Although travelling overseas is difficult for most South Africans at the moment, it is never too late to start saving every penny and turn those dreams into reality. Our world is full of extraordinary places and we’ve chosen a few of our favourites to give you some inspiration.
15. Namib Desert – Namibia
This Southern African coastal desert stretches for more than 2,000kms along the coasts of Angola, Namibia and South Africa. The Namib Desert features some of the tallest sand dunes in the world and these red dunes are a popular tourist attraction.
14. Kolukkumalai Tea Estate – Munnar, India
Kolukkumalai is home to the highest tea plantations in the world, reaching about 2,170m above sea level. The tea is known to have a special flavour and freshness due to the altitude at which it’s grown.
13. Milford Sound – New Zealand
Milford Sound is situated on the West coast of the South Island and was carved by glaciers during the ice ages. Visitors flock to Milford Sound for boat cruises, kayak trips and to view stunning mountain reflections at Mirror Lakes. With spectacular views, rising cliffs and tumbling waterfalls, this destination is magnificent come rain or shine.
12. Okavango Delta – Botswana
The Okovango Delta in Botswana is an inland delta and also one of the Seven Natural Wonders of Africa. Each year, about 11 cubic kilometers of water flows into the delta and almost all of it is either evaporated or transpired. The Delta is home to a wide variety of wildlife and visitors can spot elephants, hippos, cheetahs, kudu, zebras and leopards.
11. Cliffs of Moher – Ireland
Ireland’s most visited natural attraction is the Cliffs of Moher, which stretch for 8 kilometers along the Atlantic coast of County Clare. The cliffs have appeared in numerous music videos, films and television series. They receive almost a million visitors per year and with their majestic views, state of the art visitor’s centre and large range of birdlife, it’s not hard to see why.
10. Bryce Canyon – Bryce, Utah
Bryce Canyon in Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah is filled with a collection of giant natural amphitheatres. Rows upon rows of layered red and orange rock pillars, known as hoodoos (tall, thin spire of rock that protrudes from the bottom of an arid drainage basin) have been weathered by rain and wind to make up the amphitheatres.
9. Lavender fields – Provence, France
Provence is known as one of the most fragrant provinces in South Eastern France. The sweet aroma is due to the many Lavender fields that bloom from June to August in the Luberon. Visitors can experience the vibrant purple plant in honey, sorbets, soaps, cosmetics and cuisine in and around Provence.
8. Snæfellsjökull – Iceland
Snæfellsjökull is a 700,000-year-old stratovolcano situated in the Snæfellsnes peninsula in Iceland. A glacier covers the summit of this volcano and the coastal plain is covered by lava which is now overgrown with moss and plants. In Summer, visitors can reach the saddle near the summit quite easily by joining a guided walk.
7. Grand Prismatic Spring – Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming
The Grand Prismatic Spring in Yellowstone National Park is the largest hot spring in the United States. The hot spring is located in the Midway Geyser Basin and is famous for it’s magical appearance; perfect rings of colour matching the rainbow dispersion of white light by an optical prism. The spring is about 110 meters in diameter and 40 metres deep and is sterile in the centre due to the high water temperature. The water temperature and the pigmented archea in the microbial mats that line the edge of the water are the reason for the striking colours of the spring and thus the colours of the water change with the seasons.
6. Arashiyama – Kyoto, Japan
Arashiyama, which means Storm Mountain, is both the name of the mountain and the district in which the mountain lies on the outskirts of Kyoto, Japan. Arashiyama is home to a mystical bamboo forest which is serene to say the least. Visitors can wander through the single pathway that leads gradually uphill through the grove. Paired with a viewing of the Tenryu-ji Temple, the bamboo forest is a must-see.
5. Keukenhof Park, Holland – The Netherlands
Keukenhof in the Netherlands is one of the world’s largest flower gardens and is most famous for it’s tulips. Spanning 32 hectares with 7 million flower bulbs, the garden is open to visitors annually from mid March to mid May.
4. Lake Louise – Alberta, Canada
Lake Louise can be found in Banff National Park in the Canadian Rockies. This picture perfect spot seems almost too good to be true. Rugged mountains hug the edge of a turquoise blue lake, so still that it creates a perfect reflection of the mountain peaks, and rich green conifers line the banks and give off a fresh forest scent. Visitors can enjoy one of the many hiking trails or spend time exploring in canoes in the Summer. In Winter, the lake becomes a skating rink.
3. Oia, Santorini, Greece
Santorini is known as one of the best islands in the world and should be on every holiday-maker’s bucket list. Oia is the most famous village in Santorini and is situated at the very top of a cliff, with spectacular views of the ocean, the volcano of Palia and Nea Kameni and the island of Thirassia. Oia is a quiet, picturesque village with narrow streets, attractive houses, cafes, taverns and friendly locals.
2. Salar de Uyuni – Bolivia
Salar de Uyuni in Daniel Campos Province, Bolivia is the world’s largest salt mine covering 10,582kms. The Salar is 3,656 meters above mean sea level and serves as a major transport route across the Bolivian Altiplano.
1. Palawan Island – Philippines
Palawan Island in The Philippines is the largest island in the Palawan Province, boasting limestone cliffs, jungle mountains, white sandy beaches and pristine lagoons. The island has not yet been commercialised so it’s not overcrowded with tourists. Palawan Island was rated as best Southeast Asia region in 2007, and the 13th best island in the world by the National Geographic Traveler magazine. With turquoise waters, great snorkelling, luxurious accommodation and spectacular sunsets, it’s no surprise that Palawan Island is our top pick for the most beautiful destination in the world.
If the travel bug has bitten but you haven’t managed to save enough pennies just yet, why not visit some of our beautiful local destinations in the mean time. Sleeping-OUT has all your accommodation requirements sorted!