With July just around the corner, and many of us realising we're up for a well-deserved, last-minute holiday, where are the best places to go on a budget? The recession has shaken the tourism world up in the past year and although it may not be quite as easy as previously to find cheap flights and budget breaks, there is still a wealth of choice out there and some surprising deals.
Some of the best places to head off to in July are not destinations you would immediately think of, but this is part of their charm. While the rest of the world jets off to the typical tourist areas, you will be able to enjoy your little piece of heaven in relative peace!
In part three of this five-part series, I will show you some of the hottest holiday destinations for July.
July in South Africa is wintertime, and the weather is often comfortable rather than hot. The months of June, July and August are almost prime safari season, since vegetations tends to be less overgrown and animals easier to spot. The Kruger National Park is one of the most famous reserves, covering nearly 19,000 square kilometres. There you can choose a number of activities and holiday packages, from self-catering to luxury lodges inside the park itself. For those keen to get the most of a day's safari, staying inside the park allows you to rise early and get a head-start on others, who have to wait outside the park until later. The best time to see many animals is dawn and dusk, when many go down to water, to stake out a waterhole, turn your engine off and wait. Night and dawn drives are also readily available and are a fantastic experience.
South Africa also boasts the fantastic cities of Cape Town and Johannesberg. Cape Town is famed for its stunning architecture, its gorgeous harbour and the breathtaking landmarks of Table Mountain and Cape Point. Restaurants are regularly cheap but stunning, with fresh seafood available daily for unbeatable prices. Although the climate is cool in July, there are many beaches to discover, notably Boulder's Beach, with its colony of African penguins. Surfing is also a popular passtime. Whale-watching is another popular activity, with breeding season extending from mid-July to November.
Johannesberg - also known as Jo'Berg - is South Africa's largest city. While it is one of the country's most prosperous cities, it is also one of the most unequal and tourists should take care when visiting and research their destination beforehand. The city is famed for its incredible architecture and cityscape, as well as its gold and diamonds trade. Several of the key sites for tourists are the Apatheid Museum, the Sterkfontein Fossil Site (for you budding archeologists and paleontologists!) and there is a flourishing industry built up around visiting previous townships such as Soweto, which can be a humbling experience.