Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Top tips for an amazing holiday in South Africa: Travel Blog plus 2 more

Top tips for an amazing holiday in South Africa: Travel Blog plus 2 more

Link to Travel Blog

Top tips for an amazing holiday in South Africa

Posted: 13 Feb 2013 06:20 PM PST

South Africa attracts holidaymakers for lots of different reasons. For some, it’s the chance to explore countless vineyards; for others, it’s to hit the beach and catch some serious sun. And for me? Personally, it’s the wildlife that enchants me the most. If you’re considering taking a break here this year, read on for my top travel tips.

When to travel
One of the burning questions when organising a holiday is ‘When is the best time to travel?’. Luckily, South Africa’s pretty much a year-round destination, but that doesn’t mean you don’t need to give any thought to when you book for.

For instance, school holidays play a huge part in establishing peak times here (which I suppose is true of a lot of destinations, but trust me, it’s a big deal here). Generally speaking, the Christmas period – which is during the South African summer – and Easter are pretty packed. So, if you’re averse to crowds, you might be best off travelling at another time.

Now, while the cities tend to be very busy during the school holidays, it’s the winter period (June to September in South Africa) that gets the most hectic in the national parks. Why? Well, this is the time when the most water is available, which means the animals come up to sup from shared pools – a fact that makes them much easier to spot at this time of year.

In terms of getting a good overall balance between enjoying some nice weather and avoiding the crowds, spring – which is mid-September to November – and April and May (autumn) are decent times to visit pretty much anywhere in the country.

Handy hints for first-time safari-goers
If you’ve decided that you want to go on your first safari this year, let me recommend a trip to Kruger National Park. Now, South Africa is hardly short of national parks and wildlife reserves, but Kruger is the ultimate destination – hence why I think it’s such a good place for experiencing your first safari.

A word of warning, though – while fantastic and beautiful, Kruger tends to get pretty busy. There is scope for spreading out and finding quieter corners, but it is worth bearing in mind that you’re unlikely to feel like you’re venturing into an undiscovered wilderness.

As I mentioned briefly above, the best time for safaris here is between June and December, so time your visit for this period if you can. A lot of wildlife spotting takes place very early in the morning and, as it can actually get quite cold at that time of day and at this point in the year, it’s worth layering up to keep warm – you can then shed a few layers when it heats up later on.

Attractions not to miss in Cape Town
Cape Town is, arguably, South Africa’s most exciting city and definitely one of its top destinations. So, if you can either base yourself here or at least spend a day or so exploring its attractions, you’ll really add something to your holiday.

There is just so much to see in Cape Town that it’s hard to narrow it down, but, in my opinion, Table Mountain, Boulders Beach and Robben Island really shouldn’t be missed. You can ascend to the top of Table Mountain, which forms the city’s backdrop, in just five minutes with the Cableway – and be rewarded with 360-degree views.
Robben Island, meanwhile, is a fantastic living museum that tells you about some of the most important points in the country’s history. Perhaps even more interestingly, it was once where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned.

Lastly, Boulders Beach is a great place to relax and catch some sun. My favourite thing about it, though, is that you can also see African penguins here!

As a final tip, if you’re still looking for accommodation for your holiday, you can check out a great range of options with companies like Wanderforth.

Top tips for an amazing holiday in South Africa from - Travel Directory

Top 5 destinations for all inclusive holidays

Posted: 13 Feb 2013 05:59 AM PST

When it comes to relaxing, I think there’s nothing quite like an all inclusive break. Why? Well, these let you unwind without having anything to worry about, as with most packages your food, drinks and use of the hotel’s facilities will all be prepaid. So, you can just lay back and enjoy yourself.

The question is, where’s the place to go for this kind of holiday? Destinations all across the world offer all inclusive packages these days; below, you’ll find some of the destinations that I think are the best.

1) Marmaris
Turkey is a wonderful place for an all inclusive getaway, with flights only taking around four hours from the UK and a gorgeous climate and landscape awaiting you when you arrive. Of course, a key ingredient any decent all inclusive destination has to have are hotels that offer this kind of package, which Marmaris has in abundance. Since this is such a defining factor, I won’t focus on hotels for the other destinations, unless there’s something particularly remarkable about them.

Anyway, back to Marmaris. This is a resort on the Turkish Riviera – and one that is famous for its jagged inlets and gorgeous sandy coves. Particularly perfect for couples and families, this port town is also great for water sports fans – especially if you love scuba diving and snorkelling (head to Aquarium Cove and Chimney Sea Cave if you do).

2) Bodrum
Another Turkish destination well suited to all inclusive breaks is Bodrum. Known across the world for being a really lively holiday hotspot, it’s also got a rich heritage that gives it as much to offer culture vultures as sun seekers and partiers.

To see some of the amazing historical discoveries that have been made here, make sure you visit the Bodrum Museum of Underwater Archaeology. To soak up some more contemporary culture, meanwhile, I recommend going to some of the local bazaars (which are open six days a week) or the street between Iskele Square and Halikarnas Disco. This is where you’ll find countless handicrafts on sale, from jewellery and beads to embroidery and leather.

