Not travelling these holidays? You still get to be a tourist.
Decided not to travel this year? We understand. The economy is being very economical. On everything. The Rand might not get you a ticket out of here, but there is still plenty to do in the vicinity of your neighbourhood. So you can do some local travel. We’ll give you some ideas for how to be a tourist in your own country, and discover the kind of adventures visitors to our shores get up to.
Joburgers, go to the mountains.
The Magaliesberg Mountains to be precise. There’s a lot to do there besides just hiking trails. Though if you and a few friends decide to do that, you’re in for a treat: the trails take you past wateralls and beautiful scenery. Perfect for local travel.
But what about taking in the scene from up high? The only thing filled with hot air in this suggestion are the gargantuan balloons your basket (carrying you) will be attached to. And why not? There’s something uplifting about being lifted about and experiencing gorgeous sunsets as you drift the winds in the sky.
There’s also quad-biking in Hartbeespoort. If you’re not into long walks, this is a nice alternative way to explore the trails of the area. The terrain is perfect for it, rugged and fun.
Maybe you love wildlife. Then get in close with cheetah. These magnificent big cats are found at the De Wildt Cheetah & Wildlife Centre. Cheetah struggle to successfully procreate, yet the centre is renowned for its success in helping these creatures breed. It’s essential as they are on the threatened list in terms of conservation status.
There is also an elephant experience to be had at the Askari Game Lodge, where you can meet two elephants, Damara and Nzewe, two sub-adult males.
If you’re for fly-fishing, grab your rod and facsimile bait, and head to the Magalies River Barbus Haven. It’s an eco-friendly place which is located by the… you guessed it… Magalies River. It’s perfect for a secluded experience and peaceful afternoon as you endeavour to hook one of the many fish species for dinner (or your wall).
If you’re partial for quenching your thirst with beer, there’s no doubt the Black Horse Craft Brewery will sate it. Microbrewing is an art form, one they’ve perfected. You’ll be able to enjoy various beers, such as Ginger Beer, a traditional beer with subtle infusions of lemon and strawberries. Or Stable Weiss, which goes down easily and will remind you of bananas and citrus fruits. Amongst many others.
Finally, you have to go down to the World Heritage Site, the Cradle of Humankind. Especially if you have any interest in our human history. There are tours, caves to explore, and a museum, where you’ll literally come face to face with our ancestors. Yay for local travel!
Durbanites, head for the Hills.
Not very far from you is a valley of rolling hills across the landscape. Not far at all, but a mere 25kms, barely a half hour drive. But it might as well be far out in the country, for all it’s rustic beauty and the sense of being in nature’s splendour… far from the city. So there’s something to be said about local travel.
It has everything: wildlife, scenery, wining and dining, cultural traditions, outdoor adventures, and comfortable places to stay. The latter including everything from bed & breakfasts to lodges to hotels, suitable for any budget.
Aside from where to stay, there’s plenty of places to eat. From township style Kasi meals to traditional English pubs, there’s a flavour for every taste, and even more for those on the experimental side. Why not try traditional cuisine, or even fascinating cultural meals?
Then there’s the outdoor activities. Go hiking through the gorgeous hills and explore a side of KwaZulu that’ll leave you speechless, either on foot or pedal to the medal on a bike. Perhaps abseiling down a mountain sounds fun… grasping your rope as you descend backwards into thin air.
Especially interesting is the deep Zulu roots of the region, and you can partake in ceremonies that run deep with heritage. It’s a culture education that’s exhilarating in its enrichment.
You can also take a dive off the coast, with an exhilarating scuba diving course, and traverse the ocean currents under water.
Or perhaps just safari in the nature reserves in the area, taking in the lush scenery and beguiling wildlife.
Valley of a 1000 Hills is an amazing adventure just in arm’s reach of Durban’s city centre, and you’ll wonder why you felt FOMO in the first place to others’ overseas Facebook photos. Because local travel can be just as great.
Cape Townians, stay where you are.
It’s easy to miss out on what’s in front of you when you live there. But, Cape Town residents, you live in one of the top ten cities to visit in the world.
Whether it’s a quick trip to Stellenbosch – a cultural hub full of students and wineries – or it’s snooping around the set of an international TV series or movie, there’s just so much to appreciate.
You realise you’ve got crayfish at flipping good prices around the mountain? Speaking of the mountain, when was the last time you traversed it in a cable car, or hiked down it on foot?
Never mind some of the most glorious beaches on the planet. And provided you’ve a thick enough wetsuit, because, brrrrrr… the Atlantic is cold enough to freeze the cannon balls off a brass monkey (a reference to where cannon balls were lodged on ships back in the sailing era)… you can surf in some of the best swells in Southern Africa. Plenty of foreigners spend good money to do the same.
Not to mention the many cultural sites, and museums, and World Heritage Sites you’ve at your disposal.
No need to worry about what others are up to overseas. You live in one of the best vacation spots in the world. You don’t even have to go far for local travel.