Radisson Blu Azuri Resort and Spa
Radisson Blu Azuri Resort and Spa

Perhaps the most anticipated shopping day of the year takes place this year on 23 November, and Flight Centre is offering a sneak peek of its best value-for-money destination deals you could bag for a steal this Black Friday.

There’s no reason shoppers shouldn’t put a fabulous holiday or two into their basket. Start planning now to secure a last-minute year-end special or trip to usher in the new year.

Mauritius

“A short four-hour flight from Johannesburg with easy connections from other major cities, visa-free, with no complicated travel inoculations or health requirements, Mauritius is as convenient as it is beautiful,” says Nicky Potgieter, Flight Centre Leisure Marketing Leader.

Enjoy beautiful beaches and sea that’s every shade of blue and turquoise imaginable, with sunny weather year-round. Even in winter, temperatures across the island rarely drop below 22° C on the coast.

Mauritius caters well for all types of travellers and budgets. There are family-friendly favourites such as the Radisson Blu Azuri Resort and Spa, the adults-only Radisson Blu Poste Lafayette Resort and LUX* Grand Gaube, the last word in luxury. Another fantastic all-rounder resort is The Ravenala Attitude. There is something for everyone.

Who should visit: Everyone, from honeymooners to families or travellers looking for a natural postcard-perfect beach break.

Need to know: There are direct flights available from Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban. Mauritius is a good value for money destination, but travellers can save even more or treat themselves to an upgraded resort or room by snagging a Black Friday deal.

Bali

If morning yoga and meditation sessions, hiking, surfing, temples and beaches, gets your heart racing, then look out for Flight Centre's Bali specials.

“I had one of the most incredible experiences of my life in Bali,” says Beckki Lo, who visited with her boyfriend in February. “We were staying at a resort on the north coast, with a small private beach and volcanoes in the background, and we rode out on a little boat to watch the sunset - and saw dolphins!”

Bali is a year-round destination (even in the monsoon season there will be days of sunshine, perhaps just a bit windy), although some say that the shoulder seasons of April, May, June and September are good to visit. May to October sees some of the best waves for surfing. South African passport holders don’t need visas for stays of up to 30 days.

Who should visit: Spiritual seekers, surfers and travellers seeking a holiday that encourages wellness and self-reflection.

Need to know: South Africans can fly into the capital, Denpasar, with connecting flights available from Johannesburg and Cape Town.

Phuket

Leigh van den Berg, a South African freelance writer and author of lipglossismylife.com who has been staying in Thailand since April, recommends the country for any first-time visitors to Southeast Asia.

“I have always felt incredibly safe there and, because Thailand's tourism industry is very well established, most people speak English, and you have easy access to any product or service you could ever wish for as a traveller. You can't throw a rock without hitting a 7-Eleven…”

Who should visit: Everyone but especially those travellers who want an affordable beach getaway with some great culture, nature and affordable, delicious food.

Need to know: Look out for fantastic flight deals to Thailand. There are connections to Bangkok from Cape Town, Johannesburg and Durban.

Zanzibar

A 3.5-hour flight from Johannesburg, sun yourself on a pool-side lounger, watching the dhows sail past. Step back in time wandering the winding alleyways of Stone Town.

Known as the Spice Island, the ancient Kiwengwa caves, watersports, quad biking and even kitesurfing at Breezes Beach Club and Spa, home to Zanzibar's first kitesurfing school, are some key attractions. Keen golfers can perfect their swing at Sea Cliff Resort and Spa, boasting the only nine-hole golf course on the island.

Zanzibar’s multicultural cuisine is as delicious as it is cheap. Eat chapatti fresh off the grill, sip on sugarcane juice, munch on kachori (deep fried balls of mashed potato) and feast on huge lobsters grilled in butter.

Who should visit: Those looking for an exotic beach getaway or who have an interest in history and culture.

Need to know: Domestic low-cost carrier Mango operates three direct flights each week to Zanzibar from Johannesburg.