If Valentine’s Day snuck up on you much too soon, don’t despair. Savvy travellers are still looking beyond just the 14th of February and are using the entire month of love to book a memorable trip for later during the year.
And if you’re not in a relationship, don’t think you can’t love yourself with an incredible solo-cation for one or a special getaway with friends or family.
“Rather than focusing on your relationship status this Valentine’s Day, do something meaningful for yourself,” says Sue Garrett, General Manager of Supply, Pricing and Marketing at Flight Centre Travel Group South Africa. “There’s never been a better time to book that trip you’ve always wanted.”
So whether you’re going solo or with a partner in tow, consider booking a sneaky escape to one of these romantic destinations or experiences this year:
Notable local escapes
- For year-round sun: Feel like a VIP at the iconic Oyster Box Hotel in Umhlanga
- For no cell phone reception and dreamy outdoor showers: Check in at the adults-only Hamilton’s Tented Camp in a private concession of the Kruger National Park.
- For misty mountains and a quaint ‘English’ countryside retreat: Head to the Drakensberg
Sexy safaris on the river
The Chobe River region is a dreamy destination for nature lovers, just a hop, skip and a jump over the border. Book a few nights on a houseboat and experience the abundant wildlife along one of Africa’s most legendary rivers. Clink glasses as you watch an elephant matriarch and her family come down to drink at the river’s edge – right in front of you – as the sun begins to set.
The Zambezi Queen Collection offers a number of unique Chobe River experiences. There’s the Zambezi Queen, a luxury floating hotel with 14 luxurious suites on offer with gorgeous viewing decks for game-watching. The more intimate option is one of the Chobe Princess houseboats – where it feels like you have your very own houseboat to yourself. The food on board is delicious, prepared by skilled chefs using ingredients from local markets, and every moment is dedicated to making the most of the spectacular sights and sounds of the Chobe. The Local Resident Discount offers up to 45% saving on an all-inclusive package including accommodation, transfers, meals, drinks, expert guides and safari activities included – for travel up to 31 March 2023.
Very close to home and featuring a melting pot of Afro-Portuguese culture and cuisine, marine parks and romantic beachside resorts, add Mozambique to your romantic getaway list.
“Mozambique offers a diversity of attractions very easily accessible for South Africans,” says Natalie Tenzer-Silva, Director of Dana Tours, a Maputo-based tour operator. “It’s really the best of all worlds for beach, culture and nature lovers, is visa-free and is accessible by both air and land from South Africa.”
For couples wanting to head off the beaten path, adventure seekers and those looking for a beach break incorporating all the flavours of Africa – Mozambique is your perfect match.
Cuddle up in the Cape Winelands
Nothing spells romance quite like picnics on sprawling lawns, cycling through vast scenic vineyards, coffee and croissants to go, lazy lunches, midday swims and high thread count linen.
Cosy up in Stellenbosch and you’re bound to have a special time. There are plenty of stunning hotels to choose from and a whole host of outdoor pursuits if you’re an adventure-loving duo.
A Cruise for Two – or Solo
For an “unpack-once-only” break in any part of the world, cruising presents an incredibly hassle-free way to show yourself some love, whether you’re travelling solo or with a significant other or group.
Select cruise lines also cater to solo travellers, removing the extra cost of those pesky single supplements. For example, Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) was the first cruise company to introduce solo cruises – stylish studio cabins designed especially for solo travellers (without any single supplements), as well as exclusive use areas for solo travellers when you’re ready to mingle with other like-minded travellers.
For something new, discerning culinary- and destination-focused travellers can be one of the first to step onboard a brand-new beauty – Oceania Cruises’ new Allura Class ship. Debuting in 2025, Allura is the eighth vessel for the line and will be the sister ship to Vista, which sets sail in May 2023. Don’t be fooled by the years – these cruises sell out years in advance. Vista’s maiden season for 2023 is already sold out so don’t miss out by booking now on Vista or Allura. Oceania Cruises also offers special solo staterooms.
- For overwater villas, seaplane transfers and Instagram-able snaps: The Maldives
- For cosy Christmas markets and roaring fires: Germany, Switzerland, Poland, Belgium, etc.
The hot ‘new’ kid on the block
According to Flight Centre South Africa, Greece is selling like hotcakes for 2023.
For travellers looking for an island-style elixir of health, rejuvenation and well-being, with culture, romance and nightlife in spades, it’s no wonder that this sultry Mediterranean island is enjoying a ‘revival’ of sorts.
According to Garrett, May is one of the best times of the year to visit Greece. “The temperatures are warm, and the chance of rain is low. July and August are peak tourist seasons but the shoulder seasons of April to June and September to mid-October still have balmy warm weather but fewer crowds.”
Greece has many islands and if you are not prepared to navigate the ferry timetables and negotiate taxi fares between a port and your accommodation, an all-inclusive holiday package is your best bet or a cruise. Eastern Mediterranean cruises usually include Croatia, Greece and Turkey.
Escape to the island
Zanzibar and Mauritius are romantic getaway bestsellers for a good reason. Zanzibar offers one of the best value-for-money island breaks while Mauritius has a wide variety of experiences to suit every type of traveller. For couples, consider splurging on an adults-only resort or booking accommodation in an adults-only wing of a resort.
Top tip: If you’re searching for your honeymoon, enquire about a special honeymoon package, such as one of Beachcomber resort’s honeymoon packages.
Don’t let your perfect match slip away this month of love. Treat yourself with a gift that will last far longer than just the 14th of February and make 2023 the year of the ultimate romantic getaway.