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There’s still time to make this year’s holiday a huge adventure, and these desirable destinations are just what the doctor ordered. Don’t forget you’ll need a negative Covid test no older than 72 hours to re-enter South Africa. Some hotels and resorts can arrange a test for you.

Victoria Falls, ZimbabweA pool with a view at Wallow Lodge near Victoria Falls. Pic Lesley Stones

One of the most spectacular waterfalls in the world is just a short hop from South Africa, and it’s well worth the short journey. It will be beautifully hot over December, with rain showers to cool you down. Once you’ve admired the spectacular waterfalls you can take to the water with river rafting, kayaking and sunset cruises, or splash out on a helicopter trip.

The town has worked hard to develop new attractions too, including visiting a local village, touring Victoria Falls Wildlife Trust, and stargazing. Game viewing is excellent here too, since Vic Falls is the gateway to the Kavango-Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area, which includes Hwange and Zambezi National Parks. A great place to stay is Wallow Lodge, with 16 stylish tented suites in Victoria Falls National Park.

Fast Facts: No visa is needed for South Africans. You need a negative PCR test no older than 48 hours to enter.

Website: https://www.wildhorizons.co.za/introducing-the-wallow-lodge/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/wildhorizonsvicfalls/

MaldivesClear waters at Club Med Kani in the Maldives 2.Pic Supplied

You’ll never manage to experience all of the exquisite Maldives, with 1,200 gorgeous islands of swaying palms, silky sand, and clear turquoise water. Luckily you’ll find all the enjoyment you need by sticking to just one, or maybe two or three if you isle-hop on public ferries or with private transfers.

The capital, Malé, has a tiny airport where tourists are met by a fleet of boats for transfers to their chosen isle. One of the most popular is Maafushi, a thriving fishing and tourism centre with new guesthouses springing up.

The amazingly clear Indian Ocean is perfect for diving and snorkeling, with a high chance of seeing turtles and manta rays. Malé itself is worth visiting for its museums, fish market, the Singapore Bazaar for handicrafts, or for a submarine trip to the reefs. At the National Museum the most unusual exhibit is the minutes of a cabinet meeting held underwater in 2009 to highlight how climate change threatens these low-lying islands by rising tides. So go now while you still can. I loved Club Med Kani with activities like water skiing, Zumba classes, aqua-aerobics, sunset yoga, and nightly stage shows and discos all included in the price. The most luxurious villas are raised on stilts right above the ocean so you can literally drop straight into the ocean from your bedroom.

Fast Facts: South Africans can get a visa on arrival. You need a negative PCR test taken a maximum of 96 hours before departure.

Website: shorturl.at/jvQV9
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/clubmed/?hl=en

KenyaMaasai people admire the view at Angama. Photo Supplied

If you can’t decide between a beach holiday or a bush experience, Kenya can give you both. On the wildlife side, the famous Masai Mara National Reserve has huge herds of game on wild open plains and predators following close behind. For absolute luxury try Angama Mara, a lodge with tented suites on the edge of an escarpment where some of the most romantic scenes in Out of Africa were filmed.

Maasai warriors perform here every evening, and other experiences include hot air ballooning, visiting a Maasai home or walking with a Maasai naturalist.

Angama Safaris has a fabulous Safaris and Sandcastles special where you fly from the reserve directly to Diani Beach and stay at Alfajiri Villas right by the sand.

Diani Beach is one of the best in Kenya, with amazing snorkelling and diving on a reef that keeps the water calm for swimming and kite surfing. There are also many other divine islands to choose from including Lamu.

Fast Facts: South Africans don’t need a visa. You need a negative PCR test taken a maximum of 96 hours before departure.

Website: https://angama.com/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/angamasafari/?hl=en


Malawi is an African destination neglected by tourists, and so compact that you can experience its blend of culture, wildlife, beach, and bush in a week or so. If you plan your own tour, the beaches of Lake Malawi are a highlight, then head for the highland forests, the rugged Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve and the scenic Nyika National Park for mountain biking, trekking and fishing.

Better still, try the Warm Heart tour by Robin Pope Safaris, which takes you to beautiful lodges in three top destinations. Majete Wildlife Reserve is a conservation success story after a joint effort by the government and the African Parks Network to combat poaching and reintroduce endangered species. Liwonde National Park offers game drives, walking safaris, and boat cruises, while Nankumba Peninsula offers the peace and beauty of Lake Malawi.

Fast Facts: No visa is required for South Africans. You need a negative PCR test result no older than 72 hours.

Website: https://www.robinpopesafaris.net/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/robin_pope_safaris/

Okavango Delta, BotswanaFishing in the Okavango

If you’ve never been punted along secret waterways in a mokoro, you have a huge treat in store. Botswana is the place for that when swollen rivers surge into the Okavango Delta and turn the Kalahari Desert into wide, grassy floodplains. The animals have adapted to this amazing area, and lions, cheetahs, leopards, and wild dogs share this ecosystem with herds of elephants and buffalos.

Your expert punter will silently guide you through meandering channels to islands teeming with wildlife. You can also explore on foot or on game drives. A fabulous place to stay is Xaranna Okavango Delta Camp in the &Beyond portfolio, where mokoro trips and fishing are still possible despite a drought in Botswana this year. Xaranna stands on an island in a seasonal lagoon, with nine luxurious en-suite tents each with an outdoor sala, plunge pool, and outdoor shower.

Fast Facts: No visa is required for South Africans. You need a negative PCR test result no older than 72 hours.

Website: https://www.andbeyond.com/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/andbeyondtravel/?hl=en


Words | Lesley Stones @Lesley_Stones
Editor | Nikki Temkin @NikkiTemkin
Images | Supplied by the resorts