Year-Round African DelightsPosted on: 26 January 2009 by Gareth Hargreaves
Africa is a perfect year-round holiday destination. We highlight where to go, what to see and when.
No other continent comes close to Africa for scale, variety and pure, raw impact. The second-largest continent offers a unique travel experience with its natural history alone making a dozen visits worthwhile.
Where else on earth can you fall asleep to the sound of lions roaring, or watch a million flamingos take off from the waters of a remote soda lake? Parts of Africa boast spectacular scenery but the essence of this incredible continent isn’t in any desert, mountain or lake.
Debate with venerable merchants among the cool, narrow streets of an Arabic medina, dance to the thumping reggae beats coming from a West African market stall, or shoot the breeze with fishermen under Indian Ocean palm trees, and you’ll be struck more than anything else by the honesty, warm-heartedness and vitality of the African people.
Africa’s not always an easy place to travel in. It can be frustrating and challenging at times. Hardships and logistical disasters can happen. But don’t believe everything you see on TV: Africa’s not a hell hole full of civil war, plague, famine and violent crime. It’s a fantastic, enlightening, surprising and intriguing continent.
Try it once, and we guarantee you’ll dream about coming back for the rest of your life.
Cape Town, South Africa
The ideal winter sun, city break with great weather and less people in January post Christmas. Also, being on the same time zone means no jet lag. Bailey Robinson offers a selection of boutique and luxury hotels in Cape Town, plus itineraries to go on safari and drive the famous ‘Garden Route’.
A 15-day Cape Town and Western Cape holiday costs from £3,000.
January – March
Turtle hatching in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
This is one of the best places to watch turtle eggs hatch. With the support of the KwaZulu-Natal Nature Conservation Service, visitors can now watch baby turtles make their nocturnal journey to the sea accompanied by a qualified, experienced guide.
Tours depart from St. Lucia to Sodwana or Kosi Bay during certain evenings between January and March. Each trip lasts approximately 8 - 24 hours.
A 15-day KwaZulu Natal holiday costs from £2,830. A third of the turtle tour fee goes towards turtle conservation.
Great Migration, Serengeti, Tanzania
This world class game viewing destination is perhaps best visited in February when huge herds of wildebeest and zebra can be spotted with their newborns. Itineraries can include some of the region’s most exquisite lodges and camps where guests can truly soak up the atmosphere without forgoing any creature comforts.
A 14-day Tanzania and Northern Circuit holiday costs from £4,700.
Desert dunes and wildlife, Namibia
Namibia is home to some of the world’s most dramatic landscapes and fragile ecosystems. March is a great time to experience the desert with its burnt amber sand dunes and rare wildlife as it completely comes alive in a different light - green and lush with flowers and baby animals making it one of the most beautiful times in Namibia.
The Etosha National Park is one of the largest reserves in Africa and should be included on any itinerary in Namibia.
A 12-day Cape Town and Namibia holiday costs from £3,500.
March - June
Flamingo Fiesta, Botswana
Watch the ground turn pink as flocks of flamingos cover the Makgadikgadi Pans where early man first took to two legs. Towards the end of the rainy season and for a time after - if there has been rain, the Pans become home for thousands of birds.
The vivid flamingos are the most colourful and spectacular, but travellers can also expect to see pelicans, cranes and all kinds of ducks and geese. The sense of open space that is felt in this part of Africa is immense.
A 14-day Makgadikgadi Pan and Mashatu holiday costs from £3,400.
April – October
Okavango Delta, Botswana
The Okavango Delta is a wildlife paradise where a diverse range of animals come to escape the harsh conditions in the surrounding Kalahari Desert. The Okavango River rises in Angola and then heads inland to the Kalahari.
Here it forms one of the largest inland deltas in the world, breaking up into hundreds of channels in its attempt to find its way out of the desert. All its efforts are in vain and the river is eventually choked by heat and the sand. It is this phenomenon that offers visitors some exceptional wildlife viewing opportunities.
A 12-day Okavango Delta holiday costs from £2,750.
Cape Town Waterfront Wine Festival
South African wine is world famous and the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town comes alive at the beginning of May with the Waterfront Wine Festival, a must for wine lovers.
