Satisfying one’s travel wanderlust doesn’t have to be a costly affair. You just need to know where to look.
With international travel becoming a luxury for most local travellers, exploring South Africa’s geographically diverse and immensely beautiful landscape is fast becoming a viable alternative. For those keen to to travel off the beaten track, there are many hidden gems to be enjoyed – without breaking the bank.
“It is affordable to travel and for South Africans who are prepared to drive for a few hours, there are many economical destinations on offer,” says Tom Williams, Chief Operational Officer at e-commerce travel specialists SafariNow.com. “With just a little bit of research and planning, you can derive just as much value and enjoyment (if not more) from discovering South Africa’s lesser known attractions as you can from traipsing through London or Paris.”
Based on recent customer reviews, Williams says there are clear favourites when it comes to exploring local destinations that are off the beaten track…
Here is the top 10, according to SafariNow.com:
“All of these destinations reflect the fact that increasingly, South Africans are tiring of their usual holiday spots and are more willing to try new, smaller towns and coastal retreats, often with self catering accommodation and specialist activities,” adds Williams. “By reading some of the reviews, you can certainly tell that travellers have become enchanted with some of these destinations and will be making many return visits…”
For example, Mari Basson’s review on SafariNow.com read:
The Valley of a thousand activities – In Cathkin Park and Champagne Valley there are endless activities available for families, hikers, couples and groups. Whether you enjoy hiking, helicopter flips, abseiling, canopy tours, Segway trips, Quad bike trips, ziplining or horseback riding, there is something for everyone. For the leisurely weekend away there are eateries, hotels, Bed and Breakfasts and more. The absolutely stunning natural beauty of the surrounding mountain peaks restores the soul and revives the body and mind. I would go there once a month if it were remotely possible…
And Iain Campbell wrote:
Victoria Bay – Victoria Bay is one of those hidden gems of the garden route, a small charming bay with a superb beach and pristine coastline. Lies about 9 km from George in an easterly direction. George’s nearest beach, it offers safe swimming, surfing, body-boarding and snorkelling. There is also a historic jetty (pier) where one can sip champagne while watching the dolphins swimming past. Only 13 homes adorn Victoria Bay and each one can boast being “on the sea” several of these homes are let out as holiday chalets for your romantic sea-side holiday (see advert) two homes, “the waves” and “lands end” offer supreme bed and breakfast accommodation and many tourists return year after year to these superb spots…
SafariNow is Africa’s biggest and most established online accommodation booking website. The company was founded in 1999 by Matthew Swart, who saw an opportunity to disrupt the established travel agency model by moving it online enabling a wide variety of choice to the discerning traveller. There were, and still are today, thousands of small B&Bs and guesthouses with no representation on the internet. The founders of SafariNow saw this gap in the industry, and decided to invest in the development of sophisticated booking and payment technology. The outcome was an incredibly advanced system which enabled them to create an online marketplace, way ahead of its time. People could now view accommodation options, as well as book and pay online – which was groundbreaking back in 1999.
One and a half decades later, with over 22,000 listed establishments and more than a million monthly visitors, the website has come a long way since it’s humble beginnings. SafariNow is a model of how calculated risk, careful management, brand evolution and staying power, are the foundations of a successful business.