Tuesday, May 24, 2022

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    4 holiday adventures off the beaten track

    The past two years have had a profound impact on the way we view life. Health, happiness and positivity are becoming extremely important again as we move forward into 2022.

    One way attaining these goals is to get outdoors and reconnect with ourselves, our families, and experience new places and things.

    Luckily for South Africans, we have so many little gems right in our backyard to explore.

    Here are four unique, quirky, and adventurous holiday ideas which combine the great outdoors with an appreciation for nature and a sense of adventure.

    1. Stay in a treehouse

    Teniqua Treetops. Picture: Teniqua Treetops

    Off the beaten track and partially off the grid, Teniqua Treetops is a perfect getaway and if you’ve got small children, few things could be more exciting than sleeping in an actual treehouse with the whole family.

    It is located in the Knysna Forest, 20 minutes away from the town of Sedgefield on the Garden Route.

    On-site amenities include a licensed bar serving drinks and refreshments, a petting zoo, an art gallery, two forest trails and a river walk giving guests access to the Karatara river and rock pools.

    As long as you don’t have a phobia of flora or fauna; trees, plants, birds, wild animals, insects, spiders, snakes, butterflies, moths and tame animals, then this holiday destination is a must for you.

    2. Stargaze in Sutherland

    Stargaze in Sutherland. Picture: Supplied

    In a remote part of the Northern Cape lies the tiny Karoo town of Sutherland, known for its open skies and clear weather.

    Due to its year-round clear skies, semi-desert setting and sparsely populated areas with minimal lights and air pollution, it’s one of the best stargazing destinations in the Southern Hemisphere.

    The town is a world famous astronomical centre and home to the South African Astronomical Observatory (SAAO), while the Southern African Large Telescope (SKA) is located just 14kms out of town. A pilgrimage here is a worthy adventure, whether you visit in the heat of summer or the iciness of winter.

    Book a variety of tours directly through the SAAO, including guided night tours to help you learn more about the stars and African astronomy.

    Combine this with a family road trip through the Karoo and you have a holiday with a difference that your family won’t easily forget.

    3. Take a canoe safari

    Felix Unite River Adventures. Picture: Felix Unite River Adventures

    A canoe safari is a great way to really get off the beaten track and experience the beauty of our country’s natural landscapes and waterways.

    Canoe safaris are offered on many of South Africa’s seas and rivers – one popular option is to canoe down the Orange River that borders South Africa and Namibia.

    Several companies, such as Felix Unite River Adventures, offer 4 or 6-day guided tours down the Orange that are fully catered with camping accommodation, and are led by experienced guides.

    Picture bird spotting as the sun rises, lunchtime picnics on riverbanks and sitting by campfires as the day draws to a close…pure serenity.

    4. Shongololo Express

    Shongololo Express. Picture: Shongololo Express

    The Shongololo Express offers a range of special train adventures.

    The journeys are between 12 to 15 days. Traverse South Africa, eSwatini, Namibia, Zimbabwe and Mozambique with a variety of off-train excursions from a bygone era, wrapped up in elegance and nostalgia.

    Accommodation is in traditional wood-panelled sleeper carriages and every meal is an event, but while older kids will certainly enjoy the adventure, this form of luxurious travel may not be the most suitable for busy toddlers.

    Inside the Shongololo Express. Picture: Shongololo Express

    It’s clear that adventure travel doesn’t mean having to go halfway across the world.

    Within our own backyard are plenty of options for outdoor family holidays that allow for reconnecting with each other while fostering curious minds and ayen for adventure.

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