If an overseas trip is at the top of your wish list, but travel time and budget is an issue, you may want to explore options right here in Africa. Our neighbouring countries offer their own wonders, and you may be surprised by what you find. Destinations that will wow you, minus the travel time and visas plus, if well planned, will be much lighter on your pocket. All we ask is that you take a moment to consider…
International events like the Oktoberfest in Munich, Carneval in Italy, Mardi Gras in New Orleans or even the Running of the Bulls in Spain may be at the top of your bucket list. But with these destinations being far away and at very specific times of the year, it may not be something you can plan spontaneously. How about being a spectator of Africa’s greatest events – the Great Migration. No image can capture the sounds, smells and sights of the millions of wildebeest and hundreds of thousands of zebras making their way from Tanzania’s Ngorongoro Reserve in January to the Serengeti in June and then in September they reach the Maasai Mara in Kenya. This means there are a few times of the year when you can hear the thundering hooves and experience this once in a lifetime experience not too far from home.
Dreaming of a ski holiday in the Swiss Alps? Or to see the rainbow mountains of Vinicunca in Cusco Peru or Iceland? You don’t have to go far to enjoy similar experiences. If you haven’t been to the Drakensberg Mountains in KwaZulu Natal, you are missing out! Here you will find the likes of Tiffindell Ski Resort – an all-year-round ski resort! Yes, you can enjoy your ski holiday at any time of the year and you only need a weekend.
For rainbows and sheer cliffs, the all-time popular Victoria Falls will never disappoint. But closer to the true rainbow mountain experience is Mount Elgon in Uganda. This extinct shield volcano is on the border of Uganda and Kenya. Home to over 300 species of birds, smaller antelopes, elephants, buffalo and forest monkeys this UNESCO Man and Biosphere Reserve is colourful in landscape as well as its plant and animal life. The Ngorongoro Crater in Tanzania also boasts bright pink flamingoes in stark contrast to the greens and browns of the landscape.
The architecture of Europe is probably one of its biggest allures – the signature homes of Stratford upon Avon, or the distinct colours and facades of Bavarian buildings. But you don’t have to venture too far from home to experience this old-world charm. In Namibia, you will find the little Germany of Africa, Swakopmund. You may even forget that you are in Africa while here, with beautiful German architecture around every corner reminding you of its German colonial heritage. From the food to the language to customs, you might as well be in Germany. With the plus side of the warm African sun of course.
When you think of palm trees, sandy beaches and tropical blue waters as far as the eye can see, you are probably imagining Thailand, Seychelles or Mauritius even? Well did you know that you get to have this exact oceanic tropical island experience on the shores of Lake Malawi? Yes, everything you need is here from water sports to scuba diving amongst brightly coloured, to lazing on the white sands of its shores. The difference? Private, sheltered and stress-free. This is your tropical getaway dream, minus the crowds. And with a 2 to 3-hour flight from Johannesburg, this could be your dream weekend getaway.
So, if you are planning an ‘overseas’ trip, but worried about the time, distance and budget, you may want to reconsider and start exploring right here, in Africa. You will be surprised how many beautiful adventures you will find close to home.