Travel resolutions for 2013

2013-01-11 08:29
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It's amazing what the dawn of a new year can do to your body, mind and soul. With a whole new 365 days stretching out ahead of us, we all feel inspired to do things differently - be healthier, friendlier, more responsible. 

But, let's be honest, if you look back at 2013 in ten years time, will you remember how well you filed your important documents, the amount of times you went to gym, or how few kilojoules you consumed in a day? Probably not. 

You will, however, remember the incredible places you got to see and people you might have met. So, while going on an extensive break more than once a year may not be a realistic goal for most of us, doing something new and exciting each month is undoubtedly good for the soul. 

Here are a few month-by-month suggestions for you to investigate:

January - Go to an outdoor festival or concert

What better way to beat the back-to-reality-blues than letting your hair down and dancing under the stars? Okay, you don't have to dance if you don't want to, but we do strongly suggest you pack a picnic basket/pack a tent and follow the music. If you live in the Western Cape, you're really spoiled for choice with a whole range of outdoor concerts featuring the cream of South Africa's musical crop. Highlights include The Parlotones at Kirstenbosch, Ikapa Dance at Oude Libertas and the Philharmonic Brass Quintet in De Waal Park. If you're a little wilder at heart, pack your lilo and head to Swellendam for the weekend to attend Up the Creek music festival. Your first time? Read these 12 tips for making the most of any music festival.

February - Take a romantic weekend break in nature 

Forget the heart-shaped chocolates and overpriced candle-lit dinners, and sweep your loved one off to a romantic break in the middle of nowhere instead. No matter where in the country you're based, there's sure to be a little secret spot less than a 100km away. Check out our top 10 romantic nature spot picks around South Africa.

March - Go on a hike

Falling neatly between summer and winter, March is generally a rather mild month right across the country, making it the perfect time to attempt that hike you've been threatening to do for so long. While most of the popular routes like The Otter Trail on the Garden Route and Fish River Canyon would probably be booked out, you'd do well to investigate something closer to home. Just remember that even easy routes do hold a measure of danger, so check out these basic rules for hiking safety.  

April - Walk through an autumn vineyard

This year April offers two blissful long weekends - one at the very beginning (Monday, 1 April is Family Day) and one at the very end (Monday, 1 May is Workers Day). Why not make use of one of these by taking a break in the winelands. You will be rewarded with breathtaking displays of warm Autumn colours in varying shades of red, orange, yellow and brown tinging all the vineyards, many opportunities to get cosy, sipping your favourite blend and, essentially, a slightly restored soul. 

May - Go on a camping trip

Don't be fooled into thinking that May is strictly a winter month. Yes, the cold does start creeping in and hauling out the boots and coats is probably a good idea (just in case), but more often than not the fifth month stuns with crystal clear, calm and mild days. Make the most of this tendency toward ‘Indian Summers' by packing your tent, a couple of books, a walking stick, a few bottles of good red wine and head into the wild. Don't know where to go? Check out our list of 10 great camping spots around the country. Think you're an inadequate camper? The truth is, no one's an expert - but just to help you along, here are a few things NOT to do while camping. Gear too expensive? Not to worry, there are always alternative arrangements to be made, like combining a milk bottle and a headlamp to make a night light. So, yes, there really is no excuse!

June - Revive your soul with a bush break 

While the rest of the country is caught in the grip of gloomy cold, the northern provinces boast warm days, comfortably cool nights and receding vegetation perfect for game viewing. Apart from this, the bush offers the perfect mid-year break, as there really is no better way to recharge your batteries than getting in touch with your wild side. If you're after the quintessential South African bush experience, head to the Kruger National Park and follow these tips for exploring it like a local. But, if you're looking for something different, you can check out these top game reserves in the country as voted by our readrs or explore one of the lesser known parks. Once you know where you're going, read these game viewing tips and tricks from Ranger Diaries editor James Kydd 

July - Go snow hunting

As winter arrives in full force by July, certain parts of the country are bound to get a sprinkling of frosty white. If you've never played in the snow on home soil before, make 2013 the year you'll experience the magic. Check out this guide to snow-hunting in SA to establish which destination prone to snow is closest to where you live, gather some enthusiastic friends and keep a close eye on weather reports , so you don't miss out. 

August - Do a digital detox

August is an uncomfortable month. The charm of winter cosiness starts wearing off, spring doesn't seem to be on its way and a sense of general irritability seems to weigh down on everyone. Needless to say, social networks may hit a speed wobble of grumpy posts, which makes everything so much worse. Just save yourself the drama and take a good and solid digital detox. Kick it off by switching off your cell phone, ditching the laptop and heading to the most remote spot you can find with your family or partner for a weekend. Once you head back to work, try taking a stroll every lunch break instead of staring at a screen and force yourself to unplug when you're home. If it doesn't come naturally, check out these 7 tips for switching off

September - Celebrate your heritage

We live in a country of astounding cultural, natural and creative diversity. So, it's only fitting that a whole month be dedicated to heritage, the roots out of which we've grown and the foundations on which we build. Make a conscious effort to celebrate a certain aspect of your/the country's heritage that you've never investigated before this September. Head to the Cradle of Humankind in Maropeng , the Apartheid Museum in Soweto or into Namakwaland or up the West Coast to see the incredible display of flowers (definitely part of our natural heritage). 

October - Attend a beer fest

Speaking of heritage, one of the greatest traditions the Germans brought to our shores must be the October celebration of beer. Even if you aren't much of a drinker, these festivals normally have a lot to offer in the way of delicious traditional cuisine, music and kiddies entertainment. Keep your eyes peeled for beer-related events happening in your vicinity, and if you're in Pretoria head to the German Schule for a proper Bavarian feast. 

November - Try a new water sport

Get into gear for summer by trying a water sport you've never attempted before. If you live by the sea, go for a surfing lesson, snorkel around a quiet bay or go kayaking. If you live inland, locate your nearest river, dam or lake and canoe, jet ski or wakeboard to your heart's content. 

December - Do a road trip

'Tis the season to be jolly, so round up your family or gather some friends and hit the open road. Whether you're in Gauteng, KZN, the Western Cape, Eastern Cape or Free State, there are a whole array of fantastic routes to try out. Just keep in mind that December is notorious for road accidents, due to the sudden surge of festive season traffic. Avoid travelling just before and after Christmas and New Year and remember these road safety tips.

What are your travel resolutions for 2013?

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