If a family seaside holiday is on your mind, don’t wait until the December holidays. Plan now for the September school break …
Getting tired of a long and cold winter? Hankering for a holiday at the coast, where you can take long walks on near-empty beaches, with just the sounds of waves crashing and seagulls squawking, away from the crowds of summer holidaymakers? Or are you looking for activities that’ll keep the kids busy, or treating the family to a restaurant near the beach without the usual holiday queues? Avukile Mabombo, Group Marketing Manager for Protea Hotels by Marriott® and African Pride Hotels, shares his seaside favourites for families:
- Port Elizabeth
South Africa’s windy city is often overlooked, but Port Elizabeth has so much to offer. For a start, you can get anywhere in the city in 10 minutes or less, so you’re not dealing with the traffic jams of other major cities in South Africa. Protea Hotel by Marriott® Port Elizabeth Marine faces the spectacular Algoa Bay, overlooking some of the best beaches in the city, and is just a stone’s throw away from Bayworld Oceanarium and Museum, Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, the Seaview Predator Park, and more. Port Elizabeth is a must-visit destination for nature-loving families, as it is the convergence of five of seven South African biomes (Thicket, Grassland, Forest, Fynbos and Nama-Karoo). This concentration of classifications of vegetation is unparalleled anywhere in the world.
For a special experience of the wild, a night’s stay at a game reserve just a short drive from the city is recommended. Get close to one of the Africa’s largest animals at the Addo Elephant Park or view the Big Five at Pumba Game Reserve. And for history buffs, the Port Elizabeth Opera House (opened in 1892) is the last active Victorian opera house in the southern hemisphere. You can even arrange a torchlight tour at midnight to try and spot the many ghosts said to roam the aisles.
While Durban boasts many beautiful shorelines, a visit to the city is so much more than just a beach holiday, with a wide variety of attractions to keep the whole family entertained. Right at the seafront you’ll find uShaka Marine World, a theme park where you can visit the largest aquarium in the southern hemisphere and see a wide variety of sea life from penguins to sharks, and much more. Protea Hotel by Marriott® Durban Edward is one of the best accommodation options located on the Golden Mile – home to some of the safest beaches in the world. From here, you can easily get to the uShaka Marine World, Wet ’n Wild water park, Moses Mabhida Football Stadium, and more. It’s also worth a visit or day trip to nearby Umhlanga (just 25 minutes from Durban’s city centre) for its thriving foodie scene and stunning scenery. The drive alone is worth the journey.
Of course, there are many options for beach getaways in the Western Cape, but September falls right in the middle of whale season and is therefore the ideal time to visit Hermanus, widely recognised as one of the top whale-watching destinations in the world. To witness these majestic creatures up close, you are spoilt for choice with viewing points, some of which double as restaurants. Try Bientang’s Cave, the “most unique restaurant setting in the world”, which is located in a cave and spills out onto the rocks of Walker Bay. Options abound for places to stay over, either in town or at nearby seaside villages. To make the most of your holiday here, combine a golf experience with the thrill of spotting some gentle giants of the ocean by enjoying a luxury stay at the Arabella Hotel & Spa in its stunning natural setting between Kleinmond and Hermanus.
There’s so much to see and experience in South Africa, and the springtime school break makes for a great opportunity to enjoy a special seaside holiday.
Source and image: Irvine Partners