Fancy a holiday in an exotic destination where you can experience it all – the sea, wildlife, stunning mountains, and a whole lot more? And where you can choose to rough it in the wild, or enjoy true luxury and sophistication?
If this sounds like a dream holiday only for the super-rich, read on…
South Africa, fast becoming a destination on every tourist’s bucket list and described by Buzzfeed as ‘a must-see traveler’s dream’, offers it all – but at incredibly affordable prices for anyone from a country with a strong currency. Take the vibrant city of Cape Town: listed by The Telegraph newspaper as the best value long-haul destination globally in 2016. So, if you have Dollars, Euros or Pounds Sterling to spend, you’ll be in the pound seats, so to say!
Natural beauty abounds – the stunning mountain ranges, from Table Mountain in the heart of Cape Town to the Drakensberg just hours from Durban; the incredible coastline along both the Atlantic and the Indian Oceans; and the authentic African veld in the savannah regions.
This comes with a bounty of animals in their natural surroundings: visitors adore the penguin colonies and the thrill of getting cheek-to-cheek with sharks and whales near Cape Town. And then there’s the full range of African wildlife to be viewed in the numerous top-notch game parks around the country.
For those keen on great culinary and fruit-of-the-vine experiences, both Cape Town and Johannesburg are known for cuisine that rivals the best in the world. Although there are no Michelin-starred restaurants – only because the Michelin rating is not offered worldwide – a number of eateries offer meals of a Michelin standard.
Tourists love the local dishes. Fried fish and chips and seafood are a feature of the Cape coast, while unique flavors originating in the Far East and India but with local influences are favorites. So, too, the unusual varieties of game meat, which can be found in many parts of the country.
Some of the world’s best wines are made close to Cape Town – near towns like Franschhoek, Stellenbosch and Paarl. Also celebrated are the local craft beer and gin.
And, while it may be winter during the North’s summer (June, July and August), the climate is far warmer than in Europe and the North American continent. Temperatures on winter days’ average at close to 20°C (68.0 °F).
When one considers the costs of enjoying the many wonderful activities, the question of a South African holiday becomes a no-brainer. Here are some examples of what you’ll pay:
Accommodation at the Cape Town Marriott Crystal Towers Hotel: about US$150 (approximately €116) per night. This hotel, with its luxury accommodation, is at the top-end of the hotel offering in the city. And Marriott Rewards members will find it even more attractive: Until the end of August, they get 30% off the room rate and 30% off food and beverage items, including breakfast.
Regular Marriott guests will for the first time in South Africa be able to enjoy the Marriott facilities they know so well from around the world: the familiar taste of the Marriott burger; the Great Room where one can work, play, discuss, and enjoy a top-quality snack or drink; and try out the latest in technology available to guests. Chief among the technology tools are the Marriott App that Marriott Rewards members can use for mobile check-in.
You’ll pay similar amounts for accommodation in a Marriott-owned hotel near the Kruger National Park, one of the world’s leading game reserves, where you can see the Big 5 (lions, leopards, rhinos, elephants and buffalos) living in the wild.
A meal in a fairly good restaurant will cost around ZAR250 per head (US$18/€16 or £15).
One can buy good wines in supermarkets, and the cost is way less than in Europe or the USA.
Uber taxis are plentiful in the large cities, and are very reasonable. Per kilometre, the rate comes in at less than ZAR10 (US$0.75/0.66/£0.58).
To top it all, visitors from Europe and North America are not required to obtain a visa if their stay is less than 3 months.
So, make sure you add this wonderful country to your bucket list – if it’s not already right at the top!