Here’s why a beach holiday is a great idea in winter. Yes, really!

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A beach holiday may not been on your radar for winter, but here’s why it should be.
A seaside vacay might come off as the kind of trip reserved for the summer holidays, but a winter beach getaway can be just as enticing. From affordable out-of-season rates to long walks on uncrowded sandy shores, it may well hit the spot this winter.
By Candice Verwey

Balmy KwaZulu-Natal

KwaZulu-Natal is one of the most underrated destinations in South Africa for a winter getaway. The climate is dry and clear at this time of the year, with temperatures hovering around the 23-degree mark, and the gorgeous coastline provides a heavenly break from city life.
Liselle Raath, safari and holiday expert at Sun Safaris, recommends Thonga Beach Lodge in the iSimangaliso Wetland Park for luxurious, affordable accommodation options. The chic, eco-sensitive huts are on raised platforms nestled in the surrounding forest and dunes, and each hut is fitted with a wooden deck that’s ideally suited to taking in the sights and sounds of nature in total privacy. Enjoy outstanding cuisine on the dining deck or beach deck overlooking the sea, and spend the rest of your time soaking up the sun, lazing on the soft sand, enjoying refreshing beach walks, and taking advantage of the superb snorkelling opportunities in the area.
Fairmont Zimbali Resort on the North Coast is another popular choice for KZN visitors. This stretch of beach is not designated for swimming, however the hotel boasts multiple pools in which to take a dip in sophisticated luxury. Children are well catered for with water slides, a kids' club and play area. The estate offers golf, tennis, squash and a gym, though you’ll likely want to spend most of your time chilling on the endless sands of the pristine beach.

Rustic Paternoster

The quaint fishing village of Paternoster in the Western Cape has much to offer those looking for a tranquil getaway without escaping the winter chill. Temperatures are cool, with highs averaging around 17 degrees, but the hospitality is warm, and there are a variety of quirky eateries in the village to make for a memorable food-centric holiday.
If you don’t mind going off the grid, a Sea Shack in the Cape Columbine Nature Reserve is highly recommended. Comprising 10 gas-and-solar-powered shacks along the coastline, it’s the ultimate rustic retreat. Here you can truly embrace the simple pleasures of life, like waking up to the sounds of crashing waves, long beach walks in the bracing cold, endless mugs of hot chocolate, and a chance to finally finish that book you started reading over Christmas. Evenings are best spent taking in the incredible sunsets and sampling the outstanding seafood cuisine at one the many restaurants in the village. Daytime attractions include the Columbine Lighthouse and Nature Reserve, Vredenburg/Saldanha Golf Course, the Paternoster Art Route, horse riding, and a tour of the lively markets in the area.

Exotic Mozambique

Mozambique is fast becoming the go-to beach destination for its beauty and affordability compared to other overseas destinations. Temperatures are mild during the winter season, with less chance of rain than the humid summer months, making this time of the year ideal for a beach break. In terms of accommodation, Liselle recommends Massinga Beach Lodge for its impeccable service, breathtaking views and exceptional cuisine, at reasonable prices. If money is not a problem, a stay at Azura Benguerra Island is a must, where a heli-transfer will take you to your own private paradise.

Big game fishing, snorkelling, scuba diving and sunset cruises are just a few of the highlights, and Mozambique is also one of Africa’s top game destinations, so be sure to book a game drive when you’re in the mood for a change of scenery.

Magical Mauritius

Experience the true authenticity of a tropical island with golden beaches, raw, unspoilt nature and breathtaking sea views in the Jewel of the Indian Ocean – Mauritius.
Victoria Beachcomber Resort and Spa is a favourite among South Africans for its idyllic location and variety of activities. The spacious accommodation and unbeatable kids’ programmes make this the perfect spot for family vacations, while those looking for a quieter getaway will find the adults-only wing on a secluded stretch of the beach more to their liking. If romance is in the air, the swim-up room opening directly onto an open-air swimming pool offers the perfect balance of privacy and luxury.

Outside the resort, the North Coast of Mauritius has a number of attractions, including underwater explorations in the Grand Baie sea vessel, a tour of the L’Aventure Du Sucre sugar museum, the famous Pamplemousses Botanical Garden and The Photography Museum of Mauritius.

If you routinely find yourself hankering after a refreshing mid-year reboot, it might just be that a beach holiday is what’s missing in your life. Relaxing and invigorating, it won’t disappoint!

Images supplied, Chris Allan Photography and Chantel Meltzer.

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