Seeking Sunshine and Warmth on your next trip? These destinations offer both all year round.

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As winter lingers longer than usual, I can’t help but look to escaping the Cape Town chill and seeking sunshine and warmth to soothe the body and soul. Lazing on a tropical beach would definitely do it for me, but there are numerous destination that deliver that all-important Vitamin D – and Sea, with culture, culinary and consicousness that I recommend.

Consistent sunshine and clement days are on offer in destinations such as Dubai and Cancun, on Indian Ocean Islands and on the East African shoreline. While destiantions such as India and Zanzibar blend heritage and soul with the heat they deliver. So whether it’s scuba diving, beach breaks, galleries, shopping, museums or monuments you seek out, these destinations offer summer living – all year round.

Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Once a small fishing village in the Arabian Gulf, Dubai is today one of the most cosmopolitan cities in the world. Constantly reinventing itself to provide everything a global citizen could want for, the glittering United Arab Emirates city plays home to futuristic architecture that contrasts boldly with the bleached desert sands of the surrounds. In addition to the imposing high-rises, including the tallest building in the world – the Burj Khalifa, Dubai’s coastline and turquoise waters are adorned by impressive man-made islands. Visit Jumeirah and be surrounded by bougainvillaea-laden villas, a thriving cafe scene and exclusive marinas by the sea. Dine at fashionable cafes, or visit one of Dubai’s cultural landmarks, such as the notable Jumeirah Mosque. Wander through the Bastakiya Quarter for traditional Arabian influences. The maze of narrow lanes is lined with low-lying buildings showcasing arabesque windows, screens and wind towers once typical here. With innumerable entertainment and dining options, those wishing to shop can visit the world’s biggest shopping mall, or explore Dubai’s varied artistic and cultural highlights. Attractions range from the Dubai Opera, the Global Village and Dubai Fountain, activities from water sports to skydiving, 4×4 safaris and themed parks.

Seychelles, Indian Ocean Islands

A group of islands off the coast of Africa in the Indian Ocean, Seychelles are a renowned destination for travellers seeking out the exclusive and the unique – as well as all year sunshine. The archipelago consists of 115 islands, half of which are uninhabited, and a quarter of which are private resort islands. Most intimate enough to be home to just one resort hotel, meaning you could have the whole island to yourself in castaway fantasy style. A wildness adds to the appeal and it’s not hard to happen upon a beach where you can leave the first pair of prints in the powder-white sand. With curious wildlife often comparable to that of the Galápagos found among the virgin forest and coral reefs, the archetypal Indian Ocean paradise has palm-fringed beaches lining the dreamy-turquoise sea. Stay at North Island, the super-natural, ultra-private island, or on Frégate Island, where a glamorous desert-island experience is completed by private yachts and secluded beaches. In a nation that takes environmentalism seriously, a visit to Seychelles has the added feel-good element that every property is doing its part in protecting the fauna and flora for which it is renowned.

Zanzibar, Tanzania

The Zanzibar archipelago off the coast of East Africa’s United Republic of Tanzania is all about turquoise lagoons, soft sandy beaches, delectable cuisine, and strong cultural traditions. Also known as Spice Island, Zanzibar is home to spices like nutmeg, clove, cinnamon, cardamom, and black pepper. These spices and herbs were originally brought to the island by Portuguese traders who settled here in the 16th century. Nowadays, the plantations are a tribute to the island’s past and a walk through them to touch, smell, and taste the various spices and tropical fruits is a heady rush. Zanzibar cuisine has been greatly influenced by a blend of Arab, African, Bantu, Portuguese, Persian, Indian, Chinese, and British cultures and traditions, and you will find everything from chapatis and curries, to pilaf rice, biryani, and an abundance of seafood grilled with coconut milk and spices. The capital and hub of social life on the island is Stone Town, with its tumbledown buildings, fascinating history, and working marina that all reflect the Middle Eastern, Swahili, Indian, and European influences the island has experienced. A slave-trading port in its day, Stone Town has Arab mansions with high, whitewashed walls sitting next to the lacy balconies and colourful stained glass windows of grand Indian residences. Massive teak and mahogany Zanzibar doors grace the front of almost every building, and their style has been copied all over the world. They are said to be a visual statement of the wealth and social standing of the owner, the larger and more elaborately carved the front Zanzibar door, the more important the inhabitants, making it somewhat of a “carved business card” for the residents. Surrounded by coral reefs and the warm waters of the Indian Ocean, the marine life in Zanzibar is a diver’s dream.

Zanzibar MyBlue Hotel

Zanzibar Hershels Store

Vilanculos and Benguerra Island, Mozambique

Hugging the east coast of Africa in the southern reaches of the Indian Ocean, the starting point for most Mozambique escapes is Vilanculos where azure waters, sandy beaches, and untouched landscapes await. Situated on the mainland coast, Vilanculos serves as the gateway to the idyllic Benguerra Islands and Bazaruto Archipelago. Accessible by boat or scheduled flight from Johannesburg and Maputo, it has a laid-back atmosphere and showcases the authentic charm of Mozambique. Meander through its colourful markets and stop in at a pub for a local beer to get a sense of the warmth and hospitality unique to this region. Embark on thrilling diving and snorkelling excursions to witness the kaleidoscope of marine life thriving beneath the surface. The vibrant coral reefs surrounding the Benguerra Islands are teeming with exotic fish, manta rays, and even the majestic dugongs. Take a traditional dhow boat trip and sail into the sunset, feeling the gentle breeze caress your face. A trip to Vilanculos is incomplete without visiting the Benguerra Islands and Bazaruto Archipelago a group of six islands offshore that increase and decrease in size with the tide. The Bazaruto Archipelago, encompassing the Benguerra Islands and Bazaruto Island, is a protected marine reserve and shelters a diverse array of marine life, making it a dream destination for nature enthusiasts and conservationists. Snorkel or dive alongside graceful whale sharks, humpback whales, and playful dolphins, or go deep-sea fishing and try your luck at catching marlin or sailfish.

