Why stay bundled up indoors when you can travel somewhere exciting and make winter infinitely more enjoyable this year? Head towards KZN for milder temperatures and refreshing ocean air, treat yourself to wine tasting and 5-star gourmet cuisine in Franschhoek, or make your way to the Drakensberg to admire the stunning snow-dusted mountains from a cosy log cabin. Here are some ideas to inspire you, along with recommendations for the best places to stay.
Flower season in Citrusdal
You probably don’t expect to marvel at colourful flowers in full bloom before the first spring rains. However, believe it or not, August is peak flower season in Citrusdal, a quaint little town in the Western Cape. Along with thick carpets of Namaqualand Daisies, you can also look forward to exploring the wintery landscape on a bicycle, as well as stopping by a farm stall to stock up on locally sourced seasonal veggies perfect for making a mouth-watering winter soup or stew.
Where to stay? Piekenierskloof Mountain Resort is a gorgeous escape nestled in the mountains and perched at the top of the Piekenierskloof Pass. The resort boasts views of charming Citrusdal below and guests have a choice between private suites and self-catering chalets.
A winter beach holiday at the South Coast
Unlike most other parts of the country, the South Coast is lucky enough to experience warm temperatures despite the season change. Even in the depths of winter, temperatures rarely fall below the mid- to low-twenties. If you’re someone who cannot stand the cold, now is a fantastic time to ‘migrate’ to a sunnier, more pleasant territory!
Take the opportunity to visit a local gallery or museum, such as Gaze Gallery, home to the works of some of South African’s best-loved artists and potters, and visit Beaver Creek Coffee Estate for an aromatic cuppa and an insightful ‘crop to cup’ tour.
Where to stay? The Blue Marlin Hotel in Scottburgh is a must for stunning sea views and all-inclusive holiday packages. It’s well-known for being a family holiday go-to, right on the beach.
Snow-dusted mountains in the Drakensberg
There are few regions in South Africa that are quite as beautiful as the Drakensberg during wintertime. The snow-dusted mountains provide the perfect backdrop for a memorable escape and plenty of photo opportunities. Plus, winter is the Drakensberg’s dry season, which means there’s very little risk of an unexpected downpour putting a damper on your outdoor hiking adventures.
Where to stay? Little Switzerland Resort is the picture of alpine charm and hospitality with a selection of cosy chalets and hotel rooms to choose from. It’s located at the foot of the Northern Drakensberg and promises guests the best of what winter has to offer, such as evenings spent in front of crackling log fires and easy access to well-trodden hiking paths.
Closer to nature in Hluhluwe
Combine the warmer climate of KZN with a diversity of natural beauty and you’ll be sure to savour a holiday to remember. Whether you’re enjoying a spot of game viewing inside Hluhluwe Game Reserve, exploring the iSimangaliso Wetlands Park, or walking along the Primitive Trail and sleeping under the stars in a snug sleeping bag, there are plenty of adventures to be had.
Where to stay? Nibela Lake Lodge is surrounded by KwaZulu-Natal’s iSimangaliso Wetlands Park. Here, you can savour these spectacular views directly from your private balcony.
Wining and dining in Franschhoek
Cold weather getting you down and in need of a pick-me-up? How about a getaway solely dedicated to tantalising your taste buds? From fruity, velvety wine to 5-star French-inspired gourmet meals, there’s no denying that Franschhoek is the ‘Wine and Culinary Capital’ of South Africa.
Where to stay? Le Franschhoek Hotel & Spa is the ideal base for making the most of the many wonders of this charming town in the Winelands. With standard and deluxe rooms, suites and self-catering villas, there’s an option for every budget.
Clear skies and game viewing in the Greater Pilanesberg
You cannot go wrong with a wintertime safari in the Greater Pilanesberg. During the chillier months, the grass is short, and the animals are more likely to be on the move, so your chances of coming across some spectacular finds are significantly higher than at any other time during the year.
Where to stay? Finfoot Lake Reserve offers two accommodation options, namely comfortable chalets and stylish self-catering villas. Guests are certain to appreciate the warm sun deck – the perfect spot for sitting back, de-frosting, and admiring the view.
Beach time and bustling markets in Ballito
As the temperatures start to dip across the country, Durban’s eternally warm and sunny days start to look more appealing than ever.
You’ll get to savour plenty of warm days on the beach. Plus, there’s also the chance to explore some of the famous markets, with the Litchi Orchard Market being the most popular at this time.
Where to stay? Zimbali Lodge is just a 5 minutes’ drive from Ballito and features 18 hotel suites and 35 self-catering vacation ownership units. Plus, the eco-estate has its very own 18-hole golf course!
Whale watching and retail therapy in Cape Town
Peak whale watching season in Cape Town kicks off in July, when you’re practically guaranteed to observe majestic southern right and humpback whales sailing through the glistening waters of the Atlantic. Winter is also a great time to visit Cape Town’s most sought-after shopping hubs, such as the V&A Waterfront and Canal Walk Shopping Centre.
Where to stay? The Peninsula All Suite Hotel is situated in the seaside suburb of Sea Point close to the beach and boasting incredible views of Lion’s Head and the Atlantic. Enjoy 4-star accommodation in elegant suites, with luxury self-catering options and even a grocery delivery service.