With 2016 already gaining momentum, now is the time to start making your travel plans for the year ahead. With so much information out there about almost every destination in the world, how will you decide where to go? After looking at South African and worldwide travel trends, we have chosen the top travel destinations for 2016 in seven different categories. The top destinations in each of the following categories have been listed below: visa free, local, culture and history, family friendly, safari and rand friendly.
Visa Free: Thailand
Thailand has long been a favourite destination amongst South Africans. Thailand is a good value for money destination as food is cheap and even more delicious than you can imagine. Street food generally costs less than R25 a serving so you can get by on a R150 a day food budget. The postcard beauty of Thailand’s islands and exotic lush forests is another reason for it being so popular with South African travellers. In addition to all of that is the fact that South Africans do not require a visa to enter Thailand for stays of less than a month.
The Cederberg has long been one of South Africa’s most underrated wilderness destinations. Cape Nature has recently spent a considerable amount of money on upgrading their accommodation units in the Cederberg. The outdated cottages have all been replaced by modern, clean units that can be rented on a self-catering basis. Visitors to the Cedarberg can go hiking, rock-climbing, swimming, caving, cycling and stargazing. The Cederberg is also home to some of South Africa’s oldest examples of rock art, some of which is up to 6000 years old. If you’re lucky you might just spot a klipspringer, grey rhebok, leopard, duiker or Cape grysbok while hiking in the Cederberg Mountains.
Culture and History: Italy
Italy is without a doubt one of the world’s best historical and cultural destinations. It is after all where modern history, art and culture originated. Florence is the birthplace of the Renaissance, the bridge between the middle ages and early modern history. Artworks, historical artefacts and even the finger of some of history’s most important minds and artists like Galileo, Da Vinci, Michelangelo, Raphael, Donatello, Dante, and Bellini can be seen in Italy. Italian cultural and historical sites include the Statue of David, Coloseum, Trevi fountain, St Peter’s Basilica, Sistine Chapel, Leaning Tower of Pisa and the Uffizi Gallery to name but a few. There aren’t many other destinations in the world where you can see as many culturally and historically important sites and works of art as in Italy.
Family friendly: Sun City
Sun City is South Africa’s most family friendly resort. There are endless activities and facilities for children to enjoy; from supervised playgrounds, a children’s activity centre at Kamp Kwena, gaming arcades, animal centres and the world famous Waterworld. Active children can play tennis, join their parents for a round of golf, go quad biking, do a Segway tour or even slide down the 2km-long, 280m-high zip line. Parents can also request a private babysitter for toddlers and babies if they feel like having a romantic dinner or some time off to relax at the Valley of the Waves or on the golf course. The great thing about Sun City is that you don’t have to break the bank to have a great holiday. Save money on flights by loading the family in the car and driving up to Sun City. Family room rates offer great value for money.
Botswana might not be the cheapest safari destination in Africa, in fact it might well be the most expensive, but it certainly is the best. One of our pervious posts, “8 reasons why Botswana is the best safari destination in Africa”, explained in depth why Botswana is the best safari destination in Africa. The main reasons are: exceptional wildlife viewing, remoteness and low volume of tourists, the Okavango delta, Savute and the Makgadikgadi Pans. Botswana topped Lonely Planet’s coveted Best in Travel 2016 list, effectively making it, according to Lonely Planet, the best place to visit in 2016. Air Botswana and Sa Airlink operate flights from Johannesburg to Maun and Kasane in Botswana, and both airlines will start flying between Cape Town and Maun at the end of March 2016.
Rand friendly: Mozambique
If you’ve had your plans for a beach or island holiday dashed by the poor state of the rand to the dollar, pound and euro, we recommend that you consider taking a trip to Mozambique. Mozambique has an unspoiled, undeveloped and untamed coastline that stretches for over 2400 km. The islands and beaches on the Mozambican coastline are just as pristine as any you will find in Mauritius or the Seychelles, they’re just not as populated or developed. Some of the best diving sites in the world lie off the coast of Mozambique. There are over 1200 marine creatures living on the coral reefs of Mozambique. As it has not yet been developed, Mozambique is still relatively cheap to travel to. It’s easily accessible by road from South Africa and one can easily find affordable accommodation. Mozambique won’t stay underdeveloped and unspoiled for much longer, experience it for yourself before it’s too late.