Read my other posts on Mozambique.

Mauritius, Indian Ocean Islands

It was writer Mark Twain who said ‘Mauritius was made first, and then heaven, and that heaven was copied after Mauritius’. This sun-drenched tropical island in the Indian Ocean makes it easy to understand the sentiment. Once a hideout for pirates, Mauritius is a haven of sun-drenched white sandy beaches. An island that beckons discovery it has Indian temples, grand historic homesteads, tea plantations, botanical gardens, unique flora and fauna, lush golf courses, water sports, mountain trekking and kitesurfing – as well as the opportunity to learn the traditional hip-wiggling sega dance. Long celebrated for its beautiful landscapes and coastline, this multicultural melange of a nation offers biodiversity and exceptional cuisine. Find hotels and resorts in the tourism hub around Grand Baie, on the renowned east coast where the high-end luxury resorts are set, or on the family-friendly west coast with its flat inviting beaches. The wilder beautiful south with its cliff tops walks to suit the adventurer. Port Louis, the island’s historic capital, is known for its pulsating nightlife, Unesco World Heritage Sites and the world’s oldest horseracing tracks. There are protected national parks and the interior soars into dramatic mountain ranges and verdant natural forests.


The Maldives, Indian Ocean Islands

An idyllic paradise, the Maldives are home to some of the finest beaches and dive sites in the world. A chain of 1192 small coral islands and sandbanks, of which some 200 are inhabited, grouped in clusters or atolls. Home to numerous ecosystems including 187 species of coral reef and thousands of colourful fish, sea turtles, whales and dolphins and with fish visible around you as you swim, it’s like stepping into an untouched world. Private villas sit suspended over striking blue waters, bleached white beaches invite the sunseeker and spectacular sunsets dip into the horizon to mark the end of each perfect day. The scenic beauty of the Maldives is something to behold. Unwind at one of the island spas, laze in a hammock at your over-water villa, and all visitors should certainly spend a day exploring the Maldivian capital of Malé.  The accommodations in this region are spectacular, ranging from underwater hotels to overwater private bungalows. If you dream of seeing yourself lazing in hammocks in your over-water villa, while your butler brings you a martini by boat, then the Maldives is the destination for you. The only difficult decision may be choosing which island suits you best.



India gets your pulse racing as you explore its incredible tourist attractions. An extravagantly beautiful land, its endless surprises and delights will leave you spellbound. Fast-paced and intensely exciting, the sensory onslaught and multitude of attractions will appease any avid traveller. Delhi, India’s capital territory, is a massive metropolitan area where the imposing Mughal-era Red Fort stands, a symbol of India, and the sprawling Jama Masjid mosque can be visited. Founded on seven islands, Mumbai came into being in the mid-eighteenth century to establish what is now the most populated city in India. The country’s financial and commercial capital and home to a unique blend of art, theatre and culture as well as India’s glamorous Bollywood industry. For laidback beach living head to Goa, a part of India which is forever Portuguese and packed with history. The beaches in this relaxed paradise on the country’s western coast are geared to sun-loving tourists with palm-fringed beaches leading to hillside retreats and villages. Find the Himalayas, the highest mountain ranges in the northern part of India, where hiking trails will bring you closer to the gods. India offers the best in Spa and Ayurveda therapies designed to rejuvenate your body, mind and soul. Rishikesh is the birthplace of yoga, a mecca for spiritual wellness. Don’t miss a dive into the culinary delights, either by taking to the many restaurants and street stalls or on a guided tour that will introduce you to the excellent food hangouts and the city’s tastiest dishes.

Cancun, Mexico

A popular Mexican city on the Yucatán Peninsula, Cancún borders the Caribbean Sea. An ever-popular destination with hidden beaches it comprises two primary districts, the more traditional downtown or El Centro, and Zona Hotelera – a long, coastal strip with high-rise hotels, nightclubs, shops and restaurants. Located between the Riviera Maya resorts of Cancún and Playa del Carmen, Puerto Morelos is one of the most charming and peaceful spots in the region to base yourself on. The snorkelling is legendary, with the reef just off-shore part of the Great Mesoamerican Reef, the second-largest reef system in the world. Playa Delfines is more relaxed and less crowded with a laid-back feel and authentic food vendors. Playa Forum is the most iconic in all of Riviera Maya, delivering everything you could want for. Even more, it’s located right in the heart of the hotel zone, where exciting nightlife and great restaurants are just a few steps away. Couples might prefer Isla Blanca, a more secluded stretch of sand away from the maddening crowds. With abundant natural beauty, ancient Mayan culture, water activities and adventure, international cuisine, sophisticated spa facilities and handcraft markets – either way, indulge!

** Pics sourced.


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