Mid-way through winter in South Africa, it is good to be reminded that the sun is out in full strength in a destination right on your doorstep. “If the sun isn’t enough to get you moving on a weekend break or holiday to another part of the country, maybe the winter rates, uncrowded beaches and last-minute availability will," says Sharmila Ragunanan, Group Marketing Manager Dream Hotels & Resorts.
The sun always shines on the KZN South Coast
Brighten up your winter blues and Facebook feed with a stay along the KwaZulu-Natal South Coast. Fall asleep to the sound of the crashing waves, wake for a dawnie (morning surf) or an early sunrise jog along Durban’s Golden Mile.
The best thing about this region is the warm Indian Ocean. There are plenty rock-pools and tidal pools to keep the little ones occupied on quieter spots like Bluff Beach near Durban and Banana Beach further down the coast. Spend the day on Scottburgh Beach, a stone’s throw from the popular Blue Marlin Hotel, the perfect spot for sundowners or milkshakes.
The Lowveld awaits
The best time for game viewing in the Greater Kruger is in the winter months when the flora thins out, making it harder for the animals to hide.
Embark on a guided walking safari along the banks of the Klein Letaba River with expert trackers from Mthimkhulu Wilderness Safaris, or bundle up the whole family on a road trip to Jackalberry Ridge. This self-catering family accommodation strikes just the right balance between comfort and simplicity on an African safari.
Embrace the cold
The cool winter months in the Western Cape create the perfect ambiance in Franschhoek, an hour’s drive from Cape Town into the Winelands. Don your chunky scarf and jacket and board the fabulous Franschhoek Wine Tram. There is no better way to get around the area’s most popular wine farms.
Stop for a chocolate extravaganza at Franschhoek’s Huguenot Fine Chocolates, a boutique chocolaterie, which offers a range of delectable fine hand-crafted Belgian chocolate. At Le Franschhoek Hotel and Spa’s Le Verger (The Orchard Restaurant) lunchtime favourites include hearty beef burgers and steamy malva pudding.
Cross the border into Mozambique
Mozambique is a one-hour flight from Johannesburg, and there is no need to apply for a visa. Maputo is worth a visit for the food alone, with strong Portuguese and Arabic influences. Mercado do Peixe (the Fish Market) is a great place to start.
Carry on to the seaside town of Bilene, situated on a hill overlooking the Uembje Lagoon, an easy two-hour drive north-east of Maputo. From Bilene Lodge, dhows, canoes and kayaks take visitors across the lagoon to the mouth for snorkelling. It is also a great place to watch whales migrating up the Mozambican coastline between May and August.