With some 400 wines from 95 estates and wineries represented, plus a great selection of South Africa's finest cheeses, this has got to be the easiest way to sample some of the culinary wonders of the Cape and have a holiday at the same time!
Victoria Falls, Zambia
The falls are at their fullest at this time of the year making it one of the most spectacular times to visit and travellers can really understand the name ‘the Smoke that Thunders’. With the waters full to the rim and loads of spray, the only way to see them is from under a cape on a boat!
A 12-day Zambia holidays costs from £2,550.
Standard Bank National Arts Festival, South Africa
This is the largest arts festival in the Southern Hemisphere with performances ranging from cutting-edge to classical. Although it’s not the warmest time of year and woollies are a must to take, it really is worth visiting as part of an African itinerary for something a little bit different.
A 13-day Eastern Cape holiday costs from £2,200.
Wildebeest migration, Serengeti, Tanzania
This is the time that many animals are getting ready to move to move across to Kenya, including the wildebeest. There is also the chance to see exciting river crossings as well as some of the world’s largest crocodiles.
Mr Price Pro Surfing Classic, Durban, South Africa
Surfing fans won’t want to miss this world-class water sports and beach-related tournament that includes the Gunston 500, one of the world's premier surfing events.
Taking place in July, the cosmopolitan city of Durban in the Kwa-Zulu-Natal province can be included in any South African itinerary.
August – October
Wildebeest migration, Maasai Mara, Kenya
Kenya offers varied game viewing due to the country’s diverse habitats – snow-capped mountains, powder white beaches, deserts, rain forests, lakes and savannah. Not only is there an abundance of game, but the Maasai Mara’s annual migration of millions of zebra, antelope and wildebeest remains one of the world’s most incredible spectacles.
A 13-day Maasai Mara holidays costs from £2,800.
August - October
Whale watching and whale criers, South Africa
Grootbos is the best place for land-based whale watching in South Africa which can be done by boat or helicopter. Southern right whales and albino whales can be spotted.
The world’s only “whale crier” is another major attraction - he keeps visitors informed as to the whereabouts of the whales as he does his daily rounds through town. The sound of his kelp horn has become a charming characteristic of this seaside resort during whale season.
The resort is 115km from Cape Town and easily added to any South African itinerary.
Cape of South Africa
This is the ideal time for wildflower lovers to see beautiful flower filled fields, particularly at Bushmans Kloof and Grootbos, meanwhile, arguably ‘the fairest Cape of them all’, the Western Cape, is a major draw for its perfect beaches, glorious countryside and world famous vineyards.
A 15-day Explore the Western Cape costs from £3,000.
Festival of Stars, Lake Malawi
This award winning music festival - www.lakeofstars.org - takes place on the palm fringed shores of the continent’s third largest lake, Lake Malawi. The festival promotes Malawian music and tourist, as well as raising funds for charity. Visitors are treated to incredible live music in a stunning location.
Malawi is a nature lover's destination, the national parks - Cape Maclear, Kasungu, Lengwe, Liwonde and Nyika - and some very game rich reserves combine perfectly with mountain hiking and horse riding.
A 15-day holiday in Malawi costs from £3,250.
Flowers in the Kalahari, Botswana
The Kalahari Desert is one of the most inhospitable places in Africa. Most of the time it is a place to wonder at the surrounding desolation and the vastness of Africa, but during the rains it is transformed into a startlingly beautiful, never-ending meadow.
Khutse Game Reserve is a great place to catch this fantastic display from mid November to mid December. This can be added to any Botswana itinerary.
Million Dollar Golf Challenge, Sun City, South Africa
Sun City is internationally renowned as Africa's premier holiday resort and offers a myriad of different entertainment and relaxation opportunities, as well as enough attractions and activities to keep everyone busy.
This high-stakes golf tournament attracts the world's best golfers and it’s a fun place to hang out for a few days and can be added into any South African holiday.
All the above per person prices include touring as specified, internal flights and transfers and luxury accommodation on a predominantly full board basis from Bailey Robinson. Price excludes international flights.
Are you planning on a holiday to Africa? Have you been to Africa?
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