The new year is a great time to start thinking ahead about the next holiday period. Plan early and you’re bound to benefit in a variety of ways: cheaper flights, a better choice of accommodation before everything gets booked out, and the time to plan what to do and where to go in far more detail than when it’s a rushed job.
See these useful tips from Brett Hendricks, the CEO of Thebe Tourism Group, about planning a holiday.
Decide on the type of holiday you want
Discuss this with everyone who will be going on the holiday. Try to find consensus about what the basis of the holiday should be: adventure travel, a focus on history and culture, travel for a sporting event, and so on. It may be difficult to get agreement from everyone, so be flexible. If most of the group fancy doing adventure tourism, such as sailing or ziplining, but someone in the group is really not that type of person, try to find at least one activity that they would relish. For instance, while the group goes paragliding, the foodie in the group could attend a local cooking class.
Consider the time of year that’s best for the destination you’ve identified
If you’ve decided on a beach holiday, it’s best not to visit during the months when rainfall is likely to be the highest. And, when considering a safari destination, it’s best to go during the dry season when the grasses are low and there’s more chance of spotting an elusive leopard or lion, as they walk through the veld to reach water.
On the other hand, if budget is a consideration, rates for accommodation and tours may be lower during the off-season.
Research accommodation options that would be most suitable for your group
Where you stay can be a crucial element of the success of a holiday, so do your homework thoroughly. You’ll need to consider various factors when you make your choices: location, your budget, a ‘roughing it’ experience or something more luxurious, self-catering or a hotel with a good restaurant, to mention a few.
With so many of the best South African travel experiences involving nature, travellers are spoilt for choice when it comes to where to stay. Whether it’s as basic as a tent at the beach, glamping in a safari destination, or a treehouse in a forest, South Africa has among the most sophisticated and varied of options available.
Try out the newest Africamps luxury camping experience, White Elephant Safaris, situated in the Pongola Game Reserve in KwaZulu-Natal. You’ll live in luxury in the veld among the best of Africa’s wild – including rhinos, leopards and elephants – and have the pleasure of catching a tigerfish in Lake Jozini, which is part of the Reserve.
Great for a big family getaway is the secluded cottage accommodation in the heart of the Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve, which includes one of the world’s most loved destinations, Cape Point. Olifantsbos Cottage sleeps up to six and, while most of life’s comforts are available in the cottage, it doesn’t have electricity. That makes it the perfect spot to enjoy nature to its full – with no lights around, the family can enjoy some of the best stargazing available in South Africa.
Take advantage of special offers and discounts
If you qualify for pensioners’ discounts, find out whether there are any special deals in the places you’d like to visit. Some botanical gardens, for instance, offer free entry to pensioners on certain days. In addition, South African citizens who can show their IDs qualify for discounted rates at South African National Parks (SANParks). SANParks also offers a Wild Card, which allows for free entry to many national parks once the annual fee has been paid. Other membership and loyalty cards are available in various locations throughout the country, so make sure you find out about these.