They say that the third Monday in January is ‘the most depressing day of the year’ as the bloom wears off your Christmas and New Year’s memories, you get back into the work grind and the bills start arriving again. Then around rolls February, usually the coldest, wettest and generally most miserable month in the northern hemisphere. Is it any wonder at this rather bleak time of year that our hearts and minds focus on escaping to warm beaches, sunny climates and tropical islands?
The emotions your loved one feels when you ask them such a defining and important question – ‘Will you marry me?’ – can be overwhelming to the point of tears, laughter and weak knees, exactly the sort of emotions that are worthy of an utterly romantic setting.
With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, it seems only right to bring you Africa’s most romantic escapes. But don’t expect just the usual ‘candlelit dinners’ and ‘petal-strewn bathtubs’: our experts have ditched the clichés and sought out exceptional experiences and secluded escapes - this is romance with an African twist.
Africa is a wonderfully scenic hiking and trekking destination. The terrain ranges from soaring mountains to semi-desert jeep tracks to paths winding through lush rainforests. Africa is home to some of the planet’s last truly wild places where you can stretch your horizons and free your inner adventurer.
It's February in Africa and summer is in full swing. Rain has settled in across much of the continent and many of its top safari destinations, drenching the tropical coastline in afternoon showers. But it's not all grey clouds: choose the right destination, and you’ll find yourself under Africa's classic blue skies and gorgeous sunshine.
Africa is home to some of the world’s last truly wild places – where untamed land stretches from horizon to horizon and rivers run freely. This is the continent to visit when you need to free your spirit from the pressures and pollution of the rat race.
In many ways, Port Elizabeth is a great place to end off your Garden Route self-drive holiday. Lying in the Eastern Cape province, it’s the place where the Western Cape’s lush forests and plantations start giving way to burnt orange aloes and the thicket bush that is the perfect terrain for kudu and one of the Eastern Cape’s main attractions: elephants. Addo Elephant National Park lies less than hour from PE – as it’s known to locals – and is ideal for first-time safari goers who are looking for a completely safe, malaria-free, family-friendly destination.
Namibia is a land of endless blue skies, vast horizons and crisp mornings: pure joy for photography enthusiasts. It is also safe, clean and organized with an excellent infrastructure, making it a favourite destination for family vacations, especially self-drive safaris (that’s travel lingo for independant road tripping - an ideal way to vacation with teenagers).
Summer in Cape Town is all about beautiful views, good food, sunshine and enjoying the great outdoors. For the more adventurous traveller, there is a host of exciting options and the lastest of these is the SA Forest Adventures Zipline at Silvermist Estate in Constantia Valley.
South of the equator, January is midsummer. If you’re planning to come to Africa at this time, you might hear things like: it'll be hot, it'll be wet, the wildlife is as widely dispersed as the abundant surface water (instead of conveniently concertrated around waterholes), and some lodges and camps are closed for the 'off' season.