WHERE TO GO FOR A WINTER BREAK

Joburg winters aren’t that cold in comparison to some places in the northern hemisphere, but it can get chilly, and you’ll feel the cold in homes and workspaces without proper insulation.

Cape winter.jpg

It’s also dry and dusty in Gauteng in the winter, which means that if you aren't planning a trip back home, winter can be quite long, so its nice to escape the city and visit somewhere else in South Africa between May and September.

There are so many options available, but to give you an idea, here are some popular destinations:

1. Bush

“The bush” is a very general term in South Africa, which basically refers to any kind of savanna wilderness area, largely in the northern part of the country, but also parts of the Eastern Cape.

You can visit a wilderness area at any time of the year, but the Cape provinces tend to be wet and rainy over the winter months so not necessarily the best time to be outdoors.

Game reserves are popular in winter because the vegetation is less dense and animals are easier to see. The risk of malaria is also lower during winter in high-risk areas like parts of Mpumalanga, which also makes this a more advisable time to visit the bush.

Some ideas of bush destinations in the North-West, Mpumalanga, Limpopo, Northern, Eastern and Western Cape are:

National Parks: Kruger National Park, Marekele National Park and Mokala National Park (book in advance as accommodation is limited). A popular option is the tree house!

There are so many private game reserves in the country but here are 10 of the most popular ones

For last minute special on accommodation in the bush, including luxury lodges, keep an eye out on Bush Breaks and MT Beds we recommend any of the lodges in Madikwe for the big 5, or Ants Hill for a real treat to go on horse back safari. 

 

2. Drakensberg

A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Drakensberg is a popular holiday destination year-round, but is known for being a cosy winter getaway, with many popular resorts providing free tea and hot chocolate to enjoy in a comfortable seat in front of the fireplace.

As parts of the country can be very hot during the summer, it’s sometimes more enjoyable to go hiking in the mountains during the winter, although mornings and evenings will still be very cold.

The Drakensberg is divided into different sections, with so many different accommodation options to choose from in each one. Most of these cater to families and groups of friends, with several activities on offer.

Northern Drakensberg: Bergville, Royal Natal National Park and Golden Gate Highlands National Park

Central Drakensberg: Didima Valley, Monks Cowl, Cathedral Peak and Champagne Valley

Southern Drakensberg: Sani Pass

For more info:

http://www.drakensberg.org.za/

http://www.drakensbergexperience.com/

My personal favourite - is a long weekend at Three Tree Hill

 Or for young families - the Cavern

 

3. KwaZulu-Natal

KwaZulu-Natal is popular for its warmer weather during the winter months, which makes it an ideal mid-year getaway from Joburg, especially if you like to go to the beach.  

Some popular destinations include:

Durban: the promenade and variety of beaches in and around the city

Umhlanga and the North Coast: Shaka’s Rock, Umdloti, Ballito, Zinkwazi and further up into the northern coastal forests of Kosi Bay and Sodwana Bay (great for scuba diving). Popular resort is Zimbali 

South Coast: Margate, Ramsgate, Pennington, Scottburgh, Port Shepstone and Port Edward

Note: book in advance at resorts as a lot of them can be booked out ahead because of timeshare contracts. All of these places are also busy over the December months.

For more info visit: http://www.zulu.org.za/

 

4. Limpopo

 

We’ve mentioned the Waterberg region in the “bush” section above, but as well as offering a range of wilderness experiences in a malaria-free zone, there are a range of other popular tourist destinations to visit. 

 

5. Northern Cape

The Northern Cape is the most arid province in the country, but with beautiful semi-desert and dune landscapes that are more pleasant to visit in the winter months when it is less hot.

Stargazing is also a popular activity in the Northern Cape, where the lower population density makes it ideal for looking at the stars, most famously at Sutherland (which is also known to be one of the coldest places in the country, so bring a jacket!)

For more info: http://experiencenortherncape.com/visitor/

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