As winter approaches, many South Africans will be looking for warmer Northern Hemisphere destinations to escape to in the coming months. These four holidays make for excellent options.
1. Kayak alongside Killer Whales
The northwest of America is home to great cities such as Seattle and Portland and the wild Olympic Peninsula, known for its vast rain forests, Native American influences and being the film location of the Twilight Series. It is in this unique region where you can go kayaking alongside pods of orcas – the world’s largest predators. You’ll launch onto the Puget Sound from one of the San Juan Islands and paddle until you see a sprout of spray, marking the arrival of these beautiful creatures. Watch as they play, dive and feed a few metres away from you.
2. Trek Slovenia
Slovenia is a budget-friendly choice for South African travellers with unspoiled nature and rich European heritage. On Foot Holidays, one of Europe’s leading walking tour operators, offers a gentle 7-day walking trip that starts in Ljubljana, the capital city of Slovenia, and ends along the Italian coast. Walking 11 to 16 kms per day, you’ll traverse ancient woodlands, deep valleys and vineyards, pass hilltop villages and explore the legendary caves of the Karst.
Along the way you’ll meet the locals and enjoy farm stays and homegrown goodness including ham, honey, fruit and plenty of wine. Your walk ends triumphantly at the top of the coastal city of Trieste where you’ll enjoy a scenic tram ride down to your hotel. Throughout the easy-to-medium self-guided walk, your luggage is transferred between inns; accommodation and meals are arranged on your behalf, and you’re equipped with a detailed information pack (including maps and local contacts). All you have to do is select your departure date, book your trip and hop on a plane.
Rate: R10, 875pp (subject to exchange rate), Website: www.onfootholidays.co.uk, Phone: +44 (0) 1722 322 652/ Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
3. See the Best of Iceland
There’s good reason why Iceland has become one of the world’s most desired places to visit. Its glaciers, active volcanoes, hot springs, geysers, vast mountain ranges, wild rivers and countless waterfalls make it a nature-lover’s first choice. Summer in the northern hemisphere is the best time to visit when the island is bathed in round-the-clock sub-Arctic daylight.
Marvel at the spectacular Gullfoss waterfall, bathe in the aquamarine waters of the geothermal blue lagoon and walk through the Geyser Geothermal field to see erupting geysers sprout up from one of the world’s most active springs. Summer is also a good time to explore the museums and experience the hip culture of capital city, Reykjavik, and to spot some of the 23 types of whales that frequent the coastline this time of year.
4. Walk the Great Wall of China
Snaking its way from east to west China, the Great Wall of China should be on everyone’s bucket list. It is 21 196kms long, over 2000 years old and a revered UNESCO World Heritage Site. The wall was originally built as a northerly fortification against attacks from nomadic groups, but over the centuries it’s also served as a transit for border control and a transportation route.
In modern times the wall has become a major tourist attraction with travellers coming from afar to walk (or run) popular stretches, such as Badaling and Jinshanling. The Great Wall winds up and down and crosses deserts, grasslands, mountains and plateaus, leaving you with plenty of choice.
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