Take a staycation

2010-09-24 11:44

Not everyone has bundles of cash saved up for travelling, and with fluctuating petrol prices and interest rates, visiting exotic locations is the last thing on people’s minds.

Enter the staycation. A staycation can be every bit as fun and relaxing as a vacation to some far-away place.

Most people who live in South Africa are yet to visit some of the exciting spots right on their doorsteps.

Whatever kind of holiday you fancy, SA Tourism’s list of must-sees and must-dos has something for everyone.

Nature Lover’s Holiday
The iSimangaliso (previously Greater St Lucia) Wetland Park in KwaZulu-Natal is a World Heritage Site that has five ecosystems, including the Mkhuze savannah, crocodile-rich estuary and offshore coral reefs.

For a different kind of wildlife, try the turtle tours that stretch from St Lucia to Kosi Bay.

Mpumalanga provides a rare view from the top.

Explore the aptly titled God’s Window.

The Three Rondavels and the Bourke’s Luck Potholes are also features of the gorgeous Blyde River Canyon.

Cultural Experience Holiday
In Johannesburg, don’t miss out on Little India, the areas in and around Fordsburg, Vrededorp and Mayfair.

Shop at the Oriental Plaza and enjoy Indian curry at its best in the restaurants of the area.

The colourful Grey Street in Durban can’t be missed.

KwaZulu-Natal is also the centre of what is arguably the country’s most dominant culture, the Zulus.

The Durban-Eshowe-Shakaland-Ulundi route is a recommended cultural journey.

Spend a night at Shakaland, a cultural Zulu village, and have the customs explained to you by an impi (Zulu warrior).

The battleground of King Cetshwayo’s war against the British at Ulundi in 1878 is also worth a visit.

Fun and Entertainment Holiday
A winelands safari is an absolute must. Just outside Cape Town you’ll find the town of Stellenbosch, the second-oldest town in South Africa.

It has a laid-back village feel and more wine estates than you can count.

Enjoy the magnificent views and wine-tasting tours.

About 28km from Stellenbosch is the historical town of Franschhoek, where you can learn about the impact of the French on wine-making in South Africa.

If you are travelling with your family, add theme parks on your itinerary.

The uShaka Marine World in Durban is both fun and educational.

Explore the Aquarium, the Wet ’n Wild Water Park and Sea World.

In Gauteng, visit Gold Reef City and experience what Johannesburg was like in the days of the famous gold rush.

Pamper Session Holiday
Try treatments using indigenous plant extracts at the Sanctuary Spa in Camps Bay, Cape Town, set against a group of rocky mountain formations known as the Twelve Apostles.

Also in the Western Cape is the famous Bushmans Kloof Spa & Retreat in the Cederberg area.

It embraces the concept of healing through water and a range of therapeutic touch therapies such as aromatherapy and reflexology.

Bush spas are also big in South Africa.

Cool off at Makanyane Safari Lodge Spa in the Madikwe Game Reserve in the North West, the Sabi Sabi Earth Lodge Spa in the Sabi Sabi Game Reserve in Mpumalanga, and Shibula Lodge and Bush Spa in the  Welgevonden Private Game Reserve in Limpopo.

Adventure Holiday
South Africa has some of the world’s highest commercial bungee jumps. Bloukrans River Bridge in the Western Cape will send you plummeting 216m.

You can also go cage-diving with sharks and crocodiles.

The Cango Wildlife Ranch in the Western Cape’s Oudtshoorn area is the first and only crocodile
cage-diving facility in the whole world.

If you want a close encounter with Jaws, head for Gansbaai in the Western Cape. Cape Town’s False Bay and the Garden Route’s Mossel Bay are also popular cage-diving spots.

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