Every now and then the stars align and the work calendar offers up the chance to turn a long weekend into an epic ten day getaway. Contiki has a couple of sweet deals that are perfect for South Africans as they don’t require a visa or taking more than four days leave.
Let’s start by looking at the calendar. The 27th of April is Freedom Day and falls on a Thursday. Take Monday through Wednesday and Friday off and your four leave days turn into a ten day break with the extra public holiday on 1 May.
With your bags already packed leave work on Friday the 21st of April and head for the airport with no regrets.
We have spoken to Contiki, who helped us look at some cool international holidays that do not even require a South African passport.
Take some Thai Time
Flop and drop your body on the Thai beaches for nine days. Contiki’s Thai Island Hopper East is priced from R11 899 per person sharing and offers an exploration of Koh Samui, Koh Tao and Koh Pha Ngan. Accommodation with breakfast daily is thrown in including three nights in bungalows in Koh Pha Ngan. This trip runs from April 22 to 30 leaving you plenty of time to catch your flight back home where you can regale your colleagues with tales of delicious Thai meals, incredible water sports and the buzzing island atmosphere.
If you’d like something a little more spiritual that ups the ante for culture and adventure then try the Northern Thai Highlights. Priced from R12 235 per person sharing, you will travel from Bangkok to Kanchanaburi, Chiang Mai, Pai and Ayutthaya. This trip includes an overnight train trip, a night in a floating hotel and other types of accommodation such as hotels and special stays. Visit the legendary Bridge over the River Kwai, cycle past villages, rice paddies and temples in Ayutthaya and take in the buzzy night markets of Chiang Mai. This trip runs from 22 to 29 April.
South Africans in possession of a beloved Green Mamba passport can also travel visa free to a number of South America countries including the likes of Peru, Brazil, Argentina, Chile and Costa Rica. LATAM Airlines flies directly from Johannesburg to São Paulo and beyond three times a week making flight connectivity into Latin America more convenient than ever before.
Take on the Ultimate Inca Trail from 21 to 28 April and come home having trekked this iconic trail with visits to the Sacred Valley, Machu Picchu and Cusco. This 8-day trip is priced from R21 899 per person sharing and includes four nights in twin-share hotels and 3 nights camping on the Inca Trail. Daily breakfast, three lunches and four dinners are also included plus guided tours of Ollantaytambo, Machu Picchu, Cusco, the Pisac ruins and the Sacred Valley. Hiking the Inca Trail is a bucket list item for many, and if you time it right you could tick it off this April.
Follow the Lava Line from Quito through to Tena, Baños and Guayaquil in Ecuador for 7 days and you’ll get to cross the Equator line. With one foot in the northern hemisphere and the other in the south you’re sure to get a few brag-worthy selfies. Discover a whole new rhythm to your steps when you learn to salsa with your group in Baños. Priced from R14 775 for travel between 23 and 29 April.
Contiki’s Argentina and Brazil Experience is a 9-day 2-country experience that every traveller should have on their to-do list. Priced from R27 599 per person sharing it’s ‘Hola Buenos Aires’ and all the deliciousness that this iconic city can serve up. Try empanadas, Argentine steaks and the best dulce de leche you’ll ever taste before heading down to the Iguassu Falls and toasting the sunset with a caipirinha or two. After two days at the Falls head north for good times on Ipanema Beach in the home of the world’s largest carnival, Rio. This trip includes two internal flights, a tango show and lesson, city tours of Rio and Buenos Aires, and a visit to the Christ the Redeemer statue. Travel dates are from 22 to 30 April.
It all goes to show how a little bit of planning can help you travel with no regrets.
For more information on Contiki’s trips throughout Europe, USA, Canada, Asia and Latin America, visit contiki.com.