3) Costa Blanca
Turning our attentions to Spain, the Costa Blanca is an obvious contender for a top all inclusive destination. You’ll find the famous ‘white coast’ – which has long been a place popular among Brits for holidays – perched on the Mediterranean in the province of Alicante.

What’s so great about the Costa Blanca is that it has a smattering of everything. For instance, it’s home to the well-known resort of Benidorm, which is famous for offering us visitors from the UK a home away from home, alongside a healthy dose of great nightlife. Over in Torrevieja, though, you can have a much more authentic Spanish experience. Taking a stroll through its narrow streets and finding fantastic tapas joints is an essential part of holidays here.

4) Sharm el Sheikh
My next suggest is Sharm el Sheikh, one of Egypt’s loveliest holiday resorts. Located on the Sinai Peninsula, this destination is particularly famous for providing amazing scuba diving and snorkelling opportunities – especially in Ras Mohammed National Park – so if you’re keen to try one of these activities, this is definitely a place to put high on your to-visit list.

Receiving up to 11 hours of sunshine a day, this gorgeous resort is a sun seekers’ dream. Alongside its great water sports facilities and beautiful beaches, it offers loads to do inland, like taking camel safaris in the Sinai Desert.

5) The Maldives
Last, but definitely not least, I recommend the Maldives – an archipelago in the Indian Ocean. In my opinion, this is the ultimate choice if you’ve got your heart set on a luxurious all inclusive breaks, since the resorts here are famous for providing an exceptional service and stunning accommodation.

Plus, when you come here, as well as enjoying paradise-like scenery and excellent service, you can also expect lots of privacy. This is because, by law, each island is limited to having just one resort.

As the Maldives is such a luxurious option, it’s worth remembering it can, therefore, be pretty expensive. So, you’ll need to shop around to get a good deal – companies like Holiday Nights should be able to help you find something that fits your price range.

Top 5 destinations for all inclusive holidays from - Travel Directory

Things To See And Do In Split, Croatia

Posted: 12 Feb 2013 06:00 PM PST

Split is a Croatian city located on the eastern shores of the Adriatic Sea and which is built around the ancient Roman palace of Diocletian, the roman emperor. There are a lot of things to see and do in this city, and with a cheap airfare from destinatios across Europe, you too could be seeing these following sites:

1. Admire some Meštroviæ
The greatest sculptor of Croatia spent much time in Split and the villa and studio he used have today been converted into the Meštroviæ Gallery and Kastetet – two major attractions in the country. The former is a representation of the variety of his works while the latter is a beautiful 28-piece of wooden reliefs showing the Christ’s life. All these are located in a leafy boulevard that overlooks the seafront. You can also find the Statue of Grur Ninski in the centre of Split.

2. Go barhopping near Diocletian’s palace
This palace in Split is the ideal backdrop for the best bar crawl in Croatia. Some bars stand out though the matter is whether you can locate them for another night. Check out Planet Jazz, Bifora, Po Bota and Ave. If all you want is to sit for several minutes and see for yourself, the small hub situated on Majstora Jurja should be best for that.

3. Take a breakfast fry-up
So you’ve barhopped around the palace, danced the night away on Baèvice, and all you need is a good English breakfast? Don’t worry! The Bistro Black Cat off Riva is the best place for that. It is a convenient and affordable restaurant specializing in sturdy breakfast, quality snacks and light bites. There’s a lot to order from pancakes to eggs and bacon.

4. Climb the cathedral in Split
At the center of the palace in Split is the Katedral Sveti Duie which was had been a site of Diocletian’s mausoleum .Admire the sumptuous pulpit at the cathedral and for a small entrance fee ,climb up to the bell tower for a beautiful view of the city, the palace and beyond the sea.

5. Savor some of the finest seafood
Strategically placed near the main fish market in Split is Noštromo, an upscale restaurant, which offers some of the best seafood. Managed by Zlatko Marinoviæ, its chief owner, this popular establishment offers a contemporary wit for traditional Dalmatian recipes. You will get the batter-fried sea anemone and ray-fish stew. The atmosphere is informal since locals often have birthday or anniversary celebrations at the place. Carry plenty of cash since they don’t take credit cards.

6. Relax at the Le Méridien Grand Hotel Lav
This hotel is located just outside the city and offers you some of the best luxury in Split. Relax your mind in the truffle or wine therapies at the Diocletian spa or just gaze at superyatchs in the marina; there’s so much to do. Le Méridien is among the most luxurious hotels that have opened in or around Split and has given back the city the limelight following years of openings of high-end hotels at the coast in Dubrovink. You’ll also find a casino, nightclub, champagne bar and restaurant at the hotel.

7. Visit the Archaeological Museum
Before the emergence of Split, the largest communal hub in the area was Salona, the then roman capital. Located near the national Theater in Split is the Archeological Museum which has a unique collection of mosaics and objects. These will give you an idea of how life probably was during the roman times. There are also discoveries from ancient periods like the Greek era and you’ll also see Neolithic artefacts found near the Dalmatian hinterland.

Things To See And Do In Split, Croatia from - Travel Directory