite sea views or a mountain skiing holiday can be a challenging one.

Thankfully, climate hopping will redefine how people travel this year. Many are skipping the hard decisions and holidaying in both hot and cold climate destinations. 

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Travel + Leisure described the trend as “Fire and Ice holidays”.

Sue Garrett, Flight Centre product and marketing general management GM, said the growing trend of “climate hopping”, instead of island hopping, offers travellers a different experience.

“Climate hopping allows travellers the choice of experiencing many different destinations in one trip. For a more affordable option, travellers can opt to go to one country that offers different climates and experiences within it,” she said.

Here are some tips on how to plan a climate hopping trip:

Kruger National Park, South Africa and Mozambique 

Travel time:

A flight from Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport to Vilanculos takes about an hour.

Kruger National Park is one of South Africa’s most celebrated parks- drawing in thousands of travellers annually. A visit during winter is the ideal time for travellers to experience the cold and view the Big Five in all their glory.

Afterwards, travellers could escape to Mozambique to take in the island views and soak up the sun.

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Natalie Tenzer-Silva, director of Maputo-based tour operator Dana Tours, said travelling between the two destinations is easy to plan.

“It’s easy to tailor-make a cold and hot travel trip in winter by combining the cool Kruger National Park with sunny Mozambique. In June, you can bundle up with scarf and hat to spot game in the Kruger on those chilly morning and night game drives and then warm up in the sun and warm 24°C waters of the Indian Ocean in Bazaruto,” she said.

New Zealand

Travel time:

A flight from OR Tambo International Airport to New Zealand can take 16 hours to a day, including connecting flights.

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New Zealand may seem like an unlikely destination to visit, but the country is perfect for climate hopping. Garrett said visitors could enjoy warm weather in the north of the island and -10°C weather in the mountain regions.

She said Flight Centre offered packages ranging from 7 to 19 days.

“Travellers can get up close and personal with the cold walking on the Fox Glacier, ice caves and formations, marvel at the Milford Sound and then warm up swimming with wild dolphins in Kaikoura or wine tasting in Marlborough,” she said.

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Durban, South Africa and Sa Pa, Vietnam

Travel time:

A flight to Sa Pa in Vietnam takes a day, including connecting flights.

Durban is the perfect beach getaway that offers culture, wildlife and great foodie spots. Dubbed the “warmest place to be”, Durban is known for its blue flag beaches, safari drives and township experiences. Travellers can soak up the sun before they head to Sa Pa in Vietnam.

Garrett said: “For South Africans travelling on the rand, Vietnam makes for an amazing and affordable climate hopping destination. Sa Pa in northern Vietnam sits at 1 650m above sea level so, during the winter months of late November to early February (summertime in South Africa) night temperatures can drop as low as 1°C.

“Rain and frost are common, and snow is even known to fall on a few days. Visit the local villages, hike and watch the mist rolling in each morning over the terraced rice paddies while you enjoy a cup of Vietnamese coffee,” she said.

Cape Town and Norway

Travel time:

A flight from Cape Town International Airport takes approximately 14 hours to the capital of Oslo, Norway.

Cruising is another way to enjoy hot and cold destinations on one trip. Director of Big Ambitions, Natalia Rosa, who visited Norway on a Hurtigruten cruise in August 2018, said travellers could start their journey in Cape Town where they explore the wine farms and Table Mountain before they set sail to Norway.

“Nothing can prepare you for switching between 30-degree weather conditions in Cape Town one day, to frigid conditions on an icy Norwegian fjord 24 hours later,” she said of the experience.

Divan Viljoen, Cruiseabout marketing campaign manager, said cruising offered a perfect opportunity for climate hopping. He said their fly, stay and cruise deals were perfect for a climate hopping holiday.

“Cruises make it easy to visit different destinations in one trip. Europe, with its variety of climates and relatively small size, is a great option for experiencing hot and cold travel in one trip, from the Northern Lights, stunning fjords to the ice-berg shaped Cathedral of Tromso,” said Viljoen